Pozole Rojo — This traditional Mexican soup features tender shredded pork, hominy, and more in a flavorful red chile broth! Learn how to make this authentic, rich, comforting, and very filling soup. It’s perfect for chilly fall and winter nights! Easy to follow steps for either an INSTANT POT, SLOW COOKER, or STOVETOP!
Pozole Rojo Recipe
It’s time to elevate your comfort food game with Pozole Rojo! This Mexican soup is most identifiable by its rich red chile broth, shredded pork, hominy, and green cabbage.
I firmly believe that all homemade soups should be two things — filling and flavorful! Pozole Rojo absolutely checks both of those boxes. There’s just the right amount of shredded pork and hominy to fill you up after just one hearty bowl.
Tip: This is a long blog post due to lots of detailed explanations about ingredients and 3 cooking methods are presented. If all you want is the recipe and none of the discussion, feel free to scroll right down directly to the recipe card section.
Ancho chilis are considered a milder pepper while the guajillo is a bit spicier, so they balance each other out perfectly in the broth.
Whichever cooking method you choose, the pork is deliciously tender, the broth is vibrant, and the chewy texture of the hominy, and bits of cabbage and radishes in every bite make this hearty soup incredible!
You’ll quickly understand why this is such a popular dish south of the border.
When to Serve Pozole Soup
If you really want to keep things authentic, you should serve Pozole Rojo on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. In Mexico, this traditional soup is typically eaten on the weekends because it does take awhile to make if you don’t have an Instant Pot and is a labor of love.
Although, since I’ve provided Instant Pot instructions, it greatly reduces the cooking time and gets your comfort food dinner recipes on the table quickly!
Along with Chiles en Nogada, eating Pozole on September 15th, which is Mexican Independence Day, is a must!
However, no matter when you serve Pozole Rojo, you’ll be so glad you did!
Ingredients in Pozole Rojo
All of the ingredients for red pork pozole are easy to find at well-stocked grocery stores and won’t break the bank. Assemble the following:
- Guajillo chiles
- Ancho chiles
- Pork roast (pork shoulder or pork butt)
- White or yellow onion
- Bay leaves
- Water or reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- Geen cabbage, for garnishing
- Radishes, for garnishing
- Mexican oregano, for garnishing
- Lime wedges, for garnishing
- Hot sauce, optional for garnishing
- Tostadas, tortillas, or chips, for serving
Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.
What is Hominy?
As an aside in case you’re not familiar with hominy, also sometimes called field corn or maize (maíz in Spanish), it’s corn that has undergone an alkaline soaking process called nixtamalization.
This allows the corn, or hominy, to later be ground and then used to make masa dough for tortillas or tortilla chips, grits, cornbread.
Or you can eat it in the giant corn kernel format as its presented in traditional pozole recipes. It’s got lots of texture, fiber, and I just love it. It’s what makes pozole, pozole.
You can’t omit it and there are no substitutions.
How to Make Pozole Rojo in an Instant Pot (Fastest Method)
Plug in your Instant Pot and let’s get to cooking! This Pozole Rojo is easy to make, especially when you let the pressure cooker do most of the work for you, and in the process save tons of time!
Step 1: Prepare the chilis. Give the chilis all a good rinse with water, then remove the stems and seeds. Place them in a bowl and fully submerge them with very hot water. Use a bowl or small plate to weigh them down, and allow them to sit undisturbed for 20 to 30 minutes.
Step 2: Toss most of the ingredients into the Instant Pot. Start by cutting the pork roast into large cubes. Cut the onion into chunky wedges. Then place the pork, onion, garlic, salt, bay leaves, hominy, and water or broth into the Instant Pot and set it aside.
Step 3: Blend the chiles. Remove the chiles from the water and pat them dry. Blend the chiles in a high speed blender until they’re smooth, and then pour them into a small fine mesh strainer. Using a spatula, press all of the juices into the Instant Pot.
Step 4: Cook the pork. Place the lid of the Instant Pot on it and set it to the “Meat” setting for 45 minutes. Make sure the top is fully secured or the meat will NOT cook!
Step 5: Shred and sauté. Once 45 minutes has passed, remove the pieces of cooked pork from the Instant Pot and shred them. This is easy to do with just two forks. Return the shredded meat back into the Instant Pot and set it to “Sauté” for 15 minutes.
Step 6: ENJOY. This is the best part, obviously! Serve your Pozole Rojo with toppings like cabbage, radishes, lime wedges, and tostadas. Mexican oregano is a great garnish as well – just be sure to stir that into your own individual bowl, not into the entire pot of soup.
How to Make Pozole Rojo in a Slow Cooker (Slowest Method)
If the Instant Pot just isn’t your thing, you can grab your trusty 7 to 8-quart Crock-Pot instead to make this red pozole recipe.
Step 1: Start off by soaking and blending the chiles as directed above.
Step 2:Place the pork cubes, onion, garlic, salt, bay leaves, hominy, and broth in the slow cooker.
Step 3: Strain out the chile pulp from juices, making sure to get as much chile juice as you can in the Crock-Pot.
Step 4: Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until the pork is very tender.
Step 5: Remove the pork and shred it, and then stir it back into the soup.
Step 6: Serve with all the desired toppings.
How to Make Pozole on the Stove (Most Traditional Method)
I’ve never been to a Mexican cenaduria — which is an extremely casual, super homey, family-friendly restaurant, and often times the family lives above the restaurant — and seen pozole cooked in any other method but on the stove and in huge pots that are simmering away for half a day.
Therefore if you’re not an Instant Pot nor slow cooker person, this stovetop method is for you:
Step 1: To a large Dutch oven or deep pot, add the cubed pork, onion, garlic, salt, bay leaves, and pour the water or broth over the top.
Step 2: Cook covered for 90 minutes, or until the pork is falling-apart tender.
Step 3: In the meantime, soak and blend the chiles as directed above.
Step 4: Remove the pork, shred it, and place it back in the Dutch oven.
Step 5: Strain out the chile pulp from juices, making sure to get as much chile juice as you can into the Dutch oven or pot.
Step 6: Add the hominy.
Step 7: Cook for 45 minutes more.
Step 8: Serve with all the desired toppings.
Why Do I Need To Soak Chiles?
I know it may seem like a hassle, but soaking chilis is an easy step that you really must do for the best flavor and consistency!
When you soak chili peppers, you’re rehydrating them. This simple process makes them easier to blend and it helps their natural flavors become more pronounced. Because the chilis become easier to blend, you end up with much more liquid to strain into your soup.
What Cut Of Pork Should I Use In Pozole Rojo?
In this easy Mexican soup recipe, it’s common to use either pork butt or shoulder. Just make sure that whichever cut of pork you choose is chopped into evenly-sized cubes so it cooks evenly.
Pork shoulder is a bit leaner than pork butt.
How Do I Shred Pork?
The easiest way to shred your cooked pork is to remove it from the the pot, place it on a cutting board, and use two forks to literally rip it to shred. It sounds a little more intense than it actually is, I promise!
Some people shred chicken or pork in a stand mixer but I feel like that’s dirtying way too many bowls and beaters for a simple two-fork-task.
Can I Make Red Pozole With Chicken or Keep Vegetarian?
Yes you can make Mexican pozole soup with both shredded chicken or keep it vegetarian. Actually, it is vegan at that point.
If you’re looking for a meatless quick and easy pozole, check out my 20-Minute Vegan Pozole Verde.
To use chicken, you would want to cube raw chicken and cook it either in the Instant Pot, slow cooker, or stoveop.
And then cook it as directed with the other ingredients, shred the chicken, return to the pot, and serve.
For a meatless pozole, simply use the hominy and I would also use other hearty root vegetables such as potatoes, parsnips, carrots, and turnips to bulk it up and with vegetables that can withstand a longer cooking time.
For either chicken or meatless pozoles, you won’t need to cook using any of the methods as long as if you were cooking with pork since pork takes much longer to tenderize.
Is Pozole Spicy?
No, pozole isn’t spicy because neither ancho nor guajillo chiles are known for their heat. Plus, everything is diluted with 3 quarts of broth or water.
So it’s more of a richly flavored broth, but not spicy.
However, if you wish to make it spicy, you can stir in some spicy salsa and that will do the trick.
What to Serve with Pozole
First and foremost, Pozole Rojo is notorious for the garnishes. Don’t skimp out on those essential garnished. Shredded cabbage softens perfectly from the heat of the broth and so do radishes.
They both provide subtle crunch and extra flavor.
If you’re serving this classic Mexican soup on a Saturday afternoon, you should celebrate your weekend correctly with a Super Simple Homemade Margarita! If you just can’t choose between a cerveza and a cocktail, then you definitely need to make my favorite Beer Margarita.
How to Store Leftovers
One of my favorite things about this Mexican stew is how well it holds up in the fridge. Actually like tomato sauce or spaghetti with sauce, the flavors actually marry as time passes so your leftovers may even be better!
Leftover pozole will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can easily reheat your leftovers in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring every so often to make sure your soup warms all the way through.
Can You Freeze Pozole?
Go for it! Once the Pozole Rojo cools to room temperature, pour it into individually-portioned freezer safe food storage containers for faster thawing. And pop them in the freezer, where it’ll stay fresh for up to 4 months.
When you’re ready to enjoy your soup, let it slowly thaw in the fridge. Once it’s fully thawed, reheat it either in the microwave or in a pot on your stove over medium heat.
Tips for the Best Pozole Rojo
Before you go grab the Instant Pot and get to work, be sure to read these quick tips and tricks to make sure you have the best Pozole Rojo, every time.
Dried Chiles: You’ll need both ancho and guajillo chiles. If you’re having a hard time locating them, make sure you’re checking the Mexican section of your grocery store. There should be plenty of dried peppers to choose from in that aisle or Amazon always works.
Soaking Chiles: Make sure your soaking water is very hot tap water, as hot as your tap goes, to soften and rehydrate them in 20 to 30 minutes so you can blend them into a smooth paste.
Straining the Chiles: After you’ve blended the soaked chiles, and you’re straining the liquid out from the paste, make sure to use a spatula and really press down on the pulp in your fine mesh strainer to make sure all the good juices get pressed out. You really want to make sure you get every last drop of that delicious chile flavor into the pot.
Pork Roast: As previously mentioned, you can use either pork butt or shoulder in this easy recipe. Pork shoulder is a bit leaner than pork butt. If you use pork butt, you can always skim excess fat off the top of the pozole – or not. The fat adds lip-smackin’ good flavor. With whatever cut you choose, make sure all of the meat is cut into the same size cubes, that way they all cook evenly.
Hominy: Do NOT substitute the hominy with corn! While they’re similar, they’re certainly not interchangeable.
Water vs. Broth: Feel free to swap the water with either chicken or vegetable broth if you’d prefer a little extra flavor. Use a lower or reduced sodium broth to control the salt levels and scale back on the 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt called for.
Mexican Oregano: Mexican oregano is similar to the Italian oregano you may be used to, but it has undertones of citrus that make it stand out. Remember, the oregano should be stirred into the Pozole Rojo in each individual bowl, to taste not in the pot since preferences vary.
Pin This Recipe
- 4 guajillo chilis, deseeded
- 2 ancho chilis, deseeded
- 3 pounds pork roast, cubed into 3-inch chunks (pork shoulder or pork butt)*
- 1 large white or yellow onion, peeled and cut into large wedges
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 bay leaves
- two 25-ounce cans hominy, drained and rinsed
- 3 quarts water or reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 to 2 cups shredded green cabbage, for serving as desired
- 6 radishes.sliced thin, for serving as desired
- 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano, for serving as desired
- 4 limes, quartered; for serving as desired
- Hot sauce or salsa, for serving if spiciness is desired
- Tostadas, tortillas, tortilla chips, for serving as desired
- Add the chile paste mixture to a small fine mesh strainer, and over the Instant Pot, and using a spatula to press out as much of the liquid from the pulp. Make sure to really press and work to get every drop of delicious liquid into your Instant Pot. Discard the pulp.
- Put the lid on the Instant Pot, seal it, and set it to the Meat setting for 45 minutes. Tip - Make sure the lid is properly and fully secured or it won't cook.
- After 45 minutes, do a Quick Release, making sure to use extreme caution when opening the steam valve and taking off the lid, covering it with a towel and wearing thick oven mitts because the steam is very hot and can burn you!
- Remove the pork, place it on a cutting board, and shred it using two forks.
- Return the pork back to the Instant Pot and set it to the Saute setting for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, do another Quick Release using caution, and serve as desired with the options listed above.
- Add the chile paste mixture to a small fine mesh strainer, and over the siow cooker, and using a spatula to press out as much of the liquid from the pulp. Make sure to really press and work to get every drop of delicious liquid into your slow cooker. Discard the pulp.
- Slow cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or until the pork is very fork-tender.
- Remove the pork, place it on a cutting board, and shred it using two forks.
- Return the pork back to the slow cooker, stir to incorporate, and serve as desired with the options listed above.
- Meanwhile, to a large Dutch oven, place the cubed pork, onion, garlic, salt, bay leaves, water or broth; set aside.
- Add the chile paste mixture to a small fine mesh strainer, and over the Dutch oven or pot and using a spatula to press out as much of the liquid from the pulp. Make sure to really press and work to get every drop of delicious liquid into your Dutch oven or pot. Discard the pulp.
- Cook covered over medium heat for 90 minutes, or until pork is very fork-tender.
- Remove the pork, place it on a cutting board, and shred it using two forks.
- Return the pork back to the Dutch oven or pot, add the hominy, stir to incorporate, and simmer covered for an additional 45 minutes.
- Serve as desired with the options listed above.
- Pozole mwill keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days (it often tastes better the second day as the flavors marry and meld) or in the freezer for up to 4 months. I recommend using smaller or indiviual-sized freezer safe food storage containers for faster thawing rather than freezing it in one big container.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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