Toasting the dried chiles before boiling them revives their flavor and helps extract even more of it into the final adobo. When boiling the chiles, pile the onion pieces on top to keep the chiles submerged. This adobo is also part of Claudette Zepeda's Birria Tacos recipe.

Birria Tacos Recipe
Photo: Greg Dupree
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 25 mins
5 cups


  • 6 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded

  • 4 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded

  • 4 dried cascabel chiles, stemmed and seeded

  • 1 large white onion, cut into 1-inch wedges

  • 10 garlic cloves

  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped peeled fresh ginger

  • 8 cups water, divided

  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 6 thyme sprigs

  • 3 dried bay leaves


  1. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium. Add chiles to skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer chiles to a large saucepan; add onion, garlic, ginger, and 6 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until chiles are softened, about 8 minutes. Drain chile mixture; discard cooking liquid.

  2. Combine chile mixture, vinegar, salt, black pepper, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, thyme, bay leaves, and remaining 2 cups water in a blender. Secure lid on blender, and remove center piece to allow steam to escape. Place a clean towel over opening. Process until smooth, about 45 seconds. Let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Cover and chill until ready to use.

Make Ahead

Adobo can be chilled in an airtight container up to 3 days.

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