Hominy is a type of dried, mature corn kernel that has been treated to remove the germ and the outer shell (hull). This makes it easier for people to digest. It has an earthy, grain-like flavor that is also quite mild. Hominy has a range of uses in the kitchen, including soup, stew, and even vegan-style chili or grits. A popular use for hominy is adding it as a key ingredient in the Mexican comfort food pozole. This is a flavor-packed, soul-warming dish that's perfect for a cold winter’s night.
If you live in Mexico, New Mexico, or other areas with a large Hispanic community, you’ll have no difficulty getting hominy. In other parts of the world, it’s not so easy to find. First try to locate a Mexican specialty grocer. If you have no luck, you’ll need a suitable hominy substitute. Keep reading to discover our four recommended replacements which will allow you to finish that recipe.
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4 Alternatives to Hominy
Replacing hominy is no easy task thanks to its unique taste and texture which can only come from a food that has been processed. You can't make an authentic Posole Verde (Pozole Verde) without hominy. It is an essential part of the recipe. But you can still make something that’s close, just don’t serve it to your Mexican neighbors because they’ll see through your cunning plan in seconds.
Note: Use these alternatives in ratios of 1:1. For example, use one cup of chickpeas if the recipe calls for one cup of hominy.
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a good option for mimicking the flavor of hominy. They have a similar grainy taste with a nutty undertone. Chickpeas won’t have the same puffed up, chewy texture but they won’t be out of place in any Mexican inspired chili, casserole, or soup. Instead of pressing hominy into burger patties, chickpeas will work just as well.
Corn has to be considered in this list. It is, after all, the vegetable that hominy originally came from. You can use fresh or frozen corn in many cooked savory dishes. Just keep in mind that although they’re from the same family, corn will bring a different flavor and texture to recipes.
3. Buckwheat grits
Buckwheat grits are a great hominy substitute. It will provide a similar grain flavor and a filling texture. This is a great option for replacing hominy as a side dish. It can also be used is chili, soups, and stews. If you’ve got no buckwheat grits then use barley grits which are delicious for cooking savory food.
4. Polenta meal
Stone-ground hominy is known as grits and is a Southern staple. Its texture is similar to coarse sand and is used for breakfast cereal, as a side dish, and in baking. The ideal replacement for hominy grits is polenta meal which has all the same uses in the kitchen. If you fancy making some cornbread or dumplings then try this alternative. Polenta can also be used to make tortillas, tamales and to thicken stews.
Feeling productive today? You could always make your own hominy by cooking with cal (hydrated lime made from calcium carbonate). You can learn more here.
Varieties of Hominy
Canned: Rehydrated hominy that can be used in cooking straight from the can, with no preparation required.
Dried: Hominy that requires rehydrating before use.
Samp: Coarsely ground dehulled maize kernels (groats).
Grits: Finely ground kernels.
Lye: Corn kernels that have been soaked in a weak lye bath.
Pearl: Corn kernels that have been crushed mechanically.
White: Made from white corn kernels.
Yellow: Made from yellow corn kernels.
What is the difference between corn and hominy?
Hominy is corn that has been soaked in diluted hardwood ash, lye, or lime to remove the germ and hull. During this process, the kernels become larger and chewier with a fluffy appearance. Corn is a vegetable that has not been processed in any way.
- Hominy originated in Cahokia in the 9th Century AD. Source.
- Another name for hominy is nixtamal. Combined with bacteria, it can produce sourdough bread.
- The Mayans produced beer with nixtamal which resembled chicha.
- One cup of hominy has 4.1 grams of dietary fiber or 16% of the daily recommended intake.
- A Mexican dough called masa can be made from ground hominy; it is used to make arepas, tortillas, and other bread-based meals.
- The health benefits of hominy include high fiber, gluten-free, low fat, low sugar, and the increased availability of Vitamin B.
If you need a hominy substitute, then chickpeas, corn, buckwheat grits, or polenta meal are all suitable alternatives. Which option is best will depend on the recipe and how the ingredient will be used. In some recipes, like Posole, hominy is a required ingredient, so replacing it with an option on this list means it is no longer Posole.
Thankfully, you’ll find that hominy is sold in cans that can easily be shipped throughout the United States. If you’re looking to cook authentic Mexican cuisine, then you may want to get some of the leading brand No products found. online at Amazon. Note: This is an affiliate link.
Have you ever tried a different substitute for hominy that worked well? Please let us know in the comments below, and we’ll test it out.