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Pozole is a Mexican soup made with corn grains called hominy. There are three variants. White pozole forms the base and is made with corn, chicken or pork. Green chilli peppers are added to green pozole and red chilli peppers to red pozole.

What is pozole?

Pozole (pronounced “poss-SOH-lay”) is a Mexican soup the main ingredient of which is nixtamalized (processed) corn kernels, also called hominy. The soup has one of three colours. White pozole is the basic soup made with corn, chicken or pork, cumin and garlic. For the green variant (pozole verde), green chilli peppers, green herbs and green tomatoes are added. The red variant (pozole rojo) is made with red chilli peppers.

The dish is eaten throughout the year in Mexico and is a regular fixture when there is something to celebrate, such as a wedding, a national holiday or the name day of a favourite saint. There are restaurants that completely specialise in making pozole: the pozolerías.

Hominy is a processed corn product that is not readily available outside of Mexico. Corn kernels are boiled with sodium hydroxide or with lime, which makes the skins loose and easily removable and the corn kernels become large and soft. This process is called nixtamalization and facilitates the absorption of more nutrients from the corn grain.

Did you know...

The flourishing of the ancient Central American peoples, such as the Mayans and the Aztecs, is at least partly attributed to nixtamalization: processing the corn kernels before they are eaten. As a result, people received more nutrients and their food tasted better. Without nixtamalization, dishes like tacos, tamales or nachos would not exist.

How to make pozole

Preparing hominy yourself is a time-consuming and labour-intensive job. You cook corn kernels in water in which sodium hydroxide or lime is dissolved. Next, let the corn soak for a night or two before you rub the skins off the corn grains by hand. The grains are now ready for making soup.

The corn kernels are cooked together with chicken or pork (preferably with the bone), onion, cumin, garlic and broth in a soup for a few hours. The meat is removed from the soup before serving. It is stripped from the bone and added to the soup in pieces.

To make red pozole, dried red chilli peppers are soaked in a little of the soup, then pureed and stirred into the soup. To make a real Mexican party pozole, cook a pig’s head or leg for an extra delicious taste.

How to eat

Garnishes are an indispensable part of a good pozole, such as slices of cabbage, slices of radish, cubes of avocado, squeezed lime and chopped onion. Every guest can customise their own bowl of soup.

Also try

Do you love hearty soups? Noodle soups, such as Japanese ramen and Vietnamese pho are worth trying.

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