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Turkey Pozole Rojo

This year, we’re hoping for lots of leftover turkey so that we can turn it into a big, spicy pot of pozole rojo. Easy, and warming, it’s perfect palate-awakener for the day after Thanksgiving.


turkey pozole rojo in brown bowl topped with cilantro, radish slices and shredded cabbage

Turkey Pozole Rojo: The Undisputed Best Leftover Turkey Recipe, Ever.

We love a good mayo-slathered cold turkey sandwich as much as the next person—making one and eating it in a quiet, peaceful house on the day after Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season and is as much a part of the Thanksgiving ritual as cracking the wishbone. After that one last Thanksgiving moment, though, we’re ready for a change—and we don’t just mean hauling the Christmas decorations out of the basement. Blame all of the butter from the night before, the tryptophan in the turkey, or all of the sodium that surely passed our lips during that feast day of feast days—but we’re usually just kind of “over” all of the leftovers that fill our fridge. The flavors that we couldn’t get enough of the night before have lost their appeal.

But, of course, we’re waste-not-want-not kind of folks here at TMP! So this year, we’ll be repurposing that delicious bird into a tomato-red, spicy, Mexican-inspired bowl of turkey pozole rojo. Cozy, easy, and warming, it’s just the palate-awakener that we all need as we head into the darkest, dreariest days of the year.

ingredients for turkey pozole rojo in small bowls

What is Pozole Rojo?

Pozole is a bit of an umbrella term that broadly refers to a type of Mexican soup made with hominy, and usually poultry (in this case, turkey!) or pork. “Pozole rojo” simply means “red pozole”, referring to our pozole recipe’s tomato-y base. Some pozole recipes are green or “verde”, with bright, light tangy flavors of tomatillo and lime. This time of year, though, the deeper, darker, richer flavors of pozole rojo call to us. Crushed tomatoes, a can of tomato sauce and a jar of salsa all team up to make our easy pozole recipe velvety red and full of umami.

Two Birds, One Stone: How to Make Pozole and Use Up Leftover Turkey, All at the Same Time

This Mexican-inspired turkey soup recipe is everything you want a day-after-Thanksgiving recipe to be—easy, fast, one-pot and a complete 180 from the flavors of Thanksgiving Day.

  1. Sauté onions and garlic in oil.
  2. Grab your can opener, and open a bunch of cans and jars! Dump the contents, along with some stock and a dash of Worcestershire into your favorite soup pot.
  3. Simmer! And while the soup simmers, whip up the cabbage slaw (if you're so inclined—it's not a must, but it is a nice-to-have.) This is also a good moment to shred your leftover turkey. Use dark meat, light meat—whatever is left! If you're not using leftover turkey, you can also just use shredded chicken—either way, this soup will be delicious.
  4. Add the leftover turkey meat (or chicken) and some carrots, and simmer a little longer.
  5. Serve!
  6. P.S. If you'd like to make this easy pozole even easier, you can make this recipe using a slow-cooker. Just toss everything to your Crock-Pot and cook on high for three hours.
turkey pozole rojo in a bowl next to a bowl of shredded cabbage and a pot of pozole

Hang On—Is It Posole or Pozole?

The name of this classic Mexican soup can be spelled either way. “Posole” seems to be the more popular spelling here in the U.S., while “pozole” seems to be more commonly used in Mexico. Call it posole or call it pozole—either way, the meaning is the same! A spicy, warming soup, rich with Mexican flavors. And—in this case—it also means a spicy, warming, delicious way to use up leftover turkey!

Tools You’ll Need:

turkey pozole rojo in a bowl topped with avocado, cilantro and shredded cabbage
large white bowl of shredded cabbage

Thanksgiving Leftovers: The Best Problem of the Year.

We’re going to let you in on a little secret: you can use leftover turkey in pretty much the same way you’d use chicken! But our very favorite way to use it is in turkey soup. Soup is easy, it’s made in one pot, and it’s inherent simplicity just feels right after the marathon of Thanksgiving. In light of that, here are four of our favorite soups to make with leftover turkey:

bowl of homemade pozole rojo topped with shredded cabbage, radishes, fresh cilantro and avocados
homemade pozole rojo in a two bowls topped with cabbage, cilantro, radishes and avocado

Bring On Those Silver Bells

And, now that we’ve helped you answer the age-old “what to do with leftover turkey” question, you can move on to overloading on Christmas music and candy canes with a clear head and a clean fridge! Let us know how our pozole rojo recipe worked out for you! Snap a photo of your pozole soup, and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Turkey Pozole Rojo

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time:  20 min
  • Cook Time:  1 hr
  • Calories: 406


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (29-ounce) can Mexican hominy, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (8-ounce) can mild, diced green chiles
  • 1½ cups salsa (we like a sweet salsa, like mango or pineapple)
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4-6 cups shredded cooked turkey (or chicken or pork)
  • 2 cups shredded carrots

Seasoned Cabbage

  • 3 cups finely shredded cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Make the seasoned cabbage. In a medium bowl, combine cabbage, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper and toss until combined.

  2. Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Once the oil is glistening, add the onions and cook until translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook until fragrant, another 1-2 minutes.

  3. To the same pot over medium heat, add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, hominy, green chiles, salsa, chicken stock, and Worcestershire. Increase the heat to high and bring to a simmer.

  4. Reduce the heat to low and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 35 minutes.

  5. Stir in the shredded turkey and carrots and continue to cook until the carrots are tender about 20 minutes more. Taste and season with salt.

  6. Serve the pozole in bowls topped with seasoned cabbage, avocado, cilantro, radishes, and lime juice.

Note: If you would like to use a Crock-Pot for this recipe, just use cubed raw meat instead of pre- cooked. Add everything to the Crock-Pot at the same time and cook on high for 4 hours.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories406
  • Protein8 g
  • Carbohydrates47 g
  • Total Fat6 g
  • Dietary Fiber13 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg
  • sodium1800 mg
  • Total Sugars23 g

Turkey Pozole Rojo

Questions & Reviews

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  • Jenn

    This was a huge hit with my family! I used shredded chicken and we all loved it.

    Thank you Jenn, we are so glad you loved it!