Flavorful Mexican Mole Sauce

Flavorful Mexican Mole Sauce

The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 45 mins
Cook: 2 hrs 2 mins
Soak Time: 20 mins
Total: 3 hrs 7 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Yields: 6 cups
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
217 Calories
14g Fat
21g Carbs
5g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 217
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 4g 21%
Cholesterol 11mg 4%
Sodium 807mg 35%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 18mg 91%
Calcium 99mg 8%
Iron 2mg 14%
Potassium 403mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Mole (pronounced in two syllables, MOE-lay), is a quintessential Mexican chile sauce with origins in pre-Hispanic times. It exists in countless versions throughout the country, varying in color, consistency, ingredients, and use according to regional preference and family tradition. But most begin with some common denominators: a blend of chile peppers, tomatoes or tomatillos, fruit or other sweet element, nuts or seeds, often but not always chocolate, and a blend (usually secret) of spices.

Traditional cooking methods call for grinding each ingredient by itself in a molcajete (mortar and pestle), but a blender will do the job just fine. This is an easier version of mole sauce and takes around 20 to 25 minutes to prepare and 90 minutes to cook. Traditional moles often contain 40 or more different ingredients and take multiple days to prepare.

Mole most often accompanies chicken or turkey, but you can also ladle it over roasted or pulled pork. Leftover mole sauce makes excellent enchiladas, tacos, or burritos, or a condiment over rice, eggs, and other dishes.


Click Play to See This Homemade Mole Sauce Recipe Come Together


For the Tomatoes

  • 3 small tomatoes

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

For the Guajillo Chiles

For the Mole

  • 1/4 cup lard

  • 1 medium onion, sliced

  • 1/4 cup unsalted peanuts (or substitute unsweetened peanut butter)

  • 4 cups chicken broth, divided

  • 8 cloves garlic

  • 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano, crushed

  • 1 stick cinnamon, broken into small pieces

  • 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds

  • 3 whole peppercorns

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 whole clove

  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder

  • 1/4 cup raisins, soaked in water to soften

  • 1/4 cup masa

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • Garnish:

    1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this mole dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Roast the Tomatoes

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    tomatoes an oil

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Cut small tomatoes in half or quarter larger ones. Toss them with a teaspoon of vegetable oil and place on a baking sheet, cut sides up.

    tomatoes on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Roast in a preheated 450 F oven for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until charred around the edges and softened.

    baked tomatoes on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Carefully, using a pairing knife, lift or scrape off the skins of the tomatoes, then set the peel tomatoes to the side.

    scrape off the skins of the tomatoes

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Prepare the Guajillo Chiles

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Guajillo Chiles on a plate

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, place the guajillo chiles in the pan to toast them for 20 to 30 seconds per side, or until they start to become fragrant.

    Guajillo Chiles in a pan

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Transfer the toasted chiles to a medium to large bowl and cover with hot water. Let soak for 20 minutes in order to rehydrate.

    Guajillo Chiles in hot water

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Transfer the rehydrated chiles to a cutting board and, using a pairing knife, remove the seeds and stems.

    Guajillo Chiles with seeds and stems removed

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Prepare the Mole

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Easy Mexican mole sauce ingredients

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Heat the lard in a large skillet over medium-low to medium heat.

    Heat lard in saucepan for mole

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onions turn translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes. You do not want the onion to turn brown; adjust the temperature as necessary. When the onion softens enough to drape over your spatula, set the skillet aside.

    Add onions and garlic to lard

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. In a blender, puree the roasted tomatoes with the peanuts or peanut butter and 2 to 3 tablespoons of the chicken broth, if needed.

    Puree tomatoes and peanuts

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  5. Add the Mexican oregano, cinnamon, anise, peppercorns, thyme, clove, and cocoa powder, and blend to make a smooth paste.

    Add dry ingredients to the blender to make a paste

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  6. Add the sautéed onions and garlic to the blender container and puree again.

    Add the sautéed onions and garlic to the blender

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  7. Add the chiles and raisins and blend into a smooth paste.

    Add chiles and raisins to blender

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  8. Pour 1/4 cup of chicken broth in a small bowl and the remaining broth into a large saucepan.

    chicken broth in a pot and a bowl

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  9. Whisk the masa with the reserved 1/4 cup of chicken broth to create a roux.

    Make roux with masa and chicken broth

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  10. Stir the roux into the broth and whisk until smooth.

    Stir roux in broth

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  11. Add the pureed ingredients to the pan. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.

    Add pureed ingredients to the pot and simmer

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  12. Uncover and continue cooking until the mole turns thick and aromatic. Taste and add salt as needed.

    Uncover and cook mole until thickened

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  13. Use your homemade mole as a sauce for chicken or turkey or chunks of pork, sprinkling toasted sesame seeds over each portion as you serve.

    Flavorful Mexican Mole Sauce

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Use Caution When Blending Hot Ingredients

Steam expands quickly in a blender and can cause ingredients to splatter everywhere or cause burns. To prevent this, fill the blender only one third of the way up, vent the top, and cover with a folded kitchen towel while blending.

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