Easy Homemade Mole Sauce

Chicken with Mole
Chicken pieces in traditional mole sauce. photo (c) Trinette Reed / Getty Images
    70 mins
Ratings (17)

Mole (pronounced in two syllables, moe-leh) is a classic 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 geographical location, family tradition, and local preference.

Mole is most often used as a sauce for chicken, but pork or turkey are also commonly used. Leftover mole sauce is excellent for making enchiladas or using as a condiment for rice, eggs, and other foods.

Traditional moles often contains 40 or so different ingredients and take multiple days to prepare. Fortunately, prepared mole pastes—ready to eat after diluting and heating—are easy to find in supermarkets nowadays in and outside of Mexico. If you´re feeling a bit more ambitious, try this greatly simplified (though still tasty) made-from-scratch version.

What You'll Need

  • 1/4 cup pork lard
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 8 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 3 tomatoes, roasted and peeled
  • 1/4 cup unsalted peanuts or unsweetened peanut butter
  • 1 Tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 stick of cinnamon, broken/torn into small pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 3 whole peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 12 guajillo chiles, soaked in hot water, skinned, stemmed and seeded
  • 1/4 cup raisins, soaked in water to soften
  • 1/4 cup prepared masa (raw corn tortilla dough)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • Toasted sesame seeds garnish (optional)

How to Make It

Note: Traditional cooking methods call for grinding each ingredient by itself in a molcajete (mortar and pestle), but a blender will also do the job just fine.

  1. Heat the lard in a large saucepan. Add the sliced onions and clove of garlic and cook until onions are translucent.

  2. In a blender, puree the roasted tomatoes with the peanuts or peanut butter. Add the oregano, cinnamon, anise, peppercorns, thyme, clove, and cocoa powder and blend to make a smooth paste.

  1. Spoon the sauteed onions and garlic to the blender container and puree again. Add the chiles and raisins and blend into a smooth paste.

  2. Pour all the chicken broth except for ¼ cup of it into a large cooking pot. Make a roux by mixing the masa with the reserved 1/4 cup chicken broth. Stir the roux into the broth and whisk until smooth.

  3. Add the pureed ingredients to the pot. Simmer covered for 1 hour; uncover and continue cooking until mole has thickened to your liking.

  4. Use your homemade mole as a sauce for boiled chicken or turkey pieces, or cooked chunks of pork, sprinkling toasted sesame seeds over each portion as it is served, if desired. Any leftover mole will be delicious poured over rice or fried eggs, or used as an enchilada sauce.

-Edited by Robin Grose