Stand back, other soups. Posole just pulled up.
Are you picturing a bowl of this slick, brothy hero rolling up to a red carpet in sunglasses right now or is that just me?
Before we begin breaking down this iconic Mexican favorite, I should mention that if you’ve seen this dish spelled “pozole” as opposed to “posole,” don’t worry, we’re talking about the same thing. The Z is often swapped for an S in the southwestern region of America, but the words are synonymous.
What does change from one posole to the next is the style. And I’m not talking about when the paparazzi yell, “Who are you wearing?”
When it comes to the style, or variations, on posole, color is key. The three main players in this game are red, green, and white.
Red or rojo style leans prominently on dried chilies – such as nutty chiles de arbol – for its spice and bold hue, while green or verde relies on grassy, verdant notes of cilantro, jalapenos, and tangy tomatillos.
Today, we’re whipping up my favorite of the bunch: posole blanco. Though this white version is also known as “plain” posole, the flavors are anything but average.
No matter the form, posole is a quintessential part of many Mexican gatherings. Whether it’s a simple Sunday family get-together or a rowdy holiday party with relatives from all over, serving this soup is as traditional as it is delicious.
The main draw of any posole, at least in my opinion, is its structure.
A fragrant, comforting broth that’s delicately spiced is hard to beat, until you add some additional ingredients for texture that take everything to the next level. Gloriously fatty, painstakingly slow-cooked pork is traditional as the star ingredient, but chicken has become an equally popular protein choice.
And it’s what we’re using today. So scoot over, pork.
You run the show in your own kitchen, of course, but I strongly suggest selecting dark meat over white to mirror the succulence pork typically brings.
Unfamiliar with those pale, oversized kernels bobbing around in the broth? Welcome to the world of hominy.
In short, these nuggets come from corn kernels whose hull and germ have been removed. This process of nixtamalization calls for dried corn to be cooked and steeped in an alkaline solution, which causes them to puff up to twice their size.
Remember Giant Land in “Super Mario Bros. 3” where everything appears enormous? Hominy may look like massive pieces of corn, but they’re far less threatening than colossal turtles or man-eating flowers.
The sweet morsels are earthy and add a lovely chew to every spoonful.
It’s all about the toppings for me, though. Who doesn’t love getting to embellish a dish with their personal favorites? You may have one guest with the “cilantro tastes like soap” gene and another who douses every meal in fistfuls of the fluffy herb, and there’s room for both here.
The colorful collection of garnishes not only looks fun and makes the whole experience of eating more interactive for everyone involved, but I’m a big believer in adding cold, crisp toppings to warm, hearty soup.
The garnish options are endless, and the toppings I went with here are just to get you started. Other suggestions for serving include chopped white onion instead of sliced red, buttery avocado slices, jalapenos, and homemade tortilla chips or warmed tortillas.
I go for a squeeze of double lime juice, an excessive amount of cabbage, and chips on mine.
How will you dress up your posole? It doesn’t need to be red carpet-ready, just fully decked out so it’s ready to be put in a belly.Print
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
If you love brothy soups with crunchy garnishes, you’ll dig this chicken posole topped with raw red onion, crisp cabbage, and radishes.
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, divided, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1 large white onion, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon chili powder blend
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 2 15.5-ounce cans white hominy, drained and rinsed
- 1 4-ounce can diced green chilies
- Juice of 1 lime, plus lime wedges for serving
- 2 cups shredded green or purple cabbage, for garnish
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes, for garnish
- 1/4 cut thinly sliced red onion, for garnish
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
- Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
- Place 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepot or Dutch oven. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the chicken and sear until lightly golden on all sides, about 1-2 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining oil to the pot. Add the chopped onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Saute until the spices are very fragrant and the onion is translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Pour in the chicken stock, scraping the bottom with a spatula to release any browned bits that are stuck on the pan. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, then return the chicken and any juices it released on the plate to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
- Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred the meat, using two forks. Return the meat to the pot and add the hominy and green chilies. Gently simmer on medium-low for 20 minutes, so the flavors can meld.
- Season to taste with additional salt if necessary. Stir in the lime juice.
- Divide the soup among bowls, and serve with the lime wedges, cabbage, radishes, onion, and cilantro. Allow guests to garnish their own.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Mexican
Keywords: posole, chicken
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Gather, Prep, and Measure Ingredients
Chicken thighs have more fat and impart more flavor and richness into the soup, but if you prefer white meat, boneless skinless chicken breast could be used instead. You could also use a mix of both.
Chop the white onion and mince the garlic. Juice the lime and slice the wedges of another for serving.
Prep the other garnishes by shredding the cabbage, thinly slicing the radish and red onions, and roughly chopping the cilantro.
Step 2 – Season and Sear Chicken
Season the chicken all over with 1 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepot or a Dutch oven. When the oil shimmers but before it starts smoking, add the chicken and sear it on all sides until lightly golden, for about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Work in batches if necessary, so you don’t crowd the pan.
Transfer the chicken to a rimmed plate.
Step 3 – Saute the Aromatics
Reduce the heat to medium. Heat the remaining oil, and swirl to coat the pan. Add the chopped onion and season it with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt as well as the chili powder, cumin, and oregano.
The fat left in the pan from the chicken, the onion, and the spices will create a very fragrant mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened. This will take about 3 to 5 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds, keeping an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Step 4 – Add the Liquid and Cook the Chicken
Deglaze the pot with the chicken stock, scraping the bottom as you pour to release anything that’s stuck. Turn the heat up to high, and bring the liquid to a boil.
Return the chicken and any juices that have collected on the plate to the pot.
Lower the heat back down to medium and simmer uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through. This should take about 20 minutes, but you can check by removing one of the larger pieces and using a meat thermometer to make sure that the internal temperature has reached 160°F.
Step 5 – Shred the Chicken, Simmer, and Serve
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred the meat using two forks. Add the shredded chicken and juices from the cutting board back into the pot. Stir in the hominy and green chilies.
Simmer the soup for about 20 more minutes over medium-low heat, so all the flavors can blend together. Season to taste with additional salt if necessary and then stir in the lime juice.
Divide the soup among bowls, and allow each guest to garnish their own portion with their choice of lime wedges, cabbage, radishes, red onion, and cilantro.
The Gift of Garnishes
How did we possibly get through this whole recipe without mentioning hot sauce?
Everyone has their favorite, so feel free to use whatever spicy little number is in your pantry. I dig a vinegary southern-style hot sauce that’s heavy on the tomato.
Speaking of hot, the green chilies we dropped into the broth towards the finish line are not. These canned chilies are mild and simply bring a kick of smokiness without an overwhelming dose of “ouch, my tongue.”
They’re one of the prominent flavors used in classic white Mexican queso dip, which happens to be one of my food obsessions, and I think it would also work nicely as a side to pair with this soup.
What toppings will make your posole perfect? Share your garnishes-of-choice in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.
In the mood to continue cooking up a storm with corn? Try these recipes next:
Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on March 26, 2014. Last updated on April 7, 2022.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Fanny Slater
Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”
17 thoughts on “Chicken Posole”
Oh my goodness! I have been looking for a chicken posole recipe and I found this one while browsing through your recipes. I used to eat this all the time when I was a kid. We never used the yellow hominy, only the white. Traditional Mexican posole is garnished with radishes, onion and shredded cabbage and lemon. All of these ingredients really add more layers of flavor and texture. Try them next time and maybe you will a 4 out of 4 :).
I enjoy hominy but never thought of adding it to anything. I’m sure this is filling, but not so. I don’t like dark meat at all so I’d use either turkey or chicken breasts.
I have been seeing posole everywhere lately! I had never heard of it until a few weeks ago and now there is a posole explosion! 🙂
I am such a fan of your recipes, but, nope. Can’t do this one. Hominy *does* freak me out.
It looks like a lovely dish otherwise, though!
I’m going to be honest and say I’ve never had Chicken Posole — but this makes me want to try it! Put me on the list as a fan of hominy!
Me too! This looks so good and it looks like something that I would love to try. I’ll have to add this to my list of “to make”, the whole dish looks yummy. I’ve never had hominy before so it will be new to me. Always looking to expand what I usually eat.
I ate hominy growing up but I rarely come across people who know what it is now. I wonder why it’s not very popular?
Anyway, I made this tonight and it was delicious. I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather so soup was exactly what I was craving when I arrived home. It was quick and easy to make and I am looking forward to tasting it tomorrow after it sits overnight. Soup is always better the next day I’ve found. Great recipe!
Outstanding recipe! I have been on the look of basic posole recipe and found this one a quick and easy dish. I wanted to try this easy homemade posole which is a little spicier with lime this time. Thank you for sharing this!
I like how easy this seems – quick and easy AND satisfying 4 kids & 2 adults is never easy!
I am intrigued though – you say adding hominy is ok if you like the crunch and texture of beans. I don’t consider much crunch with kidney beans and the like so I’m really struggling with understanding what hominy is like – I’ve never heard of it before.
DO you think this would work well if cooked without eh chicken and had cooked chicken added at serving (one vegetarian in the house…)
I’ve never heard of this dish. And I’ve definitely never heard of hominy. Cool! I love learning new things.
I’m not a big fan of beans, but I love the texture of beans puree and then cooked into a gravy, stew or thick soup. So, I’m going to give this a try at least two times — one pureed, and one not-pureed. I just need to figure out what store sells it and where in the store I can find it. 😉
Wow! I’ve never heard of hominy, but I definitely like the sound of it! The texture would add another element to several dishes I already make, so I will have to see if I can source them here in the UK.
Your recipe sounds wonderfully tasty, and so easy to prepare too. I’ll definitely be giving this a try, and here’s hoping I can source the hominy!! As you say the texture is similar to garbanzo beans (chick peas here in the UK), if I can’t get the hominy, I will add chick peas instead.
Every time I visit the blog, I learn something new (including that I’m a total moron in the kitchen, haha!!). I literally have to look up some of the dishes or ingredients before I could get a general idea. While a bit not so good to my esteem, I truly find it humbling!
Curiously, the Philippines produce a lot of corn, but it’s my first time to hear of ‘hominy. So as usual, I went to google to see what it is, and below is how wikipedia defined it:
ominy is a food which consists of dried maize kernels which have been treated with an alkali in a process called nixtamalization
(Of course the article gave an explanation of what it is, but my mind is not getting it, SADLY 🙁
Oh my goodness I think I just died and went to heaven. I LOVE posole (pozole) and I first had some when I was in college and I only know one place around me that serves good pozole. Admittedly some of these ingredients may be hard for me to find or to track down, but as always I’m looking forward to trying a new recipe. Thank you for the share, and I hope my husband will love it as much as your family did!
Wow, hilarious! I am literally making chicken pozole as I type this. I actually like to make mine in the slow cooker. It works out for time management & the sort. I’d say my recipe varies in that I include a fistful of different vegetables on hand when I make this. Helps deepen the flavour of the broth & adds to the nutritional value.
I’d never heard of chicken posole before landing on this page, and have always wondered how to use hominy, so this is one recipe I will definitely try. Chicken thighs are one of my favorite parts, so I often have them here at the house, and the rest of the ingredients are minimal purchases, so this fits in with my budget, and I think it will become a staple in my household!
Mexico’s Independence Day was two days ago and it is a tradition to eat posole in this day. Even though there are many ways of preparing posole this is the way I like it the most. The only things I would add are:
I don’t use oregano when I cook the onions, instead we use dry oregano and put it in the posole when we’re about to eat it.
We serve it with chopped onions, radish and lettuce.
We accompany the posole with tostadas. Just spread some sour cream and season with salt and you’re ready to go.
This looks absolutely delicious! I’ve never had Chicken Posole, or any type of Posole for that matter. It looks amazing though! It’s just perfect for one of those “one pot dinners” that are so popular right now. I like the fact that is has such nutritious ingredients inside, my favorite being the cilantro. I will be giving this delish dish a go on the next cold or rainy day. Thanks for the recipe.
I actually don’t like hominy so when I tried this recipe I replaced my portion with white corn. It came out excellent. Everyone else had the hominy and they said it was delicious. So kudos to the recipe maker. When I served the soup I served it with tostadas (I think someone else mentioned that here too). I think it would be great with homemade tortilla chips too and plan to make this again with those.