Nata’s Pork Pozole Rojo

pozole red rojo Nata

This is my mom’s legendary recipe for pozole rojo with pork, which my three brothers and sister and all my cousins and I grew up eating—and loving—in Pilsen, Chicago. My mom, Nata (Natalia), came from a large family of seven kids in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, and learned to cook from her mother. Our mother’s family has so many great cooks, including her sister and my aunt, Gollita.

This is a recipe that comes from my grandmother, who I watched cook for a few years when she would take care of my siblings and me. My mom has tweaked this  recipe a bit by toasting some of the ingredients, such as the cumin.

Her mom’s ”legendary” pozole rojo with pork is requested for birthdays and parties, says Isabel Reyes.

To me, pozole = PARTY! I come from a family that loves to throw parties, and this equates to great food and lots of it. Pozole is a great dish to serve a lot of people, or if you’re Mexican, your closest family. I can’t pinpoint the first time I ever ate pozole, but it was probably for someone’s birthday. My sister, Vero, will always ask for pozole for her birthday.

The first time I made it, it was a huge fail, because I did not follow my mom’s recipe. After my first failed attempt, I try to stick to the books.

This is a great winter dish. My sister’s birthday is in October so it’s a perfect dish to have during a cold day. If you make it during warmer weather, a nice light beer pairs well. My mom makes this recipe typically for large parties, but you can easily cut the ingredients in half and make it for a smaller household. 

If you publish this recipe, my mom is gonna be so thrilled!

Ready to Make Nata’s Pork Pozole Rojo—winner of Familia Kitchen’s Favorite Pozole Recipe Contest?

Nata’s Pork Pozole Rojo

4.4 from 12 votes
Recipe by Nata Reyes Cuisine: Mexican


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 6 lbs pork backbone, cut in chunks

  • 4 lbs pork tenderloin, cut in chunks

  • water, to cover the meat

  • 2 large onions, whole

  • 1 head garlic, whole

  • 3 bay leaves

  • salt, to taste

  • 64 oz hominy, washed

  • For the Sauce
  • 8 guajillo chiles

  • 1 ancho chile

  • 1 mulato chile

  • 5 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

  • 1 Tbsp cumin seeds, toasted

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 1 Tbsp oregano, dried

  • salt, to taste (remember the soup already has some!)


  • Boil the Pork
  • Place water in a large stockpot or Dutch oven and bring to a boil.
  • Add both types of pork, garlic, onions, bay leaves and salt.
  • Cook until the meat is tender—this should take about 2 hours, at least.
  • Toast and Blend the Chile Sauce
  • Open and devein the dried chiles. In a hot pan, toast the chiles on both sides for less than a minute.
  • In a bowl, using a scoop or two of the liquid from the large pozole pot, soak the toasted chiles for about 5 minutes.
  • Toast the sesame and cumin seeds.
  • Scoop out both cooked onions from the soup.
  • Place the soaked chiles, both onions and all the sauce ingredients—3 types of chiles, 2 types of seeds, garlic, oregano and salt—in a blender. Pulse for a minute or two, until mixed. Set aside.
  • Putting It All Together
  • When the meat is tender, add the washed hominy and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the contents from the blender and bring to a boil for 10 final minutes.
  • Serve the pozole in bowls. Garnish with the dried oregano, sliced radishes, thinly sliced cabbage, and lime juice, to taste. Don’t forget the tostadas!


  • If you are too full after eating your pozole, Isabel and her family recommend having a nice shot of tequila to help you digest.
Isabel’s mother, Nata, sister Vero and niece Andrea. It’s Vero’s birthday so Nata’s pozole rojo was definitely served before this cake.
Isabel Reyes pozole
Isabel with her cousin Yeka, left, and sister Vero, right.

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