Birria (Mexican Beef Stew)

yield: 8-10 SERVINGS

prep time: 15 MINUTES

cook time: 4 HOURS

total time: 4 HOURS 15 MINUTES


Birria Sauce

  • 5 dried ancho chiles
  • 5 dried guajillo chiles
  • 2-3 Chiles de árbol (see note 1)
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 cloves, ground into powder

Beef Birria

  • 3-3.5 lbs chuck roast, cut into large chunks
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 4 cups beef stock

Toppings and garnishing

  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Lime, cut into wedges
  • Onion, chopped
  • Avocado, diced

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  1. Dry toast and rehydrate the chilis: Cut the stems off and make a slit along the side to open them and discard the seeds. Dry toast them in hot pan for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant (don’t burn them, as they can turn bitter). Put them in a bowl, pour in a cup of hot water, and let it sit for 20 minutes.
  2. Sauté the veggies: Heat oil and Sauté the onion, garlic and tomato until softened. Then transfer the veggies to the blender.
  3. Make Birria Sauce: In the blender, blend above veggie mixture along with rehydrated chilis, spices and herbs (oregano, cumin, cinnamon, coriander powder, ground clove, thyme, salt and pepper), apple cider vinegar, ginger, tomato paste, and 1 cup of beef stock. Blend it till the mixture in completely smooth.
  4. Prepare and sear the meat: Cut the chuck roast into large chunks and generously season it with salt and pepper. We always like to sear the meat before putting it in the stew, as it adds tons of flavors. Heat the oil in the stew pot and brown the meat on all sides.
  5. In a big stew pot, combine the meat with the Birria sauce. Add in 4 cups of beef stock. Cover and cook over low heat on the stovetop for 4 to 6 hours, or until the meat is completely tender. Keep an eye on the stew and stir it every 20 minutes or so, as not to burn the meat at the bottom.
  6. Shred the meat: When the stew is ready, you can cut or shred the beef into your desired bite size pieces. Taste and adjust the seasonings like salt and pepper.
  7. Serve the Birria in bowls (the beef along with its broth) garnished with lots of your favorite toppings, with a side of warm tortillas or Mexican rice.

Crock Pot (Slow Cooker) Method

  1. Make the Birria sauce and sear the meat, as instructed above.
  2. Combine meat and sauce in a large crockpot, along with 4 cups of beef stock. Cover and slow cook on low for 9 hours, or until the meat is completely tender.

Instant Pot Method

  1. Make the Birria sauce and sear the meat in the instant pot on sauté mode.
  2. Add in birria sauce along with remaining 4 cups of beef stock, and give the mixture a quick toss. Cover and seal the lid.
  3. Pressure cook on “Manual” for 45 minutes, followed by a quick release.


  1. Chiles de árbol can be pretty spicy and hot. Use according to your spice tolerance. Start with just 1 if you prefer a milder stew. Alternately, if you prefer spicy, add 3 or more árbol chilis.

Nutrition Information

Yield10Serving Size1Amount Per ServingCalories432Total Fat29gSaturated Fat9gTrans Fat1gUnsaturated Fat17gCholesterol113mgSodium880mgCarbohydrates8gFiber4gSugar7gProtein39g

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