These Quesabirria tacos are made up of tender birria meat and melted cheese, wrapped in a crispy pan-seared tortilla! Made in just one pot and minimal prep required, use the meat to make birria tacos too!
The Best Quesabirria Tacos
When it comes to Mexican food, it’s safe to say we are huge fans.
On an average week in our house, we would easily have quesadillas, enchiladas, and tacos for dinner one night. It also wouldn’t be uncommon to pair it with some nachos too.
Oh, let’s not forget the family favorites: tacos dorados and mulitas!
There are times, though, where we want to be a little more fancy and put in that extra effort. Instead of our usual tacos or quesadillas, we go all-in and make quesabirria tacos.
What are quesabirria tacos?
Quesabirria is a Mexican dish created in Tijana. Quesabirria tacos are large tortillas filled with birria beef and cheese, then cooked on the stove until the cheese is melted.
This is different to birria tacos, which use corn taco shells or soft tacos for the exterior.
Why this quesabirria tacos recipe will be family favorite-
- All you need is one dish. Okay, so one Dutch oven but the same deal. Seriously, this is one of the most mess-free dinners ever.
- It’s cheap to make. The key ingredient is beef chuck roast, which is one of the most affordable and flavorful cuts of beef there is.
- There is minimal preparation required. For such a rich and flavorful fish, you’d expect there to be at least 12 hours of marinating time but nope- there is NONE of that.
- You can freeze leftovers! Unless you have a family of ten, there will be leftovers. Instead of eating these delicious tacos for an entire week (which isn’t a bad idea…) you can freeze them up to enjoy later down the track!
Can we just lament on how delicious birria meat is? It’s tender, moist, juicy, and literally MELTS in your mouth. It’s slightly spicy without being overpowering.
What I love about this recipe is just how flavorful it is. It has always intimidated me to try the more time-consuming Mexican dishes, but this one proved just how easy it is. Quesabirria and birria tacos are now my go-to dish to make when I’m entertaining and everyone begs me for the recipe afterwards!
What is in a QuesaBirria taco?
Although the ingredient list may look a little long, I promise you they are easy to find at your local grocery store or specialty spice store. Here is what you’ll need:
For the birria meat
- Dried ancho chiles– Red poblano chiles that have been dried out. These can be found at specialty grocery stores or in the Mexican food aisle of the supermarket.
- Mexican chiles– New Mexico chiles are preferred, but jalapeno peppers or chipotle peppers can also be used.
- Onion and tomato– Quartered to allow them to soften through the cooking process.
- Garlic– Whole cloves.
- Beef broth– A good quality beef broth makes all the difference, so avoid bouillon cubes and use freshly made broth.
- Vegetable oil– To brown the beef.
- Beef chuck roast– A slightly fattier cut of beef which falls apart once cooked (and soaks up all the flavors!). Cut your beef into 1-inch cubes.
- Salt and pepper– To taste.
- Apple cider vinegar– Balances out the salty flavors.
- Cumin– Adds a light, smoky flavor.
- Coriander– Adds a subtle tartness and a must for any stewed or slow cooked meat.
- Bay leaves– Adds an extra layer of flavor to the dish.
For the quesabirria tacos
- Tortillas– Either store bought corn tortillas or for a low carb option, keto tortillas.
- Shredded cheese– Oaxaca cheese is preferred, as it is more authentic, but mozzarella works in a pinch.
- Cilantro– Freshly chopped, to serve.
- Condiments– Salsa, guacamole, and fresh limes. For a more traditional dish, serve it with some consomme.
How to make quesabirria tacos
Simple is an understatement for this recipe. It’s a very hands-off kind of meal that follows an easy 3-step process.
Step 1- Prepare the broth
Start by adding the chiles, onion, tomato, garlic, and beef broth into a large pot and placing it over medium heat. Bring it a boil then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes. While the broth mixture is simmering, prepare the beef. Add the oil to a Dutch oven and once hot, sear the beef on all sides until no longer pink.
Step 2- Cook the beef
Next, remove the liquid mixture from the heat. Using a stick blender, puree everything together until smooth, then add it to the Dutch oven. Add the salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar, coriander, and bay leaves and bring everything to a simmer. Once simmering, remove from the heat and transfer it into a preheated oven and cook for 3 hours.
Step 3- Assemble the tacos
Now, once the birria beef is done in the oven, remove it and shred the meat with two forks before assembling into quesabirria tacos. Place the tortillas onto a flat surface and generously fill one side with the birria meat. Add the shredded cheese and a sprinkling of cilantro and fold in half. Place a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the folded tortillas to the pan and cook for a minute each side, or until golden and sizzling.
Serve the quesabirria tacos immediately with salsa, guacamole, and fresh limes.
The beauty of this dish is that the beef can easily be used to make the viral birria tacos.
To make birria tacos, prepare the birria beef as instructed. Once it has cooked in the Dutch oven, add them to corn tortilla shells or in soft taco shells. If you choose the latter option, place them on a skillet or griddle to crisp up on both sides.
Wondering what is the best way to store leftover birria meat? Here are best practices:
- To store: Leftover birria meat should be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to one week.
- To freeze: Place the cooked and cooled meat in an airtight container and pour the sauce on top. This can be frozen for up to 6 months.
- Reheating: Microwave the meat for 30-40 seconds or reheat in a small saucepan until hot.
What to serve with birria beef?
You don’t just need to use the beef in tacos. Pair it with some delicious sides for a healthy and comforting meal. Here are some of our favorites:
FAQS about Quesabirria
While some recipes for Quesabirria or birria call for goat meat, the best protein to use is beef, specifically beef cheeks or beef chuck roast.
Although Quesabirria tacos contain multiple dried chiles, they don’t actually make the dish overly spicy. They give the dish a slightly spicy kick, but really provide a delicious sweet flavor, that balances out the beef broth.
Birria tacos aren’t overly different to quesaBirria tacos. What sets birria tacos apart is that it uses soft or hard shell tacos instead of a tortilla.
Well cooked birria should NEVER be chewy. Rather, it should be soft and fall apart when shredded with a fork.
There is no actual difference between the two- Birria simply refers to the stewed meat, which makes up the filling for the tacos.
For the birria meat
- 4 dried ancho chiles
- 6 dried new Mexico chiles
- 1 large onion quartered
- 4 large tomatoes halved
- 8 cloves garlic
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 lbs chuck beef roast cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon coriander dried
- 2 bay leaves
To make the Quesabirria tacos
- 12 large corn tortillas
- 3 cups oaxaca cheese or mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup cilantro finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 140C/300F.
Combine the chilies, onion, tomatoes, garlic, and beef broth into large pot. Place it over medium heat and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
While simmering, sear your beef. Add the oil to a large dutch oven and place it over medium heat. Season the beef with the salt and pepper then add it to the dutch oven and cook for 5-6 minutes, until browned.
Either use an immersion blender or blender to puree the chili and broth mixture until smooth.
Add the liquid mixture into the dutch oven, along with the apple cider vinegar, cumin, coriander, and bay leaves. Bring everything to a simmer than transfer to the oven and cook until the beef is tender, around 3 hours.
Transfer the beef into a bowl and use two forks to shred.
To assemble the quesabirria tacos, generously fill the tortillas with the beef mixture, followed by plenty of the cheese and a sprinkle of cilantro. Fold them over then heat in a non-stick pan with a small amount of oil. Once hot, add the folded corn tortillas and cook for 45 seconds-1 minute per side, until crisp.
TO FREEZE: Place the cooked and cooled meat in an airtight container and pour the sauce on top. This can be frozen for up to 6 months.
REHEATING: Microwave the meat for 30-40 seconds or reheat in a small saucepan until hot.
Serving: 1serving | Calories: 290kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 14g | Sodium: 504mg | Potassium: 661mg | Fiber: 3g | Vitamin A: 664IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 3mg | NET CARBS: 13g
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