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Mexican Birria Recipe
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5 from 10 votes

Mexican Birria Recipe (Goat or Beef Stew)

This birria recipe is an iconic meat stew from the Mexican state of Jalisco of lamb, goat or beef cooked low and slow in a seasoned chili sauce.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time3 hrs 30 mins
Marinating2 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: ancho, beef, goat, guajillo, lamb, stew
Servings: 6
Calories: 314kcal


  • 5 ancho peppers stems and seeds removed
  • 5 guajillo peppers stems and seeds removed
  • 2-3 chiles de arbol optional, for spicier
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large white onion chopped
  • 3 large tomatoes chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 large roasted tomatoes chopped
  • 4 cups beef stock separated
  • 3.5 pound lamb shoulder or you can use beef shank or chuck roast


  • Heat a large pan to medium heat and add the dried peppers. Dry toast them in the hot pan 1-2 minutes per side, until the skins darken.
  • Remove from heat and add the toasted peppers to a large bowl. Cover with hot water and steep 20 minutes, or until softened.
  • While the peppers are rehydrating, heat the olive oil in the same pan to medium heat.
  • Add the onion and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes to soften.
  • Add the garlic and cook another 1 minute, stirring.
  • Add the cooked onion, tomatoes and garlic to a food processor.
  • Remove the softened chilies and add to the food processor, but reserve the soaking liquid.
  • Add the seasonings to the food processor along with the vinegar and 1 cup beef stock. Process until smooth. It should be fairly thick. You can strain if you’d like for a smoother sauce. See the RECIPE NOTES below.
  • Cut the lamb (or beef) into large chunks and add to a large bowl.
  • Pour the birria sauce over them and rub it into the meat. Cover and marinate the meat in the refrigerator for 2 hours minimum. Overnight is better.
  • When you’re ready to cook, add the meat with all of the marinade, the chopped roasted tomatoes and remaining 3 cups beef broth to a large pot. Cover and cook at medium heat for 3 hours, or until the meat is fork tender and easy to shred. Add more beef stock or some of the reserved soaking liquid if needed for a soupier birria.
  • Serve the braised birria into bowls as a soup, or shred the meat and serve it up onto tortillas as birria tacos, with the reserved liquid consome from the pot as a side soup/broth.


For a much smoother sauce, strain it through a fine sieve to remove any lingering bits if needed. Also, some people find the skins of anchos and guajillos to be slightly bitter, and straining can reduce this.


Calories: 314kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 107mg | Sodium: 1607mg | Potassium: 1111mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2125IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 5mg