With tomatillos and green chiles, this Instant Pot Pork Pozole recipe is a traditional Mexican stew full of flavor and spices.
Pozole is a dish I’ve only ever had in the states, but when we are finally allowed to travel again will be first on my list for a trip to Mexico. It’s high on my list along with Mexican Menudo.
After watching a few episodes of The Final Table and Salt Fat Acid Heat, I jotted it down as a recipe I wanted to try and play with a little.
Why You’ll Love This Pork Pozole
A traditional Mexican soup that is hearty and packed with flavor- what’s not to love?
- Comfort food – The next time you’re craving chicken noodle soup, try this posole recipe instead. It’s packed with flavor and just as delicious!
- Traditional stew – Instead of saving it for ordering at Mexican restaurants, try making this traditional Mexican pozole instead.
- Makes great leftovers – This is one of those recipes that tastes just as good the next day! Perfect for leftovers.
I will start by saying that I don’t claim this to be an authentic recipe. What I will claim is that it is darn good. After many trials, taste testing and recommendations from chefs who specificalize in Latin and Mexican cuisine, this is the end result. It also sometimes spelled posole, with an “s”.
Pozole translates to “hominy” so while many beleive the most important ingredient is the protein, it is actually maize. It walks a fine line between being a soup or a stew with being more hominy and pork than broth. I even went a step further thickening mine a bit with flour.
Traditionally, it is made with either pork or chicken, but I find pork adds the most flavor so I used it in this pork pozole. It is also simmered for hours on end to get rich and well developed broth and fork tender meat.
The Instant Pot (or any electric pressure cooker) makes this a snap in a matter of just 25 minutes.
What is Hominy?
Loosely, hominy is corn. Most people call is giant corn because the kernels are so large, however it is actually just regular field corn that has been specially treated. It can become just slightly larger or up to two times bigger depending on the variety of corn you started with. You can get white or yellow hominy.
It undergoes a process called nixtamalization which involves soaking corn kernels in an alkali solution that removes the hull and germ of the corn. This also cause the kernel to bloat, giving it the appearance of being larger than the size of an average kernel.
Canned hominy often looks like corn kernels suspended in shortening. My daughter thought they were corn marshmallows. You’ll get the distinct smell of opening a bag of corn tortilla chips when the can releases.
It is gelatinous, waxy and sometimes slides out in a single pieces instead of individuals kernels. You can strain and rinse it before breaking apart into pieces. In all honesty, it is a little odd if you’ve never worked with it before. But it is crucial to this pork pozole.
What does hominy taste like? Like other food made with corn and hominy, but the texture is near that of a cooked potato. Starchy with some texture and a little sweetness.
Hominy is the same product used to make other dried corn foods like masa (corn flour), corn meal, corn tortillas, grits and corn starch. It can be yellow or white.
Red or Green Pork Pozole
Pozole is either red or green and both are considered to be acceptable. I prefer green as it reminds me of pork chile verde, of which I can never get enough of.
Green Pozole uses tomatillos and green chiles to achieve its hue while red pozole has a base of ancho chiles and chiles de árbol. Due to this, I find red to be much spicer, which I like, but my kids, not so much.
Pork Butt or Pork Shoulder?
Pork butt and pork shoulder are the same cut of meat. The term “butt” came from it being the butt of the joint, not its actual rear end.
You can find this piece of meat bone-in or boneless. I prefer boneless because it is easier to shred or cut. It is the same cut that is used for most shredded pork recipes like pulled pork or carnitas.
For this pork pozole recipe you can also use the same amount of chicken. As long as it is cut into similar size pieces, you won’t need to adjust cooking times.
Chicken thighs will provide the most similar texture and robust taste, but chicken breasts can also be used to reduce calories and fat.
The main ingredients of this traditional pozole might already be in your kitchen, with the exception of a few you can easily pick up at the local grocery store.
- Pork shoulder – Check the section above about the difference between a shoulder and butt. Make sure it is trimmed and cut into smaller pieces.
- Flour – We toss the pork pieces in a seasoned flour mixture. This provides a slight coating.
- Vegetable oil – We need something to coat the pan to prevent the pork pieces from sticking.
- Onion – I like the flavor that a white onion provides to this tender pork.
- Garlic cloves – While you can sue the pre-minced version in the jar, freshly minced garlic is so much more potent and flavorful.
- Tomatillos – Make sure the husked are removed, rinsed and they are coarsely chopped.
- Chopped green chiles – You can find these in a can down the international aisle.
- Seasonings – I use a blend of Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, dried oregano, ground cumin, chile powder, ground coriander and bay leaves.
- White hominy – You can find this in a can. Make sure it is drained and rinsed.
- Chicken broth – I like to use low sodium rich broth, but you can also use chicken stock if that’s what you have on hand.
- Lime juice – While you can use the bottled variety, I much prefer to use fresh lime juice.
How to Make Pork Pozole
You are going to love how easy it is to make this Mexican pozole recipe.
- Season pork. In a large bowl, mix flour with Kosher salt and ground black pepper. Toss with pork pieces. Remove pork and discard seasoned flour.
- Brown pork. Heat vegetable oil in an Instant Pot using sauté function. Add floured pork, working in batches to not crowd. Lightly brown on all sides. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Sauté onion. Add chopped onion, and cook until it starts to brown and soften. You might need to add another teaspoon of vegetable oil if the pot is dry.
- Add remaining ingredients. Add minced garlic, sauté for another few minutes. Stir in tomatillos, canned green chiles, oregano, cumin, chile powder, coriander, bay leaf, hominy, chicken broth and return browned pork to the pot.
- Cook on manual pressure. Lock lid and seal vent. Cook on manual pressure.
- Use quick release. Fish out the bay leaf and pork pieces. Using two forks, shred pork and return to the soup.
- Remove excess oil and add lime. Skim off any excess oil on the top. Stir in fresh lime juice and correct seasoning for salt and pepper, if needed.
- Enjoy! Serve and garnish with lime wedges, cilantro, radish, avocado, tortillas and jalapeno slices.
What to Serve with Pork Pozole
One of my favorite things about this dish is the variety of ways to customize each bowl. Whether I am making it for my family or for guests, I’ll set out all of the potential toppings in small bowls so they can make their own.
Here are the most common toppings for pozole:
- Fresh lime wedges
- Cilantro leaves
- Thinly sliced radishes
- Coarse salt such as Maldon Sea Salt
- Fresh jalapeno slices
- Chipotle peppers
- Shredded Cabbage
I also like to have flour or corn tortillas on hand to wipe the bowl clean when I am through and usually a salad. Although it is Guatemalan, I love this Chojín (Radish Salad with Chicharrón) as a starter or on the side.
Make Ahead & Freezing
Storage: Pork pozole is both make ahead and freezer friendly. Reheat in the microwave or in a saucepan. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Like many soups, the flavors will continue to develop, so many believe it is even better on the second and third days.
Freezing: If freezing, place into an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw or defrost in the fridge overnight or on the defrost cycle of the microwave.
Frequently Asked Questions
This particular pozole verde recipe uses a pork shoulder or pork butt. I’ve also seen a pozole rojo recipe that uses a pork roast.
While I am not a doctor, this recipe isn’t necessarily unhealthy. It’s full of nutritious ingredients, but can also be high in fat and sodium.
They are one in the same- the spelling is just a little different.
More Pork Recipes
Instant Pot Pork Pozole Recipe
- 1.5 pounds pork shoulder , trimmed and cut into 2-3 inches pieces
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium white onion , chopped
- 4 garlic cloves , minced
- 6 tomatillos , husked removed, rinsed and coarsely chopped
- 7 ounce canned chopped green chiles
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chile powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 bay leaf
- 30 ounces can white hominy (about 4 cups) , drained and rinsed
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper , to taste
- In a large bowl, mix the flour with Kosher salt and ground black pepper. Toss with the pork pieces. Remove the pork and discard the seasoned flour.
- Heat the vegetable oil in an Instant Pot using the saute function.
- Add the floured pork, working in batches to not crowd. Lightly brown on all sides. Remove the cooked pork to a plate and set aside. It does not need to be fully cooked.
- Without cleaning out the pot, add the chopped onion to the pot, cooking for 3-4 minutes, or until it starts to brown and soft. You might need to add another teaspoon of vegetable oil if the pot is dry, it really depends on how fatty the pork was.
- Add the minced garlic, saute for another 2 minutes.
- Stir in the tomatillos, canned green chiles, oregano, cumin, chile powder, coriander, bay leaf, hominy, chicken broth and return the browned pork to the pot.
- Lock the lid and seal the vent. Cook on manual pressure for 30 minutes.
- Use the quick release function. Fish out the bay leaf and pork pieces. Using two forks, shred the pork and return to the soup.
- Skim off any excess oil on the top.
- Stir in the fresh lime juice and correct seasoning for salt and pepper, if needed.
- Serve and garnish with fresh lime wedges, cilantro, radish, avocado, tortillas and jalapeno slices.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or ratings!
This recipe originally appeared on Mashed, where I was a contributor.