Pozole Rojo (Red Chicken Pozole)
This Pozole Rojo is the most delicious Mexican soup made with tender chicken, dried chile peppers, and hominy. It’s the ultimate cozy Mexican meal with its rich, spicy broth and deep flavors.
Spicy food lovers, this one is for you. Red Chicken Pozole is one of my all-time favorite soup recipes because it’s insanely flavorful, wholesome, and easy to make.
If you love Mexican food and soups, this is Pozole Rojo recipe is for you. It's made with a rich red chile broth made from dried chilies that has the perfect amount of heat. Chicken and hominy are added to this broth for a seriously delicious soup.
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 an easier and less spicy option, try these Pozole Verde (green Chicken Pozole).
It may lean on the more time-consuming side, but this Pozole Rojo still comes together in under an hour. 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 Pozole Rojo stew is a must-try. Don't miss this Mexican Chicken Soup, Tortilla Soup, and Sopa de Albondigas for more tasty soup ideas.
What is Pozole Rojo?
Red chicken pozole, also known as Pozole Rojo (or Posole Rojo) con Pollo, is a traditional stew from Mexico made with chicken or pork, hominy, and a rich, slightly spicy broth.
The broth is the star of this Mexican soup. It is made with a red chile sauce made from dried chilies, onion, garlic, spices, and water or chicken broth.
Traditionally pozole rojo is made with pork, but you can also find it made with chicken like this recipe. 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.
- Dried 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. For a spicier stew, add in a few dried chile de arbol peppers.
- Hominy: Hominy is a type of corn that is larger and chewier than traditional corn. You can find this in the Mexican or international 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: White 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. Mexican oregano is traditionally used, but regular works if that's all you can find.
- Toppings: It is traditional to serve pozole rojo with fresh cilantro, radishes, limes, diced onion, shredded cabbage, and avocado. Sometimes you will also see shredded lettuce, corn tortillas or chips, and extra Mexican oregano served on the side.
Recipe Tips and Substitutions
Here are some of my top tips and substitution ideas to help you make this dish:
- Protein: 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.
- Brown the chicken: For an even richer flavor profile, brown your chicken thighs before adding them to the stew. Or use bone-in chicken.
- Add toppings: To garnish, top the dish with chopped cilantro, fresh lime juice, sliced avocado, chopped green onions, and/or crushed tortilla chips.
This hearty Mexican stew is plenty satisfying all by itself, but you are more than welcome to add the side dishes of your choice.
Here are some of my favorite side dishes to serve with red chicken pozole:
- Quick and Easy Refried Beans
- Homemade Tostada Shells
- Mexican Cauliflower Rice
- Frijoles Charros
- Creamy Mexican Slaw
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 it on the stove.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this red chicken pozole recipe:
What is hominy?
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.
Is pozole spicy?
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.
Can I make red chicken pozole in the Instant Pot?
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.
Pozole Rojo (Red Chicken Pozole)
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- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 dried guajillo chile peppers, stemmed and seeded
- 4 dried ancho chile peppers, stemmed and seeded
- 2 dried chile de arbol, stemmed and seeded
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 onion, chopped
- 8 garlic cloves (smashed)
- 1 cup cilantro, chopped
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts)
- 45 oz canned hominy
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Heat a Dutch oven or large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the dried chilies and toast on each side for about 2 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add the oil to the pan. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until beginning to brown. Add the whole garlic cloves and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Stir in the cilantro, bay leaves, and oregano. Cook for 1 minute.
Add the dried chilies back to the pot. Then add the chicken thighs. Pour in half the chicken broth and bring everything to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 45-60 minutes. If using boneless, skinless chicken breasts remove them as soon as they are cooked through (about 10-15 minutes) so they don't overcook.
* 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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