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Pork is not usually my number 1 meat choice, but if you haven’t noticed, I love Mexican food — and when I tried pozole last year in Mexico, I was hooked. I studied the ingredients in it, asked some questions to the chef who made it, and made my own Mexican pozole recipe inspired by theirs. The tender pork, flavorful spices, and hearty hominy create a true fiesta in every bite. The steps in this pork pozole rojo soup are a bit more involved than most of my other healthy recipes, but it’s so worth it!
Why You’ll Love This Pozole Recipe
- Bold and vibrant flavors
- Tender, savory pork
- Mildly sweet hominy
- Hearty and comforting
- Perfect for chilly days
- Based on a recipe from Mexico
What Is Pozole?
Pozole, pronounced poh-soh-leh in Spanish, is a traditional Mexican soup or stew, made with hominy, meat (usually pork or chicken), chiles, and spices. You can find pozole rojo, verde, and blanco varieties. It’s often served with toppings like shredded cabbage, radishes, avocado, cilantro, and lime wedges.
Pozole Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for pozole rojo, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Dried Ancho Chiles – This key ingredient adds heat and flavor. You can also use dried guajillo chiles, which are more spicy, or an equal mix of both. Either of these dried chili peppers makes pozole rojo (red pozole). You can also use fresh green chiles for pozole verde (green pozole), or omit the chiles altogether if you want to make pozole blanco (white pozole).
- Garlic – You will need both whole garlic cloves and minced garlic for this pozole recipe.
- Olive Oil – Used for sauteing. Avocado oil also works.
- Meat – I used pork shoulder to make pork pozole, but you can also use other cuts of meat, such as pork loin, pork butt, or even chicken if you’re not a fan of pork. Cut the meat into 1-inch chunks.
- Onion – You can use white onion or yellow onion.
- Canned Hominy – This is a type of canned corn that is precooked and ready to use, and is another key ingredient in this dish. You can typically find it in the canned vegetables section at the grocery store.
- Chicken Broth – I use reduced sodium chicken broth, but regular works too (or bone broth).
- Seasonings – I tried not to go overboard to keep it simple yet still capture the essence of the dish. This pozole recipe uses dried oregano (but Mexican oregano is more traditional if you can find it), cumin for a warm flavor, bay leaves, sea salt (or kosher salt), and black pepper. You can also add ground coriander and/or smoked paprika if you like.
- Optional Garnishes – Shredded cabbage, sliced radishes, avocado, Cotija cheese, fresh cilantro, and lime wedges. Use any combination of these that you want!
How To Make Pozole
This section shows how to make pozole soup, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Hydrate the ancho chiles. Soak the dried chiles in boiled water until soft. Drain the water, cut off the chile stems and veins, and scoop out seeds.
- Blend and strain. In a small blender or food processor, combine the seeded and deveined chiles, whole garlic cloves, a pinch of salt, and water from the pot used to hydrate the chiles. Blend until smooth, then strain through a fine mesh sieve, pressing with a spoon to extract the liquid.
- Sear the pork. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the pork and sear on each side. Remove the pork from the pot and set aside.
- Saute the aromatics. Add the onions to the pot, and saute until soft. Add the minced garlic, and saute until fragrant.
- Combine. Return the pork to the pot with the onion and garlic. Add the ancho chile paste from the blender, ground cumin, dried oregano, and hominy. Stir everything together to coat the pork and hominy with the spices.
- Simmer. Add the chicken broth, salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer the pozole recipe until the pork is tender.
TIP: While the pork is simmering, skim off any foam that accumulates.
Sometimes this is needed and sometimes there isn’t much.
- Serve. Remove the bay leaves. You can serve Mexican pozole plain, or top with garnishes, like shredded cabbage, sliced radishes, avocado, Cotija cheese, and/or fresh cilantro. A fresh squeeze of lime juice also works well.
- Store: Allow pozole to cool completely, then transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days.
- Meal prep: You can make the ancho chile paste ahead of time and store it in the fridge. You can also chop the onions, dice the pork, and rinse the white hominy. Alternatively, make the entire soup ahead, since it stores well.
- Reheat: Warm up the pozole recipe in a pot over medium-low heat on the stovetop, or you can microwave it.
- Freeze: Transfer to airtight freezer-safe containers, leaving some space at the top for expansion. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
More Easy Mexican Recipes
Love Mexican-inspired dishes as much as I do? Try some of these easy recipes:
Tools I Use For This Pozole Recipe
- Dutch Oven – You can also use a stock pot, but I prefer the even heating in this heavy-duty one.
- Blender – This blender is powerful enough to puree the chiles and garlic with ease, but you can also use a food processor.
- Mesh Sieve – A must for straining the chile paste and keeping the soup lump-free.
This Mexican pozole recipe (pozole rojo) is a flavorful soup with tender pork, hearty hominy, and rich spices in a chile-seasoned broth.
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
In a medium saucepan, bring 3-4 cups of water to a boil. Remove from heat and add the dried ancho chilies. Allow them to soak for 15-20 minutes, until soft and rehydrated. Remove the ancho chiles from the pot using tongs and place them on a cutting board. Use a knife to remove the stems and any large veins. Use the back of the knife or a spoon to scoop out the seeds.
Strain the mixturethrough a small mesh sieve over a bowl, using the back of a spoon to press as much liquid through as possible.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the pork shoulder and sear for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove the pork from the pot and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium. Add the onions to the pot and sauté for 5-6 minutes.
Add the remaining 6 cloves of minced garlic and saute for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Return the pork to the pot. Add the ancho chili paste (that you strained in step 3), ground cumin, dried oregano, and hominy. Stir everything together to coat the pork and hominy with the spices.
Add the chicken broth, salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Increase heat to bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the pork is tender. While the pork is simmering, you may find it necessary to skim off any foam that accumulates while cooking.
Remove the bay leaves before serving. Serve as is or add garnishes of your choice.
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Serving size: 2 cups
- Serving size is for a meal, or you can cut it in half to serve as a starter.
- Nutrition info does not include optional garnishes.
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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