Chicken Pozole Verde is a hearty and delicious Mexican soup with a vibrant green, deeply flavorful broth loaded with tender chicken and hominy. It's a festive soup to serve on special occasions, but is easy enough to whip up on a weeknight with this simple recipe.
This history of this hearty and vibrantly flavorful soup goes back to the ancient Aztecs, so some form of it has been around for at least five hundred years! It's often made with pork, but here I've used boneless, skinless chicken thighs (you can use boneless skinless chicken breasts if you prefer). With just 15 minutes of prep and some hands-off time on the stovetop, you'll be sitting down to enjoy it in less than an hour.
Ingredients You Need to Make Chicken Pozole Verde
- Vegetable Oil: such as avocado oil
- White Onion: or yellow onion
- Garlic: fresh garlic cloves
- Tomatillos: look for firm (but not hard) tomatillos with a relatively tight husk wrapping all the way around
- Jalapeños: look for peppers with firm, smooth skin
- Dried Oregano: ideally Mexican oregano
- Ground Cumin
- Chicken Broth: ideally Homemade Chicken Broth or chicken stock
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs: or boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Cilantro: fresh cilantro with brightly colored, fragrant leaves
- Hominy: canned white hominy
- Kosher Salt
- Sliced Radishes
- Shredded Cabbage
- Finely Diced White Onion
- Sliced Jalapeño or Serrano Chile
- Diced or Sliced Avocado
- Fresh Cilantro
- Lime Wedges
- Tortilla Chips
What goes into Pozole Verde?
Pozole Verde is a rich blend of chicken broth, tomatillos, green chiles and aromatics with tender chicken and white hominy as its main ingredients. Tomatillos (also called husk tomatoes) are key, with their signature tangy and refreshing flavor that's difficult to replicate with any other ingredient. This is just the base, though; the fun part is the all of the toppings.
A bowl of pozole verde isn't complete until you top it with your favorite toppings, from sliced radishes and jalapeño peppers to fresh cilantro, avocado and crispy tortilla chips. Keep it simple or pile it high, it’s one of the most ancient build-your-own meals in the world!
- Use boneless skinless chicken breasts if you prefer them to thighs, but know that the meat may be a bit drier. You can also use shredded rotisserie chicken or Shredded Chicken that you've made in your slow cooker.
- Make the soup with leftover Mexican pulled pork instead. You could also swap in Pork Bone Broth for the chicken broth.
- Adjust the spices in this soup to suit your tastes - I encourage you to make it your own!
If you’ve browsed around pozole recipes, you probably found the word spelled either with an ‘s’ or with a ‘z.’ Both terms mean the same thing. The word pozole comes from the Nahuatl word pozolli, which means sparkling, likely referring to how foamy the water becomes when boiling hominy.
Hominy is made from dried corn kernels treated with an alkali (nixtamalization). Unlike sweet corn, hominy is not sweet, but starchy. It doesn't have much flavor on its own, but absorbs the soup's flavors nicely.
Storage and Reheating
Store leftover pozole verde in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in freezer-safe containers or plastic bags for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
More Must Try Mexican Recipes
- Albondigas Soup (Mexican meatball soup)
- Slow Cooker Birria de Res (Make delicious Birria Ramen with the leftover broth.)
- Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas (with homemade Green Enchilada Sauce)
- Carne Asada Nachos
- Carne Asada Burrito
- Chicken Tinga
- Chicken Tostadas
- Homemade Refried Beans
How to Make Chicken Pozole Verde
Soften onion, garlic, tomatillos, jalapeños, oregano and cumin in hot oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add broth and bring to simmer. Add chicken thighs and simmer until very tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer chicken to bowl or cutting board and shred with two forks.
Strain out solids from broth and puree in blender along with cilantro and ½ cup of cooking liquid. Return mixture to soup along with shredded chicken and stir until heated through; season with salt to taste. Serve with your choice of toppings.
Chicken Pozole Verde
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil such as avocado oil
- 1 large white onion chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic coarsely chopped
- 1 pound tomatillos husks and stems removed, rinsed and quartered
- 3 jalapeños seeded (or leave the seeds for a spicier soup) and cut into large pieces (gloves recommended!)
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano ideally Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs trimmed
- 1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems, plus more for garnish
- 2 15-ounce cans hominy drained and rinsed
- kosher salt to taste
- sliced radishes
- sliced jalapeño
- diced or sliced avocado
- lime wedges
- tortilla chips
- Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat; add onion, garlic, tomatillos, jalapeños, oregano and cumin; cook and stir until softened, about 10 minutes. Add broth and bring to simmer. Stir chicken thighs into broth and bring back to simmer. Cover and simmer 20 minutes or until chicken is very tender.
- Transfer chicken to cutting board and shred into bite-size pieces with 2 forks.
- With a slotted spoon, transfer cooked onion, garlic, tomatillos and jalapeños to blender. Add cilantro and ½ cup of the cooking liquid and blend until smooth. (I recommend using a kitchen towel instead of a lid to cover blender when blending hot liquids.)
- Stir blended tomatillo mixture, shredded chicken and hominy into broth and bring to simmer over medium heat; add salt to taste. Cook and stir until heated through, about 5 minutes. Serve with desired toppings.
- Note the toppings are optional and not included in nutrition information.