This authentic Mole Sauce (Mole Poblano) is made by toasting and blending sweet and earthy ingredients and spices including dried chiles, peanuts, sesame seeds, chocolate, cinnamon and anise. Serve it as a main course over chicken, or with enchiladas, tacos, and burritos.

Mole is particularly delicious with a traditional Mexican beverage like Horchata and a yummy dessert like Tres Leches Cake or Fresas con Crema.

A plate with mole sauce served over chicken with a side of Mexican rice and a tortilla.

If you’re familiar with Mole sauce (pronounced MO-lay) then you may know it’s the national dish of Mexico! My first encounter with true Mole Poblano was while living in Puebla, Mexico, where the famous dish originated. I spent time in the kitchen with several different friends/cooks in Puebla during my time there and took notes of the various methods, to be able to make this dish myself, using the ingredients and equipment I have in my US kitchen. I’m excited to share my version with you all!

Many consider Mole Poblano King of the moles for its clever combination of earthy, sweet, and fragrant ingredients. Traditionally it takes an entire day to make, as each ingredient is carefully roasted and ground up with a stone mortar and pestle. Thanks to the invention of the electric blender you will be spared this toil!

All about Mole (what it is and where it came from):

The term Mole simply means “sauce” in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, and there are many different varieties of mole including Mole Negro (similar to mole poblano but less sweet and made with darker/black variety of chiles), and Mole Verde.

For all the different types of mole, there are just as many variations for making it! This is the basic version I was taught to make, but the flavor profile can be tweaked to suit your preference of sweet and spice.

Mole poblano has its legendary origins in the Convent of Santa Clara in Puebla, a picturesque and historical city about 100 miles southwest of Mexico city. Supposedly the archbishop was coming to visit and the poor and panicked nuns sought divine guidance to make a fitting dish out of the scraps of food and old turkey available to them. The Big Guy came through for them in a major way and the humble nuns created this iconic dish, the epitome of the fusion of mesoamerican and european cuisine, and emblematic of what it means to be Mexican. Needless to say the archbishop loved it.

How to cook chicken for Mole:

  1. Boil the chicken in the spices: add chicken pieces, garlic, onion, bay leaf, chicken bouillon, salt, oregano and water to a pot. Bring to a low boil and cook over medium heat until chicken is just cooked through (to about 160 degrees F – we will continue to cook it in the mole sauce), about 30 minutes. 
  2. Remove chicken to a plate, (reserving the broth) cover and set aside.

Chicken leg quarters in a large pot with water, onion and spices.

How to Make Mole Sauce:

Making mole is not complicated. It’s just a bit labor and time intensive, but the final product is WELL WORTH IT! Plus you’ll feel like a total gourmet! Basically all you are doing is sauteing/toasting each ingredient, blending and straining out the solids, then simmering the sauce you’ve produced. 

Here we go:

  1. Prep the veggies and peppers: Slice the onions, mince the garlic, cut the chilies open lengthwise with scissors and flatten, removing veins and seeds.
  2. Toast the sesame seeds in a large dry skillet over medium heat. Stir constantly and stop when they’re toasted. Don’t burn! Set aside.
  3. Set up a large pot to hold everything: Put 2 cups of water in a large saucepan and keep it on medium heat. You’ll be adding most everything to it as you go.
  4. Saute the chilies: Add a few tablespoons of oil to the skillet over medium heat. Once the oil in skillet is hot, add one layer of chiles at a time, frying on both sides for just a few seconds and being careful not to burn them. Add the chiles to your holding tank. 
  5. Toast peanuts, almonds, raisins, animal crackers, corn tortillas, and bread slices: Add just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Do this between each ingredient. Toast each for about 45 seconds, stirring constantly so they don’t burn the add to holding tank, pressing down into the water.
  6. Saute onions, garlic and plantain: Turn the skillet heat to medium-high, adding more oil if needed to coat the bottom of the pan. Saute the onion for 1-2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for just a few seconds before spooning the onion and garlic into the holding pot. Add a little more oil and, when hot, add the sliced plantain. Fry on both sides and add to the holding pot.
  7. Saute seeds: (peppercorns, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, anise, and crushed red pepper). Reduce heat to medium and add seeds to hot oil. Fry for a few seconds, stirring constantly, then add to the big pot.
  8. Add oregano, cinnamon, and chicken bouillon to the main pot and stir in..
  9. Set up a second big pot: Add 2 tablespoons of lard or oil to another large saucepan. Once melted, turn off the heat.
  10. Puree and strain the toasted ingredients: Working in batches blend everything in the first big pot until completely smooth. Add reserved chicken broth as necessary to facilitate blending. Pour each batch into the second pot through a fine mesh strainer discarding what’s left in the strainer. During one of the batches, add ¼ cup of the reserved toasted sesame seeds.
  11. Melt chocolate by pouring warm chicken broth over it and add it to the pot along with brown sugar, to taste (start with one tablespoon).
  12. Simmer the mole sauce over medium-low heat for 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring often. If the mixture is too thick, add more chicken broth (I usually end up using all of the remaining chicken broth). Taste and add salt or sugar, as needed.
  13. Plate and serve. Place chicken on a plate and ladle a big spoonful of sauce on top, then garnish with sesame seeds. Serve with Mexican rice and warm corn tortillas on the side.

Four process photos for toasting the ingredients for mole, blending in a blender, then straining into a skillet.

Use leftover Mole Sauce for mole enchiladas, burritos, tacos, nachos, fried eggs, pork or beef.

Pro Tips:

  • It’s VERY important NOT to burn anything, particularly the peppers, as these will turn bitter and ruin the end flavor result.
  • When blending, only fill the blender half full with mixture at a time, to get the smoothest puree.

Spice Level:

This Mole Sauce is Medium spicy. To add additional heat you could leave some of the seeds and veins in the dried chiles, increase the amount of crushed red pepper, add chile de arbol chiles, or add some chipotle peppers.

Make-Ahead and Freezing Instructions:

  • Mole sauce can be made up to 1 week ahead of time and stored in the fridge. Rewarm on the stove and add additional chicken stock, as needed, to reach desired consistency.
  • Mole sauce can be frozen for up to 4 months. Just place cooled sauce in a freezer-safe container. When ready to use, thaw overnight in the fridge, then reheat on the stove, adding additional chicken stock, as needed, to reach desired consistency.
If you love Authentic Mexican recipes, try my:

Carne Asada Tacos,

Elote (Mexican Corn),

Tamales

Chile Verde

Huevos Rancheros

Sopaipillas

You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST for more great recipes!

Recipe

A plate with mole sauce served over chicken with a side of Mexican rice and a tortilla.
Prep 15 mins
Cook 1 hr 15 mins
Total 1 hr 30 mins
Add to Meal Plan

Video

Ingredients
  

For the Chicken:

  • 1 whole chicken , cut into pieces (or 4-5 chicken leg quarters, bone in, skin on)
  • 8 cups water
  • ¼ of an onion , roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon Chicken bouillon (powder or paste)

For the Sauce:

  • 6 dried pasilla chiles
  • 6 dried mulato chiles or guajillo chilies
  • 5 dried ancho chiles
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds , divided
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup raw shelled peanuts
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • ½ cup animal crackers
  • 1 corn tortilla
  • 2 slices white bread , French bread or a small bolillo roll cut in half
  • 1/2 of a white onion , sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 5 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole aniseed
  • ¼ -1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 ripe plantain (or banana) , peeled, sliced into ½ inch slices
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chicken bullion
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 ounces chopped Mexican chocolate , (or semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate)
  • 1-4 Tablespoons brown sugar , taste
  • The reserved broth from the cooked chicken.
  • 2 Tablespoons oil or lard
  • Oil , for frying

Instructions
 

For the chicken:

  • Add chicken, garlic, onion, bay leaf, chicken bouillon, salt, oregano and water to pot. Bring to a low boil and cook over medium heat until chicken is just cooked through (to about 160 degrees F –we will continue to cook it in the mole sauce), about 30 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate, (reserving the broth) cover and set aside.

For the Mole Sauce:

  • Add the sesame seeds to a large dry skillet over medium heat and cook them, stirring constantly, until toasted. Be careful not to burn them. Set aside.
  • Use scissors to cut a line down all the chilies to open them up flat. Remove veins and seeds.
  • Add a few tablespoons of oil to the skillet over medium heat. In a separate large saucepan, add 2 cups of water and turn heat to medium-low.
  • Once oil in the skillet is hot, add one layer of chilies at a time to the skillet, frying on both sides for just a few seconds, careful not to burn them, then transfer them to the saucepan of water.
  • We will continue to fry most of the remaining ingredients, one at a time, so add a little oil between each batch, as needed, just to coat the bottom of the pan.
  • Fry the peanuts stirring often so they toast but don’t burn, about 45 seconds. Add to the pot. Repeat with almonds, then raisins, then animal crackers, then corn tortilla, and bread slices, adding each to the saucepan and pressing down as much as possible into the water.
  • Turn skillet heat to medium-high and add more oil if needed to coat the bottom of the pan. Add onion and fry for 1-2 minutes. Add garlic and fry for just a few seconds before spooning the onion and garlic into the pot. Add sliced plantain to the hot oil and fry on both sides, then add to the pot.
  • Reduce heat to medium and add peppercorns, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, anise, and crushed red pepper to hot oil and fry for a few seconds, stirring constantly, then add to the pot.
  • To the saucepan with all of the ingredients, stir in 1 teaspoon oregano, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 ½ teaspoons chicken bouillon.
  • Add the chopped chocolate to a bowl and pour some of the chicken broth into it, to help it melt. Set aside.
  • Add 2 tablespoons lard or oil to a large saucepan. Once melted, remove from heat and set aside.
  • Working in batches, add everything from the pot with the chilies to a blender and add enough of the reserved chicken broth to allow the mixture to blend. During one of the batches, add ¼ cup of reserved toasted sesame seeds. Blend each batch for several minutes, until completely smooth, adding more chicken broth if needed.
  • Pour sauce through a fine mesh strainer (discarding what’s leftover in the strainer) into the pot with the melted lard.
  • After everything has been blended and strained to the pot, add the melted chocolate and broth mixture (you can blend it too, if the chocolate has not completely melted), to the pot. Add 1 Tablespoon of brown sugar, to start, then add more to taste, as needed.
  • Cook the mole sauce over medium-low heat for 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring often. If the mixture is too thick, add more chicken broth (I usually end up using all of the remaining chicken broth). Taste and add salt or sugar, as needed.
  • Place chicken on a plate and ladle a big spoonful of sauce on top, then garnish with sesame seeds. Serve with Mexican rice and warm corn tortillas on the side.

Notes

Make Ahead Instructions: Mole sauce can be made up to 1 week ahead of time and stored in the fridge. Rewarm on the stove and add additional chicken stock, as needed, to reach desired consistency.
Freezing Instructions: Mole sauce can be frozen for up to 4 months. Just place cooled sauce in a freezer-safe container. When ready to use, thaw overnight in the fridge, then reheat on the stove, adding additional chicken stock, as needed, to reach desired consistency.
Pro Tips:
  • It’s VERY important NOT to burn anything, particularly the peppers, as these will turn bitter and ruin the end flavor result.
  • When blending, only fill the blender half full with mixture at a time, to get the smoothest puree.

Nutrition

Calories: 577kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 27gFat: 33gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 912mgPotassium: 1081mgFiber: 13gSugar: 20gVitamin A: 8752IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 187mgIron: 6mg

Did You Make This Recipe?

Tag @TastesBetterFromScratch on Instagram with #TastesBetterFromScratch!

HAVE YOU TRIED THIS RECIPE?! 
RATE THIS RECIPE AND COMMENT BELOW! I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR YOUR EXPERIENCE.

Related Posts

Share Recipe

Categories

About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. 5 stars
    My boyfriend saw this recipe and wanted to try it. I could be back home eating this. It’s just like the mole my mom used to make

See More Comments