Beef Birria Recipe (Birria de Res)

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
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Beef Birria is the king of flavorful, fall-apart tender stewed meat. This rich and flavorful Birria can be served as a stew in the red chile broth (aka Birria consommé) served with radishes, cilantro, diced onion and a squeeze of lime. Or shred the Birria meat and enjoy it served in cheesy Birria tacos or quesadillas!

Why You’ll Love This Beef Birria Recipe

Every time I make this flavorful Mexican beef, everyone at the table is always going back for seconds! Here’s why I know you will love it too:

  • Easy to Make: This birria recipe is so good you’ll think you’re at your favorite Mexican restaurant, but thankfully the process is simple. Just blend the Birria sauce, add the meat and cook until tender!
  • Packed with Flavor: Every bite of this saucy Mexican beef is fall-apart tender and bursting with rich flavor from dried chiles and Mexican spices.
  • So Many Ways to Enjoy: Make one big batch and serve the leftovers in different ways throughout the week. You can serve it as a stew with all the fresh toppings, in tacos, quesadillas or even taquitos!

What Is Birria de Res?

Birria de Res, which means “beef stew” in Spanish, is a traditional stewed meat dish from state of Jalisco in Mexico. Beef is simmered in a red chile and tomato-based sauce with lots of Mexican spices until it is fall-apart-tender. The meat is served in a bowl of the consommé and enjoyed as a stew, but is more typically used to make tacos de birria in America.

Beef Birria recipe ingredients arranged in bowls. From top to bottom: Padilla Chile, Guajillo Chile, bay leaves, apple cider vinegar, garlic, Mexican oregano, beef chuck, pepper, salt, cinnamon, allspice, dried thyme, cloves, beef broth, Roma tomatoes and onion.

What You Will Need

Here is a quick overview of the ingredients you’ll need to make birria at home. Scroll down to the recipe card for exact amounts.

  • Boneless Beef Chuck Roast: Beef shank and brisket are also good alternatives.
  • Dried Chiles: You will need dried pasilla chiles and dried guajillo chiles. Depending on where you live, you may find them in the Latin section of the grocery store. (Check the chef’s tips section below for more notes on different chiles you can try!)
  • Roma Tomatoes: You want a meatier tomato, so I always use Roma tomatoes. If you are using other tomatoes, remove most of the seeds and pulp.
  • Onion: White is traditionally used, but yellow will also work fine.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic is a must for the right flavor!
  • Seasonings: Mexican oregano, dried thyme, ground cinnamon (or a cinnamon stick), cloves, allspice, bay leaves, salt and pepper. You can use regular oregano in a pinch, but Mexican Oregano will give you the best authentic taste.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: You can also use white vinegar but reduce the amount by 1/2.
  • Beef Broth: I prefer low-sodium broth, but use your favorite.
  • Optional Toppings: If serving as a stew, I recommend having sliced radishes, fresh cilantro, diced white onions and lime wedges for serving.

What Cut of Meat Should I Use?

Boneless beef chuck roast, beef shank, or brisket are the best cuts for Birria meat. They hold up well during long hours of cooking and have sufficient fat to make the dish tasty, but not greasy.

A ladle spooning tender beef Birria in Birria consommé into a bowl.

How to Make Birria

Are you ready to make the best beef birria ever? Here’s a quick step by step overview of how I make tender Birria meat at home. Scroll to the recipe card at bottom of the post for full detailed instructions.

  • Toast the chiles. Cut the stems off the chiles and remove all the seeds. Toast them, in a pan or griddle over low heat, until lightly blackened on all sides. Add them to a blender.
  • Char the vegetables. Place the onions and tomatoes in the same pan. Raise the heat to medium and char them on all sides. Add them to the blender.
  • Blend the Birria sauce. Add half the onion, all the tomatoes, garlic, oregano, thyme, salt, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, black pepper, vinegar, and broth to the blender. Process until smooth, then strain through a large mesh sieve and discard the pulp.
  • Sear and simmer. Optional: Sear the meat over medium-high heat on all sides in a large heavy bottomed pot, like a dutch oven. Add the Birria sauce and bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to low and cook for 3 hours, until the meat is fall apart tender.
  • Serve and enjoy. Ladle consomé into bowls and add the meat (shredded or whole). Top with radishes, onion, and cilantro and serve with a lime wedge!

Chef’s Tips for the Best Birria Meat

  • Use Different Chiles: If you prefer a smokier flavor, swap the dried pasilla chiles for dried ancho chiles. You can also add a couple of dried árbol chiles to add some heat!
  • Keep it low and slow. Raising the heat will only result in dry, tough birria. I know it’s hard, but be patient and let it cook low and slow.
  • Scrape the bottom of the pot. Scrape the bottom of the pot every 30 minutes to avoid anything from sticking and burning.
  • Adjust the stew thickness. The longer you let the birria simmer, the more the consomé will thicken. For a stew-like dish, reduce it for 20 to 30 minutes longer. To thin the sauce if needed, add a little more beef broth.
  • Want to use chicken? Using chicken thighs and breasts instead of beef makes for a yummy variation. I have also used a pork roast and it was also very tasty!
  • Want to use your crockpot instead? Here is my favorite Crockpot Birria recipe! Or follow this recipe, add your seared beef and Birria sauce to the crockpot. Set it to LOW and let it cook for 6 to 8 hours, until the meat is tender.
A bowl of tender Beef Birria meat served in the Birra sauce with diced onions, cilantro and sliced radishes on top.

How to Serve Beef Birria

Birria de res can be served as a stew with bolillos or tortillas, both of which are dunked into the flavorful Birria consommé. I like to serve it with a side of frijoles charros or frijoles de la olla (broth-y Mexican beans), and this authentic Mexican rice.

You can also serve birria meat in tacos, taquitos and quesadillas. I like to make quesabirria tacos, just stuff the shredded beef and melty cheese inside corn tortillas and pan fry until crispy. Served with warm consommé on the side for dipping – it’s seriously so good!

How to Store Leftover Birria Meat

I always make an extra large batch to freeze the leftovers for a super easy dinner another time! Make sure to fully cool the meat before storing.

  • Fridge: Transfer meat and sauce to an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • Freezer: Freeze in a freezer-friendly container for up to 3 months. For best results, thaw in the fridge for 24 hours before reheating.
  • Reheat: Place single servings in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for up to 3 minutes, until warmed through. You can also heat it in a pot over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.
A bowl of tender beef birria served in the rich Birria consommé with a spoon ready to take a bite.
4.7 from 7 votes
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Yield: 12 servings

Best Beef Birria Recipe

This rich and flavorful beef Birria recipe is simmered until fall-apart-tender in a sauce made with Mexican chiles and spices. Served in a richly spiced broth with all the toppings, or enjoyed in everything from tacos to quesadillas, it will quickly become your new favorite Mexican dinner!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Total Time1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 dried pasilla chiles, or dried ancho chiles for a smokier flavor
  • 5 dried guajillo chiles
  • 3 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 white onion, diced, divided
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled (approximately 12 garlic cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon, or a piece of cinnamon stick
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 pounds boneless beef chuck, beef shank or brisket, cut into 3-inch chunks

Optional Toppings

  • Radishes, sliced
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Lime wedges
  • Onions, diced

Instructions 

  • Cut the tops off the chilis and remove the seeds. Toast the dried chiles in a cast iron skillet until lightly blackened on all sides. Remove from the heat and place in the blender. 
  • Add the tomatoes and onions to the pan and toast until tomato and onion are blackened on all sides. Remove from the heat and add half of the onion and all of the tomato to the blender. Set aside the remaining onion.
  • Add the garlic cloves, Mexican oregano, thyme, salt, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, pepper, apple cider vinegar and beef broth to the blender. Place the lid on the blender and blend until smooth. Strain the sauce through a large fine mesh sieve, pressing it with a spatula as needed. Throw away any remaining pulp. Set sauce aside.
  • Generously season the roast chunks with salt and pepper on all sides. Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed pot, like a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add the meat to the pot in batches and quickly sear on all sides. You are not cooking the meat through, just giving it a good sear.
  • Once all meat is seared, add it all into the pot with the sauce, bay leaves and remaining diced onion. Bring to a simmer and cook over a low simmer for 3 hours, until the meat is tender and easily pulls apart with two forks. (If necessary, add some water or beef broth to thin down the sauce if it gets too thick as it cooks.)
  • Spoon large bowls of the broth and chunks of meat into bowls. Top with sliced radishes, diced onion, and cilantro if desired. Serve with a lime wedge.

Video

Notes

Storage: Refrigerate any cooled leftovers with their cooking juices in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Reheat: Pop it into the microwave for up to 3 minutes or until warm. Make sure the lid is slightly open to avoid splattering. You can also heat it in a pot over medium heat for 5-7 minutes.
Low and Slow: Raising the heat will only result in dry, tough Birria. I know it’s hard, but be patient and let it cook low and slow.
Crockpot: Here is my favorite Crockpot Birria recipe! Or follow this recipe, add your seared beef and Birria sauce to the crockpot. Set it to LOW and let it cook for 6 to 8 hours, until the meat is fork tender.
Make it Spicy: You can also add 3 to 4 dried árbol chiles to add some heat!

Nutrition

Serving: 1 serving, Calories: 238kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 78mg, Sodium: 511mg, Potassium: 469mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 151IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 33mg, Iron: 3mg

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Jessica
For the past 15 years, Jorge & Jessica have loved getting to share their families' favorite recipes with all of you. They live in Florida with their 3 kids.