Chicken Birria Tacos

Juicy…Tender…Crispy…Spicy…Unique. Birria has to be the ultimate taco: super tender fall apart chicken inside a toasted corn tortilla dipped in a hot bowl of spicy fragrant broth. Traditionally made with goat or beef, I’ve created a chicken version that is just as good as the classics. With a few twists to the traditional recipe, this chicken birria will soon be your go-to party recipe. 

Serves: 6-8


  • For the Birria
    • 5 tbs oil
    • 6 chicken thighs, boneless skinless
    • 1 large red onion, diced
    • 5 cloves garlic, minced
    • 3 guajillo chilies, de-seeded and roughly chopped
    • 3 chile Californias, de-seeded and roughly chopped
    • 3 chiles de árbol, de-seeded
    • 2-3 canned chipotles in adobo
    • 2 pasilla chili, de-seeded and roughly chopped
    • 2 bay leaf
    • 1 tbs cumin powder
    • 2 tsp coriander powder
    • 2 tsp dried thyme
    • 6-8 cups chicken/vegetable broth, divided
    • Salt and pepper
  • For the Tacos
    • 1 batch of Birria
    • 15-20 corn tortillas
    • ½ cup chopped cilantro
    • ½ red onion, finely chopped
    • Limes


  • For the Birria
    • In a large dutch oven, toast the dried chilies on medium heat until fragrant and lightly smoky
    • Cover with ½ cup boiling stock and allow to steep for around 30 minutes
    • In the same pan, increase the heat to high, add in all the oil and the chicken thighs
    • Sear for 2-3 minutes untouched or until the bottom is golden brown
      • The insides should still be raw, you’re just searing the meat
    • Remove the chicken, lower heat to medium and into the same pot, add in the onions and garlic.
    • Cook for 5-10 minutes or until fragrant and golden
    • Add in the spices and chipotle chilies and cook out for another minute
    • Transfer this mixture and the soaked chilies along with the soaking broth into a blender and blend until completely smooth
    • Return to the same pot, add the rest of the broth and the chicken thighs, half cover and simmer at your lowest setting for 4-6 hours
    • After 6 hours, remove the chicken thighs carefully into a bowl, season with salt and pepper and set aside
    • Season the broth with salt and pepper
  • Assembly
    • Heat a large griddle or pan on high medium high heat
    • Skim the corn tortillas over the broth, which should have a layer of fat on top, to allow the tortillas to absorb the flavorful fat
    • Place the soaked tortillas on the griddle and flip when the bottom side is slightly crispy. Top with the shredded chicken, a ladleful of the broth,  onions, cilantro and lime and serve with a hot bowl of the broth and lime wedges

 Chefs tips:

  • Start off with a lot of oil in the pan because you will use this same oil constantly. You will use it to sear the chicken, to caramelize the onions and garlic and to eventually toast the tortillas. 
  • Using a combination of chilies will give you a deep and complex flavor rather than just spicy. Feel free to interchange and mix-n-match based on what you have

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