Slow Cooker Chicken Pozole Rojo

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Spicy, light, and bursting with flavor – this budget-friendly Slow Cooker Chicken Pozole Rojo is the perfect soup for the summer or fall when you need something with a little extra warmth. This is not an authentic Chicken Pozole, but a delicious one that uses up leftovers and pantry staples.

Today’s Pantry Essentials: Garbanzo Beans & Cabbage

These are two ingredients often found in the back of my pantry. I hardly ever use Garbanzo Beans except when a recipe calls for them. Cabbage is a fresh crop that stores well at cooler temperatures meaning I can pull it out in the winter months when fresh veggies are scarce.

During our no-spend December, these were two ingredients needing to be used.

What is Pozole Rojo?

Pozole rojo is a traditional Mexican soup or stew that is known for its rich and flavorful broth. The key ingredient in pozole rojo is hominy, which is dried maize (corn) that has been treated with an alkali. The dish is named after this hominy, which is called “pozole” in Spanish.

The red color in pozole rojo comes from the use of dried red chilies, which are blended and added to the broth. The type and number of chilies can vary, but common varieties include guajillo, ancho, and sometimes pasilla chilies. The broth also typically contains meat, often pork or chicken, and is seasoned with garlic, onions, and various spices.

What is hominy?

Hominy is a field corn and very popular in Mexican dishes. Here in the U.S., especially Maine, it is not so common. Garbanzo beans or chickpeas are an acceptable alternative. The addition of the beans make for a heartier dish with their starch, and pack a protein punch to keep the energy up all night.

If you do want to try to find hominy in your area, look for it in the international or canned vegetable sections of your local grocery store. Or research Mexican markets in your city.

Ingredients Needed

Chicken Pozole can be made in three different variations: blanco, verde, and rojo (white, green, and red) much like the Mexican flag. For a traditional recipe, check out this video from YouTube. For our inspired dish, these are the items we will need:

Exact measurements can be found in the printable recipe card below.

  • Whole Chicken: You can use chicken breasts or thighs as well if you do not have a whole chicken. Just adjust your cooking time as needed.
  • Garbanzo Beans: Hominy, Chickpeas, or white beans in a pinch will work.
  • Cabbage: Fresh cabbage adds an extra crunch at the end as a topping. We will also be using it in the soup to make a bed for the chicken.
  • Peppers: We’re using jalapeno peppers as they are easy to find. We will also be using Guajillo chile powder in the seasoning of our chicken.
  • Onion & Garlic: Staple flavors in all Mexican cooking.
  • Other Seasonings: Smoked paprika, poultry seasoning, bay leaves, oregano, and cumin will also be used. Hold off on adding any salt as the poultry seasoning will have some. You can also use chicken bouillon in place of the poultry seasoning.
  • Tomato Paste: This will be used to give a rich taste and the rojo to our pozole rojo.
  • Water: We will create a flavorful stock during the cooking process. Save your box stock for another recipe.
  • Toppings: Cilantro, radishes, avocado, cotija, crema, and lime would all be delicious toppings.

Recipe Variations

  • If you prefer a vegetarian version, omit the chicken and use vegetable broth instead of chicken bouillon. You can add extra chickpeas or other vegetables like diced bell peppers, zucchini, or corn to make it heartier.
  • While this recipe uses chickpeas, you can try different legumes like black beans, pinto beans, or hominy for a unique twist. Incorporate grains like quinoa or rice to stretch the extra dollar.
  • Experiment with different toppings. In addition to cilantro and jalapeño, try sliced radishes, avocado slices, lime wedges, or shredded cheese for added flavor and texture.

Tips for good food on a budget!

If you frequently use herbs like cilantro or oregano, consider growing them in a small herb garden or in pots at home. This can save you money in the long term compared to buying fresh herbs regularly.

Celebrate with pozole!

Pozole is considered a celebratory dish in Mexican culture and is often served at festive gatherings and special occasions. Its rich and flavorful broth, combined with the communal aspect of preparation and garnishing with a variety of toppings, makes it a symbol of togetherness and joyous occasions in Mexican cuisine.


This is an overview of the instructions. For complete directions, scroll down to the bottom.

  1. Begin by placing the shredded cabbage, onion, garlic, and jalapeños in the slow cooker.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine all the seasonings. Gently rub or sprinkle this seasoning mixture onto the entire surface of the whole chicken in the slow cooker.
  3. Pour the water into the slow cooker alongside the chicken, taking care not to wash away the seasonings from the chicken. Place the bay leaves on top.
  4. Cover the slow cooker and set it to cook on high for approximately 4 hours.
  5. Shred the cooked chicken and return it to the slow cooker, adding the chickpeas and tomato paste. Stir the mixture and heat it until everything is thoroughly warmed.
Slow Cooker Chicken Pozole Rojo how to make photo collage

How to store and love your leftovers

  • Refrigerate: To store leftover Slow Cooker Chicken Pozole Rojo, allow it to cool to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container. It can be refrigerated for up to 3-4 days. When reheating, add a bit of extra broth or water as it may thicken upon refrigeration.
  • Freeze: If you want to freeze this pozole, cool it completely and then transfer it to a freezer-safe container or individual portions in airtight containers or freezer bags. It can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • Reheat: To reheat, gently warm the pozole on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring occasionally. You may need to add a bit of extra broth or water if it has thickened. Alternatively, you can reheat individual servings in the microwave in 1-minute increments, stirring between each increment until it reaches your desired temperature. Enjoy!

Store leftovers in individually-sized portions for easy reheated lunches.


Is Guajillo chili powder very spicy?

Guajillo chili powder is typically mild to moderately spicy, with a smoky and slightly fruity flavor. It’s not as spicy as some other chili varieties, making it a good choice for adding flavor without overwhelming heat. Adjust the amount to your spice preference.

What is the origin of pozole?

Pozole is believed to have originated with the indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica, particularly the Aztecs and the Maya. It has a rich history and is often associated with ceremonial and celebratory occasions.

Are there regional variations of pozole in Mexico?

Yes, pozole can vary by region in Mexico. For example, in the state of Jalisco, pozole is often made with pork and served with radishes, lettuce, and tostadas. In Guerrero, seafood pozole with shrimp and fish is popular.

Serve with

  • Mexican Beans and Rice
  • Corn Tortillas
  • Refried Beans
  • Chunky Guacamole

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Slow Cooker Chicken Pozole Rojo

This is not an authentic Chicken Pozole, but a delicious one that uses up leftovers and pantry staples.
Katie Chase
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Recipe Servings 10 people


  • 6 quart slow cooker


  • 1 cabbage small and shredded
  • 3 jalapenos diced small
  • 1 onion diced small
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 4 pound whole chicken frozen
  • 1 Tablespoon chicken boullion
  • 1/2 Tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Guajillo chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups water
  • 15 ounces chickpeas canned, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste or 1 can drained diced tomatoes


  • Add the shredded cabbage, onion, garlic, and jalapeños to the bottom of the slow cooker.
  • Mix all the seasonings in a bowl. Place the whole chicken in the slow cooker and pat with the seasonings. Any that fall off will just fall into the slow cooker.
  • Pour in the water on the side of the slow cooker so as not to wash the seasonings off the chicken. Top with bay leaves.
  • Cover and cook on high 4 hours.
  • Remove the chicken and shred. Add the shredded chicken, chickpeas, and tomato paste (or drained tomatoes) to the slow cooker. Stir and heat until warmed through.
  • Top with fresh cilantro, more jalapeno, or any traditional Mexican toppings.
Disclaimer: Please note all serving sizes, pricing, and nutrition is an estimate based on 2023-2024 pricing and nutrition guides. For accuracy please do your own calculations.

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