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Hominy is a staple ingredient in Mexican, Southern American, and Latin American cuisines, from recipes like freshly made corn tortillas and tamales to grits and canjica. Find out exactly what it is, how to prepare it, some delicious recipe ideas, and everything in between!
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🌽 What is hominy?
Hominy is a traditional ingredient that’s been used extensively for centuries within Mexican and other Latin American cuisines. Although it has a long history, many people are unfamiliar with this extremely versatile ingredient. If this sounds like you, you’re in the right place!
Once field corn undergoes a special type of processing, called nixtamalization, it is then known as hominy. Corn kernels are added to an alkaline solution, such as lye or lime, where they’re steeped and boiled.
This helps to remove the husks of the kernels and soften them, making them easier to digest. The finished product is ready to be used in a multitude of ways! Whole kernels can be added to pozole, or it can be ground into masa for tamales, corn tortillas, and the like.
In the southern United States, grits and Three Sisters vegetable medley are popular ways to utilize hominy. Even further south into Brazil, you can find hominy-based sweets like canjica. In Colombia, there is another type of soup, called mute.
For more information on the nixtamalization process, check out our post on masa harina.
🍴 Flavor profile
In general, hominy has a slightly earthy and mild flavor that is different from your typical sweet corn. In addition to increasing its digestibility, the nixtamalization process also gives it a nutty taste.
In terms of texture, hominy is tender and chewy, making it a popular ingredient in many dishes. It’s fluffy texture is perfect for absorbing flavors and liquids in recipes like soups, stews, and chilis.
🫔 Varieties of hominy
The most common varieties of corn used to make hominy are dent, flour, or flint. You’ll see it sold in cans or dried in bags (similar to how beans are sold).
Hominy comes in three main colors:
- Blanco: White hominy is the mildest in flavor and most tender in texture.
- Amarillo: Yellow hominy is slightly sweeter and firmer than white hominy.
- Azul: Blue hominy is the chewiest and most intense in flavor.
The most common type used in soups is white hominy, but the other colors are often used to make products like grits and yellow or blue corn tortillas.
🍎 Health facts
Hominy is not only delicious, but it’s also extremely healthy. Here are just a few of the health benefits associated with this ingredient:
- Low in fat: Hominy is naturally low in fat, making it a great option for those wanting to reduce overall caloric intake.
- High in protein: Hominy is a source of plant-based protein, containing over 6 grams of plant-based protein in a single cup.
- Fiber-rich: Just one cup of canned hominy contains 17% of your daily fiber needs. Fiber helps with satiety, digestion, and blood pressure regulation.
- Gluten-free: Hominy, like all corn, is naturally gluten-free. It’s ideal for anyone with a gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
- Filled with antioxidants: Ferulic acid is just one of the many antioxidants found in hominy. This particular antioxidant is associated with protection against chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
- Source of minerals: You’ll find essential minerals like iron, magnesium, and potassium in each serving of hominy. These are all important for maintaining healthy bones, muscles, and overall bodily functions.
Overall, hominy is extremely nutritious and can be easily incorporated into a variety of different dishes. Whether you’re plant-based or not, hominy needs to be a part of your diet!
🔪 How to use hominy
You can purchase your own dried corn kernels to nixtamalize yourself, which results in the best hominy flavor and texture. It also requires the most amount of hands-on time and effort.
For more convenience, you can purchase canned hominy. All you have to do is drain and rinse it before adding it to recipes.
Lastly, there are also dried bulk forms of hominy. You will need to re-cook it to hydrate it again, but it doesn’t take as long as the nixtamalization process of field corn itself.
🌮 Recipes with hominy
Once nixtamalized, hominy is ready to be used in a variety of ways! These are just a few ideas to get you started:
- Soups and stews: Add hominy to pozole verde, pozole rojo, or vegan menudo.
- Antojitos: Grind it up in a molino to make masa, then turn it into snacks like tamales, sopes, gorditas, tlacoyos, huaraches, and memelas.
- Tortillas: Use it to make white or blue corn tortillas.
- Salad toppers: For added texture and protein, top your favorite salad recipes with cooked hominy.
- Grits: Use white or yellow hominy to make your own southern-style grits.
- Drinks: Use it for atole de guayaba, champurrado, pozol, or tejate.
Cooking hominy from scratch is laborious but well worth it (at least from time to time). Make sure you follow these store instructions so you don’t let all that hard work go to waste!
- Room temperature: Dried hominy can be stored in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Just make sure it’s kept in a cool, dark place like a cupboard or pantry.
- Fridge: Cooked hominy will last in the fridge for 6-7 days in an airtight container. We recommend keeping it in its cooking water so it stays moist and tender, but it’s not absolutely necessary.
- Freezer: To freeze hominy, drain it first then store it in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container for about 3-4 months. When you’re ready to eat it again, thaw it overnight in your fridge.
💰 Where to buy hominy
Hominy is widely available at most grocery store chains and Latin American or Mexican food markets. You can find it in the dried beans aisle, bulk food aisle, or canned food aisles.
🧐 How to choose hominy
To save time and effort on cooking, canned hominy is the most convenient choice for most people. This is especially true if you’re adding it to larger, more time consuming recipes.
For the most authentic taste and flavor, try cooking hominy from dry. Hominy blanco is the most widely available kind you’ll find on grocery store shelves.
Before cooking, check to make sure each kernel is intact and not moisture damaged or moldy.
While hominy has its own unique flavor profile, there are still a few good substitutions that will emulate the texture and flavor:
- Corn: Sweet corn may work as a replacement in certain situations. It can be added to soups and stews, but it won’t work to make masa (dough) since it hasn’t been nixtamalized.
- Chickpeas: Chickpeas have a mild, nutty flavor with a creamy texture, which is fairly similar to the taste and texture of hominy. Again, they mostly make a good substitute for soups, stews, and chilis.
- Other beans: Black beans, pinto beans, and fava beans will also replace hominy in soups and stews. The flavor isn’t the same, but the texture is similar.
Hominy is made from corn, but it’s different because it has undergone a process called nixtamalization. This changes both its texture and flavor compared to regular corn.
Yes, you can use canned hominy instead of dry hominy as a convenient alternative to dried. Don’t forget to rinse and drain it prior to using. Just note, for the most authentic flavor and texture, nothing compares to nixtamalizing your own corn or cooking hominy from dry.
Hominy has a mild, slightly sweet, nutty flavor, and a soft, chewy texture.
Hominy is very similar in nutritional value to corn. Since hominy undergoes a nixtamalization process, it allows for increased absorption of vitamins like niacin and magnesium. This gives it a slight edge in terms of health compared to corn.
Hominy is a very nutritious food full of fiber, B-vitamins, and iron. Enjoyed in moderation, it can absolutely be part of a healthy diet.
Once corn goes through the nixtamalization process, the husk of the kernel is removed. This softens it and makes it much easier to digest.
🤓 Learn about more ingredients
If you’re wondering what ingredients like chamoy and Mexican chocolate are and how to use them, take a peek at some of our other guides:
- Mexican Chocolate
- Masa Harina
- Mexican Oregano
- Queso Fresco
- Cotija Cheese
As you now know, hominy is a versatile and nutritious ingredient that plays an integral role in not only Mexican cuisine, but also Southern American and other Latin American dishes.
From tortillas and tamales to grits and sopa de mute, hominy adds texture, flavor, and health benefits to any recipe.
While you can definitely purchase canned hominy for convenience, it’s much easier than you think to cook it from scratch. All you need is dried hominy, water, and a little patience.
If you’re looking to add traditional and authentic flavors to your favorite Mexican-inspired recipes, consider cooking with hominy!
How to Cook Hominy
- Large stockpot
- 1 cup dried hominy
- 3 cups Water
- First, rinse the hominy thoroughly in cold water. Then, transfer it to a large stockpot or container.
- Fully cover the hominy with water, using a ratio of 3 cups of water for every cup of hominy. Leave the hominy to soak for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
- Drain and rinse the soaked hominy, then transfer it to a large stockpot. Cover it with a 3:1 ratio of water again.
- Bring the pot of water and hominy to a boil over high heat. Once it's boiling, lower the heat to a simmer. Let the hominy simmer, partially covered, for 3-4 hours, or until tender.
- Check the hominy occasionally, and add more water if needed to keep it covered.
- Once tender, remove the hominy from the heat and drain any leftover water. Use the cooked hominy for recipes like pozole, tortillas, and more. Happy eating!
- Nutritional information is a rough estimate and should not be taken as health advice.