Pozole Rojo (Pork and Hominy Soup)

5 from 10 votes

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This spicy pozole rojo soup is made with 5 types of peppers and bulked with beans, hominy, and tender pork shoulder. It’s a filling, flavorful Mexican soup — and with my pozole recipe, you can make it on the stove or in your Instant Pot!

overhead: Pozole Rojo in bowl

Pozole rojo is a traditional, thick Mexican stew. “Pozole” is a variety of maize, or corn, that we know as hominy. You can also read more about hominy here in my article, What is Hominy and How to Use It. The recipe has evolved over the years and is now known for its balance of hot and smoky chiles, as well as incredibly tender pork shoulder.

My pozole rojo is more flavor than heat. Is it spicy, yes, but not overwhelming! I use the following peppers, ranked from mildest to hottest (in Scovilles):

  • Ancho Chiles (1,000 – 1,500)
  • Guajillos (2,500 – 5,000)
  • Jalapeños (2,500 – 8,000)
  • Serranos (10,000 – 25,000)
  • Chiles de Arbol (15,000 – 30,000)
side view: Pozole in a ceramic bowl

I love Mexican soup, especially spicy pork and hominy soup. I also love the fresher-tasting verde pozole recipe, which I’ve taken to preparing with shrimp rather than the traditional chicken. My less spicy Mexican soup favorites are Caldo de Res or Green Chile Chicken Soup!

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Pork Shoulder – Cut into uniform, 1-inch cubes for even cooking and searing.
  • Dried Guajillo Chiles – A very fruity, sweet chili with a moderate amount of heat. Dried Pasilla, Cascavel, or New Mexico peppers are my recommended substitutes. 
  • Dried Chiles de Arbol The most prevalent quality of Arbol chile is its heat. It’s smoky, grassy, and nutty. 
  • Dried Ancho Chiles – This is a very common ingredient in Mexican cuisine for its distinct, robust flavor and mild, tolerable heat. 
  • Jalapeños – A middle-of-the-road chili with moderate heat with a flavor similar to green bell pepper — but hotter. My pozole rojo uses fresh, not dried, jalapeños.
  • Serrano Pepper This is a lovely, grassy, fresh-tasting pepper. If you’re a fan of this flavor, try my Serrano hot sauce!
  • Mexican Oregano This oregano is complex; it’s both acidic and earthy, with a stronger flavor overall. Mediterranean oregano is an okay alternative, but marjoram will get you closer to the intended taste. 
  • White Hominy – This variety is less sweet and earthier than its golden counterpart.
  • White Beans – Cannellinis are savory and substantial — generally preferred for stewing — while Great Northern are milder, softer, and creamier.
overhead: ingredients to make pork and hominy soup

Tip From Kevin

What does browning meat do?

Browning meat before tossing it into a soup or stew is culinary gold! It’s not just about that gorgeous color; it’s about flavor. That sizzle creates a complex depth, infusing the soup with rich, caramelized goodness. Browning seals in juices, ensuring a tender bite while adding a robust, savory note that elevates the entire dish. It’s the secret to transforming a regular soup into a symphony of deliciousness! Trust me, that little step makes all the difference.

How to Make Pozole Rojo

  1. Prepare the Chiles. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Remove the stems of the dried peppers and shake to remove the seeds. Add them to the water and cover with a coffee cup or plate — something to keep them submerged — for 20 minutes. 
  2. Purée the Paste. Add rehydrated chiles to a blender with the garlic, salt, and 1 ½ cups of the soaking water. Purée until smooth.
  3. Season & Sear Pork. Coat the pork liberally with salt and cumin on both sides. Heat a Dutch oven on high and sear the cubed meat. If using an Instant Pot, see the recipe card for those instructions.
  4. Simmer with Seasonings. Once the meat is browned, add the vegetables and fresh peppers, then cook for 5 minutes. 
  5. Build the Soup Base. Add the broth, water, oregano, bay leaves, and 1 cup of the purée. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Leave the pot partially covered and simmer until the pork is tender — about 2 hours. Stir a few times throughout so everything cooks evenly.
  6. Add the Beans & Hominy. Stir into the pot, along with the remaining chile purée, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  7. Serve. Remove the bay leaves and serve with desired toppings.
  • InstantPot – A pressure cooker will reduce the cooking time for my pozole rojo tremendously.
  • Dutch Oven – For stovetop preparation, I recommend a Dutch oven for even browning and good heat retention. It’s also a great pot to use for serving pork and hominy soup — you can transfer it right from the stovetop to the table!
  • Blender – You will need this or a food processor to break the peppers down into a smooth purée.

Storing and Reheating

Allow pozole to cool, then carefully transfer to an airtight container. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Reheat on the stovetop over medium heat. Do not use too high of a temperature — allow the beans to soften as the liquid warms. You can also reheat in the microwave.

overhead: bowl filled with Pozole Rojo soup

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between pozole and menudo?

Menudo varies from region to region, but generally is made with some cut of beef, hominy, and plenty of peppers. It most commonly contains beef “honeycomb” tripe, which comes from a specific chamber of the cow’s stomach. 

Pozole rojo, as in my pork and hominy soup, is made with pork. It also tends to be a little less spicy. 

Is traditional pozole red or green?

They’re both traditional. There are actually three types of pozole: green, white, and red. 

Green pozole is made with chicken or my favorite, shrimp, fresh peppers, and tomatillos, whereas the red pozole recipe — which we’re enjoying here — is usually prepared with dried chiles and pork. White pozole contains no chiles at all.

How much chile powder equals one chile?

It depends on the chile. For our Guajillo and Ancho chiles, one whole pepper is the equivalent to one heaping tablespoon of dried and ground.

The smaller Arbol chile amounts to roughly ½ teaspoon if dried and ground.

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This recipe post, originally published on Kevin Is Cooking June 2015, has been updated with new content, photos and/or video in December, 2023.

Pozole Rojo (Pork and Hominy Soup)

5 from 10 votes
Mexican pozole rojo is a hefty, herbaceous soup. Filled with hominy, beans, and pork, it’s simmered with plenty of chiles for a real kick!
Servings: 8 servings
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 6 dried guajillo chiles (See Note 1)
  • 4 dried chiles de arbol (See Note 1)
  • 4 dried ancho chiles (See Note 1)
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 lbs pork shoulder trimmed and cut 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large white onion chopped
  • 2 celery sticks sliced
  • 2 roma tomatoes diced
  • 2 jalapeños seeded and diced
  • 1 Serrano pepper seeded and diced
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp Mexican oregano or original (Mediterranean)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 30 oz canned white hominy drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz canned white beans Cannellini or Great Northern



  • Break the stems off the chiles and shake out as many seeds as possible. Cover with boiling water and keep submerged with a coffee cup or a plate. Soak until soft, about 20 minutes.
  • Transfer the chiles, garlic, kosher salt and 1 1/2 cups of the soaking liquid to a blender and purée until smooth. You should have about 2 cups.
  • Season the pork all over with the salt and cumin. Brown on all sides in an Instant Pot (See Note 2) on Saute setting, Dutch oven or large stock pot with oil. Do not overcrowd the pan and steam the meat, do this in several batches.
  • Return all browned pork to pan, add the onion, celery, tomatoes, jalapeños and serrano chile and cook another 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the chicken broth, water, Mexican oregano, bay leaves and 1 cup of the chile puree, reserve the balance for later. Cover with lid and set IP to High Pressure for 35 minutes. If using a Dutch oven or large stockpot, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low. Partially cover and cook, stirring the pork a few times, until tender, about 2 hours.
  • Allow for Natural release if using an Instant Pot. Stir in the hominy, white beans and remaining chili puree and simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes OR 30 minutes more if cooking on stovetop in a Dutch oven or large stockpot. Remove the bay leaves.
  • Serve with limes, diced avocados and chopped cilantro on top.



  1. One (1) whole Guajillo or Ancho chile is roughly equivalent to one (1) heaping tablespoon of powder. So if I were to grind all, it would equal 10 tbsp chili powder + 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.
  2. In this recipe I give times for using an Instant Pot and Dutch oven or large stock pot, but using the pressure cooker reduces the cooking time considerably.


Serving: 1oz | Calories: 338kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 1282mg | Potassium: 1150mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 5656IU | Vitamin C: 33mg | Calcium: 117mg | Iron: 6mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Soups
Cuisine: Mexican
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image (and shown): pozole rojo pork and hominy soup


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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    1. One (1) whole Guajillo or Ancho chile is roughly equivalent to one (1) heaping tablespoon of powder. So if I were grind all it would equal 10 tbsp chili powder + 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. I’ve updated the recipe card to reflect as well. I hope this helps Mary.

  1. Kevin, what do you do with the reserved cup of chile puree, you didn’t say in your instructions. Does it get added in at the end? Or reserved for another time?

  2. 5 stars
    Goodness! Must begin by saying I love the pictures(!) but especially the whole peppers in the blender and the browned pork…Dying! So glad you chose to share this recipe, again! Looks amazing, my friend!

    1. Thanks so much Annie. My previous shots from a year ago were not up to snuff and since I just made a new batch thought I’d share it again. I LOVE browned pork, I just wanted to nibble it on it’s own! Have a great day 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I don’t know why, but I crave spicy food when it’s hot out. And now that I think of it, I’m more likely to crave ice cream in the winter than the summer. #weirdo Anyway, it’s hot hot hot here and this looks fabulous!

    1. I’m with you Marissa! #weirdosunite It’s been super hot and humid here lately and this hit the spot. Twice. 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    Hey Kevin! I love posole! And I am so envious of all the fresh produce you have at various farm markets! We do not have a single farm market within 30 miles, which is one reason for our large garden! I get most of my spices and peppers from Penzey’s, but my local store does have a very small Mexican section that has some dried chiles and spices.

    1. Wow Dorothy, that would kill me not having the variety. It opens my eyes how good I have it living here, although you get to have a great big garden. My two dogs dug up and ate everything I planted, even my jalapeno plants!

      1. Hey Kevin! Our dogs aren’t diggers and they respect the garden rows, but my female likes to “pick” her own green bean snacks! She just casually goes down the row munching beans! Luckily she isn’t piggish about it and leaves most of them for us. 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    I love guajillo and ancho chiles but I’ve never had chiles de arbol before. I need to find them asap.
    I aslo love posole, but I’ve never made it at home Thanks for the inspiration my friend!

    1. Definitely a lot easier than one might think, give it a try. And like I told Dave, if you can’t find the chiles in your favorite market, Amazon and Penzey’s delivers!

  6. Can I just say how jealous I am that you have an awesome Mexican market near you? We have Italian markets in our area (awesome!)…but Mexican markets full of those amazing peppers and chilies just don’t exist. I guess I’ll have to rely on you sending me a box each week. Haha! 🙂

    1. OK Dave, I do realize I take a lot for granted here in California, but is there no Mexican markets out there? If not, there has got to be a Mexican food section in your supermarket, no? Lord, I don’t think I could live back East without it, although there is always Amazon deliveries!

  7. 5 stars
    I wish I had a big ol’ bowl of this right now. AMAZING!!! So happy to have found your site. Another male food blogger, woohoo! I too am a Bay Area transplant here in SoCal. Looking forward to seeing more of your recipes!

    1. Thanks so much Matt, hopefully I can reach out and pick your brain sometime. In the middle of a 10 week T25 Workout, but those Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Cups are right up my alley after!

  8. 5 stars
    This looks like a really hearty, comforting and delicious soup! I’m loving your photos atm. Photos for the recipes over the last week or so that I’ve viewed have been stunning. The images are really sharp, great composition and the colours are bright and beautiful. Amazing work Kevin! We’re thinking about buying a pressure cooker and this posole rojo pork could be the last reason I need to do so. Great recipe! Looks really tasty! 🙂

    1. 5 stars
      Thanks so much for the beautiful compliments, I’ve been really trying to take better photographs and with natural light. Sometimes it doesn’t always work out in my favor, practice makes perfect! Pressure cookers are wonderful time savers and I use them often, it is a great addition to the kitchen! Let me know how your Posole Rojo Pork turns out. All the best!