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Easy Birria Tacos Recipe

Slofoodgroup Team July 29, 2023

Simple Crockpot Quesabirria Tacos

Birria tacos, or quesabirrias (when containing cheese), are succulent, comforting, incredibly flavorful, and messy. What’s not to love? The classic way of making birria tacos involves soaking dried peppers, marinating meat, preparing a rich stew, and dredging tortillas in cooking juices before frying them and continuing on to the assembly process. They are filled with tender, fall-of-the-bone beef, melty cheese (for quesabirria), refreshing cilantro, and crisp onions. Next, they are folded and fried further. Because no good sauce should be wasted, they are then dipped into a bowl of the rich cooking sauce prior to every bite! Are you salivating yet?

Yes, they are delicious, but the classic method is very time-consuming, and when they are prepared one-at-a-time on the stove and you are feeding a crowd, some folks will end up eating cold tacos. We wanted to take some steps out of the process, using dried chiles, cooking the stew in a crockpot, and finishing the tacos in an oven, rather than on the stove (to ensure everybody gets piping hot tacos).

Easy Quesabirria Tacos to Feed a Crowd


  • 1 large, white onion, chopped and divided
  • 4 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 3 tablespoons corn flour
  • 3-4 pounds bone-in beef shank
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 2 teaspoon pasilla powder
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoons Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for seasoning shank
  • 1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning shank
  • 3 cloves, ground
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed, ground
  • 4 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin seed
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 5 ounces Oaxaca cheese (optional addition for quesabirria)
  • 12 corn tortillas


  1. Season your beef liberally with salt and pepper.
  2. Place the corn flour on a plate and press the beef shank into it, coating all sides
  3. Heat the pan on med-high and add 2 tablespoons avocado oil and place your meat into the pan to form a slight golden brown crust (about 3 minutes). Flip and do the same with all sides. Pull the beef shank out and set aside.
  4. Turn the heat down to low, add the remaining avocado oil and add ¾ of your chopped onions. Sweat the onions until they are translucent
  5. Stir in the chipotle powder, pasilla powder, tomato paste, Mexican oregano, sea salt, black pepper, minced garlic, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, coriander, and cloves. Thoroughly combine.
  6. Stir in the lime juice and tomatoes.
  7. Pour the mixture into the crockpot and stir in the beef stock. Using an immersion blender, thoroughly blend (if you don’t have an immersion blender, just use a blender or food processor before adding it to the crockpot)
  8. Place the beef shank into the crockpot and thoroughly cover with the sauce.
  9. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours (based on your crockpot’s settings).
  10. Remove the beef shank from the mixture and set on a plate. Use a couple of forks to shred the meat.
  11. Heat a pan on the stove over medium heat and preheat the oven to 300℉. Slightly oil a sheet pan.
  12. Dredge the tortillas one at a time and place them in the pan, cook for about 30 seconds per side.
  13. Add the shredded beef, cilantro, onions, and Oaxaca cheese to the tortilla and fold. Place it on a pan.
  14. Repeat the last two steps until all of your tortillas are filled and move the pan to the oven to bake for 8-10 minutes.
  15. Meanwhile, fill small dishes with the remaining sauce for dipping.
  16. The tacos should be dipped into the sauce with each bite.