The best birria tacos with homemade Mexican beef birria cooked in lightly fried tortillas with or without cheese. These crispy tacos served with rich consome are truly delicious.
Birria tacos are a Mexican specialty full of bold, spicy, and unique flavors. Beef is first slow-cooked in a rich red chile broth, then fried in broth-dipped corn tortillas with melted cheese until crispy.
Serve them with fresh cilantro, diced white onion, and a side of extra consome for the ultimate feast!
When it comes to taco recipes, these birria and quesabirria tacos will truly impress your guests.
What is birria?
If you haven’t heard of birria, it’s a famous stewed, slow cooker dish from Jalisco, Mexico. Although it started there, it is now extremely popular all across Mexico and even the United States.
It’s most often served by street vendors and in fonditas (small restaurants), but it’s now making its way into mainstream restaurants and food trucks because the demand is so high.
Traditionally birria is made from goat, birria de chivo. Nowadays most birria is made from beef, birria de res. This includes chuck roast, bone-in beef, and short ribs. You can also sometimes find it made with chicken, birria de pollo.
Birria is slow-cooked in a spicy broth featuring dried guajillo, ancho, and arbol chiles combined with tomatoes, white onion, and garlic. The beef is then simmered in the red chile sauce with aromatic spices like oregano, cumin, cinnamon, and bay leaves.
For more authentic Mexican guisados, try out our chicken tinga, albondigas al chipotle, and beef machaca.
What are birria tacos?
Birria is typically served as a stew with a side of corn tortillas, but the meat can also be used in birria tacos. To make them, fresh corn tortillas are dipped in consome and stuffed with shredded meat.
They are fried on both sides until crispy, then paired with garnishes like onions, cilantro, and lime. Another popular serving method is quesabirria tacos, which taste like a mixture of quesadillas and tacos (hence the name).
Everything stays the same, but a generous handful of Oaxaca cheese is added while they cook for a melty, meaty, and spicy combination.
Why you’ll love birria tacos
- Flavorful: Birria tacos are seasoned with a plethora of chiles, herbs, and spices. With the addition of tender, shredded meat, it’s no wonder why this recipe is growing in popularity all over the world.
- Crispy: Dipping and frying the corn tortillas with consome puts such a unique spin on classic soft tacos. They are crispy, slightly charred, and downright addicting.
- Customizable: Use your favorite type of tortillas, add cheese or leave it out, swap in different meat, or make a vegetarian version with mushrooms. There are so many options.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Here is everything you need to make these classic birria tacos.
- Beef birria: Birria tacos utilize the same ingredients as our beef birria recipe. Check out our post for tips on how to best prepare it.
- Corn tortillas: For the most authentic taste, use corn tortillas over flour tortillas. Better yet, make your own with masa harina, water, and salt.
- Cheese: Cheese is optional for birria tacos, but it does make a delicious addition! If you are planning on using some, the best choice is Oaxaca cheese. It’s stringy, mild, and perfectly meltable. Other options include quesadilla cheese, queso asadero, Chihuahua cheese, and Monterey Jack. You can even use low-moisture mozzarella or cheddar.
- Cilantro, white onion, and lime: Cilantro and onion are the classic topping for birria tacos, plus some fresh lime. All of these flavors break up the richness of the beef and sauce.
- Consome: Don’t miss the consome for dipping! All you need is the cooking liquid from the birria, thinned out with a bit of extra broth if it is too thick.
How to make Birria Tacos
Follow these steps to make these tasty tacos.
1. Prepare the beef birria
Prepare the filling from our beef birria recipe, and make sure the beef is finely shredded or chopped before starting the tacos. The beef is slow-cooked, so remember to plan ahead!
2. Fry the tortillas
Heat a cast-iron skillet or comal over medium-high heat. A comal is the most traditional option, but any pan with a heavy bottom will do the trick!
Dip the corn tortillas into the broth/consome from cooking the birria, then place them in the hot skillet. Dipping them in consome adds flavor and moisture, which makes them easier to fold and work with.
Cook the tortillas on each side for about 30 seconds, which helps the consome stick to them and adds a slight char.
3. Add the fillings
Add the chopped beef birria meat to the corn tortillas, and fold them into half-moon shapes. If you want to take the flavors to the next level and make quesabirria tacos, add a sprinkle of shredded cheese on top of the beef. Don’t forget to use a good meltable white cheese!
It’s very common for the fillings to sort of spill out and get everywhere, but this is how it’s done in Mexico! It just adds to the whole experience.
4. Finish cooking the tacos
Continue cooking the tacos on each side, or until the outsides are browned and crispy. If you are adding cheese, make sure it is melted before removing the tacos from the skillet.
If you are making a large batch, you can keep them warm in the oven while you cook the rest.
5. Prepare the consome
The consome is an essential part of the birria taco experience. Pour some of the cooking liquid into a small cup, adding extra beef broth if it is too thick.
Then add fresh cilantro and diced white onion to the broth. Some people add a squeeze of fresh lime juice as well.
When eating the tacos, dip it into the consume before eating. So good!
What to Serve with Birria Tacos
Traditional sides and garnishes for birria tacos include fresh cilantro, diced white onion, and a side of consome (broth) for dipping. You can also add a squeeze of lime for a fresh, bright, and citrusy element.
For a full Mexican spread, pair your birria tacos with dishes like Mexican Street Corn, Shrimp Ceviche, Mexican Chopped Salad, Shrimp Tostadas, or Baked Chicken and Bean Taquitos.
Storage and Reheating
Birria tacos are best served hot and fresh, but you can still keep the leftovers for later. Just follow these storage and reheating tips:
- Fridge: Store leftover birria in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5-6 days.
- Freezer: Once cooled, transfer leftover birria to a freezer-safe container and keep it frozen for up to 3 months.
- Reheating: If frozen, thaw as much birria as you’re going to use in your fridge overnight. Heat it in a saucepan over medium-low for 5-10 minutes, or until it’s warmed all the way through. Follow the same steps for dipping, filling, and frying as described in the recipe card.
Note: The tortillas should be stored separately from the birria. There’s no way to keep them from turning completely soggy if they are stored together.
If you have leftover birria, you can use it in lots of ways.
- Birria torta: Instead of serving birria on tacos, try making a torta (or roll) with cheese and other toppings.
- Ramen: Serve your birria in a bowl of consome with ramen noodles, onion, cilantro, shredded cabbage, jalapeños, a boiled egg, and a squeeze of lime.
- Different meat: Try making your birria with goat, lamb, chicken, or even turkey.
- Vegetarian: Instead of beef, combine the consome with shredded oyster mushrooms, young jackfruit, or tofu for a meat-free variation.
Tips for Making Birria tacos
- Shred the meat: It’s important to shred the meat after it’s cooked. This makes it easier to fill the tortillas and provides an even chew in each bite.
- Toast: Don’t skip frying the tortillas at the end. This makes them much crispier and adds a slightly charred flavor.
- Consome: Every great birria taco recipe is served alongside warm broth. If your birria sauce comes out thick, add some extra broth to thin it out.
- Toppings: Make sure to add traditional toppings like onion, cilantro, and lime wedges. This really enhances the flavors. In Mexico, garnishes are extremely important!