Easy Beef Birria Tacos Recipe | How to Make With Slow Cooker

Easy Beef Birria Tacos Recipe | How to Make With Slow Cooker

Whether serving these as a side dish or a full meal, this delicious Birria tacos recipe is sure to satisfy! Thanks to the savory, juicy, tender meat and the contrasting tartness of the Oaxaca cheese and cilantro, birria tacos are heaven in your mouth. And they’ll taste even better when dipped into the rich consomme sauce.

What is Birria de Res?

Mexican birria or birria de res is a delicious stew made with goat meat and originating from the state of Jalisco but is now typically made with beef or mutton. 

Birria (beef stew) is traditionally reserved for special occasions, such as birthdays and graduations. But over the years it’s become such a beloved dish that it’s become a weekly dinner staple in many families. 


What are Birria Tacos?

Birria Tacos are corn tortillas dipped in birria stew, then filled with meat from the Birria stew, along with Oaxaca cheese, onions, and cilantro, and finally pan-fried until deliciously crispy. They are then hand-dipped into the birria stew (consomme). 


Tools You’ll Need:


Ingredients:

The ingredients for this Birria Tacos Recipe are going to be easy to find. Shop a local Mexican market or your larger neighborhood grocery store. Keep an eye out for the small Mexican spice section of the aisle.

Clue: you’ll know you’re in the right place when you see dried peppers in large plastic bags). If you can’t find them at your local grocery store, order them ahead, all at once, on Amazon. 

birria tacos recipe ingredients
Yes I photographed 2 cumin bottles by mistake, lol. Meat not pictured either.

Meat:

Use 3 lbs. of any of the following (best thing is you can feel free to mix and match):

  • Beef: Cheap cuts of beef; chuck roast, shoulder roast, are perfect cuts for Birria. You can go with the more expensive cuts; oxtails or short ribs, which are ideal because they add a ton of flavor & fat.
  • Alternative Meats: Pork loin, lamb, goat shoulder, or other stew meats.
  • *Chef’s Advice: I always use a cheap, well-marbled chuck roast. They’re only $3 to $4 dollars. 

Fats / Oils:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil + 1 tablespoon for frying tacos

Dried Chiles:

  • 3 Ancho chilies (mild & smoky)
  • 3 Guajillo chilies (smoky & sweet)
  • 1 new Mexican chile (mild & sweet)
  • Increase spiciness option: 1 Chile de árbol (really spicy)

Aromatics:

  • 1 yellow or white onion, sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped

Herbs & Spices:

  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder (or 1 cinnamon stick)
  • 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 1½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Salt & pepper

Wet Stuff:

  • 1 cup unsalted chicken broth (stock)
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Garnish Ingredients (Optional):

  • Oaxaca cheese, freshly grated
  • Can’t find Oaxaca cheese? Substitute any good melting cheese (mozzarella or white cheddar)
  • White onion, diced
  • Cilantro, finely chopped
  • Lime cut into slices

Tortillas:

  • 8 high-quality corn tortillas (harder to work with but taste insanely good)
  • 8 small flour tortillas (easier to work with)

How to Make Birria Tacos


Step 1: Prepare the Dried Chiles

Remove the stems and seeds from the dried chiles.

Next, cut the chiles into smaller pieces (the seeds carry an insane amount of spice).

birria tacos recipe instant pot preparing chiles
The seeds should fall out of the chilies easily.
chopping chiles for instant pot birria tacos recipe

*Chef’s Advice: Since we’re pressure-cooking the dried chiles in liquid for a long time, we don’t need to rehydrate them before cooking.

Adjust spiciness: If you want this birria to be spicy, add an extra Chile de árbol. If you want it to be less spicy, remove the Chile de árbol from the recipe.  


Step 2: Toast Dried Chiles in Instant Pot

First, place all the chiles into the pressure cooker (don’t add oil yet).

Next, on the Instant Pot, press the “saute” button until it reads “saute more.”

Saute the chiles for 5 minutes, stirring now and then.

Gently dump the peppers onto a plate. You’ll know they’re ready when you smell the rich aroma.

Place the metal pot back into the Instant Pot.

toasting chiles for instant pot birria tacos recipe

Step 3: Sear the Meat

*Chef’s Advice: You want your instant pot to be as hot as possible in order to create the Maillard reaction (instant tasty crust creation)

*Note: I’m using 3 lbs beef shoulder roast.

When you sear the meat you lock in a bunch of flavors while caramelizing the outside of the meat.

Make sure your instant pot is still on saute and reads “HOT.”

Using a paper towel, pat any excess moisture off your meat.

Season one side of the beef with salt & black pepper.

Pour 1 tbsp of vegetable into the instant pot, making sure to cover the whole bottom of the pot.

Next, place your meat gently into the instant pot. You may get hit with a few pieces of popping oil.

Brown this side of the meat for 5 minutes. Then turn the meat over and brown the other side for 5 more minutes.

Lastly, take the birria meat out of the instant pot and set it aside to rest in a large pot or other container.

This is what your meat should look like:

instant pot seared meat for birria tacos recipe
Maillard reaction in full effect!

Step 4: Saute the Garlic and Onions

Add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil to the still-hot instant pot.

Drop your sliced onions and full cloves of garlic into the pot and sauté for 4 minutes.

Sauteing garlic and onions in the instant pot

Step 5: Add Spices

Add the following spices to the onions and garlic:

  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • 1½ tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander

Saute these spices with the onions and stir for 1 minute.

adding spices to instant pot birria tacos recipe

Step 6: Deglaze the Instant Pot

Next, pour 1 cup of your unsalted chicken or beef stock into the Instant Pot. Using a wooden spoon, scrape all the brown crusted bits off the bottom and sides.

deglazing instant pot birria tacos recipe

Step 7: Pressure Cook Everything

Add 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (optional), 1 tbsp soy sauce (optional), and the 2nd cup of chicken stock. Mix this all together.

Next, add the toasted chiles that you made earlier. Make sure the liquid is fully covering the chiles.

pouring toasted chilies into birria de res in instant pot

Place the browned meat on top of the sauce.

setting meat on top of birria tacos sauce

Put the lid on your Instant Pot, and make sure the vent position is set to “closed.”

Set the cooking time for 42 minutes. This is a good default time for all types of meats (except chicken).

setting instant pot timer for birria tacos recipe

Once the timer goes off, vent the Birria in the Instant Pot and let it sit for 15 minutes.

*Chef’s Advice: This is a great time to prep the garnish ingredients!


Step 8: Shred Your Meat

Using tongs, transfer the cooked beef into a large mixing bowl.

Meat Shredding Method 1:

Using 2 forks, shred the meat. It should come apart easily.

Meat Shredding Method 2:

Using a Cuisinart food processor, pulse the meat 5 or 6 times. Don’t over pulse. If you overmix, you’ll end up with a meat paste. You want chunks of shredded beef.


Step 9: Blend The Birria Sauce

Look for the bay leaves in the Instant Pot mixture and remove them. (This took me a good 3 minutes…)

*Note: Keep the chiles in the Instant Pot (don’t discard any).

Using an immersion hand blender, blend all the ingredients left in the Instant Pot. This includes the chiles. It will take 2 or 3 minutes to blend everything sufficiently.

Next, add the meat back into the birria sauce and stir until the consommé is well mixed.

birria tacos recipe

Step 10: Making the Instant Pot Birria Tacos

Heat up a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil if you’d like.

Using tongs, dip tortillas on top of the Instant Pot birria sauce mixture. Push it down a bit with tongs but be careful not to poke a hole or rip the tortilla.

dipping tortilla into birria de res mixture for instant pot birria tacos

Flip the tortilla over and coat the other side in the mixture. You want your tortilla to be completely covered in sauce.

Using your tongs, place the tortilla in the hot skillet.

*Chef’s Advice: Make sure your pan is hot enough before placing the tortilla. Also, be wary of grease splatter.

Next, put a handful of grated cheese on the tortilla, and let it melt. The cheese will melt very quickly.

adding cheese to instant pot birria tacos recipe

Next, using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop up 1/4 cup of the meat stew and pour it onto the melted cheese.

adding meat to instant pot birria tacos

Using tongs, carefully bend the tortilla in half so that it looks like a taco.

Let this side cook for 1 minute.

Next, carefully flip the taco onto the other side to let that side crisp up.

frying instant pot birria tacos

Remove the taco and place it on a dry paper towel to soak up some leftover oil.

Repeat this process until you have all the quesabirria tacos you could possibly want! Use the extra flavorful broth to dip your tacos into. I suggest putting the stew into a small ramekin.

birria tacos recipe hero image

Instant Pot Birria Tacos Recipe

Your mouth has never known the joy these birria tacos will provide. Your tongue will thank you. And the deep, rich, smoky flavors is something you'll think about for days on end.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Birria de res, Birria Tacos
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 12 tacos
Calories: 270kcal
Author: Kelsey Todd
Cost: 20

Ingredients

Garnish Ingredients:

  • 12 corn or flower tortillas
  • 1 block or bag melting cheese (Oaxaca or mozzarella cheese) grated
  • 1 white onion finely chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro (optional)
  • 1 lime cut into wedges

Instructions

Making the Birria sauce:

  • Prepare the dried chilies by removing the seeds and stems.
    birria tacos recipe instant pot preparing chiles
  • Toast the chilies in your instant pot. First, place all the chiles into the pressure cooker (don’t add oil yet). Next, on the Instant Pot, press the “saute” button until it reads “saute more.” Saute the chiles for 5 minutes, stirring now and then. Gently dump the peppers onto a plate. You’ll know they’re ready when you smell the rich aroma. Place the metal pot back into the Instant Pot.
    birria tacos recipe instant pot 00001
  • Sear the meat in your Instant Pot: Make sure your instant pot is still on saute and reads “HOT.” Using a paper towel, pat any excess moisture off your meat. Season one side of the beef with salt & black pepper. Pour 1 tbsp of vegetable into the instant pot, making sure to cover the whole bottom of the pot. Next, place your meat gently into the instant pot. You may get hit with a few pieces of popping oil. Brown this side of the meat for 5 minutes. Then turn the meat over and brown the other side for 5 more minutes. Lastly, take the birria meat out of the instant pot and set it aside to rest.
    seared meat
  • Saute the garlic and onions: Add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil to the still-hot instant pot. Drop your sliced onions and full cloves of garlic into the pot and sauté for 4 minutes.
    birria tacos recipe instant pot 00005
  • Add the following spices to the onions and garlic: 2 bay leaves, 2 tsp tomato paste, 2 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp dried Mexican oregano, 1½ tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp coriander. Saute these spices with the onions and stir for 1 minute.
    birria tacos recipe instant pot 00002
  • Deglaze your Instant Pot using broth: Next, pour 1 cup of your unsalted chicken or beef stock into the Instant Pot. Using a wooden spoon, scrape all the brown crusted bits off the bottom and sides.
    birria tacos recipe deglaze instant pot
  • Add the rest of the ingredients & meat: Add 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (optional), 1 tbsp soy sauce (optional), and the 2nd cup of chicken stock. Mix this all together. Next, add the toasted chiles that you made earlier. Make sure the liquid is fully covering the chiles. Place the browned meat on top of the sauce.
    birria tacos recipe meat on top
  • Cook the Birria: Put the lid on your Instant Pot, and make sure the vent position is set to “closed.” Set the cooking time for 42 minutes. This is a good default time for all types of meats.
    insant pot
  • Bled the Birria sauce: Look for the bay leaves in the instant pot mixture and remove them. (This took me a good 3 minutes…) *Note: Keep the chiles in the Instant Pot (don’t discard any). Using an immersion hand blender, blend all the ingredients left in the Instant Pot. This includes the chiles. It will take 2 or 3 minutes to blend everything sufficiently. Next, add the meat back into the birria sauce and stir until the consommé is well mixed.
    Copy of Blog Image 2
  • Shred the meat & add back to sauce: Using tongs, transfer the cooked beef into a large mixing bowl. Using 2 forks, shred the meat. It should come apart easily. Alternatively, you can use a Cuisinart Mixer to quickly shred the meat. Put the meat in the Cuisinart and pulse the meat 5 or 6 times. Don’t over pulse. If you overmix, you’ll end up with a meat paste. You want chunks of shredded beef. Add the meat back to the birria sauce.
    birria tacos recipe instant pot mix

Making the Birria Tacos:

  • Heat your skillet: Heat up a large skillet over medium heat and add a tablespoon of vegetable oil.
    Copy of Blog Image 1
  • Drench the tortilla in birria: Using tongs, drop the corn or flour tortilla on top of the Instant Pot birria sauce mixture. Push it down a bit with tongs but be careful not to poke a hole or rip the tortilla. Flip the tortilla over and coat the other side in the mixture. You want your tortilla to be completely covered in sauce. Using your tongs, place the tortilla in the hot skillet.
    vlcsnap 2021 06 04 14h23m49s407
  • Add cheese: Put a handful of grated cheese on the tortilla, and let it melt. The cheese will melt very quickly.
    IMG 0439
  • Add meat: Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop up 1/4 cup of birria mixture and empty it onto the melted cheese.
    adding meat to birria tacos
  • Fry the tortilla: Using tongs, carefully bend the tortilla in half so that it looks like a taco. Let this side cook for 1 minute. Next, carefully flip the taco onto the other side to let that side crisp up for a minute or so. The taco should be crisp enough to hold its shape. Remove the taco and place it on a dry paper towel to soak up some leftover oil. Repeat this process until you have all the birria tacos you could possibly want!
    frying birria taco

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1taco | Calories: 270kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 120mg | Potassium: 570mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1576IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 3mg

Instant Pot Birria Tacos Tips:

Don’t feel intimidated by choice of meat. You can use chicken, pork, lamb, buffalo, unicorn, centaur. Any protein will do!

Healthy birria de res recipe: Make the birria de res (the stew) in advance. Once you refrigerate the birria, the fat will solidify at the top! You can scoop this fat off and have a much healthier dinner.

If you don’t have access to a Mexican/Hispanic/Latino grocery store, you can always order ingredients via Amazon: Mexican Oregano, Ancho Chiles, Guajillo Chiles, Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, and Cumin powder.


Recipe Notes:

Make in Advance: You can make the chile sauce in advance and freeze for months. It’ll last even longer if you use a Food Saver.

How to Store Birria: Store the birria de res for 3 days in the refrigerator or for months in the freezer. When you want to reheat it, simply defrost in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave or stovetop.

How to Reheat Birria: Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop. I suppose you could reheat in your car on a hot day but this wouldn’t be food safe.

Cooking Birria using a classic pressure cooker: If you decide to use a stovetop pressure cooker, follow the same steps as the Instant Pot recipe up until the pressure cooking portion. Once you’re ready to pressure cook, lock the lid and place it on the cooker on high heat. Wait ten minutes and then reduce the stovetop heat to medium and let it cook for 40 minutes. Please wait for the pressure to release on its own (about 15 minutes).

Cooking Birria in a Slow cooker: Follow the same steps as the instant pot recipe, but use a dutch oven (le cruiset) or large, deep saucepan. Once the ingredients are ready, transfer them to a slow cooker. Cook on the low for 8 – 10 hours.

Cooking Birria in a Dutch oven: Using your dutch oven, aka, your beautiful red Le Cruiset, Do all the things and then cook over medium heat for 4 hours.


Did you know?


Origins of Birria

Legends tell of shepherds making this dish on the plains of Jalisco. Other legends tell that this stew was born out of the necessity to rid the countryside of the overpopulation of goats. Either way, let’s thank those goats because some truly G.O.A.T. tacos were born from their collective extermination.


Controversy

The origins of the name Birria are also controversial. Who knew this was such a controversial strew! “Birrioso” is the adjective version of Birria and refers to someone of the lowest class and normally has a derogatory connotation, so people have come up with various, kinder theories about the origin of the name. For example, some believe that “berrear” is the Spanish word for a goat’s bleating. Berrear eventually turned into Birria.


Pointless Trivia

My Hispanic Aunt has officially approved my recipe. I FaceTimed her while I was making it, and she approved each step. Her Spanish mom also chimed in now and then with additional tips.

Check out my other recipes:

Bread pudding recipe without raisins



1 thought on “Easy Beef Birria Tacos Recipe | How to Make With Slow Cooker”

  • 5 stars
    This is my first attempt at anything like this at home. Took a couple of rounds to get the hang of frying the tacos but oh my god they are incredible. Gave me a lot of confidence to cook with dried chilies in other dishes. Will deffo make again!

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