This red chicken posole recipe, also known as pozole rojo de pollo, is an easy Mexican soup that’s made with chicken, hominy, and dried chiles. It’s a soupy, stewy, satisfying sorta supper.
Adapted from Pati Jinich | Pati’s Mexican Table | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013
Chicken posole is a source of tremendous pride for Mexican home cooks. And, as you can imagine, there are as many recipes for this classic as there are families. This recipe makes a big batch and tastes even better when reheated, making it swell for feeding the family for a couple days or for entertaining a small crowd. –David Leite
Why our testers loved this
Our testers are calling this Mexican red posole soup “so very delicious,” “complex,” and “a fantastic meal.” They loved that it was “not difficult to prepare” and “reheated beautifully.” Kind of makes you want to try it, doesn’t it?
Notes on ingredients
- Hominy–You can use canned or dried hominy. Using dried will require 3 to 4 extra hours of cooking.
- Chicken–The process of cooking the chicken pieces with the onion, cilantro, and salt in water allows the chicken to flavor the broth. If you want to make a posole that makes use of leftover chicken and canned broth, try this chicken posole.
- Toppings–You can use any combination of your favorite toppings, including onion, cilantro, avocado, lettuce, radish, beans, tortilla chips, and limes. However, we strongly urge you to always include a squeeze of lime before serving as it really elevates the finished soup.
How to make this recipe
- If using dried hominy, simmer until it blooms. Season with salt. If using canned hominy, rinse and drain it, then add to a pot with 2 cups of water.
- Cook the chicken. In a separate pot, gently simmer the chicken with onion, cilantro, and salt until tender. Strain and reserve the cooking liquid and shred the chicken.
- Season the soup. Combine the shredded chicken in the pot with the hominy and water. Simmer until warm and season to taste.
- Make the chile purée. Rehydrate the dried chiles in boiling water, then blend the softened chiles with 3/4 cup of soaking liquid, onion, garlic, spices, and salt. Strain the purée.
- Finish the posole. Cook the chile purée until thickened, then stir it into the soup and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with desired toppings.
What is pozole?
The word pozole (pronounced po-so-LAY if in Mexico, po-SOL if in Central America, hence the interchangeable use of the word “posole”) comes from Nahuatl and means “foam,” explains author Pati Jinich. The hominy expands while it cooks and opens in such a way that it appears to bloom—and in so doing it forms some foam on the surface of the cooking liquid. “That’s how you know when it’s ready,” explains Jinich.
What’s the difference between posole and hominy?
Sometimes these words are used interchangeably but they’re not really the same thing. If you want to get food nerdy about it—and you know we do—then here’s a handy definition for you.
Hominy is the corn kernels that’s been soaked in lye water to remove the hulls, which allows them to swell to outsized proportions. When you take those big ole kernels of hominy and add them to a pot of brothy chicken, and chiles, you get, in this, red chicken pozole. And when you’ve got posole, what else could you ask for?
Can I make this in advance?
Yes, since this red posole soup reheats exceptionally well, and its flavor improves over time, it can be made up to 3 days before serving. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
How do you serve posole?
Serve this soup hot, topped with all of your favorite garnishes, including sliced radish, avocado, lettuce, onion, cilantro, chiles, and tortilla chips or strips.
- To make posole in the slow cooker, try this slow cooker pork posole.
- For smaller batches, this recipe can be halved.
- Reheat leftover posole in the microwave or in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
- If using a high-powered blender, like a Vitamix, when making the chile puree, you can skip the straining step, if desired.
- This recipe is suitable for gluten-free and dairy-free diets.
More great posole recipes
If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David
Red Chicken Posole
This red chicken pozole recipe, or red chicken pozole, is an easy Mexican soup that’s made with chicken, hominy, and dried chiles. It’s a soupy, stewy, satisfying supper.
Prep 1 hr 10 mins
Cook 1 hr 20 mins
Total 2 hrs 30 mins
For the chicken posole base
Make the posole base
- If using dried hominy, place it in a large pot, add enough water to cover the hominy by at least 4 inches (10 cm), and then toss in the head of garlic. (Don’t add salt before or during cooking or the hominy will toughen.) Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat, cover partially, and gently simmer over medium-low heat until the hominy has “bloomed,” or opened, 4 to 4 1/2 hours, skimming the foam from the surface and adding more water as needed. The hominy will be chewy. Remove from the heat and add 2 teaspoons salt.If using precooked or canned hominy, dump the drained and rinsed hominy into a large pot and add 2 cups cold water.
Place the chicken in a large pot and add enough water to cover by at least 2 inches. Add the onion, cilantro, and 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat, cover partially, and gently simmer over medium-low heat until the chicken is cooked through and tender, about 40 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the pot and let cool. Strain and reserve the cooking liquid. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin and bones and shred the meat.
Return the shredded chicken and its cooking liquid to the pot along with the hominy and place over medium heat until warmed through, about 10 minutes. It should be soupy. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
Remove the pot from the heat and set it aside while you make the chile purée. (You can cool the posole to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.)
Make the chile purée
Place the ancho and guajillo chiles in a medium saucepan, add just enough water to cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer until softened and rehydrated, about 10 minutes.
- Place the chiles and 3/4 cup of their soaking liquid in a blender or food processor along with the onion, garlic, cumin, cloves, and salt and purée until smooth. Pass the purée through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing on the solids with the back of a wooden spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids.
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the chile purée and bring to a boil, then cover partially and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Reheat the posole over medium-high heat until it comes to a gentle simmer. Stir in the chile purée and cook for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt.
Ladle the red posole into bowls and pass the limes, radishes, lettuce, onion, ground chile, dried oregano, tortilla chips or tostadas, and refried beans in bowls so each diner can fancy the posole up as they like. One topping that probably ought not be optional is the lime—go ahead and squeeze it liberally over the posole. One taste of how that bright acidity rounds things out and you’ll understand.
- Storage–Posole can be made up to 3 days before serving or frozen for up to 3 months. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Reheating–Warm the pozole in a pot over medium-low heat, or in the microwave until heated through.
- Scaling–This recipe can be halved.
- Dietary–This red pozole is suitable for gluten-free and dairy-free diets.
Serving: 1portionCalories: 315kcal (16%)Carbohydrates: 26g (9%)Protein: 17g (34%)Fat: 16g (25%)Saturated Fat: 4g (25%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 54mg (18%)Sodium: 716mg (31%)Potassium: 308mg (9%)Fiber: 6g (25%)Sugar: 6g (7%)Vitamin A: 1900IU (38%)Vitamin C: 6mg (7%)Calcium: 35mg (4%)Iron: 2mg (11%)