Photo by Leslie Limón

Birria de Pollo (Chicken Birria)

Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Servings: 6-8 servings

In Mexico, birria is traditionally made with lamb or goat meat. Because not everyone can eat such strong-flavored meats, birria de pollo is also offered as a delicious option at family fiestas and gatherings. Tender pieces of chicken in a rich tomato and dried chile broth, topped with a chopped onion, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice, this chicken birria can be enjoyed as a hearty stew or as a filling for tacos. Save time in the kitchen by preparing the salsa the night before, then let your slow cooker do the rest.


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  1. Bring the tomatoes, dried ancho chile, dried guajillo chile, dried pasilla chile, and dried árbol chiles to a boil in the 3 cups of water. Cover and reduce heat to low; let simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until tomatoes are completely cooked. Remove from heat; let cool to room temperature. Puree the tomatoes, dried chiles, and 2 cups of the cooking water in a blender until smooth. Add the chicken broth, vinegar, garlic, salt, oregano, ground cumin, and black pepper. Puree until well combined.
  2. Layer the sliced onion along the bottom of a slow cooker. Place chicken on top of the onions. Pour the chile sauce over the chicken. Top with the bay leaves. Cover and cook over low heat for 3½ to 4 hours. Remove bay leaves; shred chicken with two forks.
  3. To serve, ladle into bowls. Garnish with chopped red onion, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice. Serve with warm corn or flour.

Chef Notes

For tacos de birria, spoon about 3 tablespoons of the shredded chicken down the center of a warm corn tortilla. Serve tacos with a small bowl of consommé (the tomato chile broth) on the side. Garnish both the tacos and the consommé with chopped red onion, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice.

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