Birria is a rich and flavorful stew loaded with hearty, fall-apart tender beef that’s slowly braised in a deeply fragrant broth. The broth is made from authentic Mexican ingredients like dried chiles, spices, herbs, and more. Enjoy this signature, authentic Mexican dish as a stew or make the popular, Birria Tacos! This recipe feeds a crowd and the serving possibilities are truly endless with this sensational dish!

mexican beef birria in clay dish with dried chiles on the side

Listen, I love Mexican cuisine just like the next person. A few years ago when the world stopped during the pandemonium (🤣) in 2020, there were many food trends. One of them was this succulent meat stew that had a visible red hue, and folks used it for making these unique tacos. Birria was everywhere, and really, still is. I knew that I had to experience the magic behind this dish.

What Is Birria?

Birria is a meat stew dish gaining origin from Jalisco, Mexico. It is traditionally made using goat meat or lamb but is also made from beef, too, since it is more easily accessible. Birria is an authentic dish commonly served at celebrations as a meat stew only. This flavorful stew is typically served in a bowl with broth (aka consomé) and topped with onion and cilantro, so comforting and cozy.

Furthermore, Birria de Res translates to Mexican beef stew- which is exactly what we’re making here. And that is beef slowly braised in an authentic Mexican chile-infused broth with aromatic spices and more. The result is meltingly tender beef with a deliciously rich and flavorful red chile broth. It’s unlike any other beef stew. Beef birria can be served in several ways; served as a stew, birria tacos, and quesadillas. I’ve even seen (and tried!) birria ramen as well!

ingredients for birria laid out on beige surface

Ingredients Needed For Making Birria de Res:

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)

  • Beef: This recipe calls for both beef chuck roast and beef bone-in short ribs. A lot of beef birria recipes use all chuck roast, but I find a combination of chuck roast with short ribs to contribute more flavor here. However, you can surely use all beef chuck roast for this recipe if you’d like.
  • Dried chile peppers: We’ll be using authentic Mexican chiles like árbol, ancho, pasilla, and guajillo chiles. The combination of peppers adds great depth, and a little heat, and gives the birria that signature deep reddish color. You can typically find these chiles at your local Latin market and even online.
  • Aromatics & spices: Big, fragrant flavors from onion, Mexican cinnamon + Mexican oregano, black peppercorns, garlic powder, ground cumin, marjoram, ground cloves, coriander, and bay leaves.
  • Oil: For searing the beef before assembling the birria braise.
  • Red wine vinegar: Just a bit to help balance the different flavors.
  • Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce: Love that chipotle flavorrr!
  • Fire-roasted tomatoes: Adds a hint of smokiness and tomato essence.
  • Beef stock or broth: More added beef flavor in the braising liquid.

How To Make This Birria Recipe:

(Note: please see the recipe card directly below for the complete written instructions.)

>> This recipe comes together in an easy series of steps, let’s take a look:

Prep the chiles & boil aromatics. Take all of the Mexican chiles and deseed them by cutting off their stems and then removing as much of the inner seeds as you can, discarding the stems and seeds.

In a large pot; add the dried peppers, onion, cinnamon stick, black peppercorns, and garlic cloves together. Then fill the same pot with enough water to cover everything. Bring the peppers/aromatics to a boil over medium-high heat for about 30 minutes. The onion should be tender and the peppers should be soft and pliable. Afterward, remove 1 cup of the boiling liquid and set aside.

Blend & develop the red chile broth. Use a slotted utensil to transfer the onions, peppers, and garlic into the body of a high-powered blender. Then discard the remaining boiling water and bits left in the pot. Add the chipotle peppers, fire-roasted tomatoes, the reserved 1 cup of boiling liquid, and 3 cups of beef stock/broth into the blender. Blend the mixture until completely combined and silky-smooth. Then set aside while you brown the beef.

Preheat Oven & Brown The Beef

Season & rest the beef. On a large plate or medium-rimmed baking sheet, generously season the beef with salt on all sides. Set the beef aside to rest and allow it to come up to room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).

Brown the beef. In a large, oven-safe, heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the oil. When hot, gently swirl the pot around to evenly coat the bottom. Add a few pieces of beef into the pot, working in batches, careful not to overcrowd. Sear the beef on all sides until a deep brown crust appears, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer the browned beef onto a clean vessel and repeat the process until all the beef is browned.

We’ll give ’em a good sear before braising because the process of browning the beef brings out huge flavorrr >> aka The Maillard Reaction! 🤌🏾 😮‍💨

red Chile broth being poured over browned beef in pot

Assemble The Birria Braise

Bring everything together. Add all of the browned beef with residual juices back into the pot along with the reserved red chile liquid in the blender. Then add in the remaining 1 ½ cups of beef stock/broth, vinegar, oregano, garlic powder, ground cumin, marjoram, ground cloves, coriander seeds, and bay leaves. Carefully stir to combine.

Braise the birria. Cover the pot with a lid and transfer the pot into the oven. Allow the beef to braise for 3 – 3 ½ hours- until the beef is meltingly tender and falling apart. We’re at the end stage, y’all!

Finish & Serve Birria 🙌🏾

Shred the beef & combine. After braising, use a slotted utensil to transfer the braised meat to a rimmed baking sheet and shred the beef with two forks. Discard any fatty pieces and bones (if you used short ribs). Then add the shredded beef back into the braising liquid and stir well to combine with the consomé (broth)- discard the bay leaves.

Serve birria. You can enjoy this birria in several ways! Our favorite way to devour this dish is to make iconic Birria Tacos, yummm. Alternatively, feel free to serve this dish as a stew with fresh chopped cilantro, chopped white onion, and lime wedges for squeezing, if desired. This birria is damn good!

Can I Make Birria In The Instant Pot?

Yes! Follow the same instructions in the recipe card below to season the beef, prep/boil the aromatics on the stovetop, and blend the red chile broth. Brown the beef in your pressure cooker. Then continue to follow the instructions by adding all ingredients into the pressure cooker vessel.

Cover the IP with lid to seal, and set it to the manual high-pressure function- set the time for 50 minutes. After the cooking cycle is complete, let pressure release naturally in the “vent” position or according to the manufacturer’s instructions, until all steam has ceased. Continue to follow instructions for shredding the beef and finishing.

Can I Make Birria In The Slow Cooker?

Also yes! Follow the same instructions in the recipe card below to season the beef, prep/boil the aromatics on the stovetop, and blend the red chile broth. Next, brown the beef on the stovetop. Then continue to follow the instructions by adding all ingredients into the slow cooker vessel.

Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 4-5 hours- until the beef is cooked through and fall-apart tender. Continue to follow instructions for shredding the beef and finishing.

closeup of beef birria in clay bowl with gold spoon

Recipe Tips + Tricks & Extra Notes:

  • A note on beef: I like the combination of using beef chuck roast and beef short ribs for texture and flavor. However, you can surely use all beef chuck roast (about 4 lbs) for this recipe if you’d like.
  • Is Birria spicy?: The spice level here is medium, not mild and not super spicy.
  • Blending: I recommend using a high-powered blender to blend the aromatics because we want a super smooth consistency. I have this blender and it is super powerful! The red chile sauce needs to be silky smooth mmkay.
  • Make ahead birria: I highly recommend making your birria ahead of time especially if you plan to use it for birria tacos! The Birria de Res can be made a day in advance (deepening those flavors!) since it requires hours of braising. The next day, make your birria tacos. This makes the overall process easier rather than getting it all done in one day, yay!
  • Storing beef birria: Keep the birria stored inside an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Alternatively, freeze it for 2-3 months.
  • Reheating: Let the birria thaw overnight in the fridge. I recommend reheating in a pot on the stovetop over low heat until warmed through or you can microwave it if you like!
  • More ways to use up your birria: Use this recipe to make nachos, omelettes, burritos, ramen, frittatas, and any other delicious ways you can think of!
Birria Tacos on beige platter with cup of broth

This Birria recipe is the gift that keeps on giving after you make a batch! You can enjoy this one in so many ways, mmm. Be sure to tag @butterbeready in your BBR recipe creations, I sure love to see it when you do. Until next time! 🤟🏾

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mexican beef birria in clay dish with dried chiles on the side

Mexican Birria (Tender Braised Beef In Red Chile Broth)

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  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Main Dishes
  • Method: Stovetop, Braise
  • Cuisine: Mexican-Inspired
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Description

Birria is a rich and flavorful stew loaded with hearty, fall-apart tender beef that’s slowly braised in a deeply fragrant broth. The broth is made from authentic Mexican ingredients like dried chiles, spices, herbs, and more. Enjoy this signature, authentic Mexican dish as a stew or make the popular, Birria Tacos! This recipe feeds a crowd and the serving possibilities are truly endless with this sensational dish!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 lbs boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 3” chunks
  • 2 lbs bone-in beef short ribs, English cut
  • Kosher salt, to season
  • 3 dried Guajillo chiles, stems cut & deseeded
  • 3 dried Ancho chiles , stems cut & deseeded
  • 2 dried Pasilla chiles, stems cut & deseeded
  • 4 dried Árbol chiles, stems cut & deseeded
  • 1 large white onion, cut in half
  • 1 Mexican cinnamon stick (canela)
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 4 ½ cups beef stock or broth, divided
  • 23 tablespoons olive oil, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano (or regular oregano)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 4 bay leaves

For serving:

  • Birria Tacos (<< click for full recipe, yay!)
  • Fresh chopped cilantro, chopped white onion & lime wedges for squeezing

Instructions

  1. Season & rest the beef. On a large plate or medium-rimmed baking sheet, generously season the beef with salt on all sides. Set the beef aside to rest and allow it to come up to room temperature for at least 30 minutes. While the beef is resting, let’s boil the peppers + aromatics.
  2. Prep the chiles & boil aromatics. Take all of the Mexican chiles and deseed them by cutting off their stems and then removing as much of the inner seeds as you can, discarding the stems and seeds.
  3. In a large dutch oven/pot; add the dried peppers, onion, cinnamon stick, black peppercorns, and garlic cloves together. Then fill the same pot with enough water to cover everything. Bring the peppers/aromatics to a boil over medium-high heat for about 30 minutes. The onion should be tender and the peppers should be soft and pliable. Afterward, remove 1 cup of the boiling liquid and set aside.
  4. Blend & develop the red chile broth. Use a slotted utensil to transfer the onions, peppers, and garlic into the body of a high-powered blender. Then discard the remaining boiling water and bits left in the pot. Add the chipotle peppers, fire-roasted tomatoes, the reserved 1 cup of boiling liquid, and 3 cups of beef stock/broth into the blender. Blend the mixture very well until completely combined and silky-smooth. Then set aside while you brown the beef.
  5. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).
  6. Brown the beef. In a large, oven-safe, heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven (at least 5 quarts in capacity) over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil. When hot, gently swirl the pot around to evenly coat the bottom. Add a few pieces of beef into the pot, working in batches, careful not to overcrowd. Sear the beef on all sides until a deep brown crust appears, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer the browned beef onto a clean vessel and repeat the process until all the beef is browned- adding the additional 1 tablespoon of oil if your pot looks dry in between browning the beef.
  7. Assemble the birria braise. Add all of the browned beef with residual juices back into the pot along with the reserved red chile liquid in the blender. Then add in the remaining 1 ½ cups of beef stock/broth, vinegar, oregano, garlic powder, ground cumin, marjoram, ground cloves, coriander seeds, and bay leaves. Carefully stir to combine.
  8. Braise the birria. Cover the pot with a lid and transfer the pot into the oven. Allow the beef to braise for 3 – 3 ½ hours- until the beef is meltingly tender and falling apart.
  9. Shred the beef & combine. After braising, use a slotted utensil to transfer the braised meat to a rimmed baking sheet and shred the beef with two forks. Discard any fatty pieces and bones (if you used short ribs). Then add the shredded beef back into the braising liquid and stir well to combine- discard the bay leaves.
  10. Serve birria. You can enjoy this birria in several ways! Our favorite way to devour this dish is to make iconic Birria Tacos, yummm. Alternatively, feel free to serve this dish as a stew with fresh chopped cilantro, chopped white onion, and lime wedges for squeezing, if desired. Quesadillas, ramen, or bowl-style with rice, lettuce, beans, and/or other toppings are other creative options, too. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. A note on beef: I like the combination of using beef chuck roast and beef short ribs for texture and flavor. However, you can surely use all beef chuck roast (about 4 lbs) for this recipe if you’d like.
  2. Please read blog post in its entirety for more tips + tricks.