Birria tacos

Birria tacos

1 h
Birria tacos are filled with a popular slow-cooked chilli stew. A range of different chilis are required to create the right taste. In this recipe the tacos are first covered in the sauce and then filled with the mozzarella and meat. The bread is fried until crispy and served with sour cream, coriander and onion.


  • Roughly cut the meat into four pieces.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the meat until golden brown. Remove, salt and place in a bowl.
  • Peel and then roughly slice the onion. Peel and crush the garlic. Halve the tomatoes.
  • Fry the onion and garlic for two minutes in the same oil as used for the meat (this makes the most of the flavour).
  • Add the tomato purée and fry for an additional minute.
  • Return the meat to the mixture and add the chillies (remove the seeds if you want to decrease the spiciness). Add the stock and tomatoes.
  • Fry the coriander seeds and black pepper in a separate, clean pan for around two minutes. Grind the spices and add to the meat and chilli mixture.
  • Cook for around one hour before removing the chillies and around 100 ml of the stock. Blend until smooth in a food processer.
  • Pour the chilli sauce back into the meat mixture. Cover and allow to slow cook for around three hours, or until the meat is tender.
  • Once the meat is tender, decant the liquid into a bowl and put to the side. Use two forks to flake the meat into chunks of your desired size.
  • Peel and chop the red onion. Peel, stone and slice the mango and avocado. Cut the lime into quarters.
  • Dip each tortilla in the liquid, place in a frying pan. Add the meat and cheese on top. Fold the taco together and cook on a medium high heat in oil.
  • Serve the tacos alongside sauce, coriander, onion, lime, avocado, mango and sour cream.

Birria tacos

How do you make sure birria tacos don’t go soggy?
Fresh tortillas are an important trick in avoiding sogginess as they absorb less moisture. Make sure not to add too much sauce before frying too, as it will weaken the structure.
How do you get the bitterness out of birria tacos?
Using too many chillies can make your birria bitter so be sure to stick to the recipe and experiment carefully. Cooking the sauce for too short a period can also result in a bitter undertone.
Can you overcook birria tacos?
Overcooking birria is difficult but not impossible: once the meat pulls apart easily, it’s time to remove it from the mixture.
How do you make birria less greasy?
Birria is a fatty dish so a little grease is to be expected and, while you can substitute the meat for a less fatty cut, it will have an impact on the flavour.
Why is my birria sticking to the pan?
A non-stick pan with a small amount of oil should be enough to stop your birria tacos from sticking to the pan. Avoid using a cast iron pan in particular as they are more likely to be sticky.


Birria tacos
Beef rib
1 kilo
2 tsp
Large yellow onion
Garlic cloves
Cherry tomatoes
250 g
Tomato purée
1 tbsp
Ancho chillies
Dried chillies de árbol
Dried guajillo chillies
Dried pasilla chillies
Beef stock
1 l
Cinnamon stick
Coriander seeds
1 tbsp
1 tbsp
Oil for frying
Serve with
Red onion
Lime fruit
Small tortillas
300 g
Sour cream
300 ml
Fresh coriander

A Jaliscan comfort food champion

Birria originates in Jalisco state, western Mexico. The stew was popular at special occasions but is now commonly sold with tacos by street food vendors. Since the 1970s it has been growing in popularity in the US, with a recent TikTok trend raising its profile even further.

How adobo can you go?

In Mexico the complex marinade made of a wide range of chillies is known as adobo, coming from the Spanish verb “adobar” (to marinate). Typically used in meat or seafood based dishes, the often thick paste can be thinned out and transformed into a flavour-packed sauce for stews or dipping sauce.

Splendid side dishes

Birria tacos can shine on their own, but if a side dish is needed common accompaniments include cilantro lime rice (a Mexican favourite), fresh tomato salsa or a cool cucumber salad. Refried beans, Mexican street corn, or a creamy coleslaw are also traditional favourites that go well with this dish.

The secret to slow cooking birria tacos

There’s no substitute for time in the pursuit of the tastiest birria. If you have an entire day, you can even use a slow cooker for around eight hours at low heat. Either way, patience is key to get the most out of your sauce.