Red Chicken Pozole (Pozole Rojo)

This red chicken pozole recipe (chicken pozole Rojo) is made with tender chicken thighs, red chile peppers, and hominy mixed with chicken broth and herbs. It’s the ultimate cozy weekend meal and is amazing for meal prepping!

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Spicy food lovers, this one is for you. Red chicken pozole is one of my all-time favorite stew recipes because it’s insanely flavorful, wholesome, and easy to make.

It’s got the kind of kick that warms you to your core without being unpleasant in any way. I first tried this recipe after a student of mine shared their family recipe, and I immediately fell in love. While theirs was originally made with pork shoulder, I decided to opt for chicken.

This dish is one of my go-to weekend meals during the colder months for obvious reasons (spicy and warm—yes please!), but it’s truly fantastic during any time of year. For a milder option, try these Green Pozole.

It may lean on the more time-consuming side, but this pozole rojo still comes together in under an hour and it’s super easy to make in batches so you have a delicious Mexican stew to last the whole week. So basically, it’s a major win on all fronts.

Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or meal prepping your dinners for the week, this hearty Mexican stew is a must-try. You can easily temper the heat with some sour cream or yogurt. Then pile on as many delicious toppings as your heart desires!

What is Pozole Rojo?

Red chicken pozole, also known as Pozole Rojo con Pollo, is a Mexican stew traditionally made with a combination of chicken, red chile peppers, broth, and hominy.

Many recipes call for additional ingredients like fresh herbs, onions, and garlic for added flavor. The cut of chicken used varies from one recipe to the next, but I usually prefer to use chicken thighs or breasts.

Traditionally pozole rojo is made with pork. You can swap in lean pork shoulder or pork stewing meat. However, it will take longer to cook. Plan on cooking the pork for 3-4 hours until it is fork-tender.

Red Chicken Pozole Ingredients

Here’s a breakdown of the key ingredients you’ll need to make chicken pozole Rojo.

  • Chicken Thighs: I typically use boneless and skinless chicken thighs, but you could also use chicken breasts or any other cut of chicken you prefer. Pork would work as well for a more traditional stew.
  • Chile Peppers: You’ll need both dried ancho chile peppers and dried guajillo chile peppers, which combine with the broth to serve as the base of this flavorful stew.
  • Hominy: You can find this in the canned vegetable aisle at the grocery store. Make sure to thoroughly rinse your hominy before using it to get rid of any excess starch.
  • Onions and Garlic: Onions and fresh garlic are staples in many Mexican dishes because they add tons of flavor to savory meals.
  • Chicken Broth: To cut back on salt, I use low-sodium chicken broth. You could also swap for vegetable broth if needed.
  • Herbs and Spices: All you need is salt, dried oregano, bay leaves, and fresh cilantro to enhance the amazing flavors of this dish.

Recipe Tips and Substitutions

Here are some of my top tips and substitution ideas to help you make this dish:

  • While I like to use boneless chicken thighs, you could also use bone-in chicken for added flavor or even swap it for pork instead.
  • For an even richer flavor profile, brown your chicken thighs before adding them to the stew.
  • To save time, make sure to soak the chile peppers in boiling water while the chicken is cooking.
  • To garnish, top the dish with chopped cilantro, fresh lime juice, sliced avocado, chopped green onions, and/or crushed tortilla chips.

Serving Recommendations

This hearty stew is plenty satisfying all by itself, but you are more than welcome to add the side dishes of your choice. Because this dish is rich and spicy, I would recommend pairing it with a light and refreshing salad to balance it out. Here are some of my favorite salads to serve with red chicken pozole:

How to Store Red Chicken Pozole

Like most stew recipes, this dish works great for making ahead of time and enjoying over several days. Personally, I think chicken pozole tastes even better the next day after the flavors have had more time to develop.

Once your stew has cooled completely, you can transfer it to an airtight container or freezer-safe bag and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw, simply transfer it to the fridge for 24-48 hours before reheating on the stove.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this red chicken pozole recipe:

Hominy is a corn product made with dried corn kernels that have been soaked in an alkali solution which softens the kernels and makes them easier to digest. It’s incredibly rich in nutrients and naturally gluten-free.

Yes, this dish is meant to be a little spicy. However, you can adjust the heat level by adding or removing some of the chile peppers. Additionally, you could add sour cream or yourt to further temper the heat and make a creamier stew.

Absolutely! If you choose to go this route, I recommend cooking and shredding the chicken beforehand. Then, add the rest of the ingredients to your Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Manually release the pressure, then mix in your chicken and garnish as you please.

The Recipe
Red chicken pozole in a bowl with shredded chicken, hominy, red chile borth, avocado, and limes.

Red Chicken Pozole (Pozole Rojo)

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  • 8 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 dried guajillo chile peppers, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 dried ancho chile peppers, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts)
  • 45 oz canned hominy
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cups boiling water

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Add eight cups of chicken broth to a large soup pot. Add 3/4 of the white onion, the cilantro bunch, 20 garlic cloves, oregano, and 2 tsp salt. Bring to a slow boil and add in the chicken breasts and cook until just cooked through and the meat can be shredded.


Remove the chicken once it is cooked and set aside until it is cool enough to shred. Then using a slotted spoon (or you could strain the entire soup) pull out the garlic, onion, and cilantro and add it to a blender. Add 1.5 cups of the cooking broth and blend. Add back to the broth.


Meanwhile, while the chicken is cooking, toast the dried chiles in a saute pan on the stove for 30 second per side over medium heat. They should become fragrant but not burn. It will likely take 3-4 batches to toast all the chiles. Once they are toasted, place them in a large bowl and cover with 2 cups of boiling water. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes.


After the chiles have rehydrated in the boiling water for 30 minutes, add the chiles and their cooking liquid to a blender and blend with the additional 6 garlic cloves and 1/2 tsp salt.


Once the chiles are blended, warm up the vegetable oil in a large saute pan. Add the blended chiles and cook for 8-10 minutes until fragrant, stirring frequently. Then add into the broth and simmer for ten minutes to combine the flavors.


Add hominy to the soup and allow to cook for 7 minutes.


Add shredded chicken and broth. Simmer for an additional 4 minutes.


Serve in bowls and add your favorite garnishes I love mine with a crunchy baked tortilla, queso fresco, cabbage, and lots of lime juice.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1.25 cups
Amount Per Serving
Calories 215
Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
Saturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 33mg
Sodium 357mg
Total Carbohydrate 28g
Dietary Fiber 5g
Sugars 3g
Protein 22g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the authorMeet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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