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Quesabirria Tacos

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Quesabirria tacos have exploded in popularity over the last few years, and for good reason! These tacos feature insanely tender beef that is braised in a rich, spicy red chile sauce and stuffed into warm corn tortillas along with melted cheese. The result? An absolute flavor bomb and new taco obsession in one bite!

I first tried quesabirria tacos at a local food truck here and was completely blown away. I could not stop thinking about the incredible flavors and knew I had to try making them myself at home. Well friends, I’m excited to report my homemade version totally delivers on the deliciousness! With just a few simple ingredients and some time to let that beef bathe in spices all day, you’ll have incredibly rich, fall-apart beef ready to enjoy in soft, cheesy tacos.

If you haven’t already hopped aboard the quesabirria train, it’s time to give this trendy taco a try. These melt-in-your-mouth tacos really live up to the hype. I can’t wait for you to experience these amazing flavors and textures for yourself!

Can I use a slow cooker instead of simmering the meat on the stovetop?

Absolutely! Just combine the beef, sauce ingredients, bay leaves, broth and seasonings in a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 4-5 hours, until beef is fall-apart tender. Proceed with shredding the beef and finishing the tacos as directed. The great thing about using a slow cooker is you can just let it do its thing for hours without having to monitor it as closely.

What toppings should I serve with these tacos?

The possibilities are endless! Some great toppings options beyond the cheese and shredded meat already included are: diced white or red onion, fresh cilantro, minced jalapeños, sliced radishes, pineapple or mango salsa, Mexican-style crema, guacamole, lime wedges, shredded lettuce or cabbage, refried or black beans, crumbled queso fresco, and diced avocado. Let guests build their own custom tacos!

I don’t have Mexican oregano. Can I substitute a different oregano variety?

Yes, if you don’t have Mexican oregano on hand you can substitute regular Mediterranean oregano. Use about half the amount called for since Mediterranean oregano has a bolder, more pungent flavor. The overall flavor profile may change slightly but the general deliciousness will remain intact! Alternatively, you could swap the same quantity of marjoram or thyme to allow those notes to shine.

Can I prepare these tacos ahead of time?

To help streamline serving, you can prep all the components in advance. Simmer the shredded beef a day ahead, then let cool and refrigerate until needed. Store the tortillas wrapped tightly at room temp up to 5 days ahead. Prepare any salsa, guacamole etc. toppings ahead too. When ready to serve, gently reheat beef until hot. Crisp tortillas in the oven or microwave briefly right before filling, then assemble tacos and enjoy!

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 mins


  • 3 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 medium white onion, roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup beef broth or water
  • 1⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 3 Guajillo chiles, stems removed
  • 5 California chiles, stems removed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Corn tortillas
  • Shredded Oaxaca, mozzarella, or Monterey jack cheese
  • Lime wedges, onions, cilantro etc. for serving.


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the chiles and boil for about 5 minutes to soften. Drain chiles and transfer to a blender along with 1 cup water, vinegar, cumin, oregano, onion, garlic and 1 tsp salt. Blend until completely smooth then pour over beef in a large pot or Dutch oven.
  2. Add bay leaves and beef broth to pot and season beef generously with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 2 1⁄2 to 3 hours, until beef is fall-apart tender when pierced with a fork.
  3. Once beef is cooked, use two forks to shred the meat, right in the pot, into bite-size pieces. Continue simmering for 10-15 minutes for flavors to further develop.
  4. When ready to serve, preheat oven to 350°F. Dip tortillas briefly in sauce then place in oven for a few minutes until warm and pliable.
  5. Fill tortillas with cheese then generous spoonfuls of beef and additional sauce. Fold in half and serve immediately with extra lime wedges, onions, cilantro etc. alongside. Dip bites of tacos into extra sauce for the best experience!

Cooking Tips:

  • Look for dried chiles without any cracks or holes, which indicates freshness. Seeding is optional but will reduce heat. Rinse well before cooking.
  • Pat beef dry before seasoning for best browning. Don’t worry if broth doesn’t fully cover later on, it will create steam.
  • Stir beef halfway through and check liquid level. Add more if needed to prevent scorching bottom.
  • Shred beef to your desired texture when tender. Continue simmering intensifies flavor.
  • Briefly steaming tortillas prevents cracking but keeps nice char marks when finishing in oven.
  • Feel free to bump up quantity of any sauce ingredients to suit your tastes!

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