Birria Beef Tacos Bliss - The Slow Cooker Method

If you enjoy Mexican food, consider making your own beef birria tacos at home. This dish has become increasingly popular in recent years, and it's easy to make with a slow cooker. It has the convenience of a set it and forget it recipe that you can come back to later in the day for deliciously tender and juicy beef with a rich consommé sauce. Learn more about the history behind birria, discover what types of flavors it features and get a simple, step-by-step recipe for making birria beef tacos in a slow cooker.

What Is Birria?

Birria is a Mexican dish that comes from the state of Jalisco. Prepared like a meat stew, it is served with its braising liquid (also known as consommé) for an extremely tender and juicy result. Traditionally, birria was most commonly prepared using goat meat. However, it's also become popular for beef and lamb.

Birria is typically prepared using a low and slow cooking method, which is why it's such a good match for preparing in the slow cooker. In addition, it provides the benefit of a hands-off cooking process that fills the house with incredible aromas.

Birria is often consumed as a meat stew. However, in recent decades, different variations of birria have become more mainstream, such as birria quesadillas and birria tacos. Enjoying birria this way transfers the delicious and tender meat to a convenient handheld vessel, so it's easier to eat. It also allows for additional toppings to be added to the tacos for even more flavor. Birria tacos are also very easy to prepare. Once it's done cooking in the slow cooker, you can dish up this flavorful meal in a matter of minutes.

Flavor Profile for Birria Beef Tacos

Beef birria is a hearty dish with plenty of earthy spices. Dried chiles are a must for this recipe. For more complex flavors, combine different types of dried chiles, such as Ancho chiles, chiles de arbol and guajillo chiles. Herbs and spices are also included in birria recipes to add lots of richness to the braising liquid. Common Mexican flavors like tomato, onion, garlic, oregano, bay leaves and cumin are typically featured. If you prefer birria with a slight sweetness or zing, you can consider adding ingredients like ginger, cloves or cinnamon.

For beef birria, plan to add a generous amount of beef stock to enhance the beef flavor. A bit of vinegar also helps to cut the richness of the meat and contributes some acidity to the recipe.

What Type of Beef Should Be Used for Birria Tacos?

Beef has become increasingly popular for this stew-like dish. It was originally made with goat, which tends to be a bit gamey and tough. The low and slow cooking method helps to overcome these challenges with the goat, but it also limits which cuts of beef are best for making birria. You don't want the beef to be too tender since it could fall apart when cooked in a braising liquid for hours at a time. Therefore, slightly tougher beef cuts, which still have lots of flavor, are the best choices for this dish. Some of the recommended birria beef options include chuck roast, short ribs and beef shank.


For the beef birria:

  • 3 lbs beef
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6-8 dried chiles with seeds removed
  • 32 oz beef stock
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • ½ tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 Mexican cinnamon stick
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the tacos:

  • Corn tortillas
  • 16 oz Oaxaca cheese, shredded
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • Fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • Lime wedges


  1. Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat.
  2. Season the beef liberally with salt and pepper, then add to the hot skillet.
  3. Sear each side of the beef for about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add the beef to the crockpot with all other ingredients.
  5. Cook covered on low heat for 8 hours.
  6. Remove the beef after 8 hours and shred it with two forks.
  7. Remove the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Then, blend the remaining ingredients into a smooth sauce using a high-powered blender or an immersion blender.
  8. Transfer the sauce and beef back into the slow cooker and cover to keep warm.

How to Serve Birria Tacos

Now that your beef birria is prepared, it's time to turn it into a delicious taco meal. Birria tacos typically have a nice crispy exterior and are lined with melty cheese. The beef birria is then ladled into the taco before adding any desired toppings. But you don't want all that delicious consommé to go to waste. That's why you want to serve it alongside the tacos for dipping. Be prepared with plenty of napkins on hand, as this can be a bit messier compared to your typical Mexican tacos. However, the incredible depth of flavor and incredible tenderness of the beef makes it all worth it.

Here's the best way to serve beef birria tacos from the slow cooker:

  1. Dip 1-2 tortillas at a time into the consommé, then lay in a frying pan over medium heat. Add some shredded cheese and allow the tortilla to get golden brown and crispy.
  2. When ready to serve, dish out beef birria directly from the slow cooker into the fried tortilla and top with cilantro, onion and a squeeze of lime.
  3. Place some of the consommé into a bowl for dipping the tacos into.