Cheesy chicken birria tacos

Cheesy chicken birria tacos

Total Time
45 min
15 min
30 min
Traditional birria tacos are a bit of a labor of love, requiring a homemade sauce made from dried chiles and long braising of different cuts of meat (usually beef). This version is super-streamlined, using quick-cooking chicken breasts and gussied-up canned enchilada sauce instead of homemade. We still keep the tradition of dipping corn tortillas in the braising liquid and griddling them till crisp; honestly, that’s probably the best part of birria tacos. Be careful not to let the tortillas hang out in the sauce too long or they’ll fall apart.


Cooking spray

4 spray(s)

Uncooked onion

1 cup(s), chopped


¼ cup(s), chopped


3 clove(s), minced

Canned enchilada sauce

1¼ cup(s), red-variety

Unsalted chicken stock

½ cup(s)

Ancho chile powder

2 tsp

Ground cumin

1 tsp

Kosher salt

¼ tsp

Uncooked boneless skinless chicken breast

1 pound(s), cut into 3-inch pieces

Corn tortilla

8 tortilla(s), medium

Light cheddar cheese

¾ cup(s), shredded, Monterey Jack or Colby Jack

Lime wedge

4 wedge(s)


  1. In a small bowl, combine onion and cilantro; set aside.
  2. Coat a medium skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat pan over medium heat. Add garlic to pan; cook until just starting to brown, about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in enchilada sauce, chicken stock, chile powder, cumin, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until chicken is cooked through and tender, 17 to 20 minutes.
  3. Remove chicken from pan with a slotted spoon to a cutting board. Shred chicken with 2 forks and place in a medium bowl; stir ½ cup sauce into chicken, and reserve remaining sauce in skillet.
  4. Coat a large nonstick griddle with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat (or coat 1 to 2 large nonstick skillets with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat). Working in batches and working quickly, dip 1 tortilla into sauce, coating both sides with sauce. Arrange on griddle or skillet and repeat with as many tortillas as will fit. Cook until browned on bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully lift tortillas with a spatula and flip over. Sprinkle 1½ tbsp cheese over half of each tortilla; top with about ⅓ cup chicken mixture. Cook until browned on bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Fold empty side of each tortilla over filled side to close taco; remove tacos to a plate and repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve tacos with onion mixture and lime wedges.
  5. Serving size: 2 tacos and ¼ cup onion mixture