This easy birria recipe can be made on the stovetop or Instant pot! Tenders chunks of seared beef that we’ll stew in onions, chile paste, garlic, and lots of herbs and spices! Then use the birria meat to make quesabirria tacos, birria ramen or serve over rice!

shredded beef birria in bowl with spoon topped with cilantro and onions

Friends!

I am especially excited to share todays beef birria recipe with you! I’ve worked on it for what seems like an eternity. Making batches and batches of birria and loading it up in corn tortillas, over rice, and some times, in a bowl with ramen and a soft boiled egg on top. 

Let’s not even mention all the birria tacos and birria ramen I gobbled up from my favorite local food truck all in the name of taste testing. Birria de Res is a dish from the state of Jalisco in Mexico and is traditionally made with goat meat. I’m sharing my recipe using beef as it is much easier to find. You can also make this with goat meat if you’d like, but you will have to play around with the cooking times a bit to make sure the meat isn’t over or undercooked. 

All this to say, I’ve layered this dish with layers and layers of flavor and I hope you’ll take some time out of your busy week to just relax, put on some music, and make this birria recipe with me! And hey, if you can’t make it slow-paced, I get it, I’ve got pressure cooker instructions too!

shreded beef in birria sauce

Ingredients for homemade birria:

  • Dried Chilies: I use a variety of dried chilies for this recipe. Nowadays, most mainstream grocery stores carry these peppers. You’ll either find them near the produce section, in the international aisle, or in the spice aisle. I use ancho chiles, guajillo chiles, and chili de Arbol for this recipe. Be sure to invest in some disposable gloves. The first time I handled these peppers without them, my hands burned for a good 12 hours afterwards! Some people also use chipotle peppers which gives birria a smoky flavor. I’ve always enjoyed birria without it, so you won’t find chipotle peppers in my stew.
  • Oil: You’ll need it to saute the peppers, the onions, and garlic, as well as the chunks of chuck roast. 
  • Onions: I use white onions for this recipe and you’ll want to cut them into large chunks so we can a little color on them then toss them in the blender. You may also want some extra for topping your birria!
  • Garlic: I leave the garlic whole in this recipe and just saute it with the onions before tossing it in the blender to make the chile paste.
  • Water or broth: That is the question! Personally, I like to use bone-in short ribs when I’m making birria, so I usually opt for water as the bones will amp up the stewing liquid plenty without the need for broth. If you plan to use all chuck roast and skipping the short ribs, I do suggest using broth instead of water because you simply won’t be able to develop that same flavor without the bones.
  • Tomatoes: I use fresh tomatoes that I’ll toss into the blender along with all the seasonings, spices, chilies, onions and garlic.
  • Vinegar: Vinegar plays a two-part role in this recipe. The first is that it helps give the broth a more complex flavor that pairs beautifully with the spices and chilies used in this recipe. The second is that vinegar helps extract more flavor from the bones which means the consommé will be even more flavorful!
  • Dried Herbs: You’ll need bay leaves, dried thyme, and dried Mexican oregano for this recipe. 
  • Seasonings: I use whole black peppercorns, whole cloves, ground cumin, dried ginger, kosher salt, and Mexican cinnamon for this recipe. 
  • Beef: I like to use two different cuts of meat for this recipe. The first is a large chuck roast that I’ll just breakdown into about 8 pieces. Cutting the large roast down insures that more heat surrounds each piece and so that the meat cooks faster. If you were to leave this as a whole roast, it would take significantly longer to cook. The second cut is bone-in short ribs. The bones help provide additional flavor to the consommé or the stewing liquid. However, you could also use additional chuck roast to make up for the short ribs if you prefer.
  • Toppings: You’ll want chopped cilantro, onions, and lots of lime wedges for serving. If you’re serving this with rice, I suggest topping the rice with stew and then adding the toppings. For ramen bowls, you’ll want an assortment of sliced toppings, like radishes. For quesabirria tacos, you’ll also need shredded Oaxaca cheese and corn tortillas.
blend before and after of chile sauce

How to  make the best homemade birria meat:

  1. Toast the peppers. I highly suggest wearing disposable food-safe gloves for this first step. Start by removing the stems and cutting down the length of the pepper using kitchen shears. Remove the ribs and all the seeds and discard. You’ll want to add a drizzle of oil to a skillet or directly in the dutch oven you’ll use to make your birria de res. When the oil is hot, add the peppers and pan fry them until they are toasted, then transfer them to a saucepan or a bowl and pour hot water over the peppers. Cover and let them soak for at least 12 minutes. This will allow the peppers to blend very easily.
  2. Saute and blend. Add the onions and garlic cloves to the hot oil and saute them for a few minutes. Then transfer these to a blender, and toss in the tomatoes, vinegar, bay leaves, peppercorns, cloves, oregano, thyme, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, and the soaked peppers with the water and blend until smooth. 
  3. Sear and simmer. Pat the meat dry and season with kosher salt generously. Then, add a drizzle of oil to the same dutch oven and sear the meat in batches over medium heat. I remove the meat to a small sheet pan and continue searing until all the meat is done. Then add all the meat back to the dutch oven and pour the prepared sauce over the meat. Add enough water to cover the meat and bring this to a simmer. Then lower the heat, cover the pot, and let it hang out until the meat is tender. I usually walk by every hour and give it a stir and make sure things are chugging along smoothly, but that’s it! If you’re looking for instant pot directions, they’ll be in the notes section of the recipe.
  4. Shred and skim! When the meat is tender, remove it, discard the bones and shred the meat using two forks or with meat claws. You can thin the broth out with water or beef broth if you’re making ramen, but for serving this as stew with rice, it should be perfect this way. You’ll want to taste for seasonings and add additional salt if desired. If you used a conventional blender, I suggest straining the broth to make sure you can get out all the little pieces of spices. You’ll also want to skim the top to remove any excess grease. This will really just depend on how fatty the cuts you used were. You can use an oil separator or if you’re making this in advance, I suggest skimming the top after the birria has been refrigerated, so much easier to remove that way!
  5. Serve: if you’re making quesabirria tacos, dip the tortillas in the consommé and toss them in a pan or a hot griddle with a drizzle of oil, topped with Oaxaca, shredded beef, chopped onions and cilantro. Then serve the consommé in bowls with tons of lime wedges to season the broth with!
process picture for how to make birria

FAQs about beef birria de res:

  1. Can I make this in the slow cooker? I’m confident that you can, I just haven’t had a chance to test it yet. You’ll want to follow the instructions on the recipe and sear the meat, then, just pop the meat, the blended chile paste, and water into the slow cooker and let it simmer on low for 6-8 hours until the meat is tender. The cooking time may vary as I haven’t tested the recipe just yet and you may also want to use less water/broth as you won’t have as much evaporation.
  2. Can I make this in advance? Yes, absolutely! The flavors of the consomme and the shredded beef become more enhanced as this sits, so feel free to make this 1-2 days ahead of assembling the tacos or ramen!
  3. Can I use other cuts of meat like beef shank instead of the short ribs? Yes, that should work just fine. The beef shanks may take more or less time to cook, so just make sure to check both the shanks and the chuck roast when you’re testing for doneness so that everything shreds easily.
  4. I can’t find Mexican cinnamon, what else can I use? Siagon or other types of cinnamon will also work but you’ll have to change the technique. Mexican cinnamon is a lot more brittle than, for example, Siagon cinnamon. So you can easily blend it up and it will break down almost immediately in the blender. If you use another type of cinnamon, I suggest adding the cinnamon stick to the stew whole and then fishing it out at the end when you’re shredding the meat. I wouldn’t suggest subjecting the blender to that kind of torture!
  5. Do you have a recipe for quesabirria tacos? I do, it’s coming soon! 😉
shredded meat stew in bowl with onions and cilantro

If you like this recipe, you might also like:

quesabirria tacos on plate with limes and shredded cabbage
Yield: serves 10

Beef Birria de Res (Stovetop + Instant Pot)

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes

This easy birria recipe can be made on the stovetop or Instant pot! Tenders chunks of seared beef that we'll stew in onions, chile paste, garlic, and lots of herbs and spices! Then use the birria meat to make quesabirria tacos, birria ramen or serve over rice!

Beef Birria de Res (Stovetop + Instant Pot)

Ingredients

  • 4 Ancho chilies
  • 3 guajillo chilies
  • 2-4 chili de Arbol (these have heat)
  • 5 cups water, divided (see notes)
  • 2 tablespoons oil, plus more
  • 1 large white onion, cut into a few pieces
  • 14 cloves garlic
  • 5 Roma tomatoes, cut into a few pieces
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 8 EACH: whole black peppercorns AND whole cloves
  • 2 teaspoons EACH: Mexican oregano AND dried thyme
  • 1½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1-inch piece of Mexican cinnamon (see notes)
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 3 pounds chuck roast, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 pounds bone-in short ribs (or use 4 lbs. chuck roast total)

Instructions

    1. SIZZLE: Wearing disposable gloves, remove stem of dried peppers, and cut down the length of the pepper with kitchen shears. Remove ribs and seeds; discard. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a 6-quart dutch oven (or larger) over medium heat. Add the chilies and fry for roughly 1-2 minutes, flipping often. Remove chilies using a slotted spoon to a medium bowl, add 2 cups boiling water, cover, and let the chilies soak for 12 minutes. Sauté the onions and garlic for 3 minutes over medium-high heat in the oil that’s remaining in the pan, if dry, add a small drizzle.
    2. BLEND: Transfer onions, garlic, tomatoes, vinegar, bay leaves, peppercorns, whole cloves, oregano, thyme, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, and soaked peppers with water to a high powder blender; blend. For smaller blenders, blend in batches. See notes for conventional blenders.
    3. SIMMER: See notes for pressure cooker directions. Pat the beef chunks dry and season with 2 teaspoons salt. Heat the same dutch oven over medium-high heat. If the pot is dry, add a tablespoon of oil. Sear beef in batches and allow it to brown on all sides; about 5-6 minutes. Add oil between batches if the pot is dry. Once the meat is browned, pour blended chili mixture over the beef. Add 3 cups of water (see notes) and the remaining teaspoon of salt. Allow the mixture to reach a simmer, then, lower the heat to low, and cover pot. Simmer for 4-5 hours or until the meat is fall-apart tender. I check it about every hour and give it a stir, but it’s pretty hands off at this point. Test the meat with a paring knife. The knife should go through the meat very easily.
    4. SHRED AND SKIM: When the meat is tender, remove, discard bones, and shred using two forks or meat claws. You can thin out the broth with additional water or simmer it longer to concentrate it. Taste and adjust the salt in the broth to preference. You'll also want to skim the top to remove excess grease. You can use an oil separator or if you're making this in advance, I suggest skimming the top after the birria has been refrigerated, so much easier to remove that way!
    5. SERVE: Serve it in bowls as stew with rice topped with onions and cilantro. For quesabirria tacos, I like to strain the consommé and season with lime juice, chopped onions, and cilantro. You can also make ramen bowls by preparing noodles ladling with consommé and topping with desired toppings.

Notes

  • if you used a conventional blender (not high powered) you will want to strain the chili mixture at the end when the meat is done. This is so you don’t end up with bits of spice in your stew!
  • Water or broth: If you’re using only chuck roast for this recipe, I suggest using beef broth instead of water and waiting on salting until the very end. If you’re using bone-in short ribs, you can skip the broth and use water!
  • Pressure Cooker: You'll need a 6 quart pressure cooker for this recipe. Follow steps 1 and 2 and most of 3, searing the meat in the pressure cooker. Once the meat is seared, add chile paste, water, and salt. Place the lid on top, seal the vent, and pressure cook on high pressure for 48 minutes. Then, allow a natural pressure release for 10 minutes, and pick up from step 4 above.
  • Cinnamon: Mexican cinnamon can be found in Hispanic grocery stores. If you use regular cinnamon, skip it from the ingredients that are added to the blender. Instead, add it directly to the meat when you’re pouring in the blended liquid at the end of step 3. Fish out the cinnamon stick and discard when you shred the meat.

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