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Beef birria in a serving dish with a spoon. Tortillas and garnishes are nearby on the table.

Beef Birria

Katerina | Diethood
Fall-apart tender Beef Birria with guajillo and ancho chiles is a satisfying, hearty meal that you can serve in tacos, burritos, or over rice.
Servings : 8
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 45 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 10 mins


  • 4 dried guajillo chiles, stems and seeds removed, and discarded
  • 2 dried ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed, and discarded
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 1 large white onion, quartered and divided
  • 1 large tomato, quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pound boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups low sodium beef broth
  • chopped white onion, for garnish
  • chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish


  • Combine the chilis and the hot water in a large pot or bowl, and let stand 20 minutes, or until chiles are softened.
  • In a blender, combine two quarters of the onion, tomatoes, garlic, thyme, oregano, cumin, ginger, and the chiles and liquid. Process until smooth.
  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a Dutch oven set over medium heat.
  • Season the beef with salt and pepper.
  • Add beef to the heated oil and brown on all sides; about 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  • Add in the bay leaves and remaining onions.
  • Stir in the blended sauce, and add in the beef broth.
  • Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat.
  • Cover and simmer for 1-½ to 2 hours, or until meat is fall-apart tender.
  • Remove meat and transfer to a cutting board.
  • Remove the onions and bay leaves from the pot.
  • Continue to simmer the liquid, uncovered, until reduced by half; about 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Shred the meat with forks, and stir back into the pot.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl or plate.
  • Garnish with onions and cilantro.
  • Serve in warm tortillas, over rice, or as a filling for tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and more.



  • Beef: I only use chuck roast to make this recipe, but it's important to note that different regions in Mexico all prepare birria in their own way. Some places use beef, others use goat, or even lamb. 
  • Chile Peppers: The Guajillo and Ancho peppers are mild, so if you want to add some heat, don't skip the guajillo, but go ahead and add in some cayenne pepper, or even arbol chiles. 
  • Cinnamon: Birria recipes can include cinnamon, and if you would like to use cinnamon, start small, with about 1/4 teaspoon, and adjust later. Or, you can use a small cinnamon stick, too.
  • Using Beef Birria: Use the shredded meat to make tacos, or as a consomme (soup), fill tamales, serve over noodles, serve over rice, etc...
  • Make Ahead: Make this recipe up to 3 days ahead of time. Warm it up on the stove and then use the shredded meat in tacos, quesadillas, or as you wish. 


Calories: 390 kcal | Carbohydrates: 11 g | Protein: 35 g | Fat: 24 g | Saturated Fat: 9 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13 g | Trans Fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 117 mg | Sodium: 556 mg | Potassium: 960 mg | Fiber: 4 g | Sugar: 5 g | Vitamin A: 2946 IU | Vitamin C: 7 mg | Calcium: 56 mg | Iron: 5 mg | Net Carbs: 7 g

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican/Southwest
Keyword: chuck roast recipes, mexican shredded beef, shredded beef