How To Make Pozole in the Instant Pot

updated Mar 25, 2020
Instant Pot Pozole

This easy, weeknight-friendly white pozole has a rich, cooked-all-day taste, but is ready in a fraction of the time, thanks to the Instant Pot.

Serves4 to 6

Prep30 minutes

Cook45 minutes

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Credit: Christine Han; Food Styling: Lesley Tellez

Pozole (pronounced poh-SO-lay) is a Mexican soup made with hominy and most often pork — the two are traditionally simmered together until the hominy kernels burst open and the broth takes on that rich, cooked-all-day taste. Some cooks add chiles to the broth, turning the pozole red or green and spicy (like in this pozole rojo recipe), but the easiest (and mildest) pozole to make — especially if you’ve never made it before — is white pozole, which doesn’t have any chiles in the broth at all. 

The recipe I’m sharing here is for my family’s favorite white pozole, which is easy enough to make on a weeknight. Here’s how I do it.

Credit: Christine Han
The author at home in her New York City kitchen, which she shares with her family including two young children.

A Fast Pozole Recipe for Your Instant Pot

For a weeknight-friendly pozole, I turn to my Instant Pot (or any electric pressure cooker), which makes the soup taste like it’s been on the stove all day but greatly reduces the cooking time. The leftovers last about a week in the fridge, and it freezes and reheats well. 

The key to any version of this dish is to cook the meat first, then use that broth to continue cooking the hominy. With the Instant Pot, you’ll sear the meat with the Sauté function, add the liquid and aromatics, bring it all up to pressure and cook until the meat is tender. Then you strain the broth, add the hominy, and return to pressure.

Credit: Christine Han; Food Styling: Lesley Tellez

Where to Buy Hominy for Pozole (and What to Look For)

Any pozole’s most essential ingredient is the corn — more specifically hominy, or big, starchy corn kernels that have been nixtamalized. Mexican or Latin American supermarkets sell canned hominy (like the Goya brand, pictured above), which works for a weeknight version of pozole. You can probably also find this in the global ingredient aisle of a large supermarket. But remember: Regular ol’ canned corn won’t work. Look for hominy specifically.

Credit: Christine Han; Food Styling: Lesley Tellez

Essential Toppings for Mexican Pozole

Pozole is always served with toppings: Typical ones include crunchy shredded lettuce or cabbage, aromatic Mexican oregano, and ground árbol chile powder. In Mexico City, where I learned to make it, they also serve tostadas (made with good corn tortillas; see what to buy here in this corn tortilla explainer) on the side, slathered in tangy Mexican crema (a type of sour cream). For this recipe, I’m also serving the pozole with sliced radishes and lime wedges.

You can find everything else you need at the Mexican supermarket; the Mexican oregano and ground árbol chile are usually sold in little packets near the produce section.

Credit: Christine Han; Food Styling: Lesley Tellez
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Here's how to make a weeknight-friendly Mexican pozole in your Instant Pot.

Instant Pot Pozole

This easy, weeknight-friendly white pozole has a rich, cooked-all-day taste, but is ready in a fraction of the time, thanks to the Instant Pot.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 45 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the soup:

  • 1 pound

    boneless pork shoulder

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon

    vegetable or canola oil

  • 3 cups

    low-sodium chicken broth

  • 3 cups

    water

  • 1/4

    small white onion

  • 1 clove

    garlic

  • 1

    bay leaf

  • 1

    (29-ounce) can hominy, drained

For the toppings:

  • 2 cups

    shredded cabbage or iceberg lettuce

  • 1

    medium lime

  • A few radishes

  • 1 (12-ounce) package

    tostadas, or 6 to 8 corn tortillas crisped in a 400ºF oven for 15 minutes

  • Mexican crema

  • Dried Mexican oregano

  • Chile powder, such as árbol chile

Equipment

  • Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker

  • Chef’s knife and cutting board

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Slotted spoon or tongs

  • Strainer

  • Large bowl

  • Small bowls for toppings

Instructions

  1. Cut and season the pork. Cut 1 pound pork shoulder into 2-inch chunks. Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper.

  2. Sear the pork. Heat an electric pressure cooker or Instant Pot on the Sauté setting. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and let it warm up for a minute. Add the pork and arrange in a single layer. Let sear undisturbed until golden-brown on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip the pork and cook until the second side is golden-brown, 3 to 5 minutes more.

  3. Add the liquids and seasonings. Add 3 cups chicken broth, 3 cups water, 1/4 small white onion, 1 garlic clove, and 1 bay leaf.

  4. Cook for 20 minutes under HIGH pressure. Lock the lid on and make sure the pressure valve is set to seal. Set to cook for 20 minutes under HIGH pressure. It will take about 10 minutes to come up to pressure. Meanwhile, drain the can of hominy.

  5. Quick release the pressure. When the cook time is up, quick release the pressure. Carefully open the pressure cooker.

  6. Strain the broth. Transfer the meat to a large bowl with a slotted spoon or tongs (if you accidentally scoop up any pieces of onion, pick them out and throw them away). Fit a fine-mesh strainer over the bowl of meat, then pour the broth through it. Discard the contents of the strainer.

  7. Add the hominy and cook for 10 minutes more under HIGH pressure. Pour the broth and meat back into the pressure cooker. Stir in the hominy. Lock the lid on and make sure the pressure valve is set to seal. Set to cook for 10 minutes under HIGH pressure. It will take about 8 minutes to come up to pressure. Meanwhile, prepare the toppings.

  8. Prepare the toppings. Prepare the following toppings, placing them all in separate bowls: Cut cabbage or lettuce into fine shreds until you have about 2 cups, cut 1 lime into wedges, and thinly slice a few radishes. Set out a package of tostadas, Mexican crema for slathering on the tostadas, a few tablespoons dried Mexican oregano, and 1 tablespoon chile powder.

  9. Serve the pozole. When the cook time is up, quick release the pressure. Taste and season the pozole with salt and pepper as needed. Serve hot bowls of pozole and pass the toppings at the table.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Store in an airtight container in the fridge, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Stovetop variation: If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can use a large (6-quart) pot. Simmer the pork for 40 minutes. Simmer with the hominy until the pork is very tender, 70 to 90 minutes more. The pork and hominy should be covered with liquid at all time, so add water as needed.

Lesley Téllez is a journalist, entrepreneur, and Mexican cookbook author living in New York City. She’s the author of Eat Mexico: Recipes from Mexico City’s Streets, Markets and Fondas and the co-founder of Eat Mexico. This story is part of a multi-story, multi-recipe package by Lesley sharing her personal, family-friendly approach to Weeknight Mexican.

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