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Three chicken birria tacos on a white plate with birria sauce on the side

Amazing Chicken Birria Tacos Recipe

Learn how to make birria tacos with chicken for a game-changing taco recipe your family will love! Quesabirria tacos are savory, smoky, and a little spicy.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword birria de pollo, birria tacos, chicken birria tacos, quesabirria tacos, tacos de birria
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Taco assembly 35 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 16 tacos
Calories 207kcal


  • 1 Non-stick pan or cast iron skillet
  • 1 large dutch oven or pot
  • 1 Slotted spoon
  • 1 Cutting board


  • 2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon neutral high-heat cooking oil (like grapeseed oil)
  • 1 medium onion quartered
  • 2 roma tomatoes quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic smashed
  • 3 dried guajillo chiles
  • 2 dried chiles de arbol or more if you like spicy
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chicken broth

For the tacos:

  • 16 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded mexican melting cheese like Oaxaca, or monterey jack; I used pepper jack
  • ½ cup finely diced onion
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro


  • Heat a large dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add oil. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper to taste, and place in the pot. Add 2 of the onion quarters. Cook until chicken begins to brown, about 5 minutes on each side. Then remove pot from heat and set aside.
    2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs, 1 tablespoon neutral, 1 medium onion
    Cooking chicken thighs with onions
  • Prepare the chiles for the sauce: Remove the seeds and stems from the dried chiles. Place chiles in a pot along with the remaining half onion, tomatoes, and one bay leaf. Cover with about 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a couple minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
    1 medium onion, 2 roma tomatoes, 3 dried guajillo chiles, 2 dried chiles de arbol, 2 bay leaves
    Cooking veggies with bay leaf and peppers
  • Prepare the sauce: Using a slotted spoon, move the chiles, tomatoes, and onion to a blender. Add the garlic, oregano, paprika, cinnamon, cumin, and salt to the blender. Add one cup of the water from the pot, strained with a sieve, to the blender. Top off with 1 cup of chicken broth. Whirl until well blended. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
    4 cloves garlic, 2 teaspoons oregano, 1 teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 cup chicken broth
    Blended chicken birria ingredients
  • Place the pot with the chicken back on the burner on medium heat. Pour sauce over the chicken. Toss in the remaining bay leaf. When the sauce begins to bubble, turn heat down to low and simmer, covered, until chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. (Internal temperature should be 165°F). Turn off heat. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
    2 bay leaves
    Chicken birria cooking in pot
  • Remove chicken from the pot and allow to cool for a few minutes. Remove the bones and skin, and shred the meat. Return chicken to pot and stir to coat.
    Ingredients for chicken birria tacos with shredded chicken
  • Make the tacos: Bring a skillet to medium heat and add about a teaspoon of cooking oil. Dip a tortilla in the birria sauce then place in the skillet. Cook 30 seconds then flip. Add some shredded chicken, cheese, diced onion, and pinch of cilantro to one side of tortilla.
    16 corn tortillas, 1 cup shredded mexican melting cheese, ½ cup chopped cilantro, ½ cup finely diced onion
    Cooking one chicken birria taco
  • Fold in half and cook 30 seconds on each side, until cheese is melted and tortilla begins to crisp up. Remove from skillet and keep warm. Repeat for each taco.
    Two folded chicken birria tacos in pan
  • Serve tacos warm with a side of birria sauce for dipping. Enjoy!
    dipping taco in birria sauce


  • The chicken birria sauce can be prepared ahead of time if preferred. By storing it in the refrigerator to use later, the fat will rise to the top, making it even easier to use the fat to fry the tortillas!
  • You can use flour tortillas if you prefer, but smaller tortillas work best and corn tortillas fry very nicely.
  • To make the sauce thicker, cook it with additional tomatoes and slightly reduce the water used.
  • Use a cast iron or non-stick skillet when frying the quesabirria tacos so you can use less oil and they won't stick to the pan.
  • You can use a different type of meat if you like. Try beef, pork, or the traditional goat.
  • Chicken breasts can be used to make this dish. However, bone-in chicken thighs will add additional flavor to the broth when cooking.
  • If you can't find guajillo chiles, other mild dried red chiles work just as well. Try Hatch peppers, California peppers, or Anaheim peppers


Calories: 207kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 299mg | Potassium: 227mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 441IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 1mg