Tender braised, flavorful beef birria and lots of melty oaxaca cheese, makes this THE BEST recipe for Quesabirria Tacos! Served with rich, birria broth on the side for dipping, after just one bite, you’ll be asking for more of these incredibly delicious, authentic Mexican tacos!

quesabirria tacos on plate with side of tomato beef broth in a small bowl

Quesabirria tacos are also known as birria tacos, queso birria tacos, or red tacos. The name “red tacos” comes from the color of the tortilla after you dip it in the tomato chili birria broth. No matter what you call these tacos, they’re downright delicious! Rich, beefy birria, paired with melty cheese is a match made in taco heaven!

If you’re not familiar with birria, it’s an authentic Mexican dish made by marinating goat meat, lamb or beef, in a combination of guajillo chiles, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, spices, tomatoes and vinegar. The meat is then slow braised on the stove in a large dutch oven, or in a slow cooker.

After preparing the birria, it’s easy to make these tacos in just a few minutes. I love to prepare a big batch of birria stew over the weekend, then use the leftover birria meat in different recipes throughout the week. Obviously, I always serve these quesabirria tacos on Taco Tuesday!

While birria is originally from the state of Jalisco in Mexico, these quesabirria tacos are from Tijuana, just about 20 miles down the road from me in San Diego. They’ve become incredibly popular in food trucks and restaurants, but now you can easily make them at home anytime, using this simple, scrumptious recipe!

ingredients for quesabirria tacos on white wood board

Ingredients

  • Birria (prepared) – click the link to the left to grab my homemade birria recipe. It’s easy to make with beef chuck roast, dried chiles, spices, vinegar and beef broth. After preparing the birria, keep the shredded beef birria separate from the braising liquid, also known as consomé, to make this recipe.
  • Corn tortillas – for this recipe you’ll want fresh, thick corn tortillas that can hold up to being dipped in the consomé without falling apart. Thin tortillas will not work for this recipe. And older tortillas, that are not as fresh, are also more likely to fall apart.
  • Oaxaca cheese – this semisoft Mexican cheese melts perfectly in these quesabirria tacos. If you can’t find oaxaca cheese at your local grocery store, I recommend using Monterey jack or mozzarella cheese in it’s place.

Instructions

For this recipe, you’ll want to start by preparing the birria. You can use my marinated birria recipe that’s easy to make on the stovetop, in the oven or in a slow cooker. You can make the birria up to 5 days in advance and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to make the tacos.

While birria takes time to make, this is what gives it the wonderful depth of flavor. And I promise that after you slow braise beef birria in a pot on the stove, or in a slow cooker, it will be well worth the time and effort once you try these tacos!

  1. Heat a large skillet, or cast iron griddle, on the stove over medium-high heat. Cover with cooking spray, or brush the skillet with vegetable oil.
  2. Dip a corn tortilla in the consomé (broth) from the birria. Make sure it’s covered on both sides.
  3. Add the tortilla to the hot skillet. Cook for 30 seconds, then flip.
  4. Add shredded (or thinly sliced pieces) of oaxaca cheese to one side of the tortilla. Top the cheese with shredded beef birria, then fold the tortilla over the beef and cheese.
  5. Cook for 30-60 seconds, or until the cheese melts in the tacos.
  6. Remove the quesabirria taco from the skillet and repeat, making as many tacos as you’d like.
quesabirria tacos on plate with a side bowl of consomé

What to serve with them

For a traditional serving, top the quesabirria tacos with diced onions and fresh chopped cilantro. Serve the tacos with a small bowl of the birra broth (consomé) on the side, to use as a dipping sauce for the tacos. I recommend serving these tacos with forks. Or just plan to get a little messy. Your choice, I don’t judge!

I also like adding lime wedges on the side. A little squeeze of lime juice on top of these tacos adds a wonderful zest of flavor.

To make a Mexican feast, I always like adding one or two of these side dishes to pair with the tacos.

Recipe tips

  • If you’re making this recipe with leftover birria meat and broth, that has been stored in the refrigerator, you can reheat them together in a pot on the stove, then use tongs to remove the beef before making the tacos. You can also reheat them separately by reheating the broth in a pot on the stove, and reheating the beef in a skillet with 1-2 tablespoons of the broth to keep it moist.
  • Using a cast iron griddle means that you can make more tacos at one time, than if you’re using a skillet. Depending on the size of the skillet, you will only be able to prepare 1 or 2 tacos at a time. If you don’t have a griddle available, you can always use two skillets to speed up the process. The nice thing is, the tacos take less than 2 minutes to make, so it goes quickly, even in a traditional skillet!
  • Always use fresh, thick corn tortillas! I know that I already mentioned this above, but it’s really important for the success of these tacos. Using thin, or dried-out tortillas, will result in them ripping when dipped in the broth. For this recipe I don’t recommend tortillas labeled as “super soft” or “extra thin”.
  • I don’t recommend storing, or reheating leftover quesabirria tacos. The tortilla will become soggy from the broth if not eaten immediately. Instead, I recommend making just as many as you’d like to eat right then. They’re so easy to make, you can always store the birria and broth in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container. Then you can make more tacos later. These tacos really are best when they’re hot and fresh!
  • These tacos are naturally gluten free, when made with corn tortillas, using my homemade birria recipe.
  • The only difference between birria tacos and quesabirria tacos is the addition of cheese. Which in my humble opinion, is a very delicious addition! A quesabirria taco is somewhere between a taco and a quesadilla, and I’m here for it!
  • The spice level of these tacos will depend on the spice level of the birria. The birria recipe I’ve linked to in this post has a medium spice level. You can make it more spicy by adding more arbol chiles. Or to make it less spicy, omit the arbol chiles.
  • This recipe makes 16 tacos, but can easily be doubled. The birria recipe makes enough beef and broth to make double or triple the amount of tacos. I recommend 2-4 tacos per person, just depending on how hungry your group is. If there’s anything else served on the side, you’ll probably only need 2-3 tacos per person.
quesabirria tacos on plate

More taco recipes

Fill up your calendar with each of these taco recipes to make Taco Tuesday a weekly tradition!

And don’t miss this recipe for Birria Ramen, another delicious way to turn leftover birria into an incredible meal!

quesabirria tacos stacked up on plate
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Quesabirria Tacos

Tender braised, flavorful beef birria and lots of melty oaxaca cheese, makes this THE BEST recipe for Quesabirria Tacos! Served with rich, birria broth on the side for dipping, after just one bite, you'll be asking for more of these incredibly delicious, authentic Mexican tacos!

Ingredients

Optional toppings

  • ½ cup diced red onions
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 2 limes, sliced into wedges

Instructions

  • Start by preparing the birria, using the recipe linked to the left.
  • Once the birria is prepared, keep the beef and broth separate.
  • Heat a large skillet, or cast iron griddle, on the stove over medium-high heat.
  • Coat the skillet with cooking spray, or brush the skillet with vegetable oil.
  • Dip a corn tortilla in the consomé (broth) from the birria, making sure it’s covered on both sides.
  • Add the tortilla to the hot skillet. Cook for 30 seconds, then flip.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of shredded oaxaca cheese to one side of the tortilla.
  • Top the cheese with about 1/4 cup shredded beef birria, then fold the tortilla over the beef and cheese.
  • Cook for 30-60 seconds, or until the cheese melts in the tacos.
  • Remove the quesabirria taco from the skillet and repeat, making as many tacos as you’d like.
  • Optionally serve topped with diced onions and fresh cilantro, with lime wedges, and warm consomé in a small bowl on the side for dipping.

Notes

  • If you’re making this recipe with leftover birria meat and broth, that has been stored in the refrigerator, you can reheat them together in a pot on the stove, then use tongs to remove the beef before making the tacos. You can also reheat them separately by reheating the broth in a pot on the stove, and reheating the beef in a skillet with 1-2 tablespoons of the broth to keep it moist.
  • Using a cast iron griddle means that you can make more tacos at one time, than if you’re using a skillet. Depending on the size of the skillet, you will only be able to prepare 1 or 2 tacos at a time. If you don’t have a griddle available, you can always use two skillets to speed up the process. The nice thing is, the tacos take less than 2 minutes to make, so it goes quickly, even in a traditional skillet!
  • Always use fresh, thick corn tortillas! Using thin, or dried-out tortillas, will result in them ripping when dipped in the broth. For this recipe I don’t recommend tortillas labeled as “super soft” or “extra thin”.
  • I don’t recommend storing, or reheating leftover quesabirria tacos. The tortilla will become soggy from the broth if not eaten immediately. Instead, I recommend making just as many as you’d like to eat right then. They’re so easy to make, you can always store the birria and broth in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container. Then you can make more tacos later. These tacos really are best when they’re hot and fresh!
  • These tacos are naturally gluten free, when made with corn tortillas, using my homemade birria recipe.
  • This recipe makes 16 tacos, but can easily be doubled. The birria recipe makes enough beef and broth to make double the amount of tacos. I recommend 2-4 tacos per person, just depending on how hungry your group is. If there’s anything else served on the side, you’ll probably only need 2-3 tacos per person.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 271kcal (14%)Carbohydrates 14g (5%)Protein 19g (38%)Fat 16g (25%)Saturated Fat 9g (45%)Polyunsaturated Fat 1gMonounsaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0.4gCholesterol 51mg (17%)Sodium 425mg (18%)Potassium 278mg (8%)Fiber 2g (8%)Sugar 1g (1%)Vitamin A 35mg (1%)Vitamin C 3mg (4%)Calcium 52mg (5%)Iron 2mg (11%)
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