A picture of meat filled tacos

Homemade Birria tacos

Mexican is one of the most popular cuisines on the menu in our house and birria tacos are our favourite Mexican dinner.

Everyone seems to have their own preference when it comes to birria and this recipe is mine. They are essentially tacos dipped in the gravy of a sweet, tangy, salty and smoky meat stew, 

The tacos are then filled with the meat from the stew along with cheese and then fried in a pan until the tacos go crispy and the cheese has melted.

You can add your favourite salad, pickle or salsa as an accompaniment. Our personal favourite is Mexican tomato salsa

Which you can find the recipe for here.

bowl of birria stew

List of Ingredients


  • 4xGuajillo chiles. (these dried chillies have a complex fruity and smoky flavor which adds the smoky depth to the stew)
  • 2xCascabel chillies  ( Cascabel chillies are dried chillies with a nutty, chocolate flavour)
  • ⅓ to ½ a 200g tin of chipotle chillies in adobo sauce ( these are smoked and dried jalapeños which have been  rehydrated and canned in garlic, tomato, vinegar garlic, and some other spices. You will need to add your own judgement here since this is the ingredient which adds the heat to the dish.
  • 6x cloves of garlic whole
  • 70ml of cider vinegar
  • 1tsp of cumin seeds, (toasted and crushed in a pedestal and mortar)
birria stew ingredients in a slow cooker


  • 1kg of beef ( this can be any cheap fatty cut of beef such as chuck, short rib, brisket or even beef cheeks. I prefer not to use lean meat when slow cooking, since it is the fat which adds the flavour and it will break down during a long slow cook.)
  • 1½ medium white onions
  • 5 whole cloves( amazing in stews)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1ltr of beef stock
a stacked pile of tacos on a bench

Corn Tacos

  • 250g of Authentic Tortilla corn flour ( this is traditional tortilla flour made from ground, dried corn. I use Maseca Corn Flour which you can buy online from Mexgrocer in the UK.
  • 350ml of warm water

If you’re struggling to find the ingredients then you can find them all online at https://www.mexgrocer.co.uk . I don’t affiliate with them but i find them to be the cheapest in the UK, some ingredients are ½ the price of Amazon e.c.t.



  • Bring a pan of water to a boil and then take off the heat. Add the dried chillies to the pan and leave for around 15 minutes or until the chillies have re-hydrated. You will need to weigh them down with a plate since they will float above the surface.
  • Remove the chillies from the pan and remove the stalks, the seeds should just fall out. Add the chillies to a blender along with the other marinade ingredients and blend to a smooth sauce.
  • Chop the beef up into smaller pieces and add to a snappy bag along with the marinade. This should be left for a few hours or overnight.


  • Remove the beef and marinade from the bag and add to a stock pot or slow cooker. Add the rest of the stew ingredients to the pot and cook for a minimum of 6 hours on a low heat. You will need to remove the cinnamon, bay leaves and cloves from the stew once it is ready to serve. A good tip is to poke  the cloves into the half onion, that way you won’t have to go fishing for them later.
cloves in onion


  • Mix 250g of  Masa Harina corn flour with around 35oml of warm water.
  • Leave to stand for a few minutes until flour has absorbed the water. If the mix is too sticky then add some more flour, if too dry add a little more water.
  • Knead the dough for a few minutes until it is no longer grainy but forms a smooth dough.
  • Cut into dough and form into balls ready to press, you can use a heavy pan or if you have one a tortilla press. Sandwich the dough balls between 2 sheets of cling film to stop the tortillas from sticking to the press.
taco dough
taco press
  • Remove the raw tortilla from the cling film and add to a hot pan, cook on both sides until the tortilla has puffed up and is brown and cooked on both sides.
cooked homemade taco in a pan


  • Shred the beef and dip the tortilla in the stew, place on a medium hot pan and add the shredded beef along with some grated cheese such as Gouda,Monterey Jack, cheddar or a combination of your choice.
  • Fold the tortillas and cook again until they go crispy and the cheese has melted.
  • Add your favourite garnish; for me this is our homemade mexican salsa which you can find the recipe for here.
  • For more enjoyment, add the stew into separate serving bowls  for your guests to dip their tortillas in as they eat.
tin of chipotle chilies in adobo sauce bag of dried Guajillo chillies dried cascabel chillies bag of taco flour

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