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Incredible Chicken Birria Tacos are a filling and flavorful dinner that the whole family will love. The chicken is perfectly seasoned, seared, then baked in a tasty sauce. Shred the meat and enjoy in a pan-fried tortilla with mozzarella cheese. These are always a hit!

Top view round white plate with two chicken birria tacos.
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Chicken Birria Tacos are flavorful and filling and will satisfy the whole family. The best part is this is the easiest way to make them. If you love Mexican food, then you are going to love this recipe. It’s packed with amazing flavors and textures.

As an added plus, these tacos are also really versatile. You can use different cuts of meat, seasonings, fillings, and toppings. We love to pair these with salsa, pico de gallo and guacamole. A dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro on top is always a good idea, too! Make this recipe your own!

recipe Summary

  • Easy and straightforward recipe: Once you’ve browned the seasoned chicken and blended the sauce, everything bakes together for 30 minutes. Then, assemble and pan-fry your tacos, and dinner is served!
  • Packed with flavor: The flavors in this taco recipe will blow you away. Serving with fresh pico de gallo is the perfect finishing touch and complements the bold filling wonderfully.
  • Nutritious: These tacos are made with high-protein chicken and other simple, nutritious ingredients that will leave you full and satisfied.
Closeup view of chicken Birria tacos stacked on a plate.

Ingredients needed

This chicken Birria tacos recipe is made with simple, easy-to-find ingredients. You can add whatever toppings you would like, this list is just the essentials. Here’s the lineup:

  • Chicken: Chicken thighs work best for this recipe because they are super juicy and flavorful. You can also use chicken breasts or chicken tenders.
  • Seasonings: A mix of onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper adds delicious flavor to the chicken.
  • Olive oil: For browning the chicken and cooking the tortillas. You can also use vegetable oil or avocado oil.
  • Sauce: The sauce that you’ll cook with the chicken is a combination of blended chipotle peppers with adobo sauce and crushed tomatoes.
  • Tortillas: I like using almond flour tortillas, but feel free to use the tortillas that you like best.
  • Cheese: Fill the tacos with mozzarella cheese for melty cheesy deliciousness.
  • Fresh pico de gallo: Optional for serving.
Raw chicken, tortillas, shredded cheese, tomato  sauce and seasonings.

How to make Chicken Birria Tacos

Follow the steps and you’ll find that these tacos are super easy to whip up! Here’s the simple method:

  1. Prep the chicken: Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Season the chicken thighs with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder on both sides.
  2. Sear the chicken: Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large oven-safe skillet or a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sear until browned on both sides. You can also use a dutch-oven.
  3. Make the sauce: Meanwhile, to a food processor or blender add the chipotle peppers with adobo sauce and crushed tomatoes. Blend until almost smooth.
  4. Cook chicken and sauce: Once the chicken is browned, drizzle with the adobo sauce and cover with a lid. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until fully cooked and super tender.
  1. Shred the chicken: Carefully take the chicken out of the sauce and shred it using 2 forks. Reserve some of the liquid sauce on a shallow plate. Return the shredded chicken to the pan with the thick sauce and stir to combine.
  2. Assemble tacos: Preheat the remaining oil in a clean pan over medium heat. Dip one tortilla into the reserved sauce, then place in the preheated pan and cook for 1-2 minutes. Flip and sprinkle with cheese. Add 2 spoonfuls of the shredded chicken mixture. As soon as the cheese starts to melt, fold the taco in half to form a taco and set aside on a plate. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, cheese, and chicken mixture.

Expert tips

  • Crispy tacos: To ensure your tacos get perfectly crispy, it’s important to coat the taco in the sauce before cooking it on the hot skillet.
  • Avoid tacos sticking to the pan: Use a well-oiled cast iron skillet or non-stick skillet to cook the tacos. This will keep the sauce-dipped tortillas from sticking to the pan.
  • Make ahead: This makes a great meal to prep ahead of time. You can cook the chicken in the sauce, then store in the fridge. Warm it up and make the tacos whenever you’re ready to serve!
  • Cooking alternative: You can cook the chicken thighs in an instant pot, crock pot, or even over the stove.
  • Chicken alternative: Don’t want to use chicken? Use beef, goat meat, or lamb.

Frequently asked questions

What is so special about birria tacos?

Birria tacos, also known as tacos de Birria quesabirria tacos, or Birria De Pollo, are made with braised meat that is cooked in a rich sauce, and then served with cheese inside a pan-fried tortilla. The sauce inside and the pan-fried tortilla make these tacos incredibly delicious and super popular with anyone who tries them!

What kind of meat is birria made of?

Traditionally, birria was made with goat meat, but locally it is now often made with beef or chicken.

What are birria tacos supposed to taste like?

Birria tacos have a wonderful bold taste and crunchy texture with a warm, melt-in-your-mouth filling! They include tender shredded meat that is cooked in a rich, slightly spicy sauce. They are bursting with so many delicious flavors that you’re bound to become a huge fan!

side shot of chicken Birria tacos on a white plate

Variations

  • Cuts of meat: You can substitute any cut of meat you’d like! We use chicken thighs because they’re super flavorful and easy to work with.
  • Types of cheese: Oaxacan (or mozzarella) cheese is traditional for Birria Tacos, but feel free to use the cheese you like best. A Mexican blend, cheddar cheese, or Colby Jack cheese would be great.
  • Tortillas: We prefer almond flour tortillas when making tacos but corn tortillas are the typical choice when making Birria tacos. Feel free to use whatever tortillas you like best!

Serving suggestions

Make a full meal and serve these chicken Birria tacos with your favorite Mexican sides! Here are some tasty options:

Storage recommendations

Shredded chicken tacos make great leftovers!

  • In the refrigerator: It’s best to store all of your taco fillings separately. Store the chicken in an airtight container in the fridge, it will keep for up to 4 days. Store tortillas, cheese, and any other toppings separately.
  • To reheat: When you’re ready to enjoy your leftovers, warm thxe chicken and the sauce on the stovetop over low heat until warm. You can then proceed with the recipe by pan-frying your saucy tortilla and adding the meat and cheese.
Birria tacos on a white plate with pico de Gallo.

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Chicken Birria Tacos

By: Rena
Servings: 6 servings
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour
top view round white plate with two chicken birria tacos
Incredible Chicken Birria Tacos are a filling and flavorful dinner that the whole family will love. The chicken is perfectly seasoned, seared, then baked in a tasty sauce. Shred the meat and enjoy in a pan-fried tortilla with mozzarella cheese. These are always a hit!

Ingredients

  • 2 lb chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 3-6 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, from a can
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 12-14 corn or almond flour tortillas
  • 12 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Optional: 1 cup fresh pico de gallo

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Season the chicken thighs with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder on both sides.
  • Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sear until browned on both sides.
  • Meanwhile, to a food processor or blender add the chipotle peppers with adobo sauce and crushed tomatoes. Blend until almost smooth.
  • Once the chicken is browned, drizzle with the adobo sauce and cover with a lid. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until fully cooked and super tender.
  • Carefully take the chicken out of the sauce and shred it using 2 forks. Reserve some of the liquidy sauce into a shallow plate. Return the shredded chicken back to the pan with the thick sauce and stir to combine.
  • Preheat the remaining oil in a clean pan over medium heat. Dip one tortilla into the reserved sauce, then place in the preheated pan and cook for 1-2 minutes. Flip and sprinkle with cheese. Add 2 spoonfuls of chicken mixture. As soon as the cheese starts to melt, fold the taco in half to form a taco and set aside on a plate. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, cheese and chicken mixture.

Notes

Storing and reheating leftovers
  • In the refrigerator: It’s best to store all of your taco fillings separately. Store the chicken in an airtight container in the fridge, it will keep for up to 4 days. Store tortillas, cheese and any other toppings separately.
  • To reheat: When you’re ready to enjoy your leftovers, warm the chicken and the sauce on the stovetop over low heat until warm. You can then proceed with the recipe by pan-frying your saucy tortilla and adding the meat and cheese.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 671kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 42gFat: 43gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 184mgSodium: 932mgPotassium: 582mgFiber: 5gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 479IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 513mgIron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
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