Classic White Pozole with all the Trimmings

Pozole Blanco Clasico con Sus Guarniciones
Recipe from Season 6, Mexico—One Plate at a Time
Servings: 25to 30, about 18 quarts


  • 3pounds (about 7 cups) dried pozole corn, preferably red pozole corn, OR 4 pounds (about 10 cups) fresh or frozen nixtamal corn, well rinsed
  • 2heads garlic, cloves broken apart, peeled and halved
  • 7pounds (3 medium) pork shankss
  • 3pounds (4 medium) pork trotters
  • 5pounds bone-in pork shoulder, cut into 3 or 4 large pieces
  • Salt
  • 4large (about 2 pounds) white onions, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • About 1cup coarsely ground spicy dried red chile (arbol chile is pretty classic here)
  • 6 limes, cut into wedges
  • 3quarts thinly sliced cabbage or head lettuce, (though not traditional, I love Napa cabbage for pozole)
  • 2dozen radishes, thinly sliced
  • About 1/3cupdried Mexican oregano, preferably whole leaf oregano
  • About 4dozen tostadas (crisp-fried corn tortillas), store-bought or homemade


Measure 14 quarts of water into a huge (30-quart) pot and add the corn (either the rinsed nixtamal or the dried corn) and garlic. Bring to a boil, partially cover the pot and simmer gently over medium-low heat until the corn is thoroughly tender - at a minimum allow about 3 hours for nixtamal, about 5 hours for dried corn. Add water as necessary to keep the water level more or less constant. Slower, longer cooking only means better pozole, as evidenced by the fact that in many places in Mexico huge pots of the fragrant mixture simmer for wood fires overnight before a fiesta.

While the corn is simmering, cook the meat. Place all the meats in another large pot, cover with 8 quarts of water, add 1/4 cup salt and bring to a boil, skim off the grayish foam that rises during the next few minutes, then add half of the chopped onions. (Scoop the remaining onion into a strainer, rinse under cold water, shake off the excess, then place in a serving bowl, cover and refrigerate for serving.) Partially cover the pot and simmer over medium-low heat until all the meat is thoroughly tender, about 3 hours. Remove the meat from the broth and let cool. Or, if time allows, cool the meat in the broth for the best flavor and texture, then remove it.

Skim the fat from the broth; you'll have about 4 quarts broth. Add it to the corn, along with 2 tablespoons salt, partially cover and continue simmering until the corn is completely tender and you're ready to serve.

Pull off the meat from the pork shanks and pull the shoulder meat into large shreds. Collect in a large roasting pan. Cut the bones and knuckles out of the trotters. Discard the bones and knuckles, then chop what remains into 1/2-inch pieces. Add the shredded meat (there will be about 12 cups meat in all). Cover and refrigerate if not serving within an hour.

When you're ready to serve, heat the meat in a 350 degree oven until just warm through (no need for the meat to get really hot), about 20 minutes. Taste the pozole and season with additional salt if you think necessary. Set out bowls of the condiments for your guests to add to their steaming, fragrant bowlfuls al gusto: the reserved onion, the ground chile, lime wedges, sliced cabbage or lettuce, sliced radishes and oregano.

Ladle portions of the pozole into large soup bowls, letting your guests add the condiments to suit their own tastes. Before sprinkling it over the bowl, each guest should powder the whole-leaf oregano by rubbing it between his or her palms.


  1. I recently made red chicken pozole for our world cuisine blog. This was the first time I made pozole.

    Although I am generally not a big fan of soup, I have to admit pozole is probably going to change my mind about soups ! I will definitely make this one again as the whole family loved it and it was not too spicy for the kids (the chiles I used were on the mild side)

    1. Laura King: Try Rancho Gordo out of California. They have dried hominy as well as wonderful heirloom beans. I have made several purchases from them, and been very happy with what I’ve got!

  2. Wonderful recipe! Definitely agree with longer cooking on lower temperatures, meat is tender and delicious. Provecho!

  3. 25-30 servings? Rick! I live alone in Manhattan. My largest dinner party can accomodate 6 people. we’re not all running a restaurant or living in a huge suburban home like you. Please write your recipe for at least a family dinner – not 25-30. I don’t even have freezer room for the remainder. or a 30 quart pot.

    1. Convert the recipe for a party of six. There may be a recipe conversion app or something to help with this on google.

  4. Rick: first GRACIAS — my husband uses your pozole recipe and it has become one of his most requested ‘sopas’. Our family is Filipino & Puerto Rican from the SF-Oakland area. We are now retired in ATL and getting to know our new neighbors with… a BIG pot of Pozole. Rick since this is a heavy stew, can you reccomend what to serve as beverage and postre? thank you

  5. so this is the first year for navidad that I will be making posole, I remember maybe 5 years ago watching your episode of this classic opsole and thought to myself to use dried posole corn ive very excited to be using your recipe !!!

    love you and your show always
    Victoria Moreno

    1. It pays to read through the entire recipe several times to get the “gist” of it. I thought the same thing at first (a CUP of ground chile de arbol?”, whoa!), but it’s used as a condiment to go with the soup, not to be added into the soup itself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *