Vegan Birria

This vegan birria is a saucy, flavorful, and authentic Mexican dish that is popular at weddings and big celebrations. There are multiple meat substitutes to pick from within this recipe; jackfruit, hibiscus flower, mushrooms, seitan, and more.

vegan birria on a mexican plate.

Vegan Birria

Birria is a popular dish from Mexico typically made with beef, goat, or lamb. However, no one should miss out on the comforting taste of birria even if they don’t eat meat. The flavor is mostly in the sauce and spices so it was fairly easy to make a vegan version.

This vegan birria recipe is one of my favorites to make with Mexican rice and homemade beans. I call it the Mexican trio. It is extremely satisfying and perfect for anytime of the year. The best part is that you can also make vegan quesabirria tacos with it! Quesabirria tacos are quesadillas with birria inside and lightly fried in chili oil. It is then dipped in a small bowl of birria broth for extra sauciness!

vegan birria in a pan.

Meat Substitutes:

Hibiscus Flower/Flor de Jamaica

I know what some of your might be thinking..hibiscus flower?! Anna, are you crazy? No, well I may be a bit crazy in other ways but you have to trust me on this one! It is not tart one bit. Hibiscus flower is usually used for teas and sweets but when prepared correctly it can also be a meat substitute. Learn more about how to use hibiscus here.

The apple cider vinegar reduces the tanginess by 99%, it’s science. The hibiscus flower is chewy just like beef but if you want a much tender texture I suggest you use jackfruit or King Oyster Mushroom (very close to meat texture too). If using jackfruit or king oyster mushrooms skip steps 1-2 and avoid rinsing when on step 6.

vegan birria ingredients

King Oyster Mushroom

This mushroom shreds very well and can replicate the texture of shredded meat. I typically find mine at local Asian groceries or whole foods. They tend to be pricey but I’ve heard it’s easy to grow them at home! This would be an easier option as it requires fewer ingredients and fewer steps than using the hibiscus flower.

Shredded Tofu

If you’ve never grated tofu, you’re missing out! I love grating it to get a “shredded” meat texture. I have a recipe for it in my Vegan Enchiladas recipe. This is definitely my go-to meat alternative for those that say they don’t like tofu, just to prove them wrong lol.

Seitan/Vegan Meats

Shredded seitan also makes for a great meat substitute. I recently tried Juicy Marble’s filet mignon steaks and shredded them to make birria. This product is SO close to meat it was a bit scary for us but is a great alternative for those looking for something very close to beef.

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vegan birria on a mexican plate.

Vegan Birria

  • Author: Anna Rios
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


This vegan birria is a saucy, flavorful, and authentic Mexican dish that is popular at weddings and big celebrations. There are multiple meat substitutes to pick from within this recipe; jackfruit, hibiscus flower, mushrooms, seitan, and more.


  • 2 cups dried Hibiscus flower, OR jackfruit (see above for more meat substitute options)
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar (only if using hibiscus flower)
  • 10 cups of Water (depending how brothy you want it)
  • 3 Tbsp Beefless Better Than Bouillon
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 Pasilla Chili Pepper, dry
  • 6 Guajillo Chili Peppers, dry
  • 1/2 White Onion
  • 3 peppercorns
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • If using King Oyster Mushrooms:
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 tbsp Tamari or Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Avocado Oil (or any other neutral oil)



  1. Add 10 cups of water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a low simmer and take about 3 cups of hot water to soak the hibiscus flower in a large bowl. If using jackfruit or other meat substitutes listed above, DO NOT SOAK.
  2. Soak hibiscus in hot water and apple cider vinegar for a minimum of 15 minutes.
  3. If using mushrooms or jackfruit, shred them and saute them in a pan with garlic powder, oil, and tamari or soy sauce until golden brown.
  4. Add Bouillon to the simmering water in the pot along with whole cloves of garlic, dry chili peppers, cumin, onion, and carrots. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until chili peppers have softened. You can also fry the chilis, garlic, and onion in a bit of oil before soaking them for extra flavor.
  5. Once chilis have softened, add chilis, garlic cloves, onion, and about 1/2 cup broth to a blender and blend until extra smooth.
  6. Strain your chili sauce using a fine mesh strainer (optional), add chili sauce back into the pot along with bay leaves, and simmer for another 10-20 minutes. The longer you simmer it, the better the flavors will get.
  7. Hibiscus should be ready to drain and rinse at this point. Rinse it until the water runs clear instead of red. With your hands, shred the hibiscus into smaller pieces to represent “shredded beef”. Add hibiscus flowers to the pot.
  8. Make sure hibiscus or mushrooms simmers with birria sauce for at least 15 minutes to absorb the flavor well. At this point taste your birria and add salt/pepper as needed.
  9. Serve with Mexican rice, and beans, and enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Category: Mexican
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: vegan birria, vegan mexican recipes

2 thoughts on “Vegan Birria

  1. Chi says:

    Thank you so much for their recipe! I was a little confused with the hibiscus/jackfruit wording bc i ended up soaking my jackfruit for 15 mins too which made it hard to shred, if you’re using jackfruit i would recommend just shredding it first then soaking it if it’s a little tough 🙂 Additionally i think the flavor of better than boullion i got had a barbecue flavor to it, which didn’t quite work with the vibes haha so I added tomato paste to balance out the strong barbecue flavor and it worked wonders!! The dish came out sooooo amazing with this recipe and i used in on top food some homemade vegan chimichangas with a side of sour cream and salad and it tasted amazing! This blog is a holy grail of vegetarian mexican recipes and im so glad that I came across it :))

    • Anna Rios says:

      Thank you for the feedback! I will edit the wording to make it more clear. SO glad you enjoyed it still and made it work 🙂 those chimichangas sound delicious with the sour cream and this sauce!

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