What To Serve With Birria Tacos (28 BEST Pairings!)

If you love Mexican food, you’ll know just how good birria can be! 

It’s a spicy, deeply savoury stew that’s typically made with beef or goat, and it’s slow cooked until the meat is melt-in-the-mouth tender and fall-apart-on-the-fork delicious. 

Legend has it that the dish was created by accident when a volcano erupted and a shepherd was forced to abandon his goats in a cave, where they were cooked perfectly by the steam. 

Some culinary genius had the idea to stuff this tasty stew into a taco shell, dip the whole thing in its juices, then fry it up, and the birria taco was born. 

Make no mistake; a good birria taco recipe is a bit of a labour of love!

It’ll take you a couple of hours from start to finish, with various steps and stages, so it’s not something you’ll want to make on a busy weeknight when you’ve just got home from work and you’ve got a load of household chaos to deal with.

But for the evenings when you’ve got a bit more time on your hands and you want to make something special, it’s definitely worth that extra effort.

To make the meal one to remember, and to do justice to that wonderful stew, you’ll want to carefully consider your side dishes and accompaniments.

That’s where this guide comes in!

Here, I’m going to walk you through the very best options for what to serve with birria tacos.

Want the quick answer?

No problem!

Great sides and pairings for birria tacos include warm corn tortillas, lime wedges, chopped coriander, and diced onions. Add a salsa for extra warmth, and fresh guacamole for creaminess.

Then, consider adding Mexican rice, refried beans, and a vibrant slaw to the table.

Want some more ideas, as well as easy to follow recipes and preparation tips? Keep reading…  

Essential Accompaniments

When enjoying birria tacos, certain garnishes elevate the flavour and add texture.

Here’s what you’ll need to fully savour your tacos…

Warm Corn Tortillas

Your birria tacos deserve the perfect foundation: warm corn tortillas.

They should be heated until they’re just slightly charred to enhance their aroma and pliability, ideal for wrapping around the succulent birria.

Lime Wedges

A squeeze of lime adds a pivotal zesty kick and the acidity makes the flavours sing.

Serve your tacos with fresh lime wedges to brighten the rich taste of the birria with a citrusy note.

Chopped Coriander

Scatter chopped coriander over your tacos for an herby freshness.

It pairs beautifully with the spices in birria, cutting through the deep flavours with its clean, sharp taste.

Diced Onions

Finely diced onions provide a crisp contrast in both texture and flavour.

Their sharp, sweet bite complements the tender meat, bringing a necessary balance to each bite.

birria tacos

Sauces and Salsas

Enhance your birria taco experience with a variety of sauces and salsas that bring out the flavours of the tender meat and soft tortillas.

Red Salsa

Your birria tacos will come alive with a classic red salsa.

This salsa is a blend of ripe tomatoes, onions, coriander leaves, and fiery chillies.

Its robust taste pairs wonderfully with the rich birria.

  • Ingredients: Tomatoes, onions, chillies, garlic, coriander leaves
  • Heat Level: Medium to hot
  • Serving Tip: Drizzle over your tacos or use as a dip

Green Salsa

Turn to a zesty green salsa for a tangy kick.

This salsa is made with tomatillos, green chillies, and fresh lime juice, offering a brighter, more refreshing complement to your birria tacos.

  • Ingredients: Tomatillos, green chillies, lime juice, coriander leaves
  • Heat Level: Mild to medium
  • Serving Tip: Spoon onto your tacos for an instant flavour boost


Nothing beats a scoop of creamy guacamole to balance out the spices in birria tacos.

With ripe avocados, onions, tomatoes, and a dash of lime, guacamole adds both richness and freshness.

  • Ingredients: Avocados, onions, tomatoes, lime juice, coriander leaves
  • Texture: Creamy and smooth
  • Serving Tip: Use as a filling or a topping for a luxurious mouthfeel

(If you love Mexican cuisine, you’ll also enjoy what to serve with chile verde!) 


Dairy Toppings

Dairy toppings add a delightful creaminess to birria tacos, perfectly balancing the rich and spicy stewed meat.

Crumbled Cheese

Opt for queso fresco or cotija cheese to sprinkle on your birria tacos.

These cheeses are salty and tangy, which complements the savoury flavours of the meat.

  • Queso Fresco: A mild, soft, and crumbly cheese that mellows out the heat of the birria.
  • Cotija Cheese: Slightly more aged, offering a stronger flavour and drier texture that adds a pleasant crunch.

Sour Cream

A dollop of sour cream can counter the robust spices in birria.

It provides a cool and tangy contrast that enhances the taco experience.

  • Traditional Sour Cream: Creamy and rich, it soothes the palate after each spicy bite.
  • Lighter Variants: For a healthier option, consider using a low-fat sour cream to maintain the creamy taste without all the calories.

Vegetable Sides

To complement the rich flavours of birria tacos, a variety of vegetable sides can add a refreshing crunch and lightness.

Choose from tangy pickles, smoky onions or crisp radishes.

Pickled Vegetables

Pickled vegetables bring a delightful zing to balance the spiciness of birria tacos.

Here’s a simple recipe for your quick pickle fix:

  • Combine equal parts vinegar and water in a pot.
  • Add sugar and salt for taste.
  • Bring to a boil and pour over a mixture of sliced cucumbers, carrots, and jalapeños.
  • Let them cool and marinate before serving.

Grilled Spring Onions

Grilled spring onions add a subtle char and smokiness that enhances the taco experience.

To prepare:

  • Brush the onions with olive oil.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Grill over high heat until tender and slightly charred.

Radish Slices

Thinly sliced radishes offer a crisp, peppery contrast to the succulent birria meat.


  • Slice radishes thinly.
  • Serve them fresh alongside tacos for a crisp bite.


Pairing your birria tacos with the right starches can balance the meal and complement the rich flavours.

Rice and beans are classic choices that provide both substance and a break from the spice of the tacos.


You might consider serving a bowl of fluffy Mexican rice.

It’s a simple yet flavourful dish, typically cooked with onions, garlic, and tomatoes, giving it a distinctive red hue.

The rice absorbs the robust flavours, offering a mild and comforting counterpoint to the meaty tacos.

  • Ingredients: White rice, onion, garlic, chicken stock, tomato purée
  • Preparation: Sauté rice with onions, add garlic, blend in stock and purée, then simmer until cooked


Refried beans are another staple that go well with birria tacos.

These creamy, mashed beans are often cooked with a touch of cheese and spices, providing a smooth texture and a heartiness to your plate.

  • Ingredients: Pinto beans, onion, cheese, cumin, chilli powder
  • Preparation: Cook beans with onions and spices, mash to desired consistency, stir in cheese

Beans can also be served whole, such as black beans, simmered with bay leaves, and seasoned with salt and a squeeze of lime for a zesty touch.

  • Ingredients: Black beans, bay leaves, lime juice, salt
  • Preparation: Simmer beans with bay leaves, season with salt, finish with lime

Extra Proteins

When considering additional proteins to accompany your birria tacos, it’s important to choose flavours that complement rather than overpower the rich and savoury taste of the birria.

Grilled Chicken

Opt for grilled chicken as a lighter protein to serve alongside birria tacos.

Season it with a mix of cumin, garlic powder, and smoked paprika for a subtle smoky flavour that pairs well.


Add chorizo for a robust and spicy kick.

The bold spices within chorizo, such as pimentón and garlic, will stand up to the rich birria without overshadowing it.

Cook the chorizo until it’s nicely browned and crisp for the best texture.

chorizo tapas

Seafood Options

Pairing birria tacos with seafood can offer a delightful contrast of flavours, combining the rich, savoury taste of the stewed meat with the fresh, lighter notes of marine cuisine.


You might enjoy grilled shrimp as a side to your birria tacos.

It’s best to marinate them briefly in a mix of garlic, olive oil, and lime juice before grilling to add a zesty kick that complements the deep flavours of birria.

  • Serving Suggestion:
    • Quantity: 3-4 shrimp per person
    • Marination Time: 15-30 minutes

garlic prawns


A fish ceviche with diced onions, tomatoes, coriander, and avocado is a refreshing choice.

Use a firm white fish like cod or halibut, marinated in lime juice until the flesh becomes opaque.

The acidity of the ceviche balances the richness of the tacos.

  • Preparation Tips:
    • Cut fish into small, bite-sized pieces
    • Marination: At least 1 hour in the fridge

Salads and Healthy Choices

When indulging in the rich flavours of birria tacos, incorporating salads can offer a refreshing balance to your meal.

These health-conscious sides are packed with fresh ingredients, adding both crunch and nutrition.

Cabbage Slaw

  • Ingredients:
    • 1/2 head of green cabbage, thinly sliced
    • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
    • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • Dressing:
    • 3 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine your thinly sliced cabbage, grated carrots, and red onion in a large bowl.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and seasoning.

Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss until everything is well-coated.

Let it sit for at least 20 minutes before serving, allowing the flavours to meld.

cilantro lime slaw

Avocado Salad

  • Ingredients:
    • 2 ripe avocados, diced
    • 1 small cucumber, diced
    • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
    • A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Dressing:
    • Juice of 1 lime
    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • Salt and a pinch of chilli flakes, to taste

For a creamy yet vibrant side, mix diced avocados, cucumber, bell pepper, and cherry tomatoes in a bowl.

Create the dressing in another bowl by combining lime juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and chilli flakes.

Drizzle it over the salad and gently toss to coat the ingredients.

The avocado adds a richness that complements the spicy birria tacos, while the other vegetables keep the dish light and refreshing.

Sweet Endings

A dessert is a great treat when it comes to what to serve with birria tacos! 

Choose a dessert that complements the meal and satisfies your sweet tooth.


A traditional flan is a smooth, creamy custard topped with a delectable caramel sauce.

Its velvety texture offers a soothing balance to the spiciness of birria tacos.

Enjoy each spoonful as the caramel’s sweetness mingles with the custard’s subtlety.


Churros are the quintessential treat to pair with any Mexican meal.

These delightful, fried pastries are best served hot, dusted with a blend of sugar and ground cinnamon.

Dip them in rich, melted chocolate or dulce de leche for an indulgent experience that complements the zest of your main dish.

Beverage Pairings

Selecting the right drink to accompany your birria tacos can enhance your dining experience.

Here are some top beverage choices tailored to complement the rich flavours of the dish.

Cold Beers

A crisp, cold beer can cut through the spiciness and richness of birria tacos.

Consider these options:

  • Lager: A refreshing lager cools the palate and balances the tacos’ heat.
  • Pale Ale: For a harmonious pairing, a hoppy pale ale can accentuate the meat’s robust flavours.

Agua Fresca

This traditional Mexican drink is both light and refreshing:

  • Hibiscus (Jamaica): A tangy jamaica agua fresca provides a floral contrast.
  • Lime (Limonada): A chilled lime agua fresca offers a zesty complement.

Refreshing Cocktails

For an elevated dining experience, these cocktails are perfect:

  • Margarita: A classic margarita, with its sour and sweet profile, pairs wonderfully with the spices of birria tacos.
  • Paloma: A paloma, with grapefruit and tequila, delivers a citrusy punch that’s ideal for the rich, complex flavours of the tacos.

What’s your favourite option for what to serve with birria tacos? 

Leave a comment below and share your ideas! 

What To Serve With Birria Tacos

A collection of the tastiest sides and accompaniments for serving alongside birria tacos.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 1


  • 1 serving birria tacos


  • Prepare your tacos.
  • Select and prepare your chosen pairings and sides. Some of the most popular options include warm corn tortillas, diced onion, coriander, red and green salsas, Mexican rice, slaw, and refried beans.
  • Serve, and enjoy!