This authentic Mole Sauce recipe is richly flavored, deep, and complex! Made with dried chilies, warming spices, seeds, nuts, and a hint of bittersweet chocolate, this Mexican mole recipe has the perfect balance of flavors- perfect for Chicken Mole, pulled meats, enchiladas, or tamales.

This authentic Mole Sauce recipe is richly flavored, deep, and complex! Made with dried chilies, warm Mexican spices, seeds, and a hint of bittersweet chocolate, it has a perfect balance- perfect for Mole Chicken, pulled meats, enchiladas, or tamales.

This Mole Sauce hails from Oaxaca, Mexico; every time I make it, it transports me back there. It’s luscious, smoky, and deep, with the perfect heat level.  Contrary to popular belief, Mexican mole doesn’t require hours or days of cooking, and this recipe is proof.  Make the mole, and you’ll see, it’s magic ✨.

But first, What is Mole?

If unfamiliar, Mole (pronounced moh-lay) is a rich Mexican sauce made from dried or fresh chilies, spices, nuts, and seeds. There are different types of mole depending on the region, which can range in color from green mole (mole verde) to yellow mole to red mole (mole rojo) to this black mole (mole negro).

Mole Negro is one of my all-time favorites; it gets its signature dark color from smoked black chilies, prunes (or raisins) and chocolate.  Mole tastes rich, earthy, spicy and complex without being cloyingly sweet and has a beautiful balance of flavors when you get it just right. Mole can be thickened or thinned, depending on its use.

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

Mole Ingredients

Here is what is needed to make Mexican Mole Sauce:

  1. Dried chiles: Dark black chilies give this sauce its signature black color and smoky flavor. Seek out dried ancho chiles, chipotle peppers, mulato chiles guajillo peppers, or chiles negros, and pay attention to heat levels. A variety will add more complexity.
  2. Prunes or raisins: These add a subtle sweetness to balance the flavors of the chilies and chocolate.
  3. Chicken Stock or Veggie broth: Used to simmer the chilies and create a flavorful base for the sauce.
  4. Onion and garlic: Saute until golden to enhance the aroma and add depth of flavor.
  5. Mexican Spices: A blend of warming spices such as cumin seeds, oregano, coriander seeds, black pepper, cinnamon, and cloves.
  6. Peanut butter or tahini paste: Adds richness and creaminess to the sauce. Almonds, almond butter, peanuts, and pumpkin seeds can also be used.
  7. Bittersweet chocolate: Provides a hint of sweetness and richness to complement the other flavors. If you can find Mexican chocolate, even better! Cocoa powder also works.

These ingredients come together to create a velvety, smoky, and slightly spicy Mole Negro Sauce that is traditionally served with dishes like chicken mole, enchiladas, tamales, and more. Enjoy the complex flavors of this authentic Mexican sauce!

types of dried chiles in mole sauce

Best Chilies to use in Mole Sauce

To give Mole Negro its deep black color, seek out dark-colored chilies.  Here are a few of my favorites 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 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 activate the flavorful oils.

toast chilies in a dry skillet to release oils.

Step three: Place the chilies in a medium pot with chicken broth or veggie broth. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

simmer chilies in broth

Step four: Add the dried prunes (or raisins) to the chilies and cover, simmering 10 more minutes. Let cool.

add 1 cup dried prunes or raisins

Step five: While chilies are simmering, in a separate pan, saute onion and garlic in olive oil, over medium-high heat, until tender and fragrant and deeply golden. Getting the onions golden is key here, for developing the best flavor.

onion and garlic sautéing in pan

Scoot the onions over and add all the spices, toasting them for 1 minute.

spices toasting in a pan

Mix it all together, toasting for 30 more seconds.

Step six: Place the onion/spice mixture and the chili/prune mixture in a blender with all the cooking liquid and puree until very smooth. Add more liquid if needed to get the blender going.

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

For a looser sauce, feel free to stir in more broth.

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!

mole sauce in a pan with a wood spoon.

How to Store Mole Sauce

  • This recipe will make 4 cups of homemade mole sauce.
  • Mole Sauce will keep up to 4 days in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.
  • Mole sauce can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight before reheating.
 authentic mole negro sauce in a pan.

How to use Mole sAuce

Mole sauce is a rich and versatile Mexican sauce that can be used in many ways to enhance the flavors of your dishes. Here are some ideas on how to use mole sauce:

  1. Mole Chicken: Simmer chicken pieces in mole sauce until cooked through and tender. Serve with rice, beans, and warm tortillas for a delicious and satisfying meal.
  2. Mole Enchiladas: Use mole sauce instead of enchilada sauce when making enchiladas. Try our Butternut Squash Enchiladas with Mole Sauce or our Shrimp Enchiladas with Yellow Mole sauce.
  3. Mole Poblano – these stuffed poblanos are bathed in a flavorful Mole Negro Sauce.
  4. Serve as a sauce with Tamales!
  5. Mole Black Beans: Mix black beans with mole sauce and bake for a flavorful and aromatic side dish.
  6. Mole Tacos: Fill warm tortillas with your favorite protein. Drizzle mole sauce over the filling and garnish with chopped onions, fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.
  7. Mole Bowl: Create a nourishing veggie bowl by combining roasted vegetables, quinoa or rice, black beans, and sliced avocado. Drizzle warm mole sauce over the bowl for a burst of flavors and serve with lime wedges.
  8. Oaxacan Baked Sweet Potatoes– Use Mole Sauce as the base of this flavorful meal.
  9. Drizzle mole sauce over Burritos.

Expert tips

  1. Use a variety of dried chilies for complex flavor.
  2. Find the perfect balance between salty, sweet, and spicy.
  3. Carmelize the onions and garlic and toast the spices.
  4. Make this with love- think Water for Chocolate.

More Favorite Mole Recipes!

I’m so excited for you to make this because I KNOW you’ll love it. xoxo

Sylvia

Watch how to make Mole Sauce | Video

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the best mole sauce recipe.

Authentic Mole Recipe

  • 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 authentic 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!


Ingredients

Units Scale

Mole 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
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
  • 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, sesame seeds for garnish


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 a medium pot, and add the broth. Bring to a boil, cover, turn the heat down to low and simmer covered, 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add the prunes, stir, cover, simmer on low for 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- this will add great flavor.  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 it a taste. If you want a thinner sauce ( like for enchiladas) just loosen it with a little more broth or water to desired consistency. Whisk.
  7. Adjust seasonings. Add more salt, 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 re season 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: mexican mole sauce, mole sauce, mole recipe, mole, mole negro, mole negro recipe, black mole, black mole recipe

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Comments

  1. Amazing Recipe! I love all your recipes but this one is my favorite! Absolutely delicious! I added 8 cups of cooked chickpeas and it’s yummy and vegan!

  2. Wow, so nice! Had to sub a few things, threw a bit of smoke essence in, cacao powder instead of chocolate…cayenne for chili powder … my new favorite sauce…

        1. Totally guessing here, as I haven’t made it with cocao powder, but I would start with 3 tablespoons, then add more to taste.

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