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    Pozole Rojo

    Pozole Rojo is one of my favorite Mexican stews, beloved for its delicious, robust taste and comforting feel. This dish truly highlights the wonderful culture and history of Mexico, tracing back to the ancient Aztecs.

    Pozole combines hearty ingredients and bold flavors in a way that brings nostalgic smiles to those of us who grew up eating it. Let me show you how to make this Mexican Pork Stew just like a local.

    Pozole Rojo is a classic Mexican stew, where pork and hominy simmer in a well seasoned, chili pepper enhanced broth.

    I have cooked some cracking Mexican flavors in the past. Birria Stew, Carne Adovada, Chile Verde, Caldo de Pollo, and Caldo de Res are some of the huge classics hailing from this vibrant and bold cuisine.

    I first tried Pozole at our local Mexican grocery store, which has a buffet-style restaurant serving authentic Mexican classics. It’s become a regular thing for us to stop by and grab a bite there after picking up Noah from school, especially when we don’t have lunch waiting for us at home. The big bowl of Pozole brimming with bold flavors became a favorite of mine in no time.

    Bowl of pozole from our local Mexican restaurant.

    For a long time, it has been on my wish list to cook for you guys. After taking one look and sip of the bowl I made, I am very pleased with the flavor, and I love the warmth it brings to the table.

    What is Pozole Rojo?

    Pozole, pronounced “poh-SOH-leh”, is a traditional Mexican stew with hominy, meat (usually pork), and a variety of chilis and spices, and served with assorted fresh toppings.

    Its name comes from the Nahuatl (the language of the Aztecs and other indigenous peoples in central Mexico)word “pozolli,” meaning “foam,” referencing the foam formed when corn is boiled.

    Large bowl full of pork pozole, along with garnishes.

    The classic types of Pozole are known as Pozole Rojo (with a red sauce made from chilies), Pozole Verde (green, made with green chilies and tomatillos), and Pozole Blanco (a simpler version without the added sauce of red or green varieties).

    Pozole Rojo, specifically, gets its distinctive red color from a blend of dried red chilies.

    Dried chili peppers on a cutting board.

    The dried chilies are soaked, blended, and strained to make a smooth sauce. This sauce adds vibrant color and a mild spicy, smoky flavor to the broth.

    Hominy, the main ingredient, is corn treated with an alkaline solution and cooked. This process, used by indigenous peoples, boosts the corn’s nutrition and gives it a special taste and texture.

    Can of white hominy.

    In terms of meat, Pozole typically uses pork, although chicken can also be used. The use of pork came after the Spanish conquest, as pork was introduced to the Americas by the Europeans.

    What Cut of Pork is Traditionally Used?

    I prefer using pork shoulder or pork butt because they have lots of tasty fat running through them. When I cook them slowly, that fat melts into the broth, making it super flavorful and the meat really tender and easy to shred.

    I also like to add pork neck bones to the pot. They bring a deep flavor and their collagen helps make the broth thicker and richer as it cooks.

    Sometimes I use country-style ribs or spare ribs too, they work really well in Pozole.

    Pork feet are also often incorporated in traditional Pozole recipes. While not the primary source of meat, these trotters are prized for their gelatin, which adds a silky and rich texture to the broth.

    Side view of a bowl of red posole.

    Ingredient Needed

    • Pork: Today I am using pork shoulder and pork neck bones for this classic Mexican stew.
    • Hominy: I use canned hominy for convenience. You can substitute with one pound of dried, but note that it will need to be soaked overnight and will take longer to cook.
    • Onions and Garlic: Standard aromatics.
    • Dried Chilis (Guajillo and Ancho): Dried chilis, like Guajillo and Ancho, are super important for making Pozole Rojo. They give the stew a bright color and a tasty, mildly spicy flavor. You can usually find these dried chilis in the Mexican section at the store or online. If you want your pozole spicier, you can add 3-5 árbol chilis.
    • Spices: Bay leaves, oregano, cumin, and black pepper. If you can find Mexican oregano, we recommend that, but regular oregano will work too.
    • Chicken Bouillon: Enhances the savory depth of the broth.
    • Corn Tortillas (Our Special, Unique Ingredient): Used to thicken the chili sauce, adding a hint of corn flavor.
    • Toppings: Shredded cabbage, radishes, lime, onion, avocado, and cilantro.
    • Serving Options: Pozole is typically served with warm corn tortillas or Mexican rice.

    Pozole Recipe

    1. Cook the Pork: I bring 12 cups of water to a boil with 2 tsp of salt. Then, I add the pork chunks and bones and let it simmer, skimming off the foam until I get a clear broth. This usually takes about 10-15 minutes.

    2. Add Aromatics to Pork: I add mashed garlic cloves, quartered onion, cumin, oregano, chicken bouillon, and pepper to the pot. Then, I cover it and let it simmer for 1½ hours. While it cooks, check out our collection of favorite Mexican recipes!

    Large dutch oven full of pork and aromatics simmering in broth.

    3. Prepare Chilis: I boil guajillo and ancho chilis for 3-4 minutes, then let them rehydrate for 20-30 minutes in hot water.

    Chili peppers soaking in water.

    4. Make Chili Sauce: I blend the rehydrated chilis, onion, garlic cloves, salt, torn corn tortillas, and some of the chili soaking broth until smooth.

    Chili sauce after blending.

    5. Shred the Cooked Pork: I remove the pork from the broth, shred it, and discard the bones and bay leaves.

    Shredded pork in a bowl.

    6. Combine and Cook: I strain the chili sauce into the broth, then add the shredded pork and drained white hominy. I let it cook for 30-40 minutes, adjusting the salt and bouillon to taste.

    7. Serve: I ladle the Pozole into bowls, making sure to get a good mix of pork and hominy in each serving. Then, I top it with shredded cabbage, diced onions, chopped cilantro, sliced radishes, and lime wedges. I like to serve it with warm corn tortillas or Mexican rice on the side.

    Alpana’s Tips:

    • Properly Prepare the Chilis: When preparing the chilis, I make sure to remove all the seeds and stems for a smooth puree, which forms the flavor base of my Pozole.
    • Skim the Broth: Skimming the broth is essential for a clear, clean-tasting soup, so I always make sure to do this while it’s simmering.
    • Use a Fine-Mesh Strainer: When adding the chili sauce to the broth, I strain it through a fine-mesh sieve to ensure a smoother texture.
    • I Don’t Rush the Cooking Process: The flavors in Pozole develop and deepen over time. Don’t rush the cooking process, let the stew simmer to develop its full flavor.
    • Balance the Flavors: I adjust the spices and seasonings as I cook. I taste and tweak the levels of salt, cumin, and oregano to suit my preference. It’s all about finding the perfect balance!
    Close up view of a bowl of pork pozole.

    Possible Variations:

    Pozole Rojo, Verde, Blanco: The three classic types of Pozole. Rojo uses red chilis, Verde is made with green chilis and tomatillos, and Blanco is a simpler version without added chili sauce.

    Meat Variations: While pork is traditional, I sometimes use chicken or beef. For a vegetarian version, I swap out the meat for mushrooms or beans.

    Seafood Pozole: For a coastal twist, I replace the traditional meat with shrimp, fish, or other seafood.

    Spicier Version: I like to add chile de árbol to the chili mix for an extra kick.

    Pozole Rojo is a classic Mexican stew, where pork and hominy simmer in a well seasoned, chili pepper enhanced broth.

    There you go, one more iconic dish from Mexico, cooked to perfection in our GypsyPlate kitchen. Pozole is a perfect dish for gathering around the table, sharing stories, and enjoying good company.

    Make a big pot and share my version of Authentic Pozole from south of the border with your friends and family.

    Pozole Rojo, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!

    Bowl of pozole atop the Gypsy Plate.

    More Great Stew Recipes:
    Meatball Stew
    Hungarian Goulash
    Carbonnade Flamande
    Pollo Guisado
    Pork Stew
    Beef Tagine
    Carne Guisada

    Featured image for pozole rojo recipe.

    Pozole Rojo

    Yield: 10-12 servings
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
    Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes

    Pozole Rojo is a classic Mexican stew, where pork and hominy simmer in a well seasoned, chili pepper enhanced broth.


    • 2 pounds pork shoulder or pork butt, cut into large chunks
    • 2.5 pounds pork neck bones (you can sub with country style ribs or spare ribs)
    • 1.25 medium onion, cut into quarters, divided
    • 4 bay leaves
    • 12 large garlic cloves, divided
    • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 1 Tbsp Mexican or regular oregano
    • 2 tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp pepper
    • 6 guajillo chilis, stems and seeds removed
    • 6 ancho chilis, stems and seeds removed
    • 2 corn tortillas
    • 2 25oz cans white hominy, drained


    • cabbage, thinly shredded
    • yellow or white onion, diced
    • fresh cilantro, chopped
    • lime wedges
    • radishes, thinly sliced
    • avocado (optional)
    • warm corn or flour tortillas, for serving


    1. Bring 12 cups of water, along with 2 tsp salt, to a boil in a large soup pot or dutch oven. Add the pork shoulder chunks and neck bones to the boiling water (all the pork should be submerged in the water), and let it simmer. Skim any foam and impurities off the top until you get the clear broth. (This will take about 10-15 minutes.)
    2. Add 10 garlic cloves, mashed to a paste, to the pot along with 1 quartered onion, oregano, cumin, chicken bouillon, and black pepper. Simmer, covered, for 1.5 hours. Check periodically to make sure pork is submerged under water.
    3. Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil, add chili peppers to the water. Boil for 3-4 minutes. Turn off the heat, and allow chilis to soak for 20-30 minutes.
    4. Place the rehydrated chilis, ¼ onion, 2 large garlic cloves, ½ teaspoon salt, 2 corn tortillas (torn) and 1½ cups chili soaking broth into a blender or food processor. Puree until very smooth.
    5. Once the pork is tender after simmering, take it out and shred it into chunks of your desired size. Discard the bones. Remove bay leaves and any onion remnants from the broth.
    6. Add the prepared chili sauce to the broth. (We like to strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve into the pot for smoother pozole). Add shredded pork back into the pot along with drained hominy, and cook for 30-40 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt or chicken bouillon.
    7. Ladle the pozole into the bowls, making sure each bowl has both types of pork meat. Top with all the garnishes and serve with with lime wedges and warm corn tortillas or Mexican rice.


    1. Pork: This recipe is great for up to 5lbs of pork. You can use other pork cuts as well. Pork ribs or feet go great in pozole.
    2. Chilies: You can find the dried chilies in the Mexican aisle at the grocery store, or online. Guajillo and ancho chilies are not very spicy. For spicier pozole, add 3-5 arbol chilis into the mix. In some variations, tomatoes are blended along with the chilis.
    3. For clearer pozole, skim off the impurities until you have a clear broth in the beginning.
    4. Leftovers: Pozole is excellent as leftovers, like any other stew, as all the flavors enhance as it sits for a few days. Allow the it to cool to room temperature before storing. Store leftovers in airtight containers in the refrigerator. It stays good for up to 3-4 days. It also freezes well. Portion it into freezer-safe containers, leaving some space for expansion. It can be stored frozen for up to 2-3 months.
    5. Reheat refrigerated Pozole on the stovetop over medium heat until hot. For frozen Pozole, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. When reheating, you might need to add a bit of water or broth if the Pozole has thickened in storage. Adjust the seasoning if needed.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

    Picture of Alpana, blogger and recipe developer at GypsyPlate

    Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.

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