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How to make Mole Negro Sauce (aka black Mole sauce)-a deep, smoky, slightly spicy sauce that hails from Mexico made with dried black chilies, warming spices and a hint of bittersweet chocolate. Trust me, you’ll want to put this on everything. Vegan! Make this in 35 minutes! Video

How to make Mole Negro Sauce- a deep, smoky, slightly spicy sauce that hails from Mexico made with dried black chilies, warming spices and a hint of bittersweet chocolate. Trust me, you'll want to put this on everything. Vegan! Make this in 35 minutes!

Here is my recipe for Mole Negro which, in my mind, I like to call Love Sauce, because it’s luscious and smoky, deep and spicy, bitter, sweet and deliciously complex. Like love. And also, my husband Brian LOVES this sauce, so over the years, whenever I make this, I think of it as an act of love- or love sauce. Plus, I just love making it, it’s kind of magic ✨.

What is Mole Negro?

If unfamiliar Mole, or Mole Negro (pronounced moh-lay nay-grow) there are hundreds of variations of Mole Sauce throughout Mexico, depending on where you are and the season. In essence, Mole is a rich Mexican sauce made from dried or fresh chilies, nuts or seeds, and can range in color from green to yellow to red and all the way to black.

Mole Negro, or “black mole” is one of my all-time favorites and gets its deep dark color from smoked black chilies, prunes (or raisins) and chocolate.  It’s velvety and rich, without being cloying, and has a beautiful balance of flavors when you get it just right.

Though it is believed to originate from Oaxaca, while there, we learned it is actually a pre-Hispanic sauce, one that has been carried down from the indigenous people who lived before, who served many variations of it.

Mole Negro Sauce | Video

What to serve Mole Negro Sauce with:

chilies in mole negro

Chilies to use in Mole Negro Sauce

To give Mole Negro its deep black color seek out dark-colored chilies.  Here are a few of my favorite and I always try to use at least two varieties ( that vary in heat and flavor). Adding a few kinds of chilies adds complexity. So today I chose 3 Mulato and 3 Ancho chilies. Pay attention to heat levels!

  • Mulato – dark, sweet, smoky, medium heat
  • Chilies Negros– dark black, earthy, sweet, mild heat.
  • Morita-smoky, sweet, medium- high heat.
  • Ancho -dark, fruity, lightly smoky, mild heat
  • Pasilla– dark, dried fruit flavor, medium heat.
  • Chipotle -dark smoky, medium heat
  • Guajillo– redish, sweet with acidity,  mild heat.
  • Cascabel– red, fruity and mild

How to Make Mole Negro Sauce:

Break the chilies apart

Step one: 

Break chilies apart (or use scissors) and discard the seeds and stems. (Or save the seeds and plant them!)

Step two: 

Toast the chilies in a dry skillet to release the flavorful oils.

toast chilies in a dry skillet to release oils.

Step three: 

Place the chilies in a medium pot with 4 cups stock or broth. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 10 minutes.

simmer chilies in broth

Step four: 

Add 1 cup dried prunes or raisins to the chillies and cover, simmering 10 more minutes. Let cool.

add 1 cup dried prunes or raisins

Step five: 

While chillies are simmering, saute onion and garlic until tender and fragrant and deeply golden.

onion and garlic sautéing in pan

Add the spices, toasting them for 2-3 minutes.

spices toasting in a pan

Step six: 

Place the onion spice mixture and the chili-prune mixture in a blender with all the cooking liquid and puree.

place chilies and onions in a blender with the cooking liquid

Blend for a full minute until silky smooth.

blended sauce

Step seven: 

Return the sauce to the pan and stir in the salt, peanut butter ( or tahini paste) and chocolate into the sauce, until melted and combined.

Place the sauce back in the pan, add chocolate and peanut butter

Whisk it smooth, and taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking! (See recipe notes) Depending on the chilies you pick,  you may need to adjust heat level and sweetness. 😉

Whisk til smooth

Your Mole Negro Sauce is ready to use!

It will taste heavenly- deep, earthy, and smoky, spicy, rich, slightly bittersweet from the chocolate. All the good flavors!

How to make Mole Negro Sauce- a deep, smoky, slightly spicy sauce that hails from Mexico made with dried black chilies, warming spices and a hint of bittersweet chocolate. Trust me, you'll want to put this on everything. Vegan! Make this in 35 minutes!

Storing Mole Sauce

  • This recipe will make 4 cups of Mole sauce.
  • Mole will keep up to 4 days in the fridge
  • Mole sauce can be frozen for later use.

 

How to make Mole Negro Sauce- a deep, smoky, slightly spicy sauce that hails from Mexico made with dried black chilies, warming spices and a hint of bittersweet chocolate. Trust me, you'll want to put this on everything. Vegan! Make this in 35 minutes!

I’m so excited for you to make this because I KNOW you’ll love it as much as we do!

xoxo

Sylvia

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Mole Negro Sauce

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine | Feasting at Home
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 cups 1x
  • Category: sauce
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

How to make Mole Negro Sauce- a deep, smoky, slightly spicy sauce that hails from Mexico made with dried black chilies, warming spices and a hint of bittersweet chocolate. Trust me, you’ll want to put this on everything. Vegan! Make this in 35 minutes!


Ingredients

Units Scale

Mole Negro Sauce:

  • 6 dried chilies (2 varieties, medium heat-dark in color-see post body)
  • 4 cups broth or stock (chicken or veggie)
  • 1 cup seedless prunes (or dark raisins)
  • 1 large onion- diced
  • 610 garlic cloves- smashed
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin (ground or seeds)
  • 2 teaspoon coriander (ground or seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • optional: 1-2 canned chipotle peppers, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce ( the “juice” from chipotle can)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (or sub tahini paste, almond butter, cashew butter)
  • 1 1/2 -2 ounces dark chocolate (bittersweet or semi-sweet) about 1/3 cup

other additions: agave syrup or maple


Instructions

  1. Tear the dried chilies apart (or cut with scissors) discard seeds and stems and place them in a dry skillet. Toast over medium heat until they begin to release their oils (they will take on a slight sheen), 3-4 minutes.
  2. Place them in medium pot, add 4 cups of broth. Bring to a boil, cover, turn the heat down to low and simmer covered, 10 minutes.
  3. Add the prunes, stir, cover, simmer on low 10 more minutes, turn the heat off, let cool, saving the liquid.
  4. At the same time, saute the onions and garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil, over medium heat, stirring often until deeply golden brown, about 10 minutes. Take your time here and let them get dark. Add all the spices and stir 1-2 more minutes, toasting the spices.
  5. Place the cooked onion-spice mixture in a blender along with the chilies and prunes and all the liquid, and chipotles and the adobo sauce ( if using).  Feel free to add a little more broth to get the blender going. Blend until very smooth, scraping down the sides. If it feels very thick, loosen with more broth. It should be like the consistency of a thick smoothie. Once silky smooth, pour this back into the pan and heat over low heat, covering.
  6. When warm, stir in the salt, peanut butter and chocolate. Once the chocolate is fully melted and incorporated, give a taste.
  7. Adjust seasonings. Add more heat if you like (chipotle sauce or chipotle powder). Add more chocolate if you like. It should taste deep and smokey, slightly salty and slightly sweet. If it lacks depth, more salt may help bring out the other flavors or a tiny splash of soy sauce.  To add more sweetness, a tiny splash of agave or maple syrup will help here.  If you want it smokier, stir in smoked paprika or adobo sauce from the canned chipotles. If it is too spicy, add more peanut butter and broth and reseason with salt.
  8. To loosen the sauce, feel free to add more broth or stock.

 


Notes

This will make 4 cups of Mole Negro Sauce.

Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 4 days, or frozen. The sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated.

CHILIES: use an assortment

  • Mulato – dark, sweet, smoky, medium heat
  • Chilies Negros– dark black, earthy, sweet, mild heat.
  • Morita-smoky, sweet, medium- high heat.
  • Ancho -dark, fruity, lightly smoky, mild heat
  • Pasilla– dark, dried fruit flavor, medium heat.
  • Chipotle -dark smoky, medium heat
  • Guajillo– redish, sweet with acidity,  mild heat.
  • Cascabel– red, fruity and mild

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: ½ cup
  • Calories: 81
  • Sugar: 8.1 g
  • Sodium: 274.8 mg
  • Fat: 3.3 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 12.5 g
  • Fiber: 1.3 g
  • Protein: 1.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.2 mg

Keywords: mole negro, mole negro recipe, black mole, black mole recipe

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Comments

  1. Excellent mole. This is the closest I have been able to come to mole I have had by two Mexican chefs I have a lot of respect for, one here in Michigan, and one in Maine. I did add a bit more peanut butter and bittersweet chocolate. The complexity of flavors in this sauce is great. Thanks.

  2. I made this sauce to make your chicken mole recipe. It turned out wonderfully. I couldn’t find dried peppers at my local grocery, so I used dried hatch chiles from our chile ristra. I didn’t have dark raisins, so I used golden raisins. What I got was closer to mole rojo, but the taste and texture was superb. My husband gushed over how good dinner was. As suggested, I served the chicken mole with cilantro lime rice and beans. It took me 45 minutes to make the mole sauce, but it was well worth the effort.
    Thank you so much for your recipes. I make things I find on your site that seem ambitious, and everything turns out perfectly. Every time. Your tips and suggestions are so helpful.

    1. Thanks Hazel- so happy you were able to make this work for you, even with the limited ingredients!

  3. This looks incredible! I am planning on making this sauce for a dinner party. The plan is to put this over broiled chicken thighs. Would you suggest marinating the thighs in this sauce? Or just spooning it over the finished product? Or a third option?? 🙂

    1. Hi Lisa, check out our Mole chicken recipe and use as a guide. I would not use as a marinade- rather, cook the thighs, pan-sear, until mostly done and you could finish cooking in the sauce. 🙂

  4. It helps to read through all of the steps. This made seven half pints and a few I will freeze. My husband said this is the best mole sauce he’s ever had!

  5. I have not made this yet. You say to put in 2 tsp of cumin and coriander . You say ground or seeds. Do you put less if it’s ground and/or more if it seeds? Please let me know how much to put if there is a difference.

  6. This is a great recipe, and almost exact, to what I make. Occasionally, as a shortcut, I’ll merely use the chile powder I make, as it consists of ancho, arbol, cascabel, guajillo, pasilla, along with a few spices.
    All the chiles are toasted, so not much is lost from starting with whole chiles.
    Pepitas are also a nice addition.
    Always good stuff from Sylvia!!!

  7. Sylvia, this mole is delicious! We were surprised to find dried chilis in our local store – Wild By Nature- just as you said, near the dried mushrooms. We used ancho, pasilla negro, and only a little sauce from the chipotle can and followed your wonderful instructions. I am allergic to peanuts so thank you for the tahini substitute suggestion. We used dark raisins and a few prunes. Excellent. The plan is to serve it as an extra sauce on Thanksgiving to spice things up. Lots of Mexican food lovers in our family so it should be a hit. Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. Simply amazing and better than most places locally here in SoCal! We love mole and have often been disappointed that we couldn’t get it here as good as we’ve had in Mexico. Tried the recipe because it’s wonderfully detailed and easy to follow but I didn’t have high expectations. But, using 3 guajillo (was worried it was too much as they’re quite large), 3 mulato and the can of chipotle, it turned out incredibly complex and smoky. It was very easy to adjust as well (wife liked more chocolate). Thank you and will be exploring your other recipes!

  9. Wonderfully complex flavor and a great recipe. If using whole coriander, toast it before you toast the chiles, then grind with a mortar and pestle. My blender left unpleasantly large pieces, even after many minutes of blending. This sauce elevates roasted cauliflower to something special, and is great on so many other things, too. Thank you!

  10. I have not made this yet but would like to water bath can it to keep in the pantry. Do you have canning instructions?

  11. This is a wonderful recipe, especially because the author shares some details about each kind of chile pepper and gives some choices. I used 3 kinds of chiles, adding chiles negros, and I added fresh cherries (no pits) to the pepper pot, since I didn’t have as many prunes as called for, and I added a few tomatillos to the onion mix… it seemed like the kind of recipe where I could experiment. I also boiled cut chicken in broth with bay leaves and onions, and then i put the sauce on the chicken in casserole dishes and baked at the end. The dish was FANTASTIC! A rich, wonderful flavor and such an artistic experience! It did take a little longer than the recipe suggested, but I was taking my time, tasting everything, noticing how well the many flavors and smells connected… really a terrific recipe. THANKS!

    1. This is beautiful Jeffery, love that you were so immersed in the process. The cherries sound divine!

  12. I am relatively new to this website and loved this recipe so much that I had to leave a review. Excellent flavor with so much flexibility!

    I followed the recipe exactly and even my husband took notice of the wonderful blend of flavors. I frequently order mole when dining out but I was so satisfied with this recipe that I can look for something else on a menu now.

    I am sure that an individual’s spice selection can impact the recipe negatively if using inferior products or old expired bottles. I always order from Penzey’s and found that using a blend of Adobe chili powder and Medium heat chili powder provided perfect heat (along with the adobe peppers/sauce) and the blend of dried peppers I found at Safeway.

    The sauce is very rich and beautiful and freezes well. I made simple chicken enchiladas and froze the rest of the sauce and assembled chicken/veggie quesadilla with sauce on the inside with cheese for a quick dinner. I also mixed a small amount with sour cream to add a fresh green salad on the side. Thanks for making me look like a pro on my first attempt of making mole!

    I am looking forward to sharing this beautiful creation with friends now that I have given it a try.

    1. Thanks so much Coleen- I’m so happy you are enjoying this one. Appreciate your suggestions on spices!

  13. Just delicious! First time I dry fried dried chili peppers and good thing I made the mole the day before! My company and I just loved it! I was afraid it would be too hot so I didn’t add the chipotles. I will add them the next time. Still fantastic. The pickled onions really enhanced an already wonderful dish!!

  14. Wow. Wow. Wow. Amazing mole recipe! I’ve been keeping my eye on this recipe and was going to wait until more reviews were posted before attempting it… but I just went for it. The result was incredible and totally worth the risk! Used chipolte and acho chiles and the sauce is spicy, rich, and complex. My batch needed a bit more chocolate to even it out the flavors. This one is going in the make again folder for sure. Thank you!

  15. Absolutely wonderful and I didn’t even have all the right ingredients! So happy I found this site. I’ve been making many dishes to rave reviews, but this is my first time commenting.
    I love mole sauce and judge a Mexican restaurant by its mole. I made the recipe as directed with two exceptions: I only had one type of dried Chile (ancho), and I was forced to substitute dates for the prunes/raisins. I did have the chipotle in adobo sauce and took care to remove most of the seeds to control heat. It came out perfect! Smooth, not too sweet with a small bite… some heat but not too much. I used it in the chicken mole recipe. Loved it!

    1. Glad you enjoyed this Valerie- it’s pretty forgiving if you get the balance right.

  16. If I missed this in your recipe I apologize ahead of time. But, where does one buy dried chilis? I prefer to shop locally rather than order online so what particular type of store might have them?

    1. Hi Christine- most grocery stores have a dried chili section- either in the Mexican Isle, or sometimes near the produce where they often have dried mushrooms, dried tomatoes, etc.

Hi, I'm Sylvia!

Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.

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