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Pozole Rojo

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This traditional Mexican pozole recipe is made with tender pork and hominy and simmered in the most delicious chile broth, then piled high with all of your favorite fresh toppings. Stovetop, Crock-Pot and Instant Pot instructions included!

Pozole Rojo

There are a million reasons to love a good bowl of pozole. But in my opinion, the magic of this traditional Mexican soup is found in its rich, vibrant, and incredibly flavorful red chile broth. ♡

By contrast to its pozole blanco (white) or pozole verde (green) cousins, pozole rojo is made with a blend of red chiles that gives this broth the most irresistible balance of savory, smoky, earthy, slightly sweet, and spicy flavors. And when slow simmered together with tender pork and hearty hominy, this later piled high with a generous handful of fresh toppings, this classic Mexican soup is my absolute idea of cozy comfort food to the max. Soooo much flavor!

To be honest, I love this recipe’s pozole broth so much that I’ve been known to make small batches of it just to sip from a mug on chilly winter nights. But when you’re craving a good and hearty bowl of soup, the traditional pork and hominy combo here will never let you down. You can either simmer all of the ingredients together for a few hours on the stovetop or toss everything in the Instant Pot or Crock-Pot. And while I’m going to insist that you use dried Mexican chiles to make this broth (no chili powder shortcuts here), I promise that they are incredibly easy to work with and dried chiles are absolutely essential when making pozole. I have also included notes for how to adjust the spice level here to make your batch exactly as mild or spicy as you prefer. And keep in mind that this recipe freezes wonderfully, so feel free to make a double batch while you’re at it!

Thousands of you have made and loved our pozole rojo recipe over the years. So in honor of the arrival of fall this week — hello, soup season! — I thought I would bump it back to the top of the site for anyone who has yet to give it a try. Let’s make some pozole!

Pozole Rojo Recipe | 1-Minute Video

Chiles to make pozole - ancho, guajillo and chile de arbol

Pozole Ingredients

Before we get to the full pozole recipe below, here are a few important notes about the ingredients you will need to make pozole rojo:

  • Dried chile peppers: There are many different varieties of dried or fresh Mexican chiles that can be used to make red pozole broth, but this classic trio of dried chiles is my favorite. Each can typically be purchased at a Latino grocery or online. And I highly recommend briefly toasting the chiles before soaking to bring out their best flavor.
    • Ancho chiles: These dried poblano peppers are fairly mild and have a smoky, earthy, raisin-like flavor.
    • Guajillo chiles: These moderately hot peppers have a sharp, fruity flavor.
    • Chiles de árbol: These bright red peppers are fiery hot and are a great way to amp up the heat. (Or feel free to omit these chiles if you prefer a milder soup.)
  • Pork: I prefer to make pozole with boneless pork shoulder, which becomes incredibly tender and flavorful once it has been slow-cooked in this soup.
  • Onion and garlic: I typically just sauté and stir onion and garlic into the broth, but you are welcome to purée them into the chile sauce if you prefer.
  • Chicken stock: Chicken stock or vegetable stock will be delicious as our base. Feel free to add more or less, depending on how brothy you prefer your soup to be.
  • Hominy: These puffy maize kernels (typically called maíz para pozole in Spanish) are traditionally used to make this soup extra-hearty. You can typically find them in the canned vegetable or Latino section of the grocery store.
  • Seasonings: I keep the seasoning simple with a mix of ground cumin, ground oregano (or Mexican oregano, if you happen to have some) and bay leaves.
  • Toppings: Finally, toppings are everything when it comes to pozole! So I highly recommend loading each serving up with a mix of whatever toppings you prefer, such as chopped fresh cilantro, crumbled cotíja cheese, avocado, lime wedges, shredded cabbage, Mexican crema, crumbled tortilla chips, and/or thinly-sliced radishes.

Pozole chiles in blender

How To Make Pozole

Detailed instructions are included in the recipe below for how to make pozole in the Instant Pot (pressure cooker), Crock-Pot (slow cooker) or on the stovetop, but here is a quick overview:

  1. Make the chile sauce: First, we will make the chile sauce by toasting and then soaking the dried chiles in hot water until softened. Then we will purée them with some of the soaking water in a blender of food processor until completely smooth.
  2. Sear the pork (optional): To add extra flavor, I recommend cutting the pork into 1.5-inch cubes and searing it briefly over high heat before cooking the pork in the broth. That said, feel free to skip this step if you are using the Crock-Pot or Instant Pot method, or if you would like to save time.
  3. Sauté the veggies (stovetop only): If making the stovetop method, we will then sauté the onion and garlic in a bit of oil until softened.
  4. Simmer: Then we will combine the pork, hominy, seasonings, chile sauce, cooked veggies and simmer (either in a covered stockpot, in the Crock-Pot or in the Instant Pot) until the pork is tender and shreds easily.
  5. Shred the pork: Next, we will remove the pork, shred it with two forks into bite sized pieces, and return it to the soup.
  6. Season: Taste and season the soup with salt and pepper (or any other seasonings) as needed.
  7. Serve: And finally, ladle up the pozole and serve it nice and warm, piled high with all of your favorite toppings.

Pot of pork pozole rojo

Pozole Recipe Variations

Here are a few options for how to customize this pork pozole recipe to your liking…

  • Strain the chile sauce: Feel free to strain the chile broth through a fine mesh strainer before adding it to the pozole, which is sometimes traditionally done to give the soup a thinner broth.
  • Make it spicier/milder: Add in extra chiles de árbol to make the soup more spicy, or omit them (and half of the guajillo chiles) to make the soup more mild.
  • Add extra veggies: While not necessarily traditional, the addition of extra veggies such as mushrooms, cauliflower, potatoes, peppers, or zucchini would be delicious.
  • Add beans : Feel free to also add in a can of rinsed and drained pinto beans to give this soup some extra protein.
  • Use chicken: To make chicken pozole, swap boneless chicken breasts or thighs for the pork and simmer the chicken until completely tender. It will not require as much cooking time as the pork.

Serving bowl of red pozole without toppings

Pozole FAQ

How do you pronounce pozoleIn Spanish, pozole is pronounced “poh-SOH-leh.”

It is spelled pozole or posole? The correct spelling in Spanish is with a “z,” but versions of this soup in the United States are occasionally spelled with an “s.”

What does pozole mean? The Spanish word is believed to have originated from a Nahuatl word, pozollmeaning “a variety of corn or maize.”

When is pozole traditionally served? In Mexico, pozole is often traditionally served for large gatherings and holidays, such as Mexican Independence Day, Christmas, New Years and more. Traditional red, white and green pozole recipes vary from region to region across Mexico, and there are also New Mexican and Tex-Mex versions of posole now as well.

Bowl of pork pozole with avocado, radishes, cilantro and cabbage

More Mexican-Inspired Soup Recipes

Looking for more Mexican-inspired soup recipes to try? Here are a few of my faves…

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Pozole Rojo

Pozole Rojo

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings 1x

Description

This traditional Mexican pozole recipe is made with tender pork and hominy and simmered in the most delicious chile broth, then piled high with your favorite fresh toppings. Crock-Pot and Instant Pot options included in the notes below.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 ounces dried ancho chiles
  • 2 ounces dried guajillo chiles
  • 2 to 3 chiles de arbol (optional*)
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil, divided
  • 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder*, cut into 1.5-inch cubes
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 7 to 8 cups chicken stock
  • 3 (15-ounce) cans hominy, rinsed and drained
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
  • optional toppings: chopped fresh cilantro, crumbled cotija cheese, diced avocado, fresh lime wedges, shredded cabbage, Mexican crema, and/or thinly-sliced radishes

Instructions

  1. Make the chile sauce. Cut off and discard the stems of the ancho chiles, guajillo chiles and chiles de arbol. Then shake out and discard their seeds. Briefly toast the chiles over an open gas flame (or you can press them into a hot stockpot over medium-high heat) for a few seconds per side until fragrant. Transfer all of the chiles in a heat-safe mixing bowl and cover them completely with boiling water. Let the chiles soak for about 30 minutes or until softened. Carefully use tongs to transfer the chiles to a blender or food processor, along with 2 cups of their soaking liquid. Puree for 1 minute or until completely smooth. (As always when blending hot liquids, be sure to tent the cap on the blender lid slightly open so that any hot air can escape while blender.) Set the chile sauce aside for later.
  2. Brown the pork. While the chiles are soaking, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the pork and sauté, rotating the pieces every few minutes, until all sides are seared and lightly browned, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer the pork to a clean plate and set aside.
  3. Sauté the veggies. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the same stockpot. Add the diced onion, and sauté for 4-5 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes more until fragrant, stirring frequently.
  4. Combine and simmer. Add in the 7 cups of the chicken stock, hominy, bay leaves, cumin, oregano, cooked pork, and the puréed chile sauce and stir to combine. Continue cooking until the soup reaches a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a very low simmer, cover, and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the pork is tender and shreds easily.
  5. Shred the pork. Once the pork is tender, use tongs to transfer it to a cutting board and shred it into bite-sized pieces using two forks. Return the pork to the soup and stir to combine.
  6. Season. If the broth is too thick for your liking, feel free to add in 1 more cup of chicken stock to thin it out. Stir, taste, and season the soup with salt and pepper as needed.
  7. Serve. Serve hot, garnished with lots of your favorite toppings, and enjoy!


Notes

Chiles de árbol: These chiles are significantly spicier than the guajillo and ancho chiles. So if you prefer a milder soup, feel free to make the chile mixture without them. You can always add some to the broth later if decide that you would like to add some extra heat. (In which case, just add them whole to the broth, simmer, and discard before serving.)

Crock-Pot Pozole Instructions: To make slow cooker pozole, follow Step 1 above to make the chili mixture in a blender or food processor. Add the chili paste and all of the remaining ingredients (excluding toppings) to a large slow cooker. Cover and cook for either 6-8 hours on low, or 4-5 hours on high, until the pork shreds easily with a fork. Then follow Steps 5-7 to complete the recipe.

Instant Pot Pozole Instructions: To make pressure cooker pozole, follow Step 1 above to make the chili mixture in a blender or food processor. Add the chili paste and all of the remaining ingredients (excluding toppings) to the bowl of an Instant Pot. Cover and pressure cook on high for 30 minutes, followed by a quick release. Then follow Steps 5-7 to complete the recipe.

Source: Slightly adapted from The Food Network and Simply Recipes.

This post contains affiliate links.

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Recipe rating

79 comments on “Pozole Rojo”

  1. It looks so spicy – my favourite!

    Charmaine Ng

  2. This looks so yummy! x
    Lovely post. 
    Izzy

  3. Totally buying dried chile peppers and making this over the weekend!! Sounds SO flavorful!!! I also love that you added thinly sliced radishes as a topping. They provide such a great crunch! :)

  4. WOW…I love Mexican food and this recipe will help take my dishes to the next level. Will have to try these in making sauces for Rancheros dishes and chilaquilles dishes. Thank you for posting!!

  5. This looks delicious! How about a future post on what to do with and/or how to cook with tomatillos?

    • Thank you, Rhonda — we hope you enjoy it! And we think that’s a great idea, we’ll take that into consideration for sure! :)

  6. Could you use beef instead of pork?

  7. I’m really impressed that you can get Mexican Oregano in Kansas City!  Around here, at least at the park where we volunteer, it grows wild.  The radishes you’ve used for topping are traditional, as is green cabbage.  I haven’t made pozole in quite some time, but may just have to try your recipe, because it sounds wonderful.  And yes, those dried chiles add wonderful flavor.  I’m guessing that pozole is sometimes spelt posole is because the ‘z’ in Spanish is pronounced like an ‘s’.  I love Mexican food, so I’m looking forward to seeing what else you post as you try out different dried chiles.  One of the ones I like, which is not very hot, is the cascabel variety.

    • Thanks for sharing, Susan — we hope you can give this a try soon, and that you enjoy it! :)

  8. Lovely! This looks like such a cozy dinner

  9. Yum, I could eat this off the page, it looks gorgeous and delicious. I love the sliced radish/cilantro crunch as a topping too. I just added the ingred including chilies to my shopping list. :)

  10. This looks amazing! I was wondering, why is the pork cut into 1.5 inch cubes if it’s going to be shredded after it is cooked?  Also, 1.5 to 2 hours seems a long time to cook such small cubes. Could the pork be left whole? Thank you for all your wonderful recipes, Ali.

    • You’re welcome to skip the step of cutting it into chunks. But I like cutting it so that the pieces sear/brown more quickly and evenly, and then they cook more quickly in the soup. (And then you also get the bonus of having more edges of the meat with that yummy caramelized sear.) But that said, you’re totally welcome to just leave the pork whole. :)

  11. I love your posts, but this one its beyond….
    As a mexican I can tell you that your recipe it’s authentic and I feel extremely happy to see that you went that extra mile in Mexican Food. Our food it’s more than tacos! Pozole it’s a typical dish in many states of Mexico and we usually eat it in celebrations as the indepence day or even new year’s eve! We eat it with totopos (tortilla chips) and as toppings crushed pepper, oregano, lettuce and radishes and lemon. We don’t put cheese, but in case you want to add some and you live in Canada, Canadian Feta taste a lot as Cotija cheese.

    Little tip: It taste much better the second day, like almost every leftover.

    Thanks for including Mexican cuisine in your posts and if you wanna try more recipes with chiles try Mole and Adobo!

    • Thank you for your sweet words, Arayanzi! We’re glad you enjoy the blog and we’re happy you like this recipe — we hope you can give it a try sometime! :)

  12. Oh MY!!! How wonderful this looks. Always wanted to cook with dried chilies, but never knew what to do! Thanks!

  13. Yum! That looks awesome. And did I miss it, or did you say which grocery store that is with all those Latin American specialties? We moved to Lawrence from AZ almost three years ago and still make our own tortillas a lot of the time bc the selection here is …lacking. :) Although there are some good homemade ones at our co-op, but they’re pricey. Thank you!!

    • Thanks, Tiffany — we hope you enjoy this! And Ali loves the Price Chopper at Roe and 35, or the Sun Fresh on 18th Street. Both have great selections of dried chiles!

  14. That looks amazing!  I’m just curious, which grocery store you are referring to?  I feel like I need to take a field trip!

    • Thanks, Lori! Ali loves the Price Chopper at Roe and 35, or the Sun Fresh on 18th Street. Both have great selections of dried chiles!

  15. This looks INCREDIBLE! Also I’m dying to know the grocery store of which you speak (because it sounds magical) as I live in Iowa and frequently make trips “down south” to KC. Definitely making this soon.

    • Thanks, Holly — we hope you enjoy it! And Ali loves the Price Chopper at Roe and 35, or the Sun Fresh on 18th Street. Both have great selections of dried chiles!

  16. Your blog is among my favorites. I have lots of Mexican friends who are marvelous cooks. That being said, when making pozole rojo, please strain the puree thru a fine mesh strainer, working the liquid gently thru with a spatula. I have a Vitamix and nothing turns everything to liquid or a powder like that thing. However, please strain your puree thru a fine mesh strainer. The little bits of pepper can make your pozole bitter when eating. I’m not promoting anything here, but if you want the authority on Mexican cooking, refer to any of Rick Bayless’s books on Mexican cuisine. One more suggestion, tear and toast the chilies in a little oil just until fragrant and start to darken (be careful – do not burn – they can get really bitter), then soak them per your recipe. Toasting releases the essential oils and give your pozole a nice depth of smoky flavor. If you want a less spicy pozole, substitute the arbol with another guajillo or two. One more note on how to select fresh dried chiles in a bag; they should be flexible without breaking. If they shatter, they’re too old and dry.

    Just talking from experience…… Dave

  17. Hi Ali, 

    Pozole is a soup I’ve been dying to make and yours looks delicious. I’m especially fond of colorado (red) sauces, so thanks!

    I can’t find the pressure cooker tips. Did you forget them or is it just my blind idiocy? 

    • Thank you, we hope you love this! :) And oops, we mistakenly left those out (sorry about that!) — adding them in now!

  18. And, yes, the Ghost or Bhut Jolokia pepper is extremely hot. Example: most have experienced the jalapeno and serrano – both have a nice spice level.
    To give you an idea of just how hot a ghost pepper is: Jalapeño peppers range from 2,500 to 8,000 on the Scoville scale, while Ghost peppers (a.k.a. the Bhut Jolokia) weight in between 855,000 – 1,041,427 Scoville heat units so use caution because a little piece goes a long, long – long way – and wear gloves for sure when working with that one.

  19. This looks delicious! I live in KC too and wonder if you might share the name of the grocery store where you find these amazing chiles.

    • Thank you, Sara — we hope you enjoy it! And Ali loves the Price Chopper at Roe and 35, or the Sun Fresh on 18th Street. Both have great selections of dried chiles!

  20. Oh my gosh, I LOVE pozole! I had it for the first time when I was a missionary for my church. A Mexican lady made it and I was enchanted! Now every time I meet a Hispanic person, I say, “Do you know how to make pozole?” Not really. But it is one of the first thoughts that comes to my mind. Your recipe looks so authentic and wonderful! I am dying to try it!

  21. try roasting your chilis a few quick minutes in the oven before soaking. really nice smokey flavor. watch them though, they will burn quickly.

  22. Do you think this would freeze okay?

    • Hi Clara! We think this should freeze okay (just freeze without the toppings). We hope you enjoy it!

  23. Hi! I made this last night. SUGGESTION – strain the puree before adding it to your soup. I pureed mine in a Ninja Blender and did not strain it… :( Bits of the pepper pods were in the soup. Outside of that, it was delicious! Thanks for the recipe.

    • We’re glad you enjoyed it, Lisa — and thank you for your recommendation, that’s helpful!

  24. What an awesome recipe! I’ve made pozole for years–family recipe–but we have always used chili powder. I never even thought to make a chili paste because I just made it the way we always have, but now I can’t wait to try this version! Pozole is one of my go-to comfort foods.

  25. I made this last night, almost to the letter, except with homemade pork stock. It was a completely stellar recipe, “one of the best soups I’ve ever had,” according to the guy – and I make a lot of soup! One note – I cut the recipe in half and used one can of hominy, and it was almost too much. I think a can and a half for a half recipe would have been too much. Otherwise, it was terrific! Garnished with cilantro, red onion, avocado and WATERCRESS. Great addition!

  26. Making this tonight!!!! For the recipe it says to cut up the pork in bite size pieces. Later in the directions, it says to remove the pork with tongs and shred it into bite size pieces. I’m assuming either will work? I was thinking of plopping the whole piece of pork in the pot and letting it breakdown that way, then shred it. Can’t wait to try this! 

    • Hi Lisl! We’re sorry we’re just now getting to your comment. Yes, you can do it either way, we hope you enjoy!

  27. When cooking in slow cooker, do you add the oil as well? Should meat be browned prior to placing in crock pot?

    • Hi Samantha! Yes, we’re sorry about the confusion, you will want to brown the meat in the oil before adding it to the crock pot. We hope you enjoy!

  28. Ummmmm…as a fellow Kansas City girl…WHERE is this grocery store you’re talking about?! I need to go! I almost feel a little embarrassed I have no idea where you’re talking about haha, but I’m so glad you posted about this magical mystery place.

  29. OHHHHH my I did make this Pozole soup and it had such great flavor!
    Everyone loved it!

  30. We are so excited to make this tonight- it looks absolutely amazing. Could we substitute chicken for pork?

  31. I made this for dinner and it is SO good. My first time working with dried peppers but not my last. I think next time I will try to make this in the pressure cooker.

  32. This was so delicious! It was my first time working with dried chiles and it turned out so well :). Great recipe as always. The boyfriend couldn’t get enough of it.

  33. I want to try this soup. I do not have a kitchen scale so am wondering how much dried chilies to use? I am in Mexico on holiday and things here are in grams. Looks delicious!

  34. My favorite pozole recipe. I make it in my instant pot and have it ready in about an hour and a half

    • Brianna – how long do you cook in the instant pot and do you put the hominy in to pressure cook or wait until the meat it cooked? I’m trying to adapt the directions but those are the two things I’m getting hung up on!

  35. I seriously have yet to find a recipe from you that I don’t like!! Thank you SO MUCH!! My kitchen smells delicious as the pork is simmering.

  36. This is THE BEST recipe for Pozole I have ever tried and it’s a keeper!!! I am making my first batch with chicken tonight :)

  37. Yummy. Yummy. My mouth is watering. I want to eat that!

  38. This was wonderful. I couldn’t locate the specified chiles in my area, but used guajillo, New Mexico and pasilla instead. It was so good. I had intended to strain it the chile mixture, but totally forgot but my Vitamix did a great job, so no woories. Can’t wait to try it again soon!

  39. Which store are you referring to? I’d like to check them out! I live in KC as well…

  40. When we lived in Kansas City I shopped at the Price Chopper over on Roe Blvd and they had the best house made tortillas.

  41. Me again. Thought I gave it five stars (which it totally deserves) but I inadvertently only gave it one star. Sorry! So I’m posting again this time with five stars!

  42. Hi There!!! I am planning on making this ahead of time…. Is it ok to make this the day before and refrigerate for the following day? Every year we make this and I am tasked with it this year! any tips and tricks for make ahead? Also do you think I can get away with pressure cooking the pork to get it tender for the soup?! Any suggestions would be helpful!!!

  43. LOVED THIS ?❤️ I’ve always wanted to make traditional pozole & this came out perfectly! I will definitely double the Ingredients next time to feed a bigger crowd ✨

  44. Hello, I wonder if you can suggest how I might do this recipe in my instant pot?

    Thank you

    Scott H

  45. it looks good but pozole doesn’t have cilantro in it.

  46. I’m very glad i was directed to your blog/website. I have done this exact recipe three times. It’s delicious !!! Thanks for the quick video as well. Happy Holidays :)

  47. Hi Hayley – I’m from K.C. too! What is the grocery store you mentioned that you frequent most in Kansas City, which is beloved by you for its epic selection of Latin American favorites? I cant seem to find ultra-thick tortilla chips at the grocery stores I frequent. I can’t wait to try your recipe for Pazole Rojo!

  48. I made this tonight and wow!—comes very close to the Pozole I’ve eaten in great restaurants in New Mexico. I will say, that like one other reader, I prefer to make pork broth for this, using bone in pork shoulder, or pork shoulder steaks. I’m going to have to experiment with that, because it’s not going to be super simple, but I think, worth it. I added some guajillo and ancho to my already made red sauce, which was mostly dried red Hatch chiles. Those however, must be mild, because I ended up throwing in a little cayenne at the very end. Will continue to improve my red chile. I made about 2/3 of the recipe; I used 2 cans of hominy, and I loved the texture! I like a thick soup, almost a stew, and this really fit the bill. The radishes were also a great touch! Thank you!!!! So very glad to find this recipe.

  49. This was amazing! I didn’t notice that bag of chilis I bought was less than 4 oz so it would’ve been more amazing with that bit of extra flavor. Next time. Also- if you think the chilis made a difference over chili powder, next time cook the hominy from dried to use. So much better than canned!

  50. Where in Wisconsin?! I recognized the Giese name and figure you must have roots in Dodge Co. I was looking for a Sunday recipe and of course had to read some comments. I’m from Mayville.