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Birria Tacos (Quesabirria Tacos)

Birria tacos, also know as quesabirria tacos are a popular Mexican street food. Those dipped tacos are so simple, yet delicious. Filled with shredded beef birria meat and melty cheese, garnished with cilantro and onion and served with a squeeze of lime and chile de arbol salsa.

A truly Mexican flavourful experience that you can enjoy at home with this super easy recipe.

Quesabirria tacos served with cilantro and onion.

What are birria tacos

Birria tacos (know in spanish as tacos de birria) are made and sold in establishments that also sells birria stew. Birria is a slow-cook Mexican stew very popular all over the country. Is made with various types of meat, very often using beef.

Related recipe: Mexican Authentic Birria.

So, think of a taco made with flavored spiced shredded beef that has been cooked until extremely tender. The tortilla is slightly dip into the broth and fat that meat released during cooking, then heated up until crispy and somehow charred.

Typically, birria tacos are garnished only with fresh chopped onions and cilantro, then served alongside with the birria consommé on the side; limes wedges and a spicy salsa complement the dish.

Birria tacos (quesabirria tacos) served with consomé.

Quesabirria tacos, on the other hand, refers to the hybrid made between a normal birria taco and a quesadilla. Is made by adding shredded cheese to a taco and cooking it until the cheese melts inside and the tortilla becomes slightly crispy.

The homemade version

For this recipe we’re going to make a quick, easy recipe for birria. Of course, you’re free to follow also our authentic birria recipe, but if you want to speed up things, we recommend using this easy recipe and enjoy your dipped tacos in just about 1 hour of prep.

What type of meat to use

Chuck beef is what is mostly recommended for birria, but because you’ll need some oil to make the tacos, I strongly suggest using some fatty cut such as short ribs as the bones adds also lots of flavour to the broth.

Various beef cuts in a bowl.

For the adobo sauce

For the adobo sauce I recommend following our easy homemade adobo recipe. But, also, you can buy jarred adobo sauce, there are some Mexican brands available through Amazon, “Doña María” or “La Costeña” are the most popular. Look for the label that says “adobo”. One 8 oz jar would be enough for this recipe.

What type of tortillas to use

Corn tortillas are best to make birria tacos with consommé, as those are sturdy than flour tortillas and won’t become soggy at all.
Choose your favorite brand in the market (Amazon is a good place to find them), or, if you feeling like, make your own corn tortillas as those can handle better the dipping and filling and won’t fall apart so easily. You can even make blue corn tortillas if you want to bring this recipe to the next level!

Blue corn tortillas banner.

Cook Birria In An Instant Pot

  • Making birria in the instant pot is a nice shortcut for this amazing stew. It saves lots of time and in less than one hour you’ll have an aromatic and flavored birria just as good as the one made in the oven.
  • You are going to add water just to cover about 1 inch above the meat, and remember that if the adobo sauce has some salt already, do not add too much to the pot or you’ll end with a salty stew.
  • Cook birria at high pressure for 50 minutes (read notes), then natural release the steam while you finish preparing the other ingredients for birria tacos.
A collage of two photos of making birria in an instant pot.
Using the slow cooker

Place meat in the pot, pour the adobo sauce and toss to coat well. Pour water enough to cover slightly the meat and add a pinch of salt. Cook at low for 8 hours or at high for 6 hours.

Make the tacos

While the instant pot is releasing the steam, chop the onions and cilantro and place in a bowl. Slice a few limes too, and if you want chile de árbol salsa you can also make it now.

Various toppings for birria tacos displayed on a cutting board.

Remove the meat from the pot and place it on a cutting board. Use a large and shape knife and chop the meat. Since it will be very tender, it won’t take you more than a few minutes to do this step.

Chopping birria meat in a cutting board.

You can also shredded it with two forks, but chopping it is more authentic and easy to do. Keep the meat covered with cling film to avoid from drying out. And also keep the birria broth in a warm place as you’ll need it later.

Skim the oil off the top of the broth and set aside. Do not discard! Now, heat a cast iron skilled or a non-sticking pan until smoky. Take one tortilla and quickly dip it into the grease you saved before, make sure it covers well the two sides, this gives the tacos their classic red color.

Dipping a tortilla in the oil.

Place 2-3 tortillas (previously dipped in the oil) on the skillet and heat for about 30s flipping them two or three times. Put a generous amount of cheese and shredded beef in the middle of each tortilla then fold the dipped tacos into an half-moon.

Cooking the tacos in a comal.

Keep cooking until tortillas are lightly crispy and charred and the cheese has melted nicely.

SERVE: Place birria tacos on a serving platter, carefully open them a little and add some onions and cilantro in the middle.

Serve immediately with lime wedges, a small bowl of the birria broth and chile de arbol salsa on the side. Dip the quesabirria tacos in the consommé before every bite and enjoy!

Dipping a birria taco in the broth.

Useful recipe notes

  • I made the birria using 2 large cuts of meat, you can reduce the cooking time by 10 minutes if you cut the meat into smaller chunks.
  • If you want more broth for serving later, add a little bit more water to the pot.
  • You’ll need some grease to heat up tortillas, otherwise they will stick or break. So, make sure you’re not using only low-fat beef cuts.
  • Use a cheese that melts well, such as Oaxaca cheese, Monterey Jack, Mexican blend, Mozzarella (not the one that come in a bag with whey, but the one that’s used for pizza, also know as mozzarella filante). In the US you can also find “quesadilla cheese”, that one is perfect to make Quesabirria tacos with consommé.

What to drink

Birria tacos recipe.

Birria Tacos

Birria tacos, also know as quesabirria tacos are a popular Mexican street food. Those tacos are so simple, yet delicious.
PREP 20 minutes
COOK 50 minutes
TOTAL 1 hour
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 25 tacos
Author: Maricruz

Ingredients 

  • 2 ½ lb chuck beef (read notes)
  • 2 cups Mexican adobo sauce (or 1 -8oz jar of store-bought)
  • 3 cups quesadilla cheese (shredded)
  • salt (as needed)
  • 25 corn tortillas

For serving

Instructions

Make the quick birria

  • Place the meat into your instant pot. Pour over the adobo sauce and mix to coat very well the meat.
  • Add enough water to slightly cover the meat for about one inch. Add salt to taste.
  • Set your instant pot to high pressure and cook for 50 minutes.
  • Natural release the steam while you finish preparing the toppings and salsa.

Using the crockpot

  • Place the meat in the pot, pour the adobo sauce and mix well. Pour water enough to cover slightly the meat and add salt.
  • Cook at low for 8 hours or at high for 6 hours.

Make the birria tacos

  • Remove the meat from the pot, place it on a cutting board and chop it nicely.
  • Skim the grease off the top from birria and set aside.
  • Heat a cast iron skilled or a non-sticking pan until smoky. Take one tortilla and quickly dip it into the grease you skimmed.
  • Place 2-3 tortillas (previously dipped in birria grease) on the skillet and heat for about 30s flipping them two or three times.
  • Put a generous amount of cheese and shredded beef in the middle of each tortilla then fold the tortilla into an half-moon.
  • Keep cooking, until tortillas are lightly crispy and charred on both sides.

Serve

  • Place tacos on a serving platter, carefully open them a little and add some onions and cilantro in the middle.
  • Serve immediately with lime wedges, a small bowl of the birria broth and chile de arbol salsa on the side.

NOTES

Chuck beef is what is mostly recommended for birria, but because you’ll need some oil to make the tacos, I strongly suggest using some fatty cut such as short ribs as the bones adds also lots of flavour to the broth.
Nutrition
Calories: 322kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 4240mg | Potassium: 267mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 108IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 259mg | Iron: 2mg
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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    LOVED the easy recipe. I always wanted to make birria tacos but the sauce was intimidating, so since you suggested, I used an store-bought adobo sauce and it was perfect! Yes, those tacos still involves a lot of work but the sauce shortcut saves lots of time. I want to try again with shredded beef leftovers, I think that’s also a nice way for speeding up this recipe.