Comfort Food Classics: Mexican Pork Pozole Rojo

Authentic Mexican Pork Pozole -

Pozole...this is one of the few Mexican dishes that I did not grow up eating. (A real shame if you ask me!) The only kind of Pozole that I ever tasted was the kind you find in a can with a lovely señorita on the label. Pappy bought a can once, thinking it was Menudo. What came out of the can was a few pieces of chopped pork, lots of hominy and a red goop with way too many spices. Although this was our only experience with Pozole, we decided that we weren't Pozole people.

Fast forward to many years later, during my mother-in-law's first visit to the U.S. She prepared a wonderful pork and hominy soup, seasoned with ancho chilies and garlic. When the bowls were served, I noticed that everyone was squeezing fresh lime juice over the soup, then garnishing their bowls with shredded cabbage, chopped onion and sliced radishes. The first taste of this soup was like an explosion of flavors. I had to have more! And I needed to know the name of what I was eating. When my mother-in-law said that it was Pozole, I immediately thought of that canned nightmare. She lovingly laughed, then told me that you can't get good Mexican food from a can!

Pozole is a very traditional dish in Mexico. It is often reserved for special occasions such as birthdays, Christenings, First Communions and during the holiday season. In Mexico, Pozole is prepared using Maiz Negro (dried purple hominy). The dried maíz negro needs to be cured with water and lye a day in advance, which helps to soften the hominy and to remove the outer skin.

But freaketh not! I'm not going to make you do all that work. I don't use canned goods very often, but in cases like this I'm willing to make an exception. The only size can that I was able to find here in town was a 3 kilo can. Holy hominy, Batman! That's like 6 or 7 pounds of hominy. But you don't need that big of a can for this recipe. My suegra (mother-in-law) says that a good rule of thumb is to use equal parts of hominy and meat.

Now on to the recipe...

Mexican Red Pork Pozole recipe -

Traditional Pork Pozole Rojo 

  • 3-1/4 lbs. boneless pork leg, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 20 cups water
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half
  • 5 garlic cloves, divided 
  • Handful fresh cilantro 
  • 2 dried bay leaves 
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons coarse salt 
  • 1 teaspoon crushed Mexican oregano 
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 2 (30 oz.) cans white hominy, drained and rinsed 
  • 4 dried ancho chilies

  • Limes
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Chopped Onion
  • Sliced Radishes
  • Salsa de Pepino, Salsa Macha, or your favorite bottled hot sauce 
  • Tostadas 

Combine the pork meat in a Dutch oven or large soup pot. Pour in 16 cups of the water. Add the onion, 3 of the garlic cloves, cilantro, bay leaves, salt, oregano, and black pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, skimming off any foam that rises to the top, because we want a clear broth. Cover and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for about 90 minutes until tender.

While the meat is simmering, bring the dried ancho chiles and the remaining 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Remove from heat. Cover and let cool slightly until chiles have completely softened. Once cooled, remove the stems and seeds from the chiles. Puree the chiles in a blender with the water they were cooked in and the 2 remaining cloves of garlic. 

Stir in the 2 cans of hominy and pour in the ancho chile puree. Stir gently to combine; season with salt to taste, if necessary. Cover and let simmer over low heat for an 45 to 60 minutes. Remove from heat. 

To serve, ladle pozole into deep bowls. Garnish with shredded cabbage, chopped onion, sliced radishes, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Add a spicy kick of flavor with a spoonful of Salsa de Pepino, Salsa Macha, or a few drops of your favorite bottled hot sauce. Serve with tostada shells. Buen provecho! 

How to make authentic Mexican Pozole -

*Tip: Have all of the garnishes on the table and let your family or guests serve themselves. Be sure to have plenty of crunchy tostadas on the side. 

Love Pozole? Check out my recipes for Pozolillo Rojo (Red Chicken Pozole) & Pozolillo Verde (Green Chicken Pozole) 


  1. My wife makes lovely pozole with chicken and spinach. Don´t laugh. It´s great and, yes, pozole improves with age. Well, up to a point.

  2. Felipe: Hmmm, pozole with spinach and chicken? Intriguing. I've eaten pozole verde made with chicken and poblano peppers. I'm going to have to try it with spinach. Does your lovely wife share recipes?

  3. Gonna have to try this soon because I love pozole. How do I ask for pork shoulder roast at the carnicería?

  4. Alice: Ask your carnicero for "Lomo de cerdo". (Pierna works too, but you'll end up with a fatter broth, which isn't always a bad thing!)

  5. MMNN- I going to try this sometimes this week. Do you have an recipe for Menudo??

  6. Oh can't wait to mak this. We just moved to OK and where we live there aren't many mexicanos so we don't get homemade cooking like we're used too. Thanks!

  7. What do you do with leftovers?

  8. ANONYMOUS: We're a family of six, so there are rarely any leftovers. But on the rare occasion that there are, I usually refrigerate them or freeze them.

  9. yummy pozole with patas de puerco.. thats how my husband loves it... i need to learn how to make it though.. my mom always makes it... man i want some pozole now... made me hungry..

  10. going to try this very soon! but with chicken. :) can't wait. it is too cold here. today it was -10 celcius!

  11. you can add pork skin too,it taste delicius,and some hot sauce made with oil and chile de arbol o japones.

  12. Thank you Leslie for always coming to the rescue, since I forgot to assign out this dish for tomorrow's celebration, I got stuck with having to make it for the first time! 

  13. Awsome recipe and you make it sound so easy I kept looking for some in spanish but my reading spanish skills are no bueno, it sounds authentic can't wait to get home and start preparing this to my family.  Thank you!!

  14. Leslie, made this for the first time tonight and it was fantastic! My husband is Mexican and it has taken 10 years for me to find an authentic recipe blog like yours! It has definitely made my husbands week! Thanks!

    1. I'm so glad you and your hubby liked the Pozole. It's one of my favorites. :) And thank you so much for your kind words.

  15. Leslie I have your recipe index in my favorites folder. I come here often to try your recipes. Today my husband and I went to the Dallas Farmers Market and ate lunch at a little Mexican stand where the cook gave me a small cup of Pozole to try. Oh my goodness! It was so wonderful. I came home to look and see if you had it listed in you recipes! There it was! I made a couple changes based on our preferences. I used shredded chicken instead of pork and added a couple cups of fresh spinach. Voila! Absolutely amazing. I can't believe I've never had this before. It is my new favorite. And thank you so much for sharing all your wonderful recipes. Enfrolada's next!

  16. Making this right now :-)
    To have for tonight,an tmrw!
    I love your recipes :-)

  17. I followed this recipe last week and changed a few things up to pop out the flavor. 1- browned the pork before boiling. 2- toasted a mix of acho and guagillo chiles, 3-broth with 1/2 onion and 4-added oregano and cumin. It took the overall flavor to another level.

  18. This is still my favorite recipe. I always follow it exactly!