Mole Sauce – Making homemade mole is an act of love but worth every second because of the incredible depth of flavor! The combination of dried chiles, tomatoes, spices, cinnamon, chocolate, and peanut butter is absolute savory-sweet-smoky-slightly spicy perfection! Learn how to make traditional mole sauce that’s so authentic tasting! 

Mole Sauce - Making homemade mole is an act of love but worth every second because of the incredible depth of flavor! The combination of dried chiles, tomatoes, spices, cinnamon, chocolate, and peanut butter is absolute savory-sweet-smoky-slightly spicy perfection! Learn how to make traditional mole sauce that's so authentic tasting! 

Mole Sauce Recipe

There is nothing else quite like mole sauce in Mexican cuisine! If you’ve never had mole, I would describe it as a slightly smokey, very lightly sweetened, yet savory sauce that has so much incredible depth of flavor! 

Mole sauce, or salsa de mole in Spanish, differs a lot based on the region of Mexico. This mole is from the more southern state of Oxaca and is a sweeter mole in comparison to mole from the northern part of Mexico which can be less sweet and more bitter. 

There are three kinds of dried chiles, tomatoes and tomatillos, it’s richly flavored with warming spices including cinnamon and cloves, and for the secret ingredients…

Mole Sauce - Making homemade mole is an act of love but worth every second because of the incredible depth of flavor! The combination of dried chiles, tomatoes, spices, cinnamon, chocolate, and peanut butter is absolute savory-sweet-smoky-slightly spicy perfection! Learn how to make traditional mole sauce that's so authentic tasting! 

…Chocolate and peanut butter!

The combination of ingredients and flavors in classic mole sauce is absolute perfection.

Traditional mole has a reputation for being a pain to make because of the long list of ingredients! Mole, like other salsas or sauces, varies from region to region, and therefore so do the exact variety of ingredients.

However, one thing is standard and that is that there are a lot of them. Generally speaking, authentic mole sauce has at least 20 ingredients, and sometimes 30 or more! 

Authentic mole also takes time to make. But the hours of simmering time doesn’t require hands-on work. So get your pot of mole simmering and enjoy the tantalizing aroma that will waft from your kitchen!

Mole Sauce - Making homemade mole is an act of love but worth every second because of the incredible depth of flavor! The combination of dried chiles, tomatoes, spices, cinnamon, chocolate, and peanut butter is absolute savory-sweet-smoky-slightly spicy perfection! Learn how to make traditional mole sauce that's so authentic tasting! 

Ingredients in Mole Sauce

Mole sauce is known to have tons of ingredients and this homemade mole sauce recipe is no exception! I promise they all serve a purpose and I recommend using them all. 

Mole Sauce - Making homemade mole is an act of love but worth every second because of the incredible depth of flavor! The combination of dried chiles, tomatoes, spices, cinnamon, chocolate, and peanut butter is absolute savory-sweet-smoky-slightly spicy perfection! Learn how to make traditional mole sauce that's so authentic tasting! 

For your authentic salsa de mole you’ll want to have on hand the following including:

  • Mulato chiles – These can be found in most Mexican stores and in the Mexican aisle at the grocery store. They are thick and meaty and don’t have much heat.
  • Pasilla chiles – Also found in Mexican stores, darker in color than mulato chilis, and have a dark raisin or prune-line appearance in terms of their color and texture, although much larger.
  • Chiles de arbol – Optional but if you like your mole to be a bit spicy, you may want to add them. At a minimum, add one is my recommendation or your mole can be a bit underwhelming.
  • Raisins – Help to sweeten the dish if it is too spicy. Don’t worry about the texture if you’re a raisin hater as everything gets blended.
  • Corn tortilla – Just one tortilla helps thicken the mole.
  • Ritz Crackers – Any softer, buttery cracker such as a Club Cracker will work. Again, they are used as a thickener.
  • White bread – Also helps thicken the sauce. You can use a hamburger, hot dog bun, or dinner rolls if you need to.
  • Mexican oregano – It’s a bit milder than regular oregano although regular oregano may be substituted.
  • Cinnamon – Adds to the sweet-smoky flavor.
  • Cloves – I used dried ground spices but you can use whole spices that you toast and then grind them.
  • Tomatillos – Green tomatoes in a paper wrapper. Peel and wash before using.
  • Roma tomatoes – Perfect for many Mexican dishes including mole sauce because they are meatier than some tomatoes, yet have plenty of juice.
  • Onion – White onion is recommended although yellow will work.
  • Garlic
  • Pumpkin seeds – Toast these in the oven and they give great flavor and depth to the mole.
  • Chicken broth – Needed to thin out the mole and I use reduced sodium but it’s up to you.
  • Abuelita Chocolate – This is what many Mexicans use to make hot chocolate but it’s perfect in mole because it’s slightly sweetened and has a cinnamon flavor to it. 
  • Creamy peanut butter – It gives the mole a richness and silkiness that’s unbeatable. Look for no sugar added varieties if you’re concerned about the mole being “too sweet”.
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Mole Sauce - Making homemade mole is an act of love but worth every second because of the incredible depth of flavor! The combination of dried chiles, tomatoes, spices, cinnamon, chocolate, and peanut butter is absolute savory-sweet-smoky-slightly spicy perfection! Learn how to make traditional mole sauce that's so authentic tasting! 

How to Make Homemade Mole Sauce

Authentic mole sauce is not hard to make. However it can be time consuming and there are a lot of steps which is the way a lot of traditional recipes simply are – whether it’s French, Italian, or Mexican – they take time. 

Mole Sauce - Making homemade mole is an act of love but worth every second because of the incredible depth of flavor! The combination of dried chiles, tomatoes, spices, cinnamon, chocolate, and peanut butter is absolute savory-sweet-smoky-slightly spicy perfection! Learn how to make traditional mole sauce that's so authentic tasting! 

Follow my straightforward steps for the best tasting traditional mole sauce:

Mole Sauce - Making homemade mole is an act of love but worth every second because of the incredible depth of flavor! The combination of dried chiles, tomatoes, spices, cinnamon, chocolate, and peanut butter is absolute savory-sweet-smoky-slightly spicy perfection! Learn how to make traditional mole sauce that's so authentic tasting! 

Step 1: Add all the chilis to a sauce pan, cover with water, bring to a boil for 3 minutes, and then let them sit for 15 minutes.

Step 2: Meanwhile place the raisins in a bowl and cover with hot water and let them sit for 5 minutes.

Step 3: In a small saucepan, toast the tortilla and the crackers, and toast the bread in a toaster, and place it all in a high-speed blender.

Tip: The drier the tortilla, crackers, and bread are the better since they act as a binder for the mole. Plus even if they are almost a little burned looking, that’s fine as it give smoky flavor to the mole.

Mole Sauce - Making homemade mole is an act of love but worth every second because of the incredible depth of flavor! The combination of dried chiles, tomatoes, spices, cinnamon, chocolate, and peanut butter is absolute savory-sweet-smoky-slightly spicy perfection! Learn how to make traditional mole sauce that's so authentic tasting! 

Step 4: Add the spices to the blender too.

Step 5: Broil the tomatillos, tomatoes, onion, and garlic for a few minutes until blackened. Add everything to the blender.

Step 6: Toast the pumpkin seeds for 1 minute under the broiler and add them to the blender.

Step 7: Add 1 or 2 cups of broth and blend until very smooth.

Mole Sauce - Making homemade mole is an act of love but worth every second because of the incredible depth of flavor! The combination of dried chiles, tomatoes, spices, cinnamon, chocolate, and peanut butter is absolute savory-sweet-smoky-slightly spicy perfection! Learn how to make traditional mole sauce that's so authentic tasting! 

Step 8: Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and simmer on medium-low.

Step 9: Remove the chiles and raisins from the water, add them to the blender, add the chocolate, and blend.

Mole Sauce - Making homemade mole is an act of love but worth every second because of the incredible depth of flavor! The combination of dried chiles, tomatoes, spices, cinnamon, chocolate, and peanut butter is absolute savory-sweet-smoky-slightly spicy perfection! Learn how to make traditional mole sauce that's so authentic tasting! 

Tip: Even though you think you may need to, you don’t need to add any broth at this stage. The residual moisture in the soaked chiles and raisins is enough to get them blended into a thickish paste.

Mole Sauce - Making homemade mole is an act of love but worth every second because of the incredible depth of flavor! The combination of dried chiles, tomatoes, spices, cinnamon, chocolate, and peanut butter is absolute savory-sweet-smoky-slightly spicy perfection! Learn how to make traditional mole sauce that's so authentic tasting! 

Step 10: Add the ground chile mixture to the saucepan, additional broth, peanut butter, salt, pepper, stir to combine, and simmer for at least 1 to 2 hours.

Mole Sauce - Making homemade mole is an act of love but worth every second because of the incredible depth of flavor! The combination of dried chiles, tomatoes, spices, cinnamon, chocolate, and peanut butter is absolute savory-sweet-smoky-slightly spicy perfection! Learn how to make traditional mole sauce that's so authentic tasting! 

Tips: Your homemade mole sauce recipe should have the consistency of gravy when done. Make sure to taste-test it and add salt, sugar, or whatever you think it needs!

Mole Sauce - Making homemade mole is an act of love but worth every second because of the incredible depth of flavor! The combination of dried chiles, tomatoes, spices, cinnamon, chocolate, and peanut butter is absolute savory-sweet-smoky-slightly spicy perfection! Learn how to make traditional mole sauce that's so authentic tasting! 

Three Chili Peppers in Mole Sauce

In case you’re not an expert on chiles, here’s a great dried chile guide.

There are literally hundreds of chiles and so that’s a nice guide to 11 popular chiles in Mexican cuisine. 

As I mentioned above, there are three types of dried chile peppers you need for authentic mole sauce:

  1. Mulato chiles  which are sweet, lightly smoky, and have dried fruit flavors. These are big, practically black, harmless (not spicy) chiles.
  2. Pasilla chiles which are dark in color and have a giant prune or raisin-like appearance with more heat than mulato chiles, yet not “hot”. They look similar to mulatos but they are thinner or more tapered in appearance.
  3. Chiles de arbol are bright red, smaller chiles and pack heat. They are technically optional but even if you don’t use 3 of them, I recommend one or two for the best overall mole flavor.

TipThe smaller the chile, the hotter it tends to be which is why chiles de arboles which are small in size pack a big punch of spiciness! Generally speaking, darker colored, big chiles are not hot. They are earthy, smoky, and great for making sauces.

Mole Sauce - Making homemade mole is an act of love but worth every second because of the incredible depth of flavor! The combination of dried chiles, tomatoes, spices, cinnamon, chocolate, and peanut butter is absolute savory-sweet-smoky-slightly spicy perfection! Learn how to make traditional mole sauce that's so authentic tasting! 

Serving and Storage Suggestions for Mole Sauce

Mole sauce is such a versatile salsa in Mexico and often is simply just eaten by dipping warm corn tortillas into it. 

I’ve been to restaurants where there are 3 to 5 different types of mole and dipping tortillas into the different types is kind of like having a wine flight where you sample a little bit of many.

You definitely should make my Chicken Mole Enchiladas with it! 

Chicken Mole Enchiladas - Lightly fried corn tortillas are stuffed with chicken, rolled up, and smothered in rich mole sauce for the best chicken mole enchiladas! A classic, Mexican-inspired family favorite comfort food recipe made FAST and EASY! A shortcut mole recipe that doctors up store bought mole is provided if you don't want to make homemade mole. 

Or serve it:

Mole Sauce - Making homemade mole is an act of love but worth every second because of the incredible depth of flavor! The combination of dried chiles, tomatoes, spices, cinnamon, chocolate, and peanut butter is absolute savory-sweet-smoky-slightly spicy perfection! Learn how to make traditional mole sauce that's so authentic tasting! 

  • To accompany tacos
  • With enchiladas of any kind
  • Make chilaquiles with it
  • Serve it over pork
  • On top of beef 
  • Drizzled abundantly over rice
  • Or simply serve it with scrambled eggs!

Because making homemade mole sauce is an act of love, I recommend making the recipe as written and not halving the recipe. You can also double the recipe.

Mole will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Mole Sauce - Making homemade mole is an act of love but worth every second because of the incredible depth of flavor! The combination of dried chiles, tomatoes, spices, cinnamon, chocolate, and peanut butter is absolute savory-sweet-smoky-slightly spicy perfection! Learn how to make traditional mole sauce that's so authentic tasting! 

Tips for the Best Authentic Mole Sauce

Make sure to read over the recipe at least once before you begin! This should be obvious but you’d be surprised how many people write to me saying they “missed part where…” and so don’t be that person! 

You will have various things soaking. Namely the chiles and raisins.

And various things toasted like the tortilla, crackers, and bread. Plus ingredients to broil such as the tomatoes, tomatillos, onions, garlic, and later the pumpkin seeds.

Ultimately it all gets blended and then simmered.

Mole Sauce - Making homemade mole is an act of love but worth every second because of the incredible depth of flavor! The combination of dried chiles, tomatoes, spices, cinnamon, chocolate, and peanut butter is absolute savory-sweet-smoky-slightly spicy perfection! Learn how to make traditional mole sauce that's so authentic tasting! 

As for the chiles, you need to remove the seeds. I find it easiest to use a kitchen scissors, cut them open vertically, scape out the seeds, and plop them in water.

Mole needs to simmer the mole for awhile to really get the flavor you want. at least 2 hours.

I like to prepare mine hours in advance and keep it simmering on the back of the stove over very low heat. 

Make sure to stir it from time to time and add broth or water as needed. You may need to add more than 4 cups of liquid if you simmer this for more than 2 to 3 hours and that’s just fine.

Mole Sauce - Making homemade mole is an act of love but worth every second because of the incredible depth of flavor! The combination of dried chiles, tomatoes, spices, cinnamon, chocolate, and peanut butter is absolute savory-sweet-smoky-slightly spicy perfection! Learn how to make traditional mole sauce that's so authentic tasting! 

Make sure to taste the mole as you go and at the end for sure. If it’s not sweet enough, it’s fine to add some granulated sugar to cut down on any bitter notes. Chiles can be bitter as well as tomatillos and tomatoes are acidic so there’s no harm in adding some good old fashioned white sugar to balance it.

If you want to keep this mole vegan/vegetarian, you can use water or vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth. Make sure any other ingredients you use such as the bread falls into line with what your goal is.

I do not strain my mole sauce, although you can. First, it’s another step and secondly, I like some texture. But if you want it silky smooth, you can strain it. Although modern high-speed blenders do an excellent job of really getting it smooth without straining.

To take the guesswork out of it, as well as for getting great prices, I order all my dried chiles on Amazon and I linked to all of them above as well as in the recipe card.

Of course, do what is best for you but that is a tip so you don’t have to guess the difference between a bunch of dried chiles that are often sold bulk-bin style in a grocery store and yet look similar.

Mole Sauce - Making homemade mole is an act of love but worth every second because of the incredible depth of flavor! The combination of dried chiles, tomatoes, spices, cinnamon, chocolate, and peanut butter is absolute savory-sweet-smoky-slightly spicy perfection! Learn how to make traditional mole sauce that's so authentic tasting! 

Mole Sauce - Making homemade mole is an act of love but worth every second because of the incredible depth of flavor! The combination of dried chiles, tomatoes, spices, cinnamon, chocolate, and peanut butter is absolute savory-sweet-smoky-slightly spicy perfection! Learn how to make traditional mole sauce that's so authentic tasting! 
Yield: 8 cups

Mole Sauce

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes

Mole Sauce - Making homemade mole is an act of love but worth every second because of the incredible depth of flavor! The combination of dried chiles, tomatoes, spices, cinnamon, chocolate, and peanut butter is absolute savory-sweet-smoky-slightly spicy perfection! Learn how to make traditional mole sauce that's so authentic tasting! 

Ingredients

  • 8 dried mulato chiles, deseeded
  • 8 dried pasilla chiles, deseeded
  • 1 to 3 dried chiles de arbol, , deseeded; optional but at least 1 is recommended
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1 corn tortilla, toasted
  • 1 packet or tube of Ritz crackers (about 24 crackers), toasted
  • 2 slices white bread, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano (regular oregano may be substituted)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried cloves
  • 2 tomatillos, husked removed and quartered
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 of a medium white onion, peeled and sliced into 2 large pieces
  • 3 whole cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 3 to 4 cups chicken broth, divided (I use reduced sodium)
  • one 3-ounce tablet Abuelita chocolate
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Instructions

  1. To a small sauce pan, add the deseeded mulato chiles, pasilla chiles, optional chiles de arbol (these are spicy so add as desired), cover with water, bring to a boil, and cook for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the chiles sit in the water to soak for 15 minutes; set aside.* (See Notes)
  2. To a small bowl, add the raisins, cover with very hot tap water, and let them soak for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, to a small skillet add the tortilla and toast it until very dry and lightly browned, flip once. Add it to the canister of a high-speed blender; set aside.
  4. Toast the Ritz Crackers in the same dry skillet until they are lightly browned, flip each cracker once. Add them to the blender; set aside.
  5. Toast the white bread in a toaster, add it to the blender; set aside.
  6. To the same dry skillet, add the Mexican oregano, cinnamon, cloves, and toast for about 30 seconds to bring out the flavor; add the mixture to the blender; set aside.
  7. Preheat your broiler to 500F or high, add the tomatillos, tomatoes, onions, and garlic to a sheet pan, and broil for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until slightly blackened. Tip - Since all broilers vary vastly in their intensity, keep a very close eye on your food and don't get distracted. Add the blackened vegetables to the blender; set aside.
  8. Place the pumpkin seeds on the same sheet pan and broil for 1 to 2 minutes and then add them to the blender.
  9. Add 1 to 2 cups of chicken broth, and blend on high until very smooth.
  10. Transfer this smooth mixture to a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat; set aside to simmer. No need to wash our your blender, just set it aside.
  11. Meanwhile remove the chiles and raisins from the soaking water (if they soaked a bit longer than called for, that is fine), add them to the blender, add the Abuelita chocolate tablet, and blend all ingredients on high for 4 minutes. Note - The residual hot soaking water inside the chiles and raisins is all you need to blend and soften the chiles and chocolate; you don't need to add broth during this step.
  12. Transfer this chile and chocolate mixture to the saucepan, add the peanut butter, add 2 cups broth, salt, pepper, stir to combine, and allow the mole to simmer over low for about 2 hours**(See Notes); stir intermittently. Note - It's okay to let the mole simmer for many more hours, simply keep an eye on it and stir it intermittently so it doesn't stick, and make sure to add additional broth or water as necessary if it's becoming too thick. Finished mole should have the consistency of gravy.
  13. Extra mole will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Tip - You can freeze it in smaller freezer-safe containers or smaller ziplocks rather than in one big block to make it faster to thaw and easier to only thaw what you will use for a particular dish or meal.

Notes

*Make sure to read over the recipe at least once before you begin! This should be obvious but you’d be surprised.

For the chiles, you need to remove the seeds. I find it easiest to use a kitchen scissors, cut them open vertically, scape out the seeds, and plop them in water.

You will have various things soaking. Namely the chiles and raisins.

And various things toasted like the tortilla, crackers, and bread.

Plus ingredients to broil such as the tomatoes, tomatillos, onions, garlic, and later the pumpkin seeds.

Ultimately it all gets blended and then simmered.

**Mole needs to simmer for awhile to really get the flavor you want. I like to prepare mine hours in advance and keep it simmering on the back of the stove over very low heat. 

Make sure to stir it from time to time and add broth or water as needed.

To take the guesswork out of it, as well as for getting great prices, I order all my dried chiles on Amazon and I linked to all of them above as well as in the recipe card.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

32

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 71Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 382mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 3g

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Chicken Mole Enchiladas - Lightly fried corn tortillas are stuffed with chicken, rolled up, and smothered in rich mole sauce for the best chicken mole enchiladas! A classic, Mexican-inspired family favorite comfort food recipe made FAST and EASY! A shortcut mole recipe that doctors up store bought mole is provided if you don't want to make homemade mole. 

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