The traditional brothy, chile-based soup pozole is one of Mexico’s best-loved dishes. The heat level of this version is moderate, emphasizing the lighter, fruity notes of the ancho and guajillo chiles. Traditional garnishes are added at the table, lending extra texture, flavor and acidity to this bright, flavorful soup.

Prep time: 30 min

Cook time: 360 min

Total time: 390 min

Traditional Red Pozole
Copyright Recipe © 2015 Woodland Foods


  • 1 Pound Dried Pozole

  • 1 Head Garlic, papery outer layers removed

  • 3 Cloves Garlic

  • 2 Pounds Bone-In Chicken Thighs

  • 1 White Onion, peeled, plus 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped

  • 5 Fresh Cilantro Sprigs

  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher Sea Salt Flakes, plus 1 teaspoon and more to taste

  • 2 De-Stemmed Ancho Chiles, seeded

  • 3 De-Stemmed Guajillo Chiles , seeded

  • 1/8 Teaspoon Ground Cumin

  • 2 Hand Picked Cloves

  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Epazote

  • 3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil

  • 5 Limes, halved

  • 10 Radishes, halved and thinly sliced

  • 6 Cups Shredded Cabbage

  • 1/2 Cup White Onion, chopped

  • 2 Avocados, peeled, seeded and diced

  • Mexican Oregano

  • Tortilla Chips Or Crispy Tortilla Strips, (for garnish)


  1. Place dried pozole in a large stockpot with water to cover by 3 inches. Add the head of garlic. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until pozole is tender and has begun to puff up, about 4 to 5 hours. Skim foam occasionally during cooking. Remove garlic.

  2. Meanwhile, place chicken in a large stockpot. Add water to cover by at least 2 inches. Add whole peeled onion, cilantro sprigs and 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until chicken is cooked through and tender, about 35 minutes. Remove chicken to a bowl, and set aside until cool enough to handle. When cool, remove skin and bones, and shred meat. Strain broth through a fine mesh strainer, and reserve.

  3. Add chicken and its broth to cooked hominy and its cooking liquid, and simmer for 10 minutes.

  4. Place chiles in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes, or until chiles have rehydrated. Place chiles, along with 1/2 cup of their cooking liquid, 3 tablespoons chopped onion, 3 cloves garlic, cumin, epazote, cloves and 1 teaspoon salt in blender. Puree until smooth. Use a rubber spatula to push puree through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Discard solids.

  5. Heat oil in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add chile puree, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, and cook 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  6. Add chile sauce to pozole mixture, and let simmer for 25 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt, if necessary. Serve with garnishes arrayed in separate bowls or on platters to allow guests to customize their bowl.