Learn how to make authentic pozole for a delicious, healthy meal for your family. This traditional pork and hominy Mexican stew is a wonderful dish to add to your menu for the holidays or other special occasions. While not a traditional simmer stew — making this recipe is somewhat time consuming — it is relatively easy to make. It’s also fairly hands off in between steps. And trust me, the end result is well worth the wait.
Authentic Mexican Pozole
A traditional Mexican recipe, pozole is a brothy stew made with pork loin, neck bones or ribs, hominy and rich blend of vegetables, chiles and spices. While customarily served as a celebratory dish for New Year’s Eve, Mexican Independence Day, birthdays, quinceañeras, weddings, holidays and Christmas, it also makes a wonderful, cozy dish for everyday dinners.
This dish is sometimes referred to as a posole recipe with pork, depending on where you are in the world. However, a recipe for pork pozole is the correct spelling for the traditional dish that’s served in Mexico.
This pozole recipe with pork loin does take about four and half hours to make. Which is one of the reasons why it’s most commonly prepared for celebrations. While not a quick and easy weekday recipe, it is perfect to make over the weekend. You can enjoy this authentic dish the day it’s made as well as throughout the week as leftovers. (Trust me, this dish tastes even better the next day!)
I like to make a batch on the weekends, then freeze it. Then I can enjoy this authentic Mexican pozole rojo during the week with minimal prep work.
What is the Difference Between Pozole and Posole?
I’m sharing an authentic Mexican pozole rojo recipe. However, you may also see it called a posole recipe. Pozole and posole are the same thing. In Mexico, it’s called pozole. While outside of Mexico, you will see it referred to as posole or pozole.
What are the Three Varieties of Pozole?
There are three different versions of a traditional pozole recipe. My recipe is for red pozole with pork. You can also make green pozole with green chilis. This variation includes salsa verde made from tomatillos and green chiles such as serranos and jalapeños. The third variation is white pozole. This recipe is made with a broth base and isn’t spicy like the other two versions.
What is Traditional Mexican Pozole Made Of?
Traditionally, an authentic Mexican pozole rojo recipe is a broth based soup made with pork, red chiles and hominy. However, there are also green and white pozole recipes. Some people also make a traditional pozole recipe with chicken instead of pork. Therefore, if you don’t eat pork, chicken is a suitable substitute.
Is Authentic Mexican Pozole Healthy?
My red pozole with pork loin is a healthy dinner idea. It’s full of vegetables for vitamins and minerals and has a wide range of macronutrients, micronutrients and fiber. In addition, it’s also considered a low calorie food. One cup of this hearth soup contains about 228 calories.
It’s also considered a great recipe if your sick with a cold or just hungover. As it’s believed the heat from this hearty dish helps to sweat out impurities. Not to mention, it can help clear out those nasal passages much in the same way fire cider vinegar does due to the spicy heat from the chilies.
What Does Hominy Taste Like?
Hominy is a staple in this recipe. After all, it is often referred to as pork and hominy stew! But what does hominy taste like? Hominy tastes similar to corn, but it has a more complex flavor. It’s more earthy and has a creamy texture when it’s cooked.
Is Hominy Healthier Than Corn?
Although hominy is corn, it’s a healthier alternative to traditional corn. Hominy is made from the kernels of field corn. The kernels are then soaked in water with either lye or lime in it and then rinse. This removes the hull while keeping the inner kernel soft and plump. This not only stops the corn from sprouting for long term storage, but it also makes the corn more nutritious.
Is Dried Hominy Better Than Canned?
You can use either dried hominy or canned hominy to make authentic Mexican pozole rojo recipe. If you use dried hominy, then you’ll have to soak it. However, dried hominy has a deeper and more complex flavor than canned hominy. Canned hominy, on the other hand, is much creamier.
What Goes Well With Authentic Mexican Pozole?
When you learn how to make authentic Mexican pozole, you’ll find that there are several variations. A traditional pozole recipe is made with pork, hominy, chiles and garlic. However, it can also have onions, radishes, lettuce, cabbage or avocados.
Traditional Mexican Pozole Rojo Ingredients
This soup requires a number of ingredients and quite a few steps. However, don’t be overwhelmed by the process. When you break down the steps, it’s actually rather easy to make an authentic Mexican pozole rojo recipe. You also will have some down time in between most of the steps. To make this traditional Mexican recipe you will need the following ingredients.
To create the base of this pork soup, you need:
- Water: This is a given.
- Hominy: Pozole is pretty much named for this ingredient. Therefore, it should not be substituted. You can find canned hominy at your local grocery store by the corn.
- Neck bones or pork ribs: While some pozole recipes call for just the pork loin, if you want to serve an authentic dish, then the bones are an important ingredient for both flavor and nutrition.
- Pork loin: Pork loin, not to be confused with pork tenderloin, is a large cut of meat from the pig found along the dorsal side of the rib cage. It’s wide and flat with more fat than a tenderloin, and comes from the backside of the animal. It’s also a staple in a traditional recipe.
- Onion: I like to use a large yellow onion to boost the flavor for the base of this hearty stew. You’ll add the whole onion to the cooking pot, just as you do the garlic heads.
- Garlic: You want to use two full garlic heads when creating this authentic dish, not two single cloves. I don’t recommend using powdered garlic as a substitute for this reason.
- Bay leaves: Bay leaves add an additional layer of flavor to your authentic pozole. The slightly menthol flavor gives this dish a fresh flavor and aroma, and helps to lighten a more hearty stew.
- Sea salt: Salt helps to enhance the savory notes in your dish and ward off bitterness.
Pork Pozole Sauce
The sauce is used to add flavor to this hominy and pork stew. The ingredients are pureed in a blender, then added after the bones and meat have cooked. You will need the following components to create this flavorful sauce for this pork pozole recipe:
- Tomato: This is another staple ingredient when making authentic pozole. If you like, you can substitute the tomato with fire roasted stewed tomatoes.
- Dried chilies: Both guajillo and ancho chilies are used to give this recipe heat.
- Garlic cloves: Rather than whole heads of garlic that are used (and later removed) for the base of this hearty pork and hominy stew, you’ll use fresh garlic cloves to enhance the flavor.
- Onion: As with the garlic, this portion of the recipe calls for half an onion.
- Spices: Black pepper, cloves, oregano, and cumin are added to this Mexican stew for their flavor and aroma.
- Chicken bouillon: I used dried bullion for this recipe. Therefore, you’ll need to also add water to the sauce to make the broth.
- Olive oil: Another flavorful ingredient.
Garnish for Serving
Traditional Mexican pozole is served with a side of tostada or tortilla chips. In addition, you can also add chopped onion, lettuce and radishes to the top when serving, along with a dash of oregano and a squeeze of fresh lime juice to balance out the flavors.
How to Make Mexican Pozole Rojo (Authentic Recipe)
Follow these steps to learn how to make authentic Mexican pozole:
Cook the pork for the soup base.
Begin by washing the hominy under running water. Make sure that you remove any remaining black spots that are still attached to the grains. Set aside.
Now remove the first layer of one onion. Then, using a knife, make one cut in the middle of the onion until you reach the center. Next, make a cross-section across the onion. You want to avoid cutting the entire onion as it will go whole into the pot of soup. Now cut the top off of the garlic heads. You do not want to peel them as they will go into the soup base whole, the same as the onion.
Now combine one gallon of water, hominy, bay leaves, onion and garlic heads to a large pot. Bring it to a boil. You won’t add salt yet. Simply reserve this for later.
While the water heats to a boil, take the neck bones and the pork meat out of the refrigerator. Allow to sit to bring the meat to room temperature. This is an important step you don’t want to skip. The goal is to keep the temperature of the water consistent when you add the meat to the pot.
Once the large pot of water has been brought to a boil, reduce heat to allow it to simmer at a low boil for an hour. After the hour is up, add the bones and entire pieces of meat to the stew pot and cover with a lid. Allow the soup to simmer for 2 hours. Once the meat and bones are added and have simmered for 30 minutes, add 2 Tablespoons of sea salt to the pot.
Make the chili sauce.
Now prepare the chili sauce. You definitely want to wear gloves for this step. With gloves on, use a knife to cut the heads off the dried chiles. Then make a lateral cut on one side. Open each chile and devein it, taking care to remove all the veins and seeds. Then, wash them under running water.
In a medium sized pot, add 4 cups of water, the whole tomato, and the prepared chiles. Bring the sauce to a boil, then cook for 15 minutes. Once the chili sauce has boiled for 15-minutes, turn off the heat. Allow the mixture to rest for an additional 15-minutes on the stovetop.
Now remove just the tomato and chiles from the pot and add to a blender. (Save the water left behind in the pot. You will need it later for two separate steps.) Quarter the onion and add it along with the garlic cloves, black pepper, cloves, chicken bouillon, oregano and cumin to the blender with the cooked tomato and chile mixture called for in the chili sauce recipe. Then add 2 cups of the remaining water from the tomato and chiles pot.
Blend all of the ingredients together until smooth.
Heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a medium-size pot over medium heat.
After about 2-3 minutes, add the chili sauce to the pot using a strainer. Use a spatula to press the sauce over the strainer into the pot, discarding the scraps.
Now add one cup of the remaining water of the tomato and chiles pot. Bring the sauce to a boil. Then stir the sauce with a spatula. Turn off the heat and allow to sit.
Finish off the stew.
Once the large pot of the pozole has boiled for two hours, you’ll want to use a strainer to remove the onion, garlic heads and bay leaves. (You can also remove any bones at this time, if desired.)
Once these ingredients have been removed, add the sauce to the big pot of pork and hominy stew. Then stir until well combined.
Add the remaining 1 Tablespoon of salt leftover from the soup base portion of the recipe. Then bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and allow the soup to simmer for at least 30 minutes more to allow all the ingredients to combine.
Garnish and serve.
After the additional 30-minutes, your pork pozole is ready to be eaten. To serve, divide the stew between bowls. Then add the chopped radish and onion to the top along with sliced lettuce and a dash of oregano and lime juice. Don’t forget to include tostada shells on the side before digging in.
How to Store Leftovers
Fortunately, pozole is one of those dishes that tastes great leftover. This is perfect as my recipe serves 6-8. You can either store leftovers in the fridge or the freezer.
Refrigerate: You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Freeze: To freeze this traditional red pozole with pork, first allow the soup to cool completely. Once cooled, pour the soup in a food safe storage container, such as these amazing Ello glass soup containers, or into quart size freezer bags. Label the ingredients inside along with the date. You can then freeze leftovers up to three months in your freezer.
How to Reheat Pozole Rojo
If you freeze this traditional Mexican pozole, then I recommend allowing it to thaw in the refrigerator prior to reheating. You can then warm up this savory stew either on the stove top, in the microwave, or in your slow cooker.
Stove Top: To reheat this authentic pozole recipe, place it in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until warmed through.
Microwave: You can also reheat individually sized portions in the microwave for a quick lunch or dinner. To do this, place serving in a microwave safe dish then cover with a damp paper towel. Heat on high for 2 minutes, then stir. Continue heating until it reaches desired temperature in 30-second increments.
Slow Cooker: Transfer the stew to the slower cooker. Heat on low for 1-3 hours until warmed through. Smaller portions will take less time to reheat, while larger ones may take the maximum amount.
- 1 gallon water
- 1.5 lb. hominy (precooked)
- 1 lb. neck bones (or pork ribs)
- 2 lbs. pork loin
- 1 onion, peeled
- 2 small garlic heads
- 2 big bay leaves
- 3 Tablespoons sea salt
- 4 cups water
- 1 tomato
- 2 guajillo chilies
- 2 ancho chilies
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 onion
- 5 black peppers
- 2 cloves
- 1 Tablespoon chicken bouillon
- 1 Tablespoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 lettuce, sliced
- 5 radishes, chopped or sliced
- Limes, quartered
- Tostada Shells
Cook the Soup Base
- Wash the hominy with running water and make sure to remove the remaining black spots that are still attached to the grains.
- Remove the first layer of one onion and, using a knife, make one cut in the middle of the onion until you reach the center and then make a cross-section (avoid cutting the entire onion). Cut the top of the garlic heads, but make sure not to peel them.
- In a big pot, add water, hominy, bay leaves, onion and garlic heads and bring it to a boil. Don’t add salt yet.
- While the water heats to a boil, take out the bones and meat from the fridge and let it sit until it gets room temperature. This step is important when adding them to the pot, the main goal is to keep the temperature of the water while adding the meat to the pot.
- Reduce the heat to maintain a low boil. Leave the water boiling and, after one hour, add the bones and entire pieces of meat to the pot. Keep it simmering for 2 hours. Make sure to add the pot lid during this process. Add 2 tablespoons of salt 30 minutes after the meat and bones were added to the pot.
Make the Chili Sauce
- Using gloves and a knife, cut the heads of the chilies and make a lateral cut on one side. Open each chili and devein it. Make sure to remove all the veins and seeds. Then, wash them in running water.
- In a medium size pot, add 4 cups of water, tomato, chilies and bring it to a boil for 15 minutes. Then, turn the heat off and let it sit for another 15 minutes.
- In a blender, add the tomato and chilies and the rest of the sauce ingredients: onion, garlic cloves black pepper, cloves, chicken bouillon, oregano and cumin. Then, add 2 cups of the remaining water of the tomato and chilies pot.
- Blend all the ingredients together until you get a smooth consistency.
- Add olive oil in a medium-size pot over medium heat.
- After 2-3 minutes, add the sauce using a strainer. Use a spatula to press the sauce over the strainer and discard the scraps.
- Add one cup of the remaining water of the tomato and chilies pot and bring it to a boil. Stir the sauce with a spatula and turn the heat off. Let it sit.
Finish Off the Stew
- The big pot of pozole has been simmering for two hours, now it is time to remove the onion, garlic heads, and bay leaves.
- Add the sauce to the big pot and stir until well combined.
- Add 1 tbsp of salt and bring it to a simmer at a low boil for at least 30 minutes more to allow all the ingredients to combine.
Garnish and Serve
- To serve, add chopped radish and onion on top, along with sliced lettuce, a dash of oregano and lime juice. Don't forget to add tostada shells on the side. Enjoy!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 467Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 136mgSodium: 2973mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 5gSugar: 7gProtein: 49g
More Mexican Food Recipes
If you enjoyed my authentic Mexican pozole recipe, then you may also like these other Mexican inspired food dishes:
- Mexican Lettuce Wraps with Beans
- Guacamole Quesadillas
- Authentic Mexican Guacamole
- Frozen Mango Margaritas
- Watermelon Jicama Salad