Quesabirria consists of spicy, shredded beef cooked with melty cheese and served inside of tortillas for a dish that comes out like a cross between tacos and quesadillas. In other words, it’s the most delicious Mexican food! The birria beef is slow-cooked in a well-seasoned chile sauce, then served like crispy, cheesy tacos. Make these for Cinco de Mayo and don’t forget the margaritas!
What’s in Quesabirria?
Tender beef is simmered in a flavorful stew, shredded, and served with a side of consomé for the ultimate indulgent taco. This cheesy take on traditional birria is sure to leave you satisfied!
- Beef: I like to use boneless beef chuck roast. However, you can also use a combination of chuck roast and bone-in short ribs. If you have it available, you can also use oxtail in place of the short ribs.
- Chiles: Stemmed and seeded dried Guajillo chiles, dried Ancho chiles, and dried chiles de arbol give birria beef its characteristic deep red color and rich, complex flavor.
- Vegetable Oil: Helps the beef and tacos to brown without burning.
- Onion: Adds earthy flavor to the meat and a bite to the finished tacos.
- Tomatoes: Help form the base of the braising liquid, and adds acidity and rich tomato flavor.
- Garlic: Adds earthy flavor.
- Spices: Mexican oregano, kosher salt, cumin, black pepper, and ground cinnamon are classic Mexican seasonings.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Adds acidity to the braising liquid.
- Beef Stock: Forms the base of the braising liquid.
- Tortillas: I like corn tortillas for these quesabirria tacos because they get really crispy, but flour or cassava flour tortillas also work.
- Cheese: If you can find Oaxaca cheese, there’s nothing quite like it! Monterey jack works well in a pinch.
- Cilantro + Lime: Perfect bright and fresh accompaniments to birria meat.
Pro Tip: These are dipping tacos! Save some of the braising liquid for a delicious dipping sauce.
Variations on Quesa Birria
Believe it or not, you can make quesabirria with just about any meat. For chicken, swap the beef for boneless, skinless chicken thighs. For pork birria tacos, use pork shoulder. For a vegetarian version, try using jackfruit and vegetable broth.
To make vegan birria tacos, you’ll also need to swap out the cheese for a vegan alternative.
The main difference between birria and quesabirria is the addition of cheese! Quesabirria tacos have a lot more cheese and end up more of a cross between a taco and a quesadilla.
As long as you use corn tortillas, these tacos are gluten-free!
Chuck roast is the best meat for these tacos. You could also use a mix of half chuck roast and half beef short ribs or oxtail.
I use dried Guajilo, Ancho, and chiles de arbol, as they give you this wonderfully smoky, fruity flavor. However, you can use others. Just be aware that the spice levels and flavor will change slightly.
Typically they are found in the spice or condiment aisles.
These tacos are medium spicy but you can dial it up by adding in some chili powder or cayenne pepper.
Corn tortillas are classic and crisp up really well in the pan, but flour tortillas will also work.
How to Store and Reheat
Store leftover quesabirria meat in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Keep separate from the braising liquid until ready to assemble. Reheat in the microwave or in a pot set over medium-low heat until warmed through.
How to Freeze
Freeze quesa birria taco meat separately from the braising liquid in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Whether you are serving these tacos up for Cinco de Mayo food or Taco Tuesday, you can serve yummy side dishes, like Mexican Corn on the Cob, Mexican Street Corn Dip, Rotel Dip, or Tomatillo Avocado Salsa.
Traditional Mexican Rice and Refried Beans would also be delish! And they taste even better when served with your favorite margaritas.
More Beef Taco Recipes We Love
- Ground Beef Tacos
- Slow Cooker Beef Tacos
- Barbacoa Tacos
- Crockpot Beef Carnitas
- Steak and Egg Breakfast Tacos