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Slow Cooker Birria de Res is a virtually hands off way to enjoy the rich and deeply flavorful Mexican stew that originated in the state of Jalisco, but has become wildly popular in the United States. In this easy recipe it’s made with a combination of beef chuck roast and short ribs, vegetables, beef broth and an adobo of dried chiles, herbs and spices.
Though it’s delectable on its own, you shouldn’t overlook the possibilities this flavorful stew presents. Leftover birria meat and broth easily transform traditional dishes like tacos, quesadillas, and enchiladas, as well as fusion dishes like Birria Ramen.
Table of Contents
- Ingredients You Need to Make Birria in a Slow Cooker
- How rich do you want your broth to be?
- Why use a slow cooker (crock-pot)?
- A note on toasting chiles.
- Serving Options
- How to Store
- Try These Other Great Mexican Dishes at Home:
- More Mexican Soups
- How to Make Slow Cooker Birria de Res
- Recipe Video
- Slow Cooker Birria de Res Recipe
Ingredients You Need to Make Birria in a Slow Cooker
- Boneless Chuck Roast: or a larger bone-in chuck roast
- Fine Sea Salt: or about twice the amount of kosher salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Dried Oregano: ideally Mexican oregano
- Ground Cumin
- Ground Coriander
- Beef Broth: or beef bone broth, homemade or store bought
- Dried Guajillo Chiles
- Dried Ancho Chiles
- Onion: ideally white onion, but yellow onion works as well
- Garlic: fresh garlic cloves
- Apple Cider Vinegar: or white vinegar=
- Dried Bay Leaves: or fresh bay leaves
- White Onion
- Fresh Cilantro
- Lime Wedges
How rich do you want your broth to be?
The secret to the bold flavor of this Birria de Res is in the long, low simmer. The beef and bones spend several hours simmering in its own juices along with ample herbs and spices, which condenses the flavor to make the rich stew broth. Depending on how rich you want to make the resulting broth, you can either use a bone-in chuck roast or a boneless chuck roast with additional beef bones. The more bones you use, the richer the broth will be.
As the bones simmer, they release a protein called collagen, which adds body to the birria broth. Some chefs and home cooks prefer a broth that’s so heavy with collagen, it becomes gelatinous when cooled. Some prefer a thinner broth that remains liquid no matter the temperature. Keep your intended use in mind when deciding how rich you’d like your broth to be.
Why use a slow cooker (crock-pot)?
The best part of this easy birria recipe, besides the bold flavor, is that it’s made in a slow cooker and largely hands-free. You’ll add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker and set it on low for 6-8 hours to allow the ingredients to soften and meld.
A note on toasting chiles.
Many recipes call for toasting dried chiles in a skillet, but I find they’re easy to burn and often toast unevenly. Toasting them in the oven is a simple, hands-off way that avoids both of these problems. That said, you’re welcome to toast them on the stove top if that’s what you prefer.
Once your birria de res is ready, you can use both the beef and the broth in several ways. In Mexico, this dish is traditionally made with goat meat and eaten as a stew, topped with a few garnishes and served with warm corn tortillas for dipping. In the United States the dish is often made with beef and used to make cheesy Quesabirria (a decadent cross between a taco and a quesadilla): crispy corn tortillas filled with tender meat and melty cheese (often Oaxaca cheese that tastes like a cross between Monterey Jack and mozzarella cheese) that use the broth (consommé) as a dipping sauce. And the broth and shredded beef are sometimes repurposed into other soups, like Birra Ramen or birria tortilla soup.
How to Store
Store leftover Birria de Res in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 4 months. You can store the meat and broth together or separately depending on how you plan to serve them.
Try These Other Great Mexican Dishes at Home:
- Easy and Authentic Carne Asada Recipe
- Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork)
- Rice Cooker Mexican Rice or Mexican Cauliflower Rice
- Mexican Corn on the Cob
- Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
More Mexican Soups
How to Make Slow Cooker Birria de Res
Add beef chuck roast and short ribs to slow cooker and season with spices. Add broth and vinegar and set on low until fall apart tender (6 to 8 hours).
Meanwhile, clean and remove seeds and stems from dried chiles then toast in the oven. (Shake out and discard remaining seeds.) Combine with water, onion, garlic, vinegar and salt and simmer, covered, to soften. Blend until smooth. Strain this red chile sauce into slow cooker and stir (there should still be 5+ hours left of cooking time).
Let the meat cool slightly, then transfer to a large bowl and shred with two forks. If serving as a stew, skim fat from the cooking juices and ladle into bowls. Top with shredded beef and toppings as desired. (See post and recipe notes for other serving ideas.)
Slow Cooker Birria de Res
- 3 pounds boneless chuck roast cut into 8-10 large chunks
- 1 pound bone-in beef short ribs (recipe note #2)
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more to taste
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano ideally Mexican oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt divided, plus more to taste
- 4 cups beef broth or beef bone broth (see recipe note #2)
- 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white vinegar, divided
- 6 Guajillo chiles
- 2 Ancho chiles
- 1 medium white onion coarsely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic smashed and peeled
- 2 dried bay leaves
- finely diced white onion
- chopped cilantro
- lime wedges
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. (for toasting chiles, see recipe note #1)
- Place chuck roast and short ribs in a large slow cooker and season evenly with pepper, oregano, cumin, coriander and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Pour beef broth and 2 tablespoons of the vinegar over meat. Cook on low 6-8 hours, or until beef is pull apart tender. While the beef begins to cook, move on to the next step (you'll be adding this mixture to the slow cooker as soon as possible).
- Clean Guajillo and Ancho chiles with a clean, damp cloth or damp paper towel. With kitchen scissors, cut off and discard the stems and shake out and discard any loose seeds. Arrange chiles on a baking sheet in a single layer and place in preheated oven. Toast chiles until puffed and fragrant, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. With kitchen scissors, cut each chile lengthwise and remove and discard remaining seeds. (It's okay if the chiles break into small pieces – you'll be blending them anyway.)
- Transfer toasted chiles to a medium saucepan. Add onion, garlic, remaining 2 tablespoon of vinegar, remaining teaspoon of salt and enough water to cover (about 3 cups). Bring mixture to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and cover; simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
- To make red chile sauce, transfer saucepan contents (including liquid) to blender and cover with a folded kitchen cloth (instead of the lid because the contents will be quite warm or use an immersion blender). Start to blend on the lowest setting and gradually increase the speed; blend until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if desired.
- Remove slow cooker lid and pour red chile sauce through a fine mash strainer over beef, use wooden spoon to stir and press against strainer to extract as much liquid from mixture as possible. Discard solids left in strainer. Add bay leaves and stir well to combine. Cover slow cooker and continue cooking beef until fall apart tender. (5 hours or more should remain.) Discard bay leaves and allow to cool slightly.
- When the meat has cooled slightly, carefully transfer from the braising liquid to a large bowl. Shred the meat using two forks, discarding any large chunks of fat.
- Skim fat off of the slow cooker juices.
- To serve as a stew, serve shredded meat with broth in bowls. Garnish with finely chopped white onion, chopped cilantro and lime wedges if desired. (See recipe notes and post above for other serving suggestions.)
- You can toast your chiles in a skillet on the stove top, but know that it’s easy to burn them which can make the chiles and your whole dish bitter. I’ve found that toasting them in the oven is easier and more reliable.
- Bone-in short ribs create a richer broth, but you can also use a larger (4 to 5 pound) boneless chuck roast, bone-in chuck roast OR add 1 pound of beef bones OR use commercial beef bone broth.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.