These Slow Cooker Birria Tacos will send your taste buds on a trip south of the border. The ingredient list may look long or even daunting, but as with any good broth, soup, or sauce base, it’s well worth the effort. This deliciously nearly authentic Mexican dish will impress your family and friends.
Want to try more Mexican-inspired recipes? You’ll have to try my Slow Cooker Mexican Bubble Up Casserole and Mexican Shredded Beef.
What are birria tacos?
Birria is a Mexican stew typically made with goat meat, however in the US and elsewhere, beef is the go-to protein. The meat is slow cooked for hours in a sauce of beef broth, onions, garlic, tomatoes, various chilies, herbs, and spices. Your slow cooker is perfect for making this dish for its famed low and slow cooking. Making birria in the crock pot is the easiest cooking method!
The tender beef dripping with flavorful broth are turned into tacos by placing the juicy meat into a sauce-dipped corn tortilla, folded in half, and given a quick pan fry in oil. This gives the tacos a perfectly crisped texture. Crock pot Birria tacos are served with a side of the broth (called consummé) for dipping, much like you’d serve au jus with your French Dip sandwich.
This old world Mexican recipe harnesses all the flavors of the culture with a modern food truck twist in taste. Whether you’re new to cooking Mexican cuisine or nearly a pro, everyone will be asking for seconds.
- Chuck Roast: A three pound boneless beef chuck roast is best; look for marbling, as this will increase the taste and tenderness. You can use beef brisket, or any well-marbled beef roast for this recipe.
- Corn Tortillas: Use regular sized corn tortillas. However, the mini street taco size will work if you’re making these as a delicious appetizer.
- Dried Chiles: You’ll need dried Guajillo chiles and Arbol chiles. These can be found in your local grocery store in a package in the Mexican food section.
- Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce: Use the canned product which will be found in the Mexican or Latin section or international aisle of your grocery store.
- Tomatoes: Both fire roasted tomatoes and tomato paste are used to help add taste and texture to the sauce.
- Seasonings: Salt, black pepper, cumin, garlic, cloves, Mexican oregano, dried coriander, smoked paprika, dried thyme, dried onion, cinnamon sticks, fresh lime juice, bay leaves and fresh onion.
- Beef Broth: This velvety broth liquid is the base of the sauce.
- Oil: Use a high heat cooking oil like vegetable oil, canola oil, or avocado oil.
- Produce: Freshly chopped cilantro and red onion are the perfect topping for these tacos.
Step One – Season all sides of the chuck roast with salt and pepper and preheat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil and sear the meat for 4-5 minutes on all sides.
Step Two – Add all the remaining ingredients (except the tortillas and oil) to the slow cooker. Stir it well to combine into a chunky sauce.
Step Three – Place the seared beef into the crock pot and cover. Cook for 9-10 hours on low.
Step Four – Remove the cooked chuck roast and place it in a large bowl.
Step Five – Shred the beef and mix in about a cup of the sauce (after step 7).
Step Six – Remove the cinnamon sticks, stems from the peppers, and bay leaf and discard.
Step Seven – Use an immersion blender to blend the sauce until smooth. (If you don’t have an immersion blender, add everything to a food processor or regular stand blender to puree, then return to the crock pot or pour into a large bowl.)
Step Eight – Using a pair of tongs, dip each side of the tortillas in the sauce and then double them for frying.
Step Nine – Place the dipped tortillas into a frying pan flatly and fry for about two minutes. Flip and add the shredded beef, diced onion, and cilantro to one-half of the tortilla, fold it in half and fry each side of the now shaped taco for up to 2 minutes per side. Spoon a bit of birria sauce over each side of the tortilla after it’s been fried. Transfer to a serving plate and serve with a bowl of the pureed dipping sauce.
How to serve this crockpot birria recipe
Classic toppings for most Mexican taco recipes include sour cream, shredded cheese, diced onions (purple or diced white onion), fresh cilantro, lime wedges, and avocado. The best part is serving the tacos with the dipping sauce, which is often called consummé.
What side dishes go well with this?
- Avocado and tomato salad
- Cilantro lime rice
- Classic tomato salsa
- Mexican street corn
- Loaded guacamole
- Mexican rice and beans
- Sauteed vegetables
Absolutely. During the taco making process, add the shredded cheese on top of the meat while frying before folding the tortilla over to make tacos. You can use Monterey Jack cheese, mozzarella cheese or sharp cheddar cheese.
Corn tortillas are more traditional or common, however flour tortillas will work, but require a bit less frying time.
You can serve this shredded meat in its traditional way as a stew in a bowl with your favorite toppings. However, you can use the meat as part of a taco salad or even turn the entire thing into a pan of delicious enchiladas.
Store any remaining sauce in an airtight container. Put the beef in a separate container. Keep both in the fridge for up to one week.
The best oils for standing up to high heat during frying are avocado, peanut, canola, and vegetable. We do not recommend using olive oil as it will adversely affect the taste of the dish.
Mexican oregano and ‘regular’ oregano used in Italian dishes are two different herbs from different plants. You can use ‘regular’ if you can’t find Mexican but it will have a slightly different flavor.
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Slow Cooker Birria Beef Tacos
- Cast iron skillet (or a heavy skillet)
- 3 lbs. boneless chuck roast
- 1 Tbsp. cooking oil (vegetable, canola, or avocado)
- 1 ½ tsp. coarse ground pepper
- 1 ½ tsp. salt
- 4 dried Guajillo chiles
- 7-8 dried arbol chiles
- 5-6 Chipotle chiles in adobo from a can
- 1 white onion thinly sliced
- 8 whole cloves garlic peeled and smashed
- 32 oz. beef stock
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 14.5 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp. lime juice
- 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
- 1 Tbsp. dried Mexican oregano
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 dry bay leaves
- 1 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 tsp. dried minced onion or ½ tsp. onion powder
- corn tortillas
- diced red onions
- more oil for frying tacos
- Season all sides of the chuck roast with salt and pepper and preheat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
- Add the oil and once hot, sear the meat for 4-5 minutes on all sides.
- Next, add guajillo chiles, arbol chiles, onion, garlic, beef stock, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, lime juice, cumin, oregano, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, cloves, paprika, minced dried onion, and coriander to the crock pot. Stir to combine.
- Place chuck roast into the crock pot and cover. Cook for 9-10 hours on low.
- Remove the chuck roast from the crock pot and place into a bowl. Shred using 2 forks.
- Remove and discard the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks. Take the stems off the peppers and discard.
- Next, use an immersion blender to blend sauce until smooth. (Use a food processor or stand blender if you do not have an immersion blender and return to the slow cooker or transfer to a large bowl.)
- Add 1 cup of sauce to the bowl with the shredded meat and stir to coat.
Assembling the Tacos
- Heat a frying pan over medium high heat and once hot, add cooking oil to the pan.
- Using a pair of tongs, dip each side of the tortilla in the sauce and then double them for frying.
- Place the dipped, now doubled tortillas into a frying pan flatly and fry for about two minutes.
- Flip, add a bit of sauce, the meat, onions, and cilantro to one-half of the tortilla, fold it in half and fry each side of the now shaped taco for up to 2 minutes per side. Spoon a bit of sauce over each side of the tortilla after it’s been fried.
- Transfer to a serving plate and serve with a bowl of pureed sauce for dipping. Add additional diced onions and cilantro as a garnish if desired.
- Want queso birria? Simply, add Monterey jack cheese to the tacos after adding the meat while frying.
- Store any remaining sauce in an airtight container. Put the beef in a separate container. Keep both in the fridge for up to one week.
- Mexican oregano and ‘regular’ oregano used in Italian dishes are two different herbs from different plants. You can use ‘regular’ if you can’t find Mexican but it will have a slightly different flavor.
Nutrition info is auto-generated. This information is an estimate; if you are on a special diet, please use your own calculations.
This is a really great recipe for the crockpot. Chock full of flavor without being overly spicy. For those who like less spice you could reduce the number of chipotles in adobo. We have enough for a second meal. Yay!!!!!!
When doubling the meat portion fron 3 lbs to 6-7 lbs. should all other ingredients be doubled as well?
Sarah Olson says
There is SO much sauce for this recipe, I think you’ll be fine. You may need to add more salt to taste at the end.
How long would you recommend cooking on high, for slow cookers that support it?
Sarah Olson says
5-6 hours will work or until the meat is very tender.