Slow Cooker Birria Quesotacos

Rich and hearty, these Slow Cooker Birria Quesotacos are a traditional Mexican recipe that can easily be made at home. Tortillas are first filled with shredded cheese and beef that’s been marinated and cooked to tender, flavorful perfection, dipped in the birria consommé and pan-fried. A tasty flavorful taco inside and out!

A platter or quesabirria tacos with consomme and cilantro.

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I’m a huge fan of Mexican cuisine. I love the bright, colorful ingredients and variety of flavors and spices used. I’m not a huge fan of spice of super-duper spicy, but I do appreciate the depth and warmth provided by many Mexican recipes. And, of course, I love tacos. Who doesn’t?

While I love some Baja fish tacos or classic ground beef tacos, those are a bit more Tex-Mex than Mexican. When it comes to authentic Mexican tacos, you can’t find many dishes with more of a history than these Slow Cooker Birria tacos.

While they do require a bit of prep (and a few hours of cooking time), these rich, hearty, and flavorful

Quesabirria tacos are worth every second. Trust me on that – once you make these for the first time, they’ll quickly make an appearance on your meal plan again and again.

Platter of birria tacos with consomme and sliced green onions.

Whether you’re looking for a new Taco Tuesday idea or just want to switch things up, this is the best Birria Tacos recipe to try!

What are Birria Tacos? What is The Origin?

Beef Birria Tacos, also called Quesotacos and Quesabirria Tacos, are a rich, hearty and absolutely delicious Mexican dish. They are tacos that are loaded with shredded beef, dipped in the cooking juices, and cooked until crispy. They are meant to be enjoyed by dunking each bite in even more dipping sauce. 

Birria tacos have a long story in Mexican history and were actually traditionally made with goat meat, not beef. The story goes that the Spanish conquistadors gifted goats, which they considered to be worthless meat, to the Mexican people, who marinated and cooked the meat to make it more appetizing. 

Beef birria tacos on a platter.

This meat was referred to as “birria”, which translates to “worthless” as that’s what the Spanish considered the meat to be. It was served in tortillas, as it is today, on bread, or even just enjoyed by the spoonful.

Fast forward to the 1950s and a taquero named Guadalupe Zarate began serving goat birria next to his other tacos in Tijuana, Mexico. He soon introduced beef birria as beef was easier to obtain than goat and beef birria quesotacos quickly became a popular dish across Mexico, with each state making some adaptions to the recipe. 

Ingredients on a table for quesatacos

Ingredients for Birria Tacos

  • Chuck roast – Sirloin roast, blade roast, tri-tip roasts all will work. A little fat goes a long way for flavor.
  • Guajillo peppers – Traditional chiles used in quesotacos. These have a mild flavor and give color to the meat. They can be found in most grocery stores these days I find. They are usually near the dried mushrooms and other peppers.
  • Seasonings – Salt, pepper, cumin, smoked paprika, dried oregano, and cinnamon add warmth to the birria meat.
  • Olive oil – Other neutral oils will work as well.
  • Tomato paste – Gives a light tomato base and richness to the stew.
  • Beef or Chicken broth – Adds more flavor than using water, though you can add extra water if needed. Beef broth can be used as well. 
  • Bay leaves & cloves – Added in a spice pouch to infuse the meat with even more flavor. 
  • Chipotle peppers in adobo – Adds slight heat to the dish and also deepens the flavor of the stew.
  • White vinegar – A little bit of acidity balances out the many rich flavors and adds a pop.
  • Chopped onion & garlic – Aromatics that appear in nearly every taco recipe.
  • Flour tortillas – For serving. You can use corn tortillas as well if that’s your preference. 
  • Optional toppings – Fresh cilantro and red onion and grated or crumbled cojita or Mexican cheese of choice. 

See the recipe card below for exact quantities.

The best birria taco recipe ever on a platter.

Toppings and Serving Ideas

I love to serve my Quesabirria tacos with some fresh cilantro, diced red onion, and a sprinkle of crumbled cotija cheese. Here are a few other ideas:

  • Avocado slices
  • Guacamole
  • Diced tomato
  • Fresh pico de gallo
  • Other types of cheese

Birria is most commonly served in tortillas, as we do in this Beef Birria Tacos Recipe. However, if tacos aren’t your thing, the beef birria can be served as a stew.

You can also use the meat in burritos and quesadillas or as a topping on salads, taco bowls, or anything else that needs a rich, hearty meat topping. 

How to Make Birria Tacos

  1. To begin making your Quesabirria Tacos, toast the peppers by adding them to a pan, without any oil, for 2-3 minutes. 
  2. At the same time, bring a large pot of water to boil. Remove the pot from the heat and add the roasted peppers. Soak for 15 minutes. Remove the tops of the peppers and hang them upside down. The seeds should slip right out. Set the peppers aside. Or you can boil water and pour the boiling water into a heat-proof bowl and add the peppers to soak as well. Whatever is easier works.

  1. Prepare the beef by cutting the roast into 2 or 3 steaks. Pat each one dry using paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat 1/2 tsp of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add one steak at a time and sear on both sides to brown and lock in the juices. Once seared, set aside. 

  1. Lower the heat and quickly add the olive oil, cumin, cinnamon, and paprika. Stir for just 30 seconds then add in the tomato paste. Cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. 
  2. Add one cup of water to the pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape up all of the dark bits on the bottom of the pan.
  3. Place the seared steak and tomato mixture into the slow cooker.

  1. Create a spice pouch with cloves and bay leaves. Toss it into the pot along with chicken stock and oregano.
  2. Add the chili peppers, half of the onion, garlic, chili in adobo sauce, and vinegar to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Add to the pot and stir to combine. 
  3. Cover and let cook on high for 3-4 hours. The meat should be fork-tender and shred easily with forks.
  1. Remove the pot from the heat. Transfer the beef to a serving dish and shred using two forks. Discard any fatty pieces. Add 1/3 cup of the sauce to the beef and mix to moisten. Keep the remaining birria consomme for dipping.
  2. Dip the taco shell into birria consomme and flip carefully so that both sides are moistened.
  3. Preheat a non-stick pan or cast iron skillet to medium-high heat. Place the dipped taco in the pan and top with a 1/4 cup of shredded cheese. Let it melt for a minute before adding a 1/2 cup of the Beef Birria filling.
  1. Let the Birria taco cook until the cheese is melted and then carefully use a spatula to fold the taco shell in half. Let it rest for about 30 seconds and then carefully turn it over to cook the other side a little longer. The outside of the taco shell should be slightly browned and the cheese melted.
  2. Remove from the pan and serve alongside the Birria Consomme for dipping.

Tips

  • Adjust the Spice Level: To adjust the level of spice in the recipe, you can experiment with the amount of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce used. Start with a smaller amount, like 2-3 tablespoons, and taste the sauce. Add more chipotle if you want a spicier heat, or omit it entirely for a milder flavor.
  • Utilize Slow Cooker Convenience: The slow cooker is perfect for making this dish, as it allows the flavors to meld together over several hours. Simply sear the meat, add all the ingredients to the slow cooker, and let it cook on low for 6-8 hours until the beef is incredibly tender.
  • Customize the Cheese: While the recipe calls for Chihuahua or mozzarella cheese, you can use any melty Mexican cheese blend that you prefer, such as Oaxaca, Monterey Jack, or a combination.
  • Enhance the Dipping Sauce: To make the most of the rich, flavorful birria dipping sauce, consider adding a squeeze of fresh lime juice or a sprinkle of chopped cilantro just before serving.
  • Prepare for Leftovers: This recipe makes a large batch, so be sure to have storage containers ready to enjoy the leftovers. The shredded birria beef freezes very well, allowing you to easily reheat and assemble quesotacos in the future.

Storage

Store: Leftover birria can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. You’ll want to wait until serving to assemble the tacos and store all of the toppings, like the cheese, separately. Be sure to store the birria with all of the extra sauce, to keep it nice and moist.

Freeze: If you want to freeze the birria stew, you can do so in a tightly sealed container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. Note that you should not freeze the taco shells, the toppings, or the assembled birria tacos. You’ll want to assemble, dip, and cook the tacos after reheating the birria stew, just before serving.

Reheat: Thaw frozen beef birria overnight in the fridge then reheat in a pan before serving. You can also toss it in a slow cooker and heat it on low for 2 to 3 hours until heated through. If the reheated beef birria appears dry, add in more beef broth as needed.

Slow cooker birria tacos on a platter.

Quesotacos FAQs

What is the best cheese to use?

Grated Chihuahua or Oaxaca cheese is traditionally added to quesabirria tacos. If you can’t find either of them, shredded mozzarella, Monterrey Jack, or a Mexican cheese blend will also work.

Can I make Quesabirria Tacos with other types of meat?

Quesotacos are traditionally made with goat, though beef birria has become a very popular variation. You can also make these tacos with veal, lamb, pork, or chicken depending on your preferences. Pretty much any protein except for fish would work. 

Can these Quesotacos be made on the stove?

Yes! You’ll want to follow all the instructions just as you would for slow cooking, except simmer the meat in the oven or on the stove top in a heavy bottomed pot with a lid for 2-3 hours.

Two quesatacos on a white tray with lime beef birria diping sauce and cheese.

What To Serve With Quesabirria Tacos

While tacos can certainly stand on their own as a meal, they also pair well with other Mexican and Tex Mex sides. Here are a few of my favorite things to serve with these quesotacos:

And, of course, you can’t forget the drinks! Nothing pairs better with some tacos than a Myer Lemon Margarita – except for maybe a traditional Paloma!

Birria tacos on a white plate with limes.

More Mexican-Inspired Recipes:

A platter or quesabirria tacos with consomme and cilantro.

Slow Cooker Birria Quesotacos

Alisa Infanti | The Delicious Spoon
Tortillas are first filled with shredded cheese and beef that’s been marinated and cooked to tender, flavourful perfection, dipped in the birria consomme and panfried. A tasty flavourful taco inside and out!
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes
Course Dinner, Luch
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8 tacos
Calories 464 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 ½ lb chuck roast
  • 3 dried guajillo peppers
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp smoke paprika
  • 1 ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tbsp olive oil divided
  • 5 ½ oz tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 quart beef or chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 9 whole cloves
  • 7 oz chipotle peppers in adobo sauce or 1 small can
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 6-8 7" corn tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded Chihuahua or mozzarella cheese

Instructions
 

  • Add peppers dry to a pan over medium-high heat and toast for a 3-5 minutes.
  • While they are toasting boil a large pot of water.  Remove from heat and then soak the toasted peppers for about 15 minutes. Remove the tops of the peppers after soaking and then hang them upside down over the pot of water and the seeds should slip right out. Set aside.
  • Cut the roast into 2 or3 steaks. Pat the steaks dry with a paper towel and then season with salt and pepper on both sides.
  • Add 1/2 tbsp of olive oil to a large pan. Sear one steak at a time to a large pan over medium-high heat. Sear the meat on both sides to brown and lock in the juices.  Remove and set aside.
  • Lower heat to medium and quickly add in one tbsp of olive oil, cumin, cinnamon and paprika, stirring for about 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste and let cook, stirring occasionally for another minute.
  • Add one cup of water to the pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape up all of the dark bits on the bottom of the pan. This process is called deglazing.
  • Place the seared steak and tomato mixture into the slow cooker. Pour in the beef or chicken stock and add the oregano. Toss in the spice pouch of cloves and bay leaves.
  • To a blender or food processor add the chili peppers, ½ of the onion, garlic, chili in adobo sauce and vinegar. Blend on high until smooth.
  • Add the chili mixture to the slow cooker and stir to combine.
  • Cover and let cook on high for 3-4 hours or until meat is fork-tender and can be shredded. Ensure meat is just covered with liquid and if need be add a little water.
  • Shred the beef using two forks in a separate serving dish and discard any fatty pieces. Add a ¼ cup of sauce and mix to moisten.
  • Dip the taco shell into the birria consomme to moisten both sides.
  • Add the a 1/4 cup of cheese to the top of the taco shell and let it melt for a minute. Add a 1/2 cup of the beef birria to the top and let cook for another 30 seconds or so before carefully using a spatula to fold the taco shelf over to a half moon. Let cook another 30 seconds before carefully flipping over and letting cook for another 30 seconds or until the shell is lightly browned and the cheese is melted.
  • Remove the Birria Taco from the heat and serve alongside the Birria Consomme for dipping.

Nutrition

Serving: 1tacoCalories: 464kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 37gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 120mgSodium: 1480mgPotassium: 859mgFiber: 5gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 711IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 223mgIron: 6mg

Notes

Storage and Freezing
Store leftover Birria in the fridge in a tightly sealed container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.  Thaw overnight in the fridge and rewarm in a pan adding more broth if needed or thaw in a slow cooker.
Do not dip the tacos into the Birria Consomme until you are ready to fry and eat them or the shells may become soggy and fall apart.
 
 
 
Please Note:

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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For the step-by-step version of this recipe, check out the How To Make Beef Birria Tacos Story.

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