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Last Updated on August 10, 2022

Mexican cuisine is an all-time favorite with people of all ethnicities, and for good reason. Not only are Mexican dishes so diverse, but they’re also incredibly yummy, and of course, quesabirria tacos are no exception.

Quesabirra tacos on a plate with the sauce on the side

So, if you’ve been looking for a quesabirria recipe that will set your taste buds tingling, you’ve come to the right place. I’ll tell you all you need to do to make the best quesabirria tacos you’ve ever tasted. So, let’s get cracking, shall we?

What Is a Quesabirria Taco?

A quesabirria taco being dipped in sauce

Originating in Tijuana, a quesabirria taco is the upgraded, cheese-filled edition of a birria taco. Since the cheese plays such a huge part in this dish, you’ll sometimes hear quesabirria tacos being referred to as quesatacos.

Now, if you’re unfamiliar with what birria tacos are, they’re essentially corn tortillas stuffed with exquisitely tender and flavorful meat.

Now, traditionally, birria tacos were made with goat meat. However, nowadays, it’s much more common to use birria de res, which is shredded beef that’s been cooked in stew broth with a variety of aromatic spices.

And once you add cheese to that delectable birria meat, you’ll have yourself some amazing quesabirria tacos that will make your mouth water in an instant.

What Goes into a Quesabirria Taco?

Quite a lot of things, to be honest, but don’t let it scare you. Quesabirria tacos are positively painless to make, even for a beginner. All you have to do is find and use the right ingredients, and you’ll be good to go. 

So, now that that’s out of the way let’s see what goes into quesabirria tacos.

To make things simple, you can divide a quesabirria taco into 3 parts: the actual meat, the stew in which you’ll cook the meat, and the tortilla. So, let’s see what you’ll need for each part. 

The Meat: 

  • Beef chuck roast, which is a cut of beef that has just the right amount of fat to make the meat juicy, tender, and chock-full of flavor. Of course, if you’ve got goat meat available, then use it, but beef chuck roast cut into 1-inch cubes will be just as good, if not better. 
Seasoning chuck beef in a bowl for quesabirria taco

The Stew: 

  • Dried ancho chiles, which are basically dried-out red poblano peppers. If you can’t find these particular chiles, then guajillo peppers will be a good alternative. 
  • Mexican chiles, though you can also use jalapenos or chipotle peppers in adobo sauce if need be.
  • Apple cider vinegar to balance the salty notes of the dish.
  • Salt and pepper.
  • Smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper.
  • Olive oil, or any other vegetable oil, to brown the beef.
  • Chopped tomatoes and onions.
  • Beef broth, preferably freshly made, to bring out the best possible flavor of the dish. Don’t resort to bouillon cubes unless you absolutely have to.
  • Bay leaves.
  • Garlic cloves
  • Coriander
Ingredients to make quesabirria tacos

The Tortilla:

  • Corn tortillas, though flour tortillas can serve in a pinch.
  • Shredded cheese, such as Oaxaca cheese, which is a mildly-flavored, melty cheese commonly used in Latin-American cuisine. However, if it’s hard to come by, then mozzarella will be just fine. 
  • Fresh cilantro to garnish the tacos.
Corn tortilla in sauce in a pan.

How to Make Quesabirria Tacos

So, now that you know what goes into a quesabirria taco, let’s see how to make one from scratch, shall we?

A pot of beef cooking

Ingredients 

1 1⁄2 lbs beef chuck, cut into 2 inches pieces

3 tsp salt to season the meat.
5 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
1⁄2 large peeled onion, cut into quarters

3 medium beef tomatoes, cut into chucks

8 cloves garlic, sliced
2 cups water
2 1⁄2 cups beef stock

3 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
4 dried New Mexico chiles, stemmed and seeded

1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp cumin
1⁄2 tbsp coriander powder
2 fresh bay leaves
2 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 tsp ground ginger

6 large corn tortillas
4 cups mozzarella cheese

1 onion, finely diced
1⁄4 cup cilantro, chopped

1⁄2 tbsp lime juice

Instructions 

STEPS: 

1. Seasoned the meat with 3 tbsp salt 

2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in the heavy bottom pot over medium-high heat. Sear each side of the meat for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside. 

3. Add another 2 tbsp oil to the pot and add the onion. Sauté until just soft and then add the garlic; sauté until fragrance. 

4. And the chunked tomatoes, sauté for 2 minutes. 

5. Add water and all the chilies. Boil for 15 minutes. 

6. Pour them into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. 

7. When it’s already smooth, pour it back into the pot, and add the meat and beef stock. 8. Seasoned with salt, pepper, vinegar, cumin, coriander, bay leaves, oregano, and ginger. Let them boil. Cover with the lid, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until the beef is very tender about 2-3 hours. Stir occasionally. 

9. Remove the meat and shred using a fork. Add 1 cup of the consommé. Mix well and set aside. 

HOW TO ASSEMBLE 

1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in the iron cast skillet. Dip each tortilla in the consommé and cook for 1 minute on each side. 

2. Top with ⅙ of cheese. On one side, add ⅙ braised shredded meat, then fold it. You may also add some diced onion and chopped cilantro before folding it. 

3. Cook again for several minutes on each side. Until it is just crisp and the cheese is fully melted. 

4. Put some consommé in a ramekin. Add the finely diced onion, chopped cilantro, and lime juice. 

5. Now, the Quesa Birria Tacos is ready to serve. 

How to Use Leftover Birria Meat

Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ll probably find yourself with a good portion of birria meat after taco night. So, the question is, what do you do with all this meat?

Thankfully, this question isn’t so hard to answer. There are plenty of ways you can make good use of that delicious meat without having to eat tacos for the rest of the week. So, let’s take a look at our options, shall we?

  1. Birria Stew: People seem to forget that birria meat can be eaten on its own as a stew. Simply serve the meat with some rice, chopped onions, and cilantro, and you’ve got yourself a healthy and delicious dinner. 
  2. Birria Burritos: If you want to continue Mexican food night, make yourself a birria burrito by adding your birria de res to a tortilla, then throwing in some cheese, pickled red onions, pinto/black beans, rice, guacamole, salsa, and sour cream. Finish by toasting the burrito in a heated skillet until golden.Now, if you don’t want the mess that comes with burritos, you can instead opt for birria burrito bowls, which are essentially the same ingredients plus some lettuce, tomatoes, corns, and crushed tortilla chips, all layered on top of each other in a bowl. 
  3. Birria Pizza: If you want something simple and fast, then go for a birria meat pizza. Just spread your beef on top of your favorite dough and pizza sauce, then finish with some cheesy goodness on top.
  4. Birria Taco Salad: For something light, add your birria meat to some chopped lettuce, sliced cucumbers, bell peppers, olives, shredded cabbage, and tomatoes. Then, sprinkle in some crushed tortilla chips and top it all off with a cilantro-lime dressing.
  5. Birria Ramen: For some great fusion cuisine, use the birria de res as your ramen broth and throw in your choice of toppings.
Quesabirria Tacos on a plate
Yield: 8

Quesabirria Tacos

The quesabirria taco is the crunchiest taco we have ever had. Dip it in the sauce for an extra added flavor that will satisfy your cravings.

Ingredients

  • 1 1⁄2 lbs beef chuck, cut into 2 inches pieces
  • 3 tsp salt to season the meat.
  • 
5 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
  • 
1⁄2 large peeled onion, cut into quarters
  • 3 medium beef tomatoes, cut into chucks
  • 8 cloves garlic, sliced

  • 2 cups water
  • 
2 1⁄2 cups beef stock
  • 3 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded

  • 4 dried New Mexico chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 
1⁄2 tbsp coriander powder

  • 2 fresh bay leaves

  • 2 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped

  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 6 large corn tortillas

  • 4 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 
1⁄4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1⁄2 tbsp lime juice

Instructions

STEPS: 

1. Seasoned the meat with 3 tbsp salt 

2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in the heavy bottom pot over medium-high heat. Sear each side of the meat for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside. 

3. Add another 2 tbsp oil to the pot and add the onion. Sauté until just soft and then add the garlic; sauté until fragrance. 

4. And the chunked tomatoes, sauté for 2 minutes. 

5. Add water and all the chilies. Boil for 15 minutes. 

6. Pour them into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. 

7. When it’s already smooth, pour it back into the pot, and add the meat and beef stock. 8. Seasoned with salt, pepper, vinegar, cumin, coriander, bay leaves, oregano, and ginger. Let them boil. Cover with the lid, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until the beef is very tender about 2-3 hours. Stir occasionally. 

9. Remove the meat and shred using a fork. Add 1 cup of the consommé. Mix well and set aside. 

HOW TO ASSEMBLE 

1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in the iron cast skillet. Dip each tortilla in the consommé and cook for 1 minute on each side. 

2. Top with ⅙ of cheese. On one side, add ⅙ braised shredded meat, then fold it. You may also add some diced onion and chopped cilantro before folding it. 

3. Cook again for several minutes on each side. Until it is just crisp and the cheese is fully melted. 

4. Put some consommé in a ramekin. Add the finely diced onion, chopped cilantro, and lime juice. 

5. Now, the Quesa Birria Tacos is ready to serve

Notes

If you want the birria spicier, you may keep the chile’s seed.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 413Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 120mgSodium: 1179mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 40g

Did you make this recipe?

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FAQs

Where Can I Find Dried Chiles? 

If you’re worried about finding the chiles needed for this birria taco recipe, don’t be. You can find all sorts of chiles in various Mexican markets and even regular grocery stores. And of course, if your neighborhood doesn’t offer much in the name of spices, you can always order your chiles online.

What Do I Serve With Birria Beef?

If you don’t particularly feel up to eating quesabirria tacos one day, you can pair your birria beef with a myriad of delicious side dishes like mac and cheese, potato salad, or just plain rice.

Are Quesabirria Tacos Spicy?

Not really, though they do pack a slight kick. Honestly, the multiple chiles used in any quesabirria tacos recipe are mainly used to give the dish a spicy, sweet note that cuts through and balances the rich birria broth.

Is There a Difference Between Birria Tacos and Quesabirria Tacos?

Other than the cheese, birria and quesabirria tacos are pretty much the same. However, it’s worth noting that birria tacos can be made with hard or soft taco shells as opposed to the tortillas regularly used with quesatacos.

Can I Store Birria Beef?

Absolutely. Store any leftover birria beef in an airtight container for up to seven days. And if you want to spare yourself the three-hour cooking time next time you want tacos, make a large batch of birria meat and freeze it in your fridge for up to 3 months.

To Wrap Up

Quesabirria tacos are a must-add to your family’s weekly dinner plan. Not only are they absolutely delicious, but they’re also incredibly easy to make.

Honestly, the hardest thing about this amazing Mexican dish is gathering the ingredients. However, once you get your hands on the stuff you need, you’ll be eating your tacos in a matter of hours.

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