Red Pozole is a hearty, flavorful soup that’s full of pork and hominy in red-orange chile broth. It’s a one-pot meal that is pure comfort food!
Easy Red Pozole is a Mexican soup/stew that can feed a crowd! I got the recipe from my former co-worker, Jessica. She moved to the U.S. from Mexico as a child, and she makes pozole for big family get-togethers.
She was kind enough to bring the leftovers to work one day. One taste and I was HOOKED. It was warm and comforting, mildly spiced, and topped with all kinds of fresh garnishes.
The real star of the soup is the broth. The base is pork stock, which you make by cooking the pork in water with onion and garlic. Then you add guajillo chiles that have been soaked (to soften them) and blended with oregano, cumin, and a little of the hominy.
The result is a bright red-orange broth that’s warm but not spicy, slightly thickened from the hominy, and packed with flavor.
Jessica explained that her Mexican American family makes pozole for large family parties and celebrations. It stretches far among hungry relatives and friends, and it’s simple to make. She uses pork necks, but I chose pork shoulder instead. It makes the dish a little more hearty with the extra meat. But if you can find pork necks, you can definitely use those!
- Pork shoulder flavors the broth and makes the pozole extra hearty.
- Hominy is basically puffed-up, juicy, slightly salty corn kernels. It’s sold in cans and can be found in the international food aisle of most grocery stores.
- Onion and garlic add lots of savory flavor to the broth.
- Dried guajillo peppers can be found in some major grocery stores, but in most cases, you will need to visit an international foods store or Mexican grocery store to find them. You can also find dried guajillo peppers on Amazon.
- Oregano and cumin add more great flavor to the pozole.
- Garnishes make the soup so fun to eat! Chopped radishes, romaine lettuce, and crushed tortilla chips are my favorites—they add lots of crunch!
How to make Mexican red pozole
1. Cut the pork shoulder into 1-inch pieces. This helps it cook quicker, and you don’t have to chop/shred it later.
2. Then place the pork shoulder, a quartered onion, 5 cloves of garlic, and 2 teaspoons salt in a large stock pot. Cover with water, and cook for 2–3 hours, or until the pork falls apart when you shred it with a fork.
3. Remove the onion, garlic, and the bone from the pork shoulder (if the pork shoulder has a bone). Reserve one cup of hominy, then add the rest to the pozole. Let cook for 30 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, place the dried guajillo peppers in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover the bowl and let sit for 20 minutes to soften the peppers. Drain the water, remove the stems from the peppers, and cut the peppers open with a sharp knife. Remove the seeds and membranes from the peppers and discard.
5. Place the softened peppers, 5 cloves of garlic, oregano, cumin, 3 teaspoons salt, and 1 cup of water in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add the reserved 1 cup of hominy and continue to blend until smooth. Add the mixture to the pozole. Simmer for 30 minutes.
6. While the pozole is simmering, prepare the toppings.
Toppings for red pozole
Toppings add color, texture, and lots of flavor to pozole. Choose as many as you like!
- Chopped radishes
- Finely chopped romaine lettuce
- Lightly crushed tortilla chips
- Finely diced white onion
- Chopped cilantro
- Dried oregano
- Lime wedges
Can you freeze pozole?
You can freeze pozole by transferring the cooled soup to a freezer-safe container or resealable freezer storage bag. Cover the container or seal the bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. To defrost, let it sit in the refrigerator overnight and heat on the stovetop. Alternatively, run warm water over the pozole to loosen it from the container, and place the frozen pozole in a large pan. Cook over medium heat until the pozole is warm.
What type of chiles are best for pozole?
Guajillo chiles are traditionally used in red pozole. You can find them at many international food stores. You can also find dried guajillo peppers on Amazon.
Easy Red Pozole is perfect for a crowd. I got about 12 bowls of of this recipe.
I served it for an early Cinco de Mayo celebration with my friend Kelley of Haviland Events. She did the adorable tablescape (Home Depot carries those cute succulents/cacti!) and I made the food.
Easy Red Pozole
- 3½ lbs pork shoulder, cut into 1 inch chunks
- 1 large yellow onion, quartered
- 10 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed, divided
- 2 (29 oz) cans hominy, drained
- 3 oz dried guajillo peppers
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 5 teaspoons kosher salt
- For garnish: chopped radishes, chopped cilantro, finely diced white onion, tortilla chips, shredded romaine lettuce, oregano, lime wedges
- Place the pork shoulder in a large stock pot or dutch oven. If your pork shoulder has a bone, add that too.
- Add the onion, 5 of the smashed garlic cloves, and 2 teaspoons salt.
- Add water until it reaches 1 inch above the pork. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer on low until the meat is tender, about 2–3 hours.
- Remove the onion, garlic cloves, and bone (if you added it).
- Add the hominy, reserving 1 cup for later use. Cook for 30 minutes more.
- Meanwhile, place the peppers in a medium bowl. Pour 5 cups of boiling water over the top and cover. Let sit for 20 minutes. Drain the peppers.
- Remove the stems and cut the peppers open. Remove the seeds and membranes.
- Place peppers, remaining 5 cloves of garlic, 2 teaspoons oregano, 2 teaspoons cumin, and 3 teaspoons salt in a blender. Pour 1 cup water over the top. Blend on high until almost smooth.
- Add the remaining 1 cup hominy and blend until completely smooth.
- Pour the pepper mixture into the pot with the pork. Stir to combine. Simmer for 30 minutes.
- Serve in big bowls with chopped radishes, chopped cilantro, finely diced white onion, tortilla chips, shredded romaine lettuce, and lime wedges on the side.