Chicken Birria Tacos Recipe
Birria tacos have taken the culinary world by storm, and for good reason. These flavorful, juicy, and slightly spicy tacos are a true delight for the taste buds. Traditionally made with beef, this Chicken Birria Tacos recipe offers a delicious twist for those who prefer poultry. Get ready to savor the rich, savory goodness of chicken birria wrapped in warm, crispy tortillas. Let’s dive into this mouthwatering Mexican dish.
Ingredients You’ll Need:
For the Chicken Birria:
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 dried guajillo chilies, seeds removed
- 2 dried ancho chilies, seeds removed
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Salt and black pepper to taste
For the Adobo Sauce:
- Reserved chili soaking water
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Small corn tortillas
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Diced red onions
- Lime wedges
Step 1: Prepare the Dried Chilies
- Heat a dry skillet over medium-high heat.
- Toast the dried guajillo and ancho chilies in the skillet for about 20-30 seconds on each side or until they become fragrant. Be careful not to burn them.
- Remove the chilies from the skillet, place them in a bowl, and cover them with hot water. Allow them to soak for about 15-20 minutes until they become soft.
Step 2: Make the Adobo Sauce
- After the chilies have softened, remove them from the soaking water, reserving the water.
- In a blender, combine the soaked chilies, garlic, cumin, dried oregano, paprika, salt, and black pepper. Add some of the reserved chili soaking water (about 1/2 cup) to the blender.
- Blend until you have a smooth adobo sauce. Set the sauce aside.
Step 3: Prepare the Chicken Birria
- In a large pot, heat a bit of oil over medium-high heat.
- Add chopped onions and minced garlic. Sauté until they become translucent.
- Season the chicken thighs with cumin, dried oregano, ground cloves, ground cinnamon, salt, and black pepper.
- Add the seasoned chicken to the pot and sear it until it becomes browned on all sides.
- Pour in the adobo sauce and chicken broth. Stir to combine.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for about 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is tender and fully cooked.
Step 4: Shred the Chicken
- Remove the cooked chicken from the pot and shred it using two forks.
- Return the shredded chicken to the pot and simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
Step 5: Assemble the Tacos
- Heat corn tortillas in a dry skillet or microwave until warm and pliable.
- Spoon a generous portion of the chicken birria onto each tortilla.
- Top with chopped cilantro and diced red onions.
- Serve your Chicken Birria Tacos with lime wedges for squeezing.
Why You’ll Love These Tacos:
Chicken Birria Tacos offer a culinary experience like no other:
- Flavor Explosion: The combination of dried chilies, aromatic spices, and tender chicken creates an explosion of flavors in every bite.
- Versatile: You can customize your tacos with your favorite toppings, such as cheese, avocado, or salsa.
- Comfort Food: These tacos are perfect for both casual weeknight dinners and special occasions, offering comfort and flavor in every bite.
- Crowd-Pleaser: Your family and friends will be impressed by the deliciousness of these birria tacos.
Savor the rich and spicy goodness of Chicken Birria Tacos, and you’ll understand why they’ve become such a sensation. Enjoy your culinary journey into Mexican cuisine!
- 3 pounds bone-in chicken thighs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Spices For Adobo Sauce:
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns (may sub 1 teaspoon ground pepper)
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds (may sub 1 tsp ground)
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds (may sub 1 tsp ground)
- 6 whole cloves (may sub ¼ teaspoon ground)
- 1/2 cinnamon stick smashed/broken up (sub ¼ teaspoon ground)
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 dried guajillo chiles, stems and seeds removed
- 4 dried ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed
- 1 chili de arbol, stem and seeds removed
- 4 vine-ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped (or Roma tomatoes)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tsp EACH smoked paprika, dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 bay leaves
- 3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 12-14 corn tortillas (like La Tortilla Factory)
- 12 ounces Oaxacan cheese or mozzarella separated into strings
- 1 recipe pico de gallo OR the following:
- ½ white onion chopped
- ¼ cup cilantro minced
- 1-2 tablespoons lime juice
- pinch of salt
TOAST WHOLE SPICES AND CHILIES
- Dry toast the whole spices for the adobo sauce (if using) in a large Dutch oven or braiser over medium heat until evenly toasted, stirring occassionally. They're done once they smell super fragrant. Transfer to a bowl or plate.
- Add the peppers and dry roast for a couple minutes per side; remove to a plate.
SEAR THE CHICKEN
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Season both sides of the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the now empty pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken in an even layer and sear both sides until deeply browned (work in batches if needed); remove to a plate but leaving the drippings.
MAKE THE SAUCE
- Add a drizzle of oil to the drippings if needed/seems dry; heat over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until softened. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add the toasted spices to the pot followed by the deseeded chilies, and all the remaining Adobo Sauce ingredients (through broth). Bring to a simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the peppers are very soft, stirring occasionally.
- Transfer the mixture to a high powered blender and purée until smooth, leaving a corner of the lid open and covered with a paper towel so steam can escape and it doesn’t explode. (NOTE: If you don’t have a high-powered blender, then strain the chili sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl, using rubber spatula to push the mixture through. The solids left behind are the spices so don’t toss them! You can wrap them in a cheese cloth or mash them and add them back to the sauce.)
BRAISE AND SHRED THE CHICKEN
- Add the chicken back to the pot followed by the chili sauce, turn to coat the chicken. Cover, bring to a simmer, then transfer to the preheated oven. Cook for 20-30 minutes or until chicken shreds easily and registers 175 degrees F on an instant read thermometer (165 degrees F if using chicken breasts). You can prep the toppings (below) while the chicken cooks).
- Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a bowl; keep the sauce coating the chicken but leave most if it behind in the pot for dipping. Once cool enough to thandle, remove the bones and shred the chicken.
ASSEMBLE THE TACOS
- In a medium bowl, make the pico de gallo if using, or mix together onion, cilantro, lime and salt to taste; set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Working with one tortilla at a time, lightly dip it in the top of the sauce and add it to the skillet. Press the tortilla down with a spatula because it will start to bubble and pull away as it cooks. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the bottom is golden.
- Flip the tortilla over and immediately cover the entire surface with shredded cheese. Cover, and cook until the cheese is mostly melted. Uncover and top half of the cheese with shredded chicken. Cook until the bottom is lightly charred then fold the tortilla over in half to form a taco.
- Transfer to a plate and serve with the pico de gallo or cilantro/onion mixture and a bowl of the consomé liquid (remaining sauce) as a dipping sauce. Dig in!
- Dried Chilies:Dried chilies can be found at any Mexican market as well as many grocery stores (and many super Walmart’s depending on your location) in either the Mexican aisle or produce section. Many produce stores such as Sprouts and Whole Foods also carry packages of dried chilies. If you can’t find them or simply want a one-click option, then you can purchase them on Amazon here: ancho chiles, guajillo chili, arbol chiles.
- Chicken: I highly recommend bone-in chicken thighs for the juiciest, richest tasting option, however, boneless chicken thighs are a close second. You may substitute with chicken breasts, but adjust the cooking time as needed and don’t overcook as they dry out easily.
- Tortillas: Homemade corn tortillas, or packages that say, “freshly made,” “organic” or “made in small batches” are best so the tortillas don’t crack or tear. I love La Tortilla Factory Corn Tortillas which you can find on Amazon here. If using less quality corn tortillas, wrap them in damp paper towels and microwave for 30 seconds to warm before using.
- Oaxaca cheese: should be easy to find at your grocery store or at least Sprouts or Whole Foods. If you are unfamiliar with Oaxaca cheese, it comes in a round package that is actually a log of cheese spiraled into a circle. You will want to peel the cheese into strips, much like string cheese, so it melts quickly. If you are unable to find Oaxaca, use freshly grated mozzarella, it tastes surprisingly similar.
- To keep prepared tacos warm in the oven until serving: place tacos on a baking sheet in a single layer at 250 degrees F in the oven until all of the tacos are completed. Don’t stack the tacos at any time or they will steak and become soggy.
SHREDDED CHICKEN COOKING OPTIONS
- Instant Pot Chicken Adobado: Add the seared chicken and adobo sauce back to the Instant Pot, and give the mixture a quick stir. Cook on high pressure for 13-15 minutes then let release naturally for 5 minutes.
- Crockpot Chicken Adobado: Lightly spray the slow cooker insert with cooking spray. Add the seared chicken and adobo sauce to the crockpot, and give it a stir to evenly coat the chicken. Cook on high for 2-4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours or until chicken is tender enough to shred.
- Stovetop Chicken Adobado: Cover and gently simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the chicken is fall-apart tender. Keep an eye on the adobo sauce and add additional broth if needed because more liquid will evaporate on the stove.
- Spices: can be toasted and stored in an airtight container for up to 1 year!
- Sauce: can be made and stored in the refrigerator up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
- Chicken: can be seasoned, seared and stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days. You can proceed to bake the chicken and shred or simply add it to the chili sauce and bake the next day.
- Cheese: string/shred the cheese and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Toppings: chop the onions and cilantro and store in the refrigerator for up to two days. Add the lime juice before serving.
Chicken Birria Tacos are best when served fresh. They won’t be as crispy when reheated unless you use an air fryer, but they will still be tasty.
- Storage: store tacos in a single layer (with parchment paper in between layers if stacked) in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- To freeze: wrap each taco individually in foil then add to a freezer bag or flash freeze the tacos by placing on a baking sheet without touching and freezing until solid. Transfer the solid tacos to a freezer bag
- Air fryer: This is my #1 preferred method for reheating anything crispy – or formerly crispy. It restores the Chicken Birria Tacos to their former crispy glory as if they were freshly made – seriously amazing! Place your tacos in the air fryer basket and air fry at 400 degrees F for 4-6 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Stove: Heat a large nonstick skillet to low then add the taco(s). Cook until heated through, rotating as needed. Once the inside is warm, you can crank the heat to medium-high to quickly toast the outside.
- Oven: Place tacos on a wire rack placed over a baking pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until warmed through.
- Microwave: This is my least favorite method because the exterior doesn’t crisp up, but it’s convenient for hands off reheating. Transfer tacos to a microwave safe plate and microwave on high or 45 seconds then at 15-second intervals as needed.
Nutrition InformationYield 1 Serving Size 12
Amount Per ServingCalories 6441Total Fat 385gSaturated Fat 141gTrans Fat 4gUnsaturated Fat 218gCholesterol 2202mgSodium 12151mgCarbohydrates 299gFiber 48gSugar 58gProtein 489g
The information contained herein is subject to change.