Birria Quesadillas – An Easy And Flavorful Recipe

Birria quesadillas are one of my favorite types of Mexican dishes. It combines two of the best dishes that exist to date; tacos and quesadillas. The rich juicy flavors of the stewed beef pair exceptionally well with the stretchy cheese and corn tortilla.

These cheesy Birria quesadillas are easy to make and don’t require a ton of work. Now, you never have to choose between quesadillas or tacos again. You can have the best of both worlds in every bite!

Birria Quesadillas close up.

What Are Birria Quesadillas Made Of?

What exactly are birria quesadillas? There seems to be a lot of confusion about this specific dish. So, I’ll try to clarify the terminology to the best of my understanding.

Birria quesadillas go by many different names. It is a Mexican dish that is filled with Barria meat stew (which we will go into more detail later).

Once you make the stew, you fill a tortilla with it and fold it over like a taco shell. Keep in mind that you aren’t using a taco shell and the tortilla remains soft.

There are other accompanying ingredients that go inside the shell with the Barria. This includes cheese, onion, and cilantro, to name a few.

Once you stuff and fold over the filled tortilla, you can toast it inside a skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat.

Some other names you may be more familiar with include quesadilla de birria, quesabirria, quesotacos, and quesabirria quesadilla.

Birria Quesadillas from above

What Is Birria?

So, moving on to Birria. This is a traditional Mexican stew that originated in the state of Jalisco. 

Today you can use any type of meat that you’d like. Beef and lamb are the most common outside of Mexico. Traditionally, you would use goat meat.

The stew is made with a combination of chili peppers, garlic, cumin, bay leaves, and thyme. Many people also add some onions, cilantro, and lime juice.

How to make Birria Quesadillas

In just a few steps, you can make these delicious quesadillas. I’ll go over the basics here, but be sure to check out the recipe card at the bottom of the post for all the details.

Prepare the meat: Season the meat with salt, pepper, and other spices you’d like. Then cook it until it’s browned and cooked through.

Prepare the sauce: This is a simple sauce made with chili peppers, garlic, cumin, and thyme.

Assemble the quesadillas: Once the meat is cooked and the sauce is made, it’s time to assemble the quesadillas. Simply Dip each corn tortilla into the concentrated beef sauce and then fill it with meat and cheese and fold it.

Cook the quesadillas: Cook the quesadillas on a griddle or in a skillet until they’re golden brown and the cheese is melted.

Serve: Serve the quesadillas with sour cream, diced onions, cilantro, and lime juice.

Steps pictures for Birria Quesadillas

How to make Birria Quesadillas

Expert Tips For Making Birria Quesadillas

  • You can use any chili powder that you’d like for this recipe. And you can adjust the amount. I recommend using something authentically Mexican. This includes products made from Guajillo chilies, Ancho chilies, Chipotle chilies, or New Mexican chilies.
  • For the cheese, you can use mozzarella, Oaxaca, or Cotija cheese. All of these will melt easily and give a neutral, yet tasty flavor. Other types that will do just as well include Havarti, Fontina, Gouda, and Cheddar.
  • If you want the Barria sauce that is leftover to be thicker, you can reduce it over medium heat. The moisture will continue to evaporate for as long as you cook it.
 Birria Quesadillas from above


What does Birria taste like?

This dish has a very complex flavor profile, like most Mexican stews. It has notes of sweetness, intense savory salty flavors, and of course some spiciness due to the chilies. The sauce is rich and once paired with the cheese and tortilla, creates a beautiful symphony of balanced flavors.

What do you serve with birria quesadillas?

This is pretty much a dish that is served on its own, like regular tacos, quesadillas, or burritos. However, there are a few seasoning accompaniments that you can add. That includes additional limes, cilantro, Birria sauce (consomme), and cheese.

What does go well with this dish is a refreshing beverage like my Strawberry Watermelon Margarita.

Corn tortillas vs flour tortillas

You can use flour tortillas instead. However, corn tortillas have a different flavor and texture. So, unless you absolutely have to or cannot find any corn tortillas, don’t use them as your first option. At least try corn tortillas first.

Are birria quesadillas healthy?

It is a hearty meal that can be eaten as regularly as you’d like – with reasonable portion sizes of course!

Birria Quesadillas on a wooden board with other edibles around it.

Birria Quesadillas – An Easy And Flavor Recipe

These Birria quesadillas are extremely rich with delicate tender textures and juicy flavors. They do take a while to make, but most of the work is spent waiting for the meat to cook. The flavors are also easily adaptable, allowing you to customize the saltiness and spiciness to your liking.
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4
Calories 426 kcal


  • Olive oil,for frying
  • 1 1/2 pound chuck roast
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshlyground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 Tbsp chili powder of your choice (see tips)
  • 3/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 4 tsp white vinegar


  • 1 1/2 –2 cups stretch cheese, shredded
  • Spring onions, for garnish
  • Spring onions, for garnish
  • Fresh cilantro, for garnish


Prepare your meat and marinade

  • To start, heat some olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, season the chuck roast with ground salt and black pepper.
  • Add the chuck roast to the pan and fry it on each side for about 2 minutes, or until it becomes beautifully browned. Remove it from the heat and set it aside.
  • Next, lower the heat of the pan to medium. Add more oil if needed. Then, add the onions and sweat them for 2 minutes.
  • Then, add the minced garlic and spices to the onions. Give these ingredients a good stir while they fry for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Add 1 cup of water and vinegar to the ingredients. Mix them well and allow the mixture to come to a simmer.
  • Remove the base from the heat and add it to a blender. Blend the ingredients together at alow speed. This will be your marinade.

Cook the Birria stew

  • Cut your browned chuck roast into a couple of big pieces. Then, add it into your instant pot with the marinade. Ensure that all the meat is covered well with the spicy mixture.
  • Put the instant pot or your regular pot at a high and cook your meat for 45 minutes. After the time has elapsed, allow the steam to release slowly over 10-15 minutes. During this time, the meat will continue cooking.
  • Once the pot is ready to be opened, remove the meat from the concentrated sauce and set it aside.
  • Shred the meat into chunky pieces and place it inside a bowl.

Assemble the Birria quesadillas

  • Dip each corn tortilla into the concentrated beef sauce in the instant pot.
  • Then, take a big scoop of shredded Birria meat and place it inside a folded tortilla. Top it with the shredded cheese of your choice.
  • Finally, heat a frying pan over medium heat. Then, place the folded and filled tortilla inside the pan. Allow the tortilla to toast for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese starts to melt.
  • Serve your quesadilla Birria immediately with come extra Birria sauce on the side. You can garnish each with more sliced spring onions and fresh cilantro.


Calories: 426kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 65gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 178mgSodium: 1264mgPotassium: 636mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 926IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 1110mgIron: 5mg
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

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5 from 10 votes (9 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. Molly Pisula says:

    5 stars
    Delicious recipe! Love that we can make this as spicy as we like!

    1. Thank you very much for the nice feedback, I’m glad you like it!