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

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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.

Birria Tacos Recipe

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). 

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.

jalisco mexico origins of birria de res 1
Beautiful Jalisco

Stewed in Mystery?

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.

7 Tips for Perfect Birria Tacos:

1. Don’t Feel Intimidated by the Choice of Meat

You can use chicken, pork, lamb, buffalo, unicorn, centaur. Any protein will do!

2. Make in Advance

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

3. Store your Birria for Months

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

4. Easily 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.

birria tacos recipe instant pot

5. Cook Birria Using a Classic Pressure Cooker

If you’re wondering how to cook birria using a classic pressure cooker, follow the same steps as the Instant Pot recipe until the pressure cooking portion.

  1. Lock the lid of your pressure cooker and place it on high heat.
  2. Wait ten minutes and then reduce the stovetop heat to medium and let it cook for 40 minutes.
  3. Please wait for the pressure to release on its own for about 15 minutes.

6. Cook Birria in a Slow Cooker

Follow the same steps as the instant pot recipe, but use a dutch oven (Le Creuset) or a large, deep saucepan.

  1. Once the ingredients are ready, transfer them to a slow cooker.
  2. Cook on the low for 8 – 10 hours.

7. How to Cook Birria in a Dutch oven:

Using your dutch oven, aka, your beautiful red Le Creuset, do ALL THE THINGS and then cook over medium heat for 4 hours.


Birria Tacos Recipe:

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.

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

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.

Meat:

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.

Use 3 lbs. of any of the following:

  • Beef
  • Pork loin
  • lamb
  • goat shoulder
  • other stew meats.

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)
dried chilies for birria tacos recipe in instant pot
These are the chiles you’re looking for. (say as Obi Wan)

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 Ingredients:

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

Garnish Ingredients (Optional):

  • Oaxaca cheese (Substitute any good melting cheese like mozzarella or white cheddar)
  • 1 chopped white onion
  • Cilantro
  • Lime

Tortillas:

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

Recommended Equipment:

Step 1: Prepare the Dried Chiles

  1. Remove the stems and seeds from the dried chiles.
  2. Next, cut the chiles into smaller pieces. The seeds carry an insane amount of spice and should fall out of the chilies easily.
birria tacos recipe instant pot preparing chiles
chopping chiles for instant pot birria tacos recipe

Note: 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

  1. First, place all the chiles into the pressure cooker (don’t add oil yet).
  2. Next, on the Instant Pot, press the “saute” button until it reads “saute more.”
  3. Saute the chiles for 5 minutes, stirring now and then.
  4. Gently dump the peppers onto a plate. You’ll know they’re ready when you smell the rich aroma.
  5. Place the metal pot back into the Instant Pot.
toasting chiles for instant pot birria tacos recipe

Step 3: Sear the Meat

When you sear the meat, you lock in many flavors while caramelizing the outside of the meat. This is known as the Maillard reaction.

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

  1. Make sure your instant pot is still on saute and reads “HOT.”
  2. Using a paper towel, pat any excess moisture off your meat.
  3. Season one side of the beef with salt & black pepper.
  4. Pour 1 tbsp of vegetable into the instant pot, making sure to cover the whole bottom of the pot.
  5. Next, place your meat gently into the instant pot. You may get hit with a few pieces of popping oil.
  6. Brown this side of the meat for 5 minutes. Then turn the meat over and brown the other side for 5 more minutes.
  7. 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

Step 4: Saute the Garlic and Onions

  1. Add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil to the still-hot instant pot.
  2. 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

  1. Next, pour 1 cup of your unsalted chicken or beef stock into the Instant Pot.
  2. 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

  1. Add these wet ingredients and mix together:
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (optional)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (optional)
  • 1 cup of chicken stock.
  1. 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
  1. Place the browned meat on top of the sauce.
setting meat on top of birria tacos sauce
  1. Put the lid on your Instant Pot, and make sure the vent position is set to “closed.”
  2. 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
  1. Once the timer goes off, vent the Birria in the Instant Pot and let it sit for 15 minutes.

Note: This is a great time to prep the garnish ingredients!

Step 8: Shred Your Meat

Meat Shredding Method 1:

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

  1. Look for the bay leaves in the Instant Pot mixture and remove them. Keep the chiles in the Instant Pot.
  2. Using an immersion hand blender, blend all the ingredients left in the Instant Pot, including the chiles. It will take 2 or 3 minutes to blend everything sufficiently.
  3. 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

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil if you’d like.
  2. Using tongs, dip tortillas on top of the Instant Pot birria sauce mixture.
  3. 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
  1. Flip the tortilla over and coat the other side in the mixture. You want your tortilla to be completely covered in sauce.
  2. Using your tongs, place the tortilla in the hot skillet.
  3. Note: Make sure your pan is hot enough before placing the tortilla. Also, be wary of grease splatter.
  4. 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
  1. 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
  1. Using tongs, carefully bend the tortilla in half so that it looks like a taco.
  2. Let this side cook for 1 minute.
  3. Next, carefully flip the taco onto the other side to let that side crisp up.
frying instant pot birria tacos
  1. 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 want! Then, use the extra flavorful broth to dip your tacos into. I suggest putting the stew into a small ramekin.

Recipe Card

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 4 votes
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
  • 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.
    birria tacos recipe
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
    birria tacos recipe
  • 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

Making the Birria Tacos:

  • Heat your skillet: Heat up a large skillet over medium heat and add a tablespoon of vegetable oil.
    frying pan
  • 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.
    birria tacos recipe
  • Add cheese: Put a handful of grated cheese on the tortilla, and let it melt. The cheese will melt very quickly.
    birria tacos recipe
  • Add meat: Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop up 1/4 cup of birria mixture and empty it onto the melted cheese.
    birria tacos recipe
  • 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!
    birria tacos recipe

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
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How Do I Make Healthier Birria Tacos?

Here’s a 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.

instant pot birria tacos recipe pinterest

Thanks for stopping by! I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Is this your new favorite comfort food? Did you try dipping the birria tacos into the rich consomme sauce? Do you have any birria taco recipe tips?

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4 thoughts on “Easy Beef Birria Tacos Recipe | How to Make With Slow Cooker”

  1. 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!

    Reply
  2. 5 stars
    So my kitchen is a mess but my family is freaking out and asking when I’ll make these again. 100% worth the cleanup time.

    Reply

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