Mexican Birria Recipe

Indulge in the rich flavors of Mexico with this authentic birria recipe originating from the heart of Jalisco. Whether you’re a culinary enthusiast or simply craving a taste of tradition, this savory meat stew promises to tantalize your taste buds. From its aromatic spices to tender meat, birria offers a delightful culinary adventure. Follow along as we guide you through crafting this delectable dish, perfect for enjoying as a comforting bowl of soup or wrapped up in warm tortillas as birria tacos.


  • 5 ancho peppers (stems and seeds removed)
  • 5 guajillo peppers (stems and seeds removed)
  • 2-3 chiles de arbol (optional, for added heat)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large white onion (chopped)
  • 3 large tomatoes (chopped)
  • 5 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 large roasted tomatoes (chopped)
  • 4 cups beef stock (divided)
  • 3.5 pounds lamb shoulder


  1. Begin by toasting the dried peppers in a large pan over medium heat until their skins darken, about 1-2 minutes per side. Remove from heat and place them in a bowl. Cover the peppers with hot water and let them steep for 20 minutes until softened.
  2. While the peppers rehydrate, heat olive oil in the same pan over medium heat. Add chopped onion and tomatoes, cooking for 5 minutes until softened. Stir in garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  3. Transfer the cooked onion, tomatoes, and garlic to a food processor. Remove the rehydrated peppers from the water (reserve the soaking liquid) and add them to the processor along with dried oregano, sea salt, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, black pepper, apple cider vinegar, and 1 cup of beef stock. Process the ingredients until smooth.
  4. Cut the lamb shoulder into large chunks and place them in a large bowl. Pour the birria sauce over the meat, ensuring it’s fully coated. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, ideally overnight, to marinate.
  5. When ready to cook, transfer the marinated meat and sauce to a large pot. Add chopped roasted tomatoes and the remaining 3 cups of beef stock. Cover and cook over medium heat for approximately 3 hours, or until the meat is fork-tender and easily shreds.
  6. Serve the braised birria in bowls as a comforting soup or shred the meat and enjoy it wrapped in tortillas as birria tacos. Accompany your meal with the reserved liquid consomé from the pot for an extra burst of flavor.


  • For a smoother sauce, consider straining the pepper puree through a fine sieve.
  • This versatile recipe can be adapted for use in a slow cooker or Instant Pot for added convenience, allowing you to enjoy the flavors of birria with minimal effort.

Serving Tips:

  1. Garnish your birria soup or tacos with fresh cilantro, diced onions, and a squeeze of lime for added freshness and flavor.
  2. Serve alongside traditional accompaniments such as sliced radishes, chopped onions, and salsa for a complete Mexican dining experience.
  3. Warm your tortillas before serving for enhanced texture and pliability, perfect for wrapping up tender birria meat.
  4. Consider serving your birria tacos with a side of refried beans and Mexican rice for a satisfying meal.

Storage Tips:

  1. Store any leftover birria in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  2. To freeze leftover birria, transfer it to freezer-safe containers or resealable bags. It can be frozen for up to 2-3 months.
  3. When reheating birria, gently warm it on the stovetop over low heat to prevent the meat from drying out. Alternatively, reheat it in the microwave, adding a splash of beef broth to maintain moisture.
  4. For optimal flavor, consider storing the birria broth separately from the meat when freezing. This allows you to preserve the integrity of both components and ensures a delicious dining experience upon reheating.


  1. Protein Choices: While traditional birria is made with lamb, you can experiment with different proteins such as goat, beef, or even chicken to suit your preferences or dietary restrictions.
  2. Vegetarian Option: For a meatless version, substitute the meat with hearty vegetables like mushrooms, potatoes, or jackfruit, and use vegetable broth instead of beef stock. The same flavorful sauce can be used to elevate the dish.
  3. Spice Level: Adjust the spiciness of the dish by adding more or fewer chiles de arbol, or experiment with different types of dried peppers to achieve your desired level of heat.
  4. Additions: Enhance the flavor and texture of your birria by adding ingredients like diced pineapple, sliced jalapeños, or a splash of orange juice to the sauce for a hint of sweetness.
  5. Toppings: Get creative with toppings by adding avocado slices, crumbled queso fresco, or pickled red onions to your birria tacos or soup for extra layers of flavor and texture.
  6. Broth Variations: Customize the broth by incorporating additional herbs and spices such as bay leaves, cloves, or chipotle peppers for a smoky undertone.
  7. Presentation: Serve birria in different ways, such as stuffing it into empanadas, topping it over nachos, or layering it in a quesadilla for a unique twist on traditional Mexican flavors.
  8. Regional Influences: Explore regional variations of birria by incorporating local ingredients or cooking techniques, such as using beer instead of beef stock or adding a splash of tequila for a Jalisco-inspired twist.
  9. Fusion Flavors: Combine birria with other cuisines by using it as a filling for sushi rolls, stuffing it into bao buns, or incorporating it into pasta dishes for a fusion culinary experience.

With these variations, you can tailor your birria recipe to suit your taste preferences, dietary needs, or culinary creativity, ensuring each dish is a unique and memorable culinary adventure.


  1. What is birria? Birria is a traditional Mexican meat stew, known for its rich and flavorful chili sauce. It originated in the state of Jalisco and is typically made with lamb, goat, or beef.
  2. How is birria traditionally served? Birria can be served as a hearty soup, with the meat and broth enjoyed together in a bowl. It is also popularly served as birria tacos, where the tender meat is wrapped in warm tortillas and accompanied by a side of consomé (broth).
  3. What are the main ingredients in birria? The main ingredients in birria include dried chili peppers (such as ancho and guajillo), onions, tomatoes, garlic, spices (such as cumin and oregano), vinegar, and a choice of meat (lamb, goat, or beef).
  4. Can I make birria with chicken? While traditional birria is made with lamb, goat, or beef, you can certainly experiment with chicken as a substitute. However, keep in mind that the flavor and texture may differ from the traditional version.
  5. Is birria spicy? Birria can vary in spiciness depending on the type and amount of chili peppers used. While it typically has a mild to moderate level of heat, you can adjust the spiciness according to your preference by adding more or fewer chili peppers.
  6. How long does it take to make birria? The cooking time for birria can vary depending on the choice of meat and the cooking method used. Typically, it takes around 3-4 hours to prepare birria using traditional stovetop methods, but it can be adapted for slow cooker or Instant Pot use for added convenience.

Elevate your culinary experience with this authentic Mexican birria recipe, bursting with bold flavors and cultural heritage. Whether you savor it as a soul-warming soup or savor it as birria tacos, each bite is a celebration of tradition and taste. Embrace the spirit of Jalisco from your own kitchen and treat yourself to a memorable dining experience with this exquisite dish.