A traditional Mexican soup that usually takes hours to execute, this Instant Pot Pozole cuts down the cooking time so you can have a comforting bowl ready for dinner in half the time.
Soup’s on! And thanks to the advances of modern cooking science, the Instant Pot (pressure cooker) got that soup on in a fraction of the time!
This Instant Pot Pozole was designed with quick comfort food in mind. It’s authentic-adjacent take on a White Pozole; it’s definitely not a traditional pozole since it’s not being prepared on the stovetop. For this recipe, I use a smoked ham hock, but really almost any cut of bone-in pork could work here (think, leftover ham bone from holiday meals or a bone-in pork butt). And I'm using canned hominy to cut down on the amount of effort.
If you’re unfamiliar with Pozole, read more about it below. Or if you’re ready to get cooking, skip to the Ingredients section or hit the Jump to Recipe button.
If you're into comforting soups, you should definitely check out:
- Instant Pot Pinto Bean Soup - another Instant Pot classic, taking a soup that would otherwise take all day and condensing its preparation into a few hours
- White Chicken Chili - the bold, Italian flavors of porchetta seasoning make this a stunning and cozy dinner
- 4-Ingredient Potato Soup - a super simple soup that comes together quickly with minimal ingredients
- Turkey Lentil Soup - perfect for transforming leftover turkey into a cozy soup surrounded by earthy lentils and fire-roasted tomatoes
- Creamy Taco Soup - satisfies those taco cravings in a one-pot meal
What is Pozole?
Pozole (pronounced like po-sole) is a type of Mexican soup that's traditionally made with hominy (heirloom corn) as well as a meat protein (usually pork). It’s Mexican comfort food, featuring a delicate, earthy broth that is seasoned with cumin, oregano, and sometimes chiles. Pozole is usually garnished with shredded cabbage, chile peppers, sliced radishes, sliced avocado, salsa, and fresh lime wedges.
Typically, pozole simmers away on the stovetop for hours to develop flavor. But thanks to the Instant Pot, pozole can be ready much more quickly.
Three Types of Pozole
There are three types of pozole—green, white, and red. This Instant Pot Pozole is a white pozole, or pozole blanco. Like other traditional pozole blanco recipes, there is no chile. It’s a mild soup, one that really benefits from garnishes. Like the crunch of fresh cabbage and sliced radishes. Pozole is easily kicked up with the addition of thinly sliced hot peppers, should you be feeling zesty.
Pozole or Posole?
Disagreement is ongoing regarding whether pozole and posole can be used interchangeably, but pozole tends to be the widely accepted spelling in Mexico proper. Posole tends to show up more often in borderland recipes (i.e., recipes that show up near the United States/Mexico border).
A Note on Using Other Proteins
If you want to keep this pozole blanco recipe more traditional, use pork or chicken. Because this Instant Pot Pozole Blanco is so mild, you can easily make it your own with shredded turkey or beef; or take it a vegetarian route and add in beans (like black or pinto beans).
Dried Hominy vs. Canned hominy
I'll admit that hominy is an ingredient I'm not super familiar with. You can buy hominy dried in bags, which need to be reconstituted with an overnight soak, like dried beans. You can also buy hominy prepared in cans. Canned hominy is ready to use, no advanced preparation is necessary.
Pozole Blanco Ingredients
To make this Instant Pot Pozole Blanco you will need the following ingredients. Check out What to Serve with Instant Pot Pozole for serving suggestions.
- Smoked ham hock (around 2 - 2 ½ pounds)
- Water or cooking stock/broth
- Olive oil or bacon grease
- Yellow onion
- 1 29-ounce can of hominy
- Mexican oregano
- Salt, to taste (see A Note on Salt)
A Note on Salt
I suggest leaving the addition of salt until the very end. How much salt you add depends on a few things: 1) the liquid, and whether or not you used stock/broth instead of water and 2) the smoked ham hock.
Water or broth? There are a lot of broths to choose from at the grocery store, and they vary in sodium levels. Or maybe you made your own (like this Instant Pot Beef Bone Broth). If you use broth, you’ll want to pay attention to how much sodium it has and take that into consideration before adding salt.
The pork hock. I used a smoked hock that didn’t bring much to the sodium party, so I wound up adding salt. Or maybe you used a leftover ham bone from the holidays instead. Prepared hams can vary in saltiness so you might find you don’t need to add additional salt.
Pozole Blanco Cooking Instructions
Roughly chop the onion and peel the garlic. Add onion and garlic to a food processor and Pulse a few times, until the onion and garlic is finely minced.
Add bacon grease and chopped onion and garlic to the Instant Pot. Saute for 7 minutes, by setting the Instant Pot to Saute (normal).
Add ham hock, seasonings, and water (or stock/broth).
Pressure Cook for 20 minutes (normal).
If possible, let natural release, which will take 15-20 minutes; otherwise, it’s okay to do a manual release shortly after cooking has finished.
Remove ham hock. Add hominy and its liquid and Saute for 7 minutes; this will help the soup reduce. Stir occasionally.
Shred ham hock while hominy cooks and immediately add it back into the pozole.
Taste as it cooks and adjust with additional seasonings if desired.
Serve with shredded cabbage, sliced radishes, lime wedges, etc.
What to Serve with Instant Pot Pozole
Pozole Blanco is a soup you want to serve with garnishes! Pozole is traditionally served with shredded cabbage, chile peppers, sliced radishes, sliced avocado, salsa, and fresh lime wedges. Feel free to make it your own and include what you like, but I’m a fan of adding shredded cabbage for that crunch!
Here are a few substitutions you can feel free to make without dramatically changing the resulting Pozole Blanco.
- Smoked ham hock - the best substitution would be some other cut of bone-in pork: the leftover ham bone from holiday meals or a bone-in pork butt. Just aim for around 2 - 2 ½ pounds of meat, with the weight of the bone included. You could also use chicken, turkey, or beef in this recipe, as well as black or pinto beans.
- Mexican oregano - use regular oregano instead if you can’t find Mexican oregano.
- Thyme - if you don’t want to use thyme, replace it with more oregano. Or toss in a bay leaf instead.
Spicy Instant Pot Pozole - Spicy Variation
If you gotta have that spice, I’ve got your spicy Pozole variation covered!
- Add 1-2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes
- Add up to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Toss in some fresh or dried chiles during the Saute step, before the lid goes on the Instant Pot
- Garnish with fresh or pickled jalapenos or other spicy pepper
An Instant Pot, of course! Or another type of pressure cooker. I own and use this 8-quart beauty, but this recipe will work with 6-quart models as well:
Alternate Cooking Methods
If you'd prefer, you can certainly prepare this Pork Pozole Blanco on the stovetop or in a slow cooker (or in your Instant Pot on the Slow Cooker setting!).
I recommend sauteing the onion and garlic beforehand, but it's not required (for either the stovetop or the slow cooker).
If you want to prepare this pozole on the stovetop, you'll want to simmer the soup for 2-3 hours over medium-low heat, covered. You'll want to wait to add the canned hominy until just before serving.
If using a slow cooker, cover and cook on low for at least 8 hours. You'll want to wait to add the canned hominy until just before serving.
Storage and Reheating
Store leftover Instant Pozole in the fridge for up to 5 days.
You may notice a layer of fat that hardens on top of your leftovers; go ahead and skim that off the top before reheating.
You might also notice that your leftovers are jiggly, having a thick, gelatinous quality. This is thanks to the collagen and fat released during cooking and will revert back to a liquid state once re-heated.
Store leftover Instant Pot Pozole in the freezer for up to 6 months. For maximum enjoyment, however, use within 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
Reheat desired amount of pozole in a pot on the stovetop, covered. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally, then remove from heat. Or, microwave that soup. A couple of minutes should do it!
Instant Pot Pozole
- 1 smoked ham hock (around 2 - 2 ½ pounds)
- 1 quart water or cooking stock/broth (4 cups)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or bacon grease
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1 head garlic (or 8-10 garlic cloves)
- 1 29-ounce can hominy (don’t drain)
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- salt, to taste* (I recommend adding 1 ½ teaspoons at the very end if using water)
- Roughly chop the onion and peel the garlic. Add onion and garlic to a food processor and Pulse a few times, until the onion and garlic are finely minced.
- Add olive oil or bacon grease and the chopped onion and garlic to the Instant Pot. Saute onion and garlic for 7 minutes by setting the Instant Pot to Saute (normal).
- Add ham hock and water (or stock/broth). Pressure cook for 20 minutes at High Pressure (normal).
- If possible, let natural release, which will take 15-20 minutes; otherwise, it’s okay to do a manual release shortly after cooking has finished.
- Remove ham hock. Add hominy and liquid and Saute for 7 minutes; this will help the soup reduce. Stir occasionally.
- Shred ham hock while hominy cooks and immediately add it back into the pozole.
- Taste as it cooks and adjust with additional seasonings if desired.
- Serve with shredded cabbage, sliced radishes, lime wedges, etc.