This post may contain affiliate links, please see our privacy policy for details.

Switching up the average weeknight taco with these Crispy Braised Chipotle Beef Tacos. Beef slowly braised in a spicy chipotle sauce until tender. Then shredded and stuffed into tortillas with cheese before being pan-fried. These tacos have just a touch of crispiness on the outside but are spicy and cheesy inside. The key is to pan-fry the tacos in the chipotle sauce. Serve each cheesy taco with cilantro on top, avocado crema, and of course that spicy chipotle sauce. They come together simply and are so delicious!

Crispy Braised Chipotle Beef Tacos |

I know Taco Tuesday is “the thing”, but my thought is, tacos today in prep for tomorrow! Plus, I just thought they’d be a fun and delicious Monday recipe…and they are!

I’ve been wanting to make and share these tacos for the longest time now. But I wanted to wait till later in April in prep for Cinco de Mayo. We all know I love a good holiday, but Cinco de Mayo is always such a fun no-pressure day where you have an excuse to make margaritas and tacos on a weeknight.

No one can complain about that.

Crispy Braised Chipotle Beef Tacos |

The Inspiration?

Originally, I really wanted to make birria, a Mexican stew traditionally made from goat meat, but sometimes made from beef. The dish is commonly served for special occasions like weddings and holidays. The meat is marinated and slow-cooked in an adobo sauce made of vinegar, dried chiles, herbs, and spices. Therefore, it’s incredibly tender and flavorful meat.

The stew is often served with corn tortillas or fried up into tacos. The cheesy birria tacos have been on my “to make” list for well over a year, so I was determined to finally make them happen.

Since I have a harder time finding some of the dried chilies, I ended up adapting the recipe a bit. I created my version of cheesy birria tacos. They’re similar but different, and SO DELICIOUS.

Crispy Braised Chipotle Beef Tacos |

Here are the details – first braise the meat

Start with the beef. I used beef chuck, but you could also mix in some of short ribs, which would be even more delicious, but just a touch more expensive.

Sear the meat, then make the sauce. The sauce is the heart and soul of this recipe. I use a lot of chipotle peppers in adobo, some ancho chile powder, and other spices, plus garlic, onion, bay leaves, and apple cider vinegar. The vinegar is also essential, so don’t skip it. The sauce gets poured over the meat. I then add a cinnamon stick and slow cook the meat in the oven until it’s very tender. You can use the slow cooker or instant pot too!

Crispy Braised Chipotle Beef Tacos |

Now, make the tacos!

Once the meat is cooked, it’s time for tacos! So shred the meat and gather all your toppings. I kept it classic with cilantro and jalapeño, plus my favorite avocado crema.

Next, take the sauce and pour it into a shallow bowl. The fat should settle to the top of the sauce, this is exactly what you want. You’ll dip the tortillas into the sauce, getting that fat on the tortilla at the same time. Then, pan-fry the tortillas with the meat and cheese. Cooking the tortillas with the sauce allows them to take on incredible flavor and become a little crispy around the edges with fried cheese melting out of the top of the taco.

It. Is. So. Good.

Crispy Braised Chipotle Beef Tacos |

Top each taco any way you’d like. I go heavy on the cilantro and lime. Then dip your tacos in the extra sauce. It’s really about that sauce…well, and the cheese. Beyond delicious.

If you wanted to take the toppings a step further, I would recommend a pineapple salsa or mango salsa. But you all know me, I love a good fruity salsa. Oh, and maybe add a nice margarita too. This spicy mango marg is my personal favorite.

Crispy Braised Chipotle Beef Tacos |

Looking for other taco night recipes? Here are some of my favorites:

Homemade Cheesy Gordita Crunch Tacos

Healthier Homemade Crunchwrap Supreme

Mushroom Al Pastor Tacos with Garlic Lime Special Sauce

Lastly, if you make these Crispy Braised Chipotle Beef Tacos, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Crispy Braised Chipotle Beef Tacos

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories Per Serving: 581 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.




  • 1. Preheat the oven to 300° F.
    2. Season the beef all over with salt and pepper. Heat a drizzle of oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear the beef all over, 2-3 minutes per side. Turn the heat off.
    3. To make the sauce. In a blender, puree the chipotle peppers, tomatoes, garlic, onion, ancho chile powder, oregano, cumin, paprika, cloves, bay leaves, 2 teaspoons salt, and the apple cider vinegar. Add 1 cup water and blend until smooth. Pour the sauce over the beef. Add 2 cups of water and the cinnamon to the pot. Over medium heat, bring the sauce to a simmer, then cover and transfer the pot to the oven. Cook 3 hours, or until the meat easily shreds.
    4. To make the tacos. Stir together the cilantro, onion, jalapeño, a squeeze of lime juice, and a pinch of salt.
    5. Remove the cinnamon stick and meat from the sauce, shred the meat. Pour the sauce into a shallow bowl, allowing the fat to settle on top.
    6. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Dip the tortillas into the sauce (the fat should be on top) and place in the skillet, sauce side facing down. On one side of the tortilla, layer cheese, then beef. Fold the tortilla over the beef and cook until slightly fried, about 1-2 minutes per side. Serve the tacos with cilantro on top and additional red sauce, plus avocado crema, if desired.

Slow cooker + Instant Pot Directions

  • 1. Season the beef all over with salt and pepper. Heat a drizzle of oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear the beef all over, 2-3 minutes per side. Add the meat to the slow cooker or instant pot.
    2. To make the sauce. In a blender, puree the chipotle peppers, tomatoes, garlic, onion, ancho chile powder, oregano, cumin, paprika, cloves, bay leaves, 2 teaspoons salt, and the apple cider vinegar. Add 1 cup water and blend until smooth. Pour the sauce over the beef. Add 1 1/2 cups of water and the cinnamon.
    - For the slow cooker, cover and cook 6-7 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.
    - For the instant pot, lock the lid and cook on high pressure for 40 minutes.
    4. Finish as directed through set 4.
View Recipe Comments

Crispy Braised Chipotle Beef Tacos |

Add a Comment

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. 5 stars
    Made it twice and both times was told “best tacos ever!” Had a little trouble getting the tortillas crisp but figured out it I needed high heat and a little oil. Every recipe I have made from your site is amazing!

  2. 5 stars
    This was probably the best HBH recipe I’ve made! Like others, I used half a can of chipotles and it had plenty of heat. Also, I made it the night before and stored the meat and sauce separately (like Lucy in previous comment). TONS of great flavor. Thanks Tieghan!

    1. Hey Laura,
      Happy Sunday!! Thanks a lot for giving this recipe a try, I’m so glad to hear it was a hit! xT

  3. 4 stars
    Turned out delicious but I had to cut way back on the heat! Added more tomatoes (approx 1.5 cups fire roasted crushed tomatoes) and less chilies in adobo (approx 1/3 cup), and less chili powder (1 tsp). I made it in the instant pot with a natural release.

  4. Hi, Tieghan. Another taco winner recipe! Question though: my shells weren’t nice and crispy like your pictures. What did I do wrong? thanks

  5. 5 stars
    This is a 5 star recipe. We cut back the adobo to about half a can and it was so amazing! We served it as the main course for our Halloween party and everyone raved about it. I made the meat and sauce the day before then stored the meat and sauce separately. Brought the two to room temperature the next day then warmed the sauce and proceeded with assembling the tacos. Leftovers are just as delicious! Very similar to Quesa Birria served in Mexican restaurants which we are particularly fond of.

    1. Hey Lucy,
      Awesome!! Love to hear that this dish was a winner, I appreciate you making it and your feedback! Thanks for sharing what worked well for you! xx

  6. 4 stars
    This recipe is AMAZING. But I’m a little annoyed at the wording “one can” without the ounces. I purchased one can of the chipotles in adobo and it was 7 ounces, I come back to see that you commented saying you used a 16 ounce can, and the can linked is a 12 ounce can…. That’s a lot of discrepancies.

    1. Hi Kelsey,
      Happy Wednesday!! ❄️ I appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your feedback, so glad to hear it turned out well for you! Sorry for any confusion on the peppers, it really is to your liking and how much spice you want. xT

      1. Why would you not update the recipe to show the correct quantity after receiving feedback that it’s confusing? Because it is confusing to know what quantity to use when it’s not listed 🫤

  7. If I skip the chipotle peppers, what else should I add or can I just eliminate that ingredient? Thank you so much for any tips?

    1. Hey Jacquelyn,
      I would add some chipotle seasoning. Please let me know if you have any other questions, I hope you love this recipe! xx

  8. 5 stars
    These were amazing. The cinnamon made such a difference – even my 12 year old asked if there was cinnamon in them (and asked to take the leftovers for lunch tomorrow). I was worried these would be too spicy but everyone loved them. Much easier to make than expected and really tasty

    1. 4 stars
      Even without doing the extra step of frying the filled tacos, this recipe is DELISH. The meat as taco filling and a little dish of sauce for dunking… so good!

      1. Hi Sara,
        Fantastic!! I love to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks for trying it out! Have a great week:)

  9. Mine is finishing up in the crockpot and it is good but SPICY. Haha. What can I do to tone down the spiciness for my toddler last minute?

    1. Hey Morgan,
      Thanks for giving the recipe a try, so sorry about the spice! You could try add some broth to the pot, unfortunately it might be too late! Sorry for the trouble! xx

  10. 5 stars
    We just made these tonight and LOVED them! The sauce is amazing and the instapot made it weeknight friendly. Can’t wait fry up the leftovers for dinner tomorrow!

  11. Hi! I was going to make these tomorrow and was wondering how many ounces of chipotle pepper in adobo you used and if there are any substitutes for ancho chili powder if you don’t have on hand? Thanks!

    1. Hi Christina,
      I used a 16 ounce can of chipotle peppers in adobo. You can just use regular chili powder in place of the ancho Chile powder, that will work well for you! I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xx

  12. 5 stars
    My fiancé and I love these tacos!! Soo good! Do you have any recommendations of what to do with the leftover sauce?

    1. Hi Savannah,
      Fantastic! Thanks for your comment and trying the recipe:) I am so glad it was enjoyed! You could use it for enchiladas! xxT