This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

This Mexican Birria recipe features tender, slow cooked beef in a broth flavored with a variety of dried chilies and spices. It’s rich and savory, with just a hint of heat. Enjoy as a stew or in tacos.

Angled view of a bowl of birria with onion and cilantro

Authentic Birria Recipe

If you’re craving some real Mexican food, not the overly cheesy Tex-Mex variety, you’re in for a treat with this Mexican birria recipe. Once a special-occasion dish, this recipe makes birria accessible for anyone to make, as long as you have some patience!

Birria is one dish that you do need to plan in advance. Not because it’s difficult but because it needs to marinate for at least 4 hours, though overnight is best, and then slow cook for 3-4 hours. The slow cooking allows the flavors to meld together and the beef to become incredibly tender. It’s worth the wait, I promise!

We love to enjoy birria stew for dinner one night and then birria tacos the next day.

A bowl of birria with onion, cilantro and lime

Why You’ll Love This Mexican Recipe

Birria is one of our favorite Mexican dishes. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Hands-off process. 90% of this recipe is hands-off, as the dish marinates for several hours and then slow cooks for several more.
  • Warm, rich, savory flavor. The flavors in this birria recipe are phenomenal, thanks to the variety of dried peppers and spices. It’s warm but not spicy – though you can make it so if you wish.
  • Leftovers are amazing. Trust me, you want to have leftover birria! It takes just as good, if not better, the next day.
Mexican birria on a fork

What Is Birria?

Birria is a traditional Mexican dish, originally from the Jalisco region. It features meat (beef, lamb or goat) slow cooked in a rich broth flavored with a variety of dried chilies. It can have a bit of a kick to it but it’s more rich and savory than spicy.

Birria can be served as a stew, with cilantro and onions for toppings, but the most popular version is perhaps birria tacos – or quesabirria tacos, with lots of extra cheese.

Overhead view of ingredients needed to make birria

Recipe Ingredients

Key components of this Mexican birria recipe include beef chuck roast, a combination of dried peppers, and a few seasonings. You can find the full measurements in the printable recipe card below.

  • Beef chuck roast – You can also use beef shank.
  • Peppers – I used a combination of guajillo chiles, ancho chiles, and arbol peppers. All should be stemmed and seeded.
  • Onion & garlic – Aromatics for added flavor.
  • Seasonings – Dried oregano, cumin, smoked paprika, and ground cinnamon, plus salt and pepper to taste.
  • Beef broth – I recommend no sodium added.
  • Apple cider vinegar – Adds a bit of acidity.

What Meat Is Best For Making Birria?

Birria can be made with beef, goat, or lamb though in the US it’s almost always made with beef. You want to select a cut that does well being slow cooked, one that becomes more tender the longer it cooks as opposed to overdone.

I’m partial to beef chuck roast or beef shank but short ribs and packaged stew meat work too.

How To Make Birria

Birria is simple to make but it does take some time. The good news is, you can prepare it over two days since most of the time is marinating time! Scroll down to the recipe card below for printable instructions.

  • Prepare the chilies. Toast the dried chilis in a dry skillet over medium heat for about 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl and cover with hot water. Let soak for 15-20 minutes, until softened.
  • Make the marinade. Blend together the soaked chilies, onion, garlic, seasonings, broth, and apple cider vinegar until smooth.
  • Marinate the beef. Season the chunks of beef with salt and pepper then place in a large bowl. Cover with the marinade and ensure the beef is well coated. Marinate for a minimum of 4 hours.
  • Cook the beef. Transfer the marinated beef and the marinade to a large Dutch oven. Cover and bake for 3-4 until the beef is tender and shreds easily.
  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C).
  • Shred and enjoy. Remove the beef from the pan and shred it with two forks. Serve in bowls with some of the cooking liquid or in tacos.
Forks shredding beef birria

Tips for Success

Here are a few important things to keep in mind when making this birria recipe.

  • Use a variety of chilies. The flavor profile of your birria largely depends on the types of dried chilies you use. Guajillo and ancho chilies are commonly used for their smoky-sweet flavor, while chiles de arbol add a spicy kick. You can adjust the types and quantities of chilies to suit your taste.
  • Don’t skimp on the marinating time. Marinating the beef for at least 4 hours or overnight allows the flavors to penetrate deeply into the meat.
  • Adjust the heat. If you prefer a milder flavor, remove the seeds from the chilies before using. For a spicier birria, include some or all of the seeds.
  • Cooking time may vary. The exact cook time will depend on the size of your beef chunks and your oven. The beef should shred easily with a fork. If it doesn’t, let it cook a bit longer and try again.
Overhead view of a bowl of birria stew with onions and cilantro

Ways To Serve It

There are a few different ways to serve Mexican birria.

The first is as a stew, with the meat and cooking liquid served together in a bowl. You can add garnishes like fresh cilantro, diced onion, and lime wedges. Warm corn tortillas are also typically served with birria.

The other popular way is to serve this dish is to make birria tacos by adding the meat to corn tortillas with cheese, cilantro, and onions then tipping them in the liquid.

A plate of birria tacos

Proper Storage

  • Fridge. Store leftover birria in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.
  • Reheat. Reheat birria in the microwave or on the stovetop.

More Mexican-Inspired Recipes To Try

Birria Recipe feature
No ratings yet

Birria Recipe

This Mexican Birria recipe features tender, slow cooked beef in a broth flavored with a variety of dried chilies and spices. It's rich and savory, with just a hint of heat. Enjoy as a stew or in tacos.
Servings: 8 people
Prep: 4 hours 20 minutes
Cook: 4 hours
Total: 8 hours 20 minutes


  • 3 lbs beef chuck roast or beef shank cut into large chunks
  • 4 dried guajillo chilies stemmed and seeded
  • 2 dried ancho chilies stemmed and seeded
  • 4-6 dried arbol chilis stemmed and seeded
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Corn tortillas fresh cilantro, diced onion, and lime wedges for serving


  • In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the dried chilies for about 30 seconds on each side until they become fragrant. Then, transfer them to a bowl and cover with hot water. Let them soak for 15-20 minutes until softened.
  • In a blender, combine the soaked chilies, chopped onion, minced garlic, dried oregano, ground cumin, smoked paprika, ground cinnamon, beef broth, and apple cider vinegar. Blend until smooth to form the birria marinade.
  • Season the beef chunks with salt and pepper, then place them in a large bowl or resealable plastic bag. Pour the birria marinade over the beef, ensure the beef is well coated. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C).
  • Transfer the marinated beef and marinade to a large Dutch oven or roasting pan. Cover with a lid or foil and bake for 3-4 hours, or until the beef is very tender and easily shreds with a fork.
  • Once the beef is cooked, remove it from the pan and shred it using two forks. Skim off any excess fat from the cooking liquid.
  • Serve the beef birria in bowls, ladled with some of the cooking liquid. Accompany with warm corn tortillas, fresh cilantro, diced onion, and lime wedges on the side for guests to garnish their own servings as desired. Enjoy!

Last Step:

Please leave a rating and comment letting us know how you liked this recipe! This helps our business to thrive and continue providing free, high-quality recipes for you.



Calories: 368kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 117mg | Sodium: 371mg | Potassium: 1076mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 3008IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 5mg


Leave a Review!

We LOVE hearing from you! Submit your question or comment here.

Your email address will not be published.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating:

I accept the Privacy Policy

4 comments on “Birria”

    1. Hi Sandra. You could definitely do that by browning the meat first and then adding all ingredients and cooking on high for around 40 minutes and then natural release for about 15 minutes.

    1. Hi Suzie. Yes you could absolutely use a slow cooker. You would prep the same and then cook on low for about 8 hours.