Birria is a spicy Mexican meat stew often served during festive periods, such as Christmas, New Year's Eve, Mother's Day, and weddings. Originally from Jalisco, it is a common dish in Mexican food outlets. It is served with corn tortillas, onion, coriander, and lime wedges.

It can be made goat, lamb or mutton as well as beef and pork.

Birria is made using a base of dried roasted peppers. This gives birria both its characteristic savouriness as well as its remarkable variety, as different cooks will choose different peppers to use for the stock base. Birria is served by combining a bowl of broth with freshly chopped roasted meat of the customer's choice.

Eat it by filling a corn tortilla with meat, onions and coriander, seasoning with fresh squeezed lime juice, and then dipping it into the broth before eating it. The broth itself is also eaten with a spoon or by drinking from the bowl.

see Chef's notes

Mexican stew: Birria
Servings:4 to 6 people
Calories per serving:681
Ready in:3 hours, 5 minutes
Prep. time:20 minutes
Cook time:2 hours, 45 minutes
Difficulty:Average difficulty
Recipe author:JuliaBalbilla
First published:2nd January 2013

Best recipe review

Christmas Dinner!


And it's cheaper than turkey, and easier to find this year 😒



Printable 🖨 shopping 🛒 list & 👩‍🍳 method for this recipe


  1. Stew
  2. Add the hot chillies to a food processor together with a half a cup of hot water and blitz to a purée. If you used dried chillies, use the water they were soaked in.
  3. In a large iron casserole dish or Dutch oven, heat a little olive oil and in batches, brown the steak and the ribs with the onions and garlic.
  4. Add the water and bring to the boil, reduce the heat, add the remaining ingredients, cover and simmer for 2 hours.
  5. After 2 hours, remove the cover and simmer for a remaining 45 minutes, keeping your eye on it but allowing it to reduce a little.
  6. Sauce
  7. Blend the vinegar, garlic and chilli powder, salt and sugar. IF possible leave for an hour or so to allow the flavours to develop.

Serving suggestions

Sprinkle with coriander and onions, squeeze over with a wedge of lime and serve with cornmeal tortillas and lime wedges and a side-dish of sauce.

Uk Suppliers

The Cool Chile Co can supply the dried chilli varieties used in this recipe, and also the masa harina to make your own cornmeal tortillas.

Chef's notes

I have to say I found this a fairly disappointing recipe after all the effort involved. I reduced the amount of water from the original by almost a litre and it was still fairly bland. Next time I will make it more substantial by adding potatoes at the end. Vegetable stock or chicken stock, instead of water would have lifted it a little and finally, I would add some hot chillies to the mole to make it a more robust dish. I need to go to Mexico to try the original!

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