Imagine tender, juicy beef birria nestled in pillowy tortillas, bathed in a rich, flavorful sauce that explodes with warmth and spice covered in melty cheese. That’s what you get with these easy beef birria enchiladas! This healthy homemade comfort food tastes heaven-made and rivals what you will find in a Mexican restaurant. With only 223 calories and 25 grams of protein per enchilada, they are a great way to support anyone on their healthy eating journey!
When I first started seeing delicious videos online of those cheesy, beefy birria tacos, I knew I had to find a way to make a macro-friendly version. However, I noticed that authentic birria is quite a lot of work and uses dried chile peppers I couldn’t find in my local grocery store.
Authentic beef birria originates from the Mexican state of Jalisco. This traditional Mexican dish has an rich history, traditionally made with goat meat and slow-cooked in a clay pot for hours. It’s flavorful broth is called consomé, filled with a wide variety of chiles and spices. Birria is filled with culture and love.
But, I am a simple cook. Most recipes were more involved than what I wanted to make on a weeknight. I needed to do a bit of reinventing to make this meal with ingredients I could get in town. We use a variety of dried chiles in powdered form since those are easier to find. After lots of creativity and delicious experiments, I landed on the perfect recipe that makes the most delicious easy birria beef with simple ingredients for simple cooks like me!
One of the best uses for this tender birria beef? Birria Enchiladas!
These enchiladas have the perfect kick to them. If you don’t like spicy food, check out the “Tips & Variations” section for some tips on modifying the recipe.
Gather the following ingredients for birria enchiladas:
- Chipotle Peppers in Adobo – These can be found in almost any grocery store. They contribute amazing flavor and spice.
- Dried Chile Powders – Instead of dried chiles, I use a blend of guajillo, ancho, and regular chili powders. You can find these at a large grocery store, and each chile offers its unique flavor.
- White Onion – We use half of a large onion in our sauce, and the other half for toppings.
- Fresh Garlic – Nothing better than fresh garlic cloves!
- Lime Juice – You can juice fresh limes, or use bottled lime juice.
- Beef Broth – This is the base of our consomé. It adds depth and flavor.
- Spices – Salt, black pepper, cumin, and Mexican oregano balance the flavors of the sauce.
- Lean Beef Roast – I have used many kinds of roasts in testing this recipe, and they all work great. To make this recipe macro-friendly, I use a lean beef roast, such as a bottom round roast. Chuck, sirloin, & arm roasts are also great options.
- Low-Carb Tortillas – I use fajita-size (6-inch) low-carb tortillas for this recipe. This size allows me to fit 12 enchiladas in the baking dish. They are only 35-40 calories each and contribute fiber. You can use whatever tortillas you want if you’re not trying to save on calories. Bigger tortillas work but fit less in the pan.
- Part Skim Mozzarella – To be more authentic, you can use Mexican Oaxaca cheese. If you cannot find it, regular mozzarella works great! Buy a block and shred this yourself for the best taste, texture, and melting potential.
- Cilantro for Topping
To make these easy & cheesy beef birria enchiladas, follow the step-by-step instructions below:
1. Prep Sauce
Into a blender, add the chipotle peppers in adobo, half a white onion roughly chopped, garlic cloves, lime juice, chile powders, salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, and beef broth. Blend for 10 seconds. The sauce might taste spicy at this stage, but after the full dish is assembled, the spice level will be medium. See “Tips & Variations” for how to further reduce the spice level.
2. Prep & Brown Beef
Plug in the Instant Pot and press the saute button. As it heats, trim any visible fat off your beef roast & cut it into 4 smaller pieces for even cooking. When the pot is hot, add some olive oil and beef pieces. Brown each side for 5-8 minutes. It is difficult to get a good sear in the Instant Pot since it’s a confined space, so just do the best you can. If you want a crispy sear, you can do this in a skillet on the stove and then transfer the beef to the Instant Pot. You can also opt not to sear.
3. Add Sauce & Pressure Cook
After the beef pieces are browned, turn off the Instant Pot. Pour the birria sauce into the Instant Pot over the meat. Put the lid on the pot and close the sealing valve. Press “Pressure Cook” and set the timer for 20 minutes per lb of roast. When the timer goes off, allow the meat to natural release for at least 10-15 minutes before removing the lid.
See “Tips & Variations” for slow cooker instructions.
4. Prepare Enchilada Ingredients
While the meat is cooking, you can prep the rest of the ingredients. Shred the mozzarella, chop the cilantro, and dice the other half of the white onion.
5. Shred Beef & Thicken Sauce
Remove the beef pieces from the Instant Pot and place them on a cutting board. Use two forks to shred them.
Add 2 tbsps of arrowroot powder to a small bowl and ladle some of the hot birria sauce into it. Whisk to combine. Add the arrow root liquid back to the pot of sauce and whisk to thoroughly mix and thicken.
Add beef back into the pot of sauce.
6. Assemble Enchiladas
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Scoop some sauce from the pot into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish and spread it out to evenly coat. Grab a tortilla and fill it with some of the saucy meat and a pinch of shredded mozzarella (save half of the mozzarella for topping). If you wish, you can also add some cilantro and onion to each enchilada. Wrap up the enchilada and place it seal-side down in the baking dish. Work your way through all the tortillas until your pan is filled in a single layer. With 6-in tortillas and a 9×13″ pan, I usually get 8 enchiladas in one long line, and then a 2×2 block of enchiladas on the open side, for a total of 12 enchiladas.
7. Cover with Cheese & Bake
Spread the second half of the mozzarella on top of the enchiladas. Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is sufficiently melty.
Top with diced fresh onion and chopped cilantro and a dollop of sour cream if desired. These enchiladas are ready to serve! Your family will love them.
Tips & Variations
This sauce gets its spice from the chipotle peppers in adobo and guajillo chile powder. Chipotle peppers and guajillo chiles are considered “medium” heat, but if you’re sensitive to spice it may feel hot. To make a milder sauce, check out my quick birria sauce recipe which reduces the chipotle peppers to only 2 peppers along with some other adjustments.
To make this dish in the slow cooker instead, simply place the meat and sauce in your crock pot in the morning and cook on low for 8 hours. It will be ready to assemble the enchiladas in the evening. For more info on cooking fall-apart beef in the slow cooker, check out my Fall Apart Sirloin Tip Roast recipe.
Serving Suggestions & Notes
Serve birria enchiladas with a side of Mexican rice, refried beans, and a big green salad. Save any extra sauce and extra birria beef to make quesabirria tacos, birria beef nachos, or delicious birria quesadillas. Leftovers are good for 3-4 days, and these reheat well.
For one beef birria enchilada, the nutritional info is as follows:
- Calories: 223
- Protein: 25 grams
- Fat: 9 grams
- Carbs: 19 grams
Did you LOVE them?
I’d love to hear about your experience making these for your family. Please leave a comment and review! It means the world to me!
Easy Beef Birria Enchiladas
- 1 Pressure Cooker ie: Instant Pot — Can also use slow cooker, see recipe notes for instructions
- 3-4 chipotle peppers in adobo see notes if you don't like spice
- 1 large white onion divided
- 4-5 cloves fresh garlic
- 1 tsp ancho chili powder
- 1/2 tsp guajillo chili powder
- 1 tsp chili powder (regular)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2-3 lb Bottom Round Roast or sirloin, arm, or chuck roast
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 8 oz Oaxaca Mozzarella or regular part-skim mozzarella
- 2 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 12 low-carb tortillas 6-inch, fajita size
- Into a blender, add the chipotle peppers in adobo, half a white onion (roughly chopped), garlic cloves, lime juice, chile powders, salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, and beef broth. Blend for 10 seconds.
- Plug in the Instant Pot and press the saute button. As it heats, trim any visible fat off your beef roast & cut it into 4 smaller pieces for even cooking. When the pot is hot, add some olive oil and the beef. Brown each side for 5-8 minutes. Turn off the Instant Pot when finished.
- Pour the birria sauce into the Instant Pot over the meat. Put the lid on the pot and close the sealing valve. Press "Pressure Cook" and set the timer for 20 minutes per pound of roast (40-60 min for 2 to 3 lbs). When the timer goes off, allow the meat to natural release for 10-15 minutes before removing the lid.
- While the meat is cooking, prep the enchilada ingredients. Dice the other half of the white onion, chop the cilantro, and shred the block of mozzarella.
- After the meat is done cooking, release the pressure and remove the lid from the pot. Take out the beef pieces and place them on a cutting board. Use two forks to shred them.
- Add arrowroot powder to a small bowl. Use a ladle to scoop some of the sauce from the Instant Pot into the bowl. Whisk to combine, then pour the arrowroot mixture into the pot. Whisk the whole pot for sauce until thoroughly combined and sauce starts to thicken. Add the shredded beef back to the sauce.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Scoop some sauce from the pot into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish and spread it out to evenly coat. Grab a tortilla and fill it with some of the saucy meat and a pinch of shredded mozzarella (save half of the mozzarella for topping). If you wish, you can also add some cilantro and onion to each enchilada. Wrap up the enchilada and place it seal-side down in the baking dish. Work your way through all the tortillas until your pan is filled in a single layer. I usually get 8 enchiladas in one long line, and then a 2×2 block of enchiladas on the open side, for a total of 12 enchiladas.
- Spread the second half of the mozzarella on top of the enchiladas. Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is sufficiently melty.
- Top with diced fresh onion and chopped cilantro and a dollop of sour cream if desired. These enchiladas are ready to serve!