Authentic Mexican pozole (posole) is a hearty and comforting stew made with pork and hominy in a flavorful red chile broth. Top your bowl with shredded cabbage, radishes, cilantro, lime, and avocado!
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There’s nothing better than a warm bowl of pozole and some corn tortillas or tortilla chips on the side. It’s Mexican comfort food at its finest and is one of Mexico’s most popular dishes!
What is pozole?
Pozole is a traditional Mexican soup or stew made with tender meat and hominy in a savory broth.
There are many variations of the dish including some with a red chile broth (known as pozole rojo) and some with a green chile broth (or pozole verde). There’s even a version made with no chiles at all called pozole blanco!
All variations are made with hominy and are served with lots of toppings that are meant to be mixed into each individual serving.
Pozole is served year-round, but is often eaten at celebrations such as birthdays, Christmas, New Years, and other holidays.
Ingredients you need
While this pozole recipe is fairly easy to make, you do need to have the right ingredients in order to get the red chile broth to be as flavorful as possible. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Dried chiles: You can find them in the hispanic foods aisle of your local grocery store or in a specialty Mexican grocer. If you can’t find them in your area, buying them online is always a great option. Here’s where to buy dried guajillo chiles, dried ancho chiles and dried arbol chiles.
- Hominy: This is often found in the hispanic foods aisle of your local grocery store. If you’ve never used it before, hominy is a type of maize that’s been soaked and treated with lime. The kernels are about triple the size of yellow corn and they look like big and puffy popcorn! Learn more about hominy.
- Pork shoulder: Also known as “pork butt,” this cut of meat is perfect for pozole because it’s super tender, juicy, and shreds easily.
- Broth: I prefer using broth for added flavor. You can use vegetable, chicken or beef. If you don’t have broth, water will also work in a pinch.
- Spices: Cumin, chili powder, Mexican oregano, salt, black pepper, and garlic.
- Mexican chocolate (optional): This ingredient is optional, but I find that it adds a little extra depth of flavor that compliments the chiles. It doesn’t make the chile sauce sweet at all. I used Abuelita Mexican chocolate, but you can use any Mexican chocolate you prefer. Learn more about Mexican chocolate.
How to make pozole
Making pozole is fairly easy, but it does take a little bit of time since the meat needs to cook long enough so that it’s tender and juicy. Here’s how to make it:
1. Rehydrate the chiles: Add the dried chiles to a pot of boiling water and let them soak for 10 minutes to soften.
2. Blend the sauce: Add the softened chiles, the water they were soaking in, salt, garlic, Mexican chocolate, cumin and chili powder into a large blender and blend until completely smooth.
3. Sear the pork: Season all sides of the meat with salt and black pepper, then brown on all sides in a large Dutch oven or pot until nicely browned.
4. Combine and cook: Add in the red chile sauce, broth, hominy, and dried oregano and bring everything to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 2 1/2 hours until the pork is fall-apart tender.
5. Shred and serve: Shred the pork with a fork or tongs, then serve with traditional toppings like finely shredded cabbage, cilantro, lime wedges, sliced radishes, diced onions, and avocado.
How to serve pozole
A warm bowl of pozole rojo is delicious on its own, but adding toppings and garnishes truly takes it to the next level. Here are some traditional toppings that are served with pozole:
- shredded cabbage
- dried Mexican oregano
- lime juice
- sliced radishes
- diced onions
Must haves: If you only add a few of the toppings to your bowl, make them be shredded cabbage and fresh lime juice. The cabbage adds a really great crunch to the stew and the lime juice adds the perfect amount of acidity that makes the red chile broth really pop!
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
There’s no real difference except the spelling. Nowadays they’re often used interchangeably, however the spelling “pozole” is traditionally used in authentic Mexican cooking whereas the spelling “posole” has traditions in the US southwest.
You can find them in the hispanic foods aisle of your local grocery store or in a specialty Mexican grocer. If you can’t find them in your area, buying them online is always a great option.
Yes. You can use beef chuck roast instead of pork shoulder. Treat it exactly the same by searing it first, then braising in the chile sauce.
The 3 types of pozole are pozole rojo, pozole verde, and pozole blanco.
Yes! If you have an Instant Pot, try my Instant Pot Pozole recipe!
Storing and Freezing
Storing: Pozole can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Freezing: To freeze, cool pozole in the refrigerator. Once cooled, transfer to a freezer safe container or bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
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For the chile sauce
- 3 cups water
- 6 dried guajillo chiles, rinsed and seeds removed
- 4 dried ancho chiles, rinsed and seeds removed
- 2 dried arbol chiles, rinsed (seeds removed if you prefer a mild spice level)
- 1 ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 3 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 grams Mexican chocolate, optional (about ⅛ disc)
For the stew
- 2 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into large 4-inch chunks
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 6 cups broth (chicken, vegetable, or beef)
- 3 (15-ounce) cans white hominy, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano (Mexican oregano preferred)
- thinly shredded cabbage, cilantro, diced onions, lime wedges, sliced radishes, Mexican oregano, avocado
- Soak the chiles: In a small pot over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Remove it from the heat and add in the dried chiles. Cover and let the chiles soak for 10 minutes.
- Blend the chiles: Carefully transfer the softened chiles and the hot water into a large blender. Add the salt, chili powder, ground cumin, garlic, and Mexican chocolate. Blend for 2-3 minutes until completely smooth. Set aside.
- Prepare the meat: Season all sides of the pork with the salt and black pepper. Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add in the cooking oil and then the pork. Sear the meat on all sides until nicely browned.
- Combine: Pour in the red chile sauce and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen all the brown bits. Stir in the broth, hominy, and dried oregano.
- Cook: Bring the pot to a boil, reduce heat to a low, cover and simmer for 2 ½ hours, until the pork is fall-apart tender.
- Shred the meat: Shred the pork with a fork or tongs (it should fall apart very easily). Taste and season with more salt, if necessary.
- Serve: Serve with toppings such as thinly shredded cabbage, cilantro, lime juice, sliced radishes, diced onions, avocados, and dried Mexican oregano.
- Mexican chocolate: This ingredient is optional, but I find that it adds a little extra depth of flavor that compliments the chiles. It doesn’t make the chile sauce sweet at all.
- Storing: Pozole can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Freezing: Cool the pozole in the fridge. Once chilled, scoop into freezer-safe zip-top bags or containers and freeze. When ready to eat, let frozen container thaw completely in the fridge or defrost in the microwave. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave until completely warm.
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