Packed with red chiles and hominy, this spicy pozole rojo recipe is as authentic as prehispanic Mexican soups get. Rich, hearty, and loaded with exciting toppings, you’ll understand why it was an offering in ancient rituals the minute you dig in.
Mexican Pozole Rojo (Red Pozole) Soup
Full of tender pork and crunchy toppings, this red pozole is a full Mexican meal in a bowl. Simmered in a hearty, stew-like broth packed with soft and creamy hominy, every spoonful is a flavorful gift from the Aztecs.
Perfectly spicy and loaded with shredded cabbage and radishes, it’s got all the Mexican flavors you can imagine. Don’t let its richness and deep red hue intimidate you, though! This recipe is very easy as long as you’ve got some time to watch the stove. Even if you don’t, you can still make it in the crockpot and come home to a comforting meal after work.
Ladled into bowls with a generous amount of toppings, you’ll love that you didn’t have to make a pyramid-sized effort throughout the week in order to get a potful of this soupy Mexican goodness on your table.
What Is Pozole?
Pozole is a prehispanic Mexican soup, dating all the way back to the Aztecs. It was an offering to the gods and was traditionally made with human flesh and red chiles (hence the redness of the soup). Once the Spanish arrived, they banned the use of human flesh and introduced pork instead.
Aside from that fundamental protein substitute, the components of red pozole remain practically intact. Topped with a variety of ingredients like cabbage or lettuce, radishes, and onions, it’s the perfect dish for special occasions.
Aside from the pork, the chiles, garlic, and bay leaves are the most important ingredients. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for full ingredient amounts.
- Boneless Pork Roast: Pork butt or shoulder work too.
- White Onion: Yellow onion is okay.
- Garlic Head: Don’t use garlic powder for this.
- Bay Leaves
- Chicken Bouillon: This intensifies the flavor, but feel free to leave it out.
- Mexican Oregano: Try not to use Italian oregano, please.
- Dried Chilies: I use dried guajillo chiles and dried ancho chiles.
- Water: Low-sodium veggie, chicken, or beef broth are good substitutes.
- Canned Hominy: Make sure it’s the pre-cooked kind of canned hominy or your pozole will take forever to cook.
Can I Use Chicken Instead Of Pork?
Absolutely! Bone-in, skinless chicken thighs will yield the juiciest chicken without a greasy feel. However, you can use boneless chicken breasts if you prefer. Either way, make sure to shred the chicken right before serving.
How to Make Pozole Rojo
Red pozole is actually not that hard to make! If you want to make things even easier on yourself, check the Tips section for instructions on how to make it in the crockpot.
- Fill the pot. Add the pork, white onion, garlic, bay leaves, chicken bouillon, salt, oregano, guajillo, and ancho chiles into the pot. Cover everything with water and stir to combine.
- Simmer it. Let the pozole simmer over medium-low heat for 3 hours. Skim off any foam and impurities that rise to the top every 30 minutes or so. After 2.5 hours, remove the bay leaves from the pot. Throw them away.
- Blend some of it. Spoon out the chiles, onion, garlic, 1/2 cup of hominy, and 1/2 cup of broth from the pot. Add everything to the blender and process until smooth. Pour the mixture back into the pot and simmer for another hour.
- Serve. Ladle hot soup into serving bowls and add your favorite toppings!
Tips for Making Authentic Pozole
Follow these tips for a fail-proof red pozole:
- Use the crockpot. Throw everything into the crockpot and set it to HIGH for 4-5 hours or LOW for 7-8 hours. Once the meat is tender and easily pulls apart, it’s ready.
- Low and slow. Don’t raise the heat when cooking pozole. It’ll only result in hard, dry pork meat.
- Store the hominy separately. These little white guys are soup-soaking kernels. Save your soup by removing as much hominy from the pozole as possible and storing it in a separate container.
- Stir. Despite it being a soup, make sure to stir the pot every 15-20 minutes to keep ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning.
Generously pack these toppings to make the most authentic red pozole you’ve ever tried:
- Shredded cabbage – This can easily be swapped for shredded lettuce.
- Diced onion – White or red onion is okay.
- Sliced radishes
- Tostadas – Tortilla chips and homemade bolillos are good substitutes.
- Lime wedges
How to Store Leftover Pozole Rojo
Refrigerate any cooled leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days. It keeps best if all the toppings are stored separately because the cabbage can turn bitter during reheating. It also loses its crunch. However, nothing will really happen if you prepared a large bowl you never finished and decided to refrigerate it with toppings.
Reheat it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or until warm. I recommend stirring the soup halfway through to make sure it heats evenly. You can also heat it in a pot over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Can I Freeze This?
Yes! Red pozole freezes quite well. Transfer any cooled leftovers into a freezer-friendly bag or container and freeze it for up to 3 months.
Thaw it in the fridge for 12-24 hours before reheating it as usual. Make sure you use a bag or container that you’re okay with possibly staining because the soup tends to stain plastic containers sometimes.
More Easy Mexican Recipes
- Pork Pozole Verde
- Chicken Tinga (Tinga de Pollo)
- Chilaquiles Verdes
- Avocado Salsa
- Colorado Green Chili (Chili Verde)
For the Soup
- 4-5 pounds boneless pork roast, cut into 2″ pieces
- 1 large white onion, quartered
- 1 head of garlic
- 5 bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons chicken bouillon
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
- 8 large dried guajillo chiles, stems and seeds removed
- 5 large dried ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed
- 4 quarts water, you may need more
- 1 50 oz can white hominy, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup chopped cabbage
- ¼ cup diced onion
- 4 radishes, sliced
- Tostadas or tortilla chips
- Lime wedges
- Place the pork into a large stock pan. Add the white onion, garlic, bay leaves, chicken bouillon, salt, and oregano to the pot.
- Place the guajillo and ancho chiles in the pot. Cover everything with water and stir.
- Simmer over medium-low heat for 3 hours. After it has simmered for 20 minutes, you may need to skim off any foam and impurities. Repeat again after another 5 minutes.
- After 2.5 hours, remove the bay leaves and discard them.
- Then spoon out the chiles, onion, and garlic. Place them in a blender along with 1/2 cup of the hominy and 1/2 cup of broth from the pot. Blend until smooth, then pour back into the pozole.
- Add the remaining hominy and simmer for another hour.
- Serve large bowls of pozole with your favorite toppings!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.