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How to Make Pozole Rojo: Red Posole Recipe

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Feb 27, 2020 • 2 min read

Pozole is one of those magic dishes with the power to reverse a terrible day, cure your head cold, and brighten the bleakest of weather. It is bright, flavorful, and deeply satisfying.

In Mexico, pozole soup is traditionally enjoyed around the holidays, eaten to ring in the New Year and celebrate Christmas and many other regional holidays. It can be found in three varieties—green, white, and red—and made with either chicken or pork. Pozole verde features a salsa verde made from tomatillos and green chiles like serrano and jalapeño. Pozole rojo, or red pozole, gets its name from the red chiles that dominate its chile sauce: ancho and guajillo. White pozole omits the chile sauce to make a milder soup.

“Pozole” is the word for hominy, those dried maize kernels that are so central to any good bowl of this traditional Mexican soup. Dried hominy or canned hominy can be found in Latin American grocery stores.



Authentic Pozole Rojo Recipe

Prep Time
25 min
Total Time
3 hr 25 min
Cook Time
3 hr


  • 1 ½ lb boneless pork shoulder, excess fat trimmed
  • 4 cups water or chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 4 dried ancho chiles, seeds and stems removed
  • 4 dried guajillo chiles, seeds and stems removed
  • 1 large white onion, rough chopped and divided
  • 10 cloves garlic, crushed and divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 2 15-ounce cans white hominy, drained and rinsed
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Warm flour or corn tortillas, tortilla chips, or tostadas for serving
  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 2–3 tablespoons oil on medium-high heat. Sear the pork shoulder on all sides, allowing each to develop a golden-brown crust before moving. Remove and set aside.
  2. Lower to medium heat, and add the onions and garlic. Sauté in the pork fat until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add in the water or broth, and stir to combine, being sure to scrape up all the good bits stuck to the bottom with a wooden spoon. Season the soaking liquid with salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
  3. Return the pork to the pot, along with the bay leaves. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook partially covered for 2–3 hours, checking the texture of the meat periodically. When it’s fork-tender, remove from the heat.
  4. While the pork cooks, place the dried chiles in a large bowl. Submerge in boiling water, and allow to sit, covered, for 10–15 minutes or until the chiles are soft and pliable.
  5. In a food processor or blender, combine the chiles, onion, garlic cumin, and oregano and puree until smooth, using a little of the chile water to loosen if it looks too thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.
  6. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, gently transfer the pork to a baking sheet. When cool enough to handle, use two forks to shred into large, bite-sized pieces. Using a strainer, remove the garlic, onion, and herbs from the cooking liquid.
  7. Add the chile sauce to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Return shredded meat to the pot and simmer for 8–10 minutes. Stir in hominy and continue to simmer until everything is heated through and has absorbed all that flavor you just built. Season to taste.
  8. Ladle into bowls and serve topped with sliced radishes, diced avocado, shredded cabbage, fresh cilantro, and lime wedges.

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