Birria Tacos

Birria is a Mexican stew from the state of Jalisco traditionally made with mutton, but now often made with beef instead. Cooked in a stew pot with a bevy of spices until it is unbelievably tender, birria is often served at celebratory occasions such as weddings or holidays.

Birria also happens to make the juiciest filling for tacos. Try serving them with a side of the stew. You’ll love dipping into the beautiful seasoned, beefy broth.

My recipe is inspired by two lovely YouTube channels: De Mi Rancho A Tu Cocina and Simply Mamá Cooks. I hope I’ve done them justice!

Here’s the recipe:

Glistening birria taco.

Birria Tacos

Beef tacos accompanied by a beef stew for dipping.
4.50 from 4 votes
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Steeping time for chilies 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Course Dinner, holiday, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8 people
Calories 326 kcal


  • small pot with lid
  • stove top
  • Instant Pot (or electric pressure cooker)
  • blender
  • Frying pan



  • 3.5 lbs beef shank and chuck
  • 4 cloves garlic unpeeled
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 t salt
  • 3,4 sprigs thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 t oregano Mexican
  • 1 clove whole
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 t beef bouillon paste
  • 1 cup water or enough to just cover meat

Chili paste

  • 4 guajillo chilies
  • 1 pasilla chili or ancho poblano
  • 2 cloves garlic large
  • 1/4 medium onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup water or enough to cover

Birria stew toppings

  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
  • 1/2 cup radishes chopped
  • 3 limes cut into wedges


  • 1 package corn tortillas taco size

Tortilla filling

  • 1 package Monterrey jack cheese shredded


Chili paste

  • Remove stems and seeds from both guajillo and pasilla chilies.
  • Place chilies into a pot with two large cloves of garlic and the quarter chopped onion.
  • Cover with boiling water and bring to a boil on the stovetop.
  • Turn off heat, cover, and allow to steep for 20 minutes (or until the chilies are super soft.)
  • Pour chilies and liquid into a blender.
  • Liquify and then strain to remove the skins. Set aside.


  • Add three and a half pounds of beef, half an onion, and four cloves of garlic to your Instant Pot.
  • Add a teaspoon of salt, a few sprigs of fresh thyme, a few bay leaves, and one whole clove.
  • Now add a teaspoon of Mexican oregano; a smidgen of cinnamon; and all of the chili paste.
  • Add half a teaspoon of beef bouillon stock paste (or equivalent powdered beef bouillon.)
  • Add water until all beef is covered.
  • Set the valve on the Instant Pot to "sealing" and "pressure cooker," setting it to "high pressure."
  • Cook for one hour.
  • When it has finished cooking, taste and add salt if desired.
  • With a fork, shred the beef, so it is consistent throughout.


  • Add some of the beef fat from the top of the stew to a frying pan.
  • Place corn tortilla in beef fat.
  • Add beef, Monterrey Jack cheese, cilantro, and chopped onions, then fold tortilla over.
  • Give folded tortilla a little press. Flip to brown both sides.
    Glistening birria taco.
  • Repeat steps to make more tacos.
  • Serve with lime wedges, radishes, cilantro, onion and a side of stew for dipping.


You can substitute mutton (goat) or lamb for the beef to make the stew. 
I found my chilies here (Amazon affiliate links):
Guajillo chilies:
Pasilla chilies:
I used the Instant Pot Duo (Amazon affiliate link):
To find links to the tools and books I use in the kitchen visit my Emmymade Amazon shop:


Calories: 326kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 34gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 65mgSodium: 506mgPotassium: 631mgFiber: 3gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 639IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 231mgIron: 4mg
Keyword beef, birria, Mexican, stew, tacos
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

7 thoughts on “Birria Tacos”

  1. So happy this recipe has the “Nutrition label”!!!! I have a son who is a Type 1 Diabetic and we always need the carb counts so he can bolus accordingly to eat his meal. Thank you, thank you!!!!!!!!!

  2. Would there be a store bought substitute for the chili paste? Or could you just use regular red chillis? I’m in Australia. Thanks 😊

  3. Hmm…I’m not sure what the store bought offerings are since I’m based in the US, but the chili sauce in this recipe is mild on the heat, slightly smokey, and nice and oniony. If you can think of an Aussie store-bought equivalent then go for it.

  4. Do you think that mutton is goat? Goat is goat. Mutton comes from an older sheep. Lamb is only lamb until it is a year old, if I remember right.

  5. 4 stars
    I don’t know what I did wrong—my results were fine, but not as delicious as the recipe’s popularity led me to expect.

    I’m an experienced cook and followed the instructions closely, but I ended up with somewhat dry meat, a massive amount of fairly flavorless broth, and not enough fat at the top to fry the tacos in, even after refrigerating overnight to help it separate.

    My wife liked these more than I did so I’m going to take a second stab at it, but I’ll tweak the recipe to hopefully boost the spice/salt/overall flavor.

Leave a Comment

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

Recipe Rating


free email series

What Food Can Teach Us