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3 May 2021

This mole poblano recipe is a classic Mexican mole made with a puree of chili peppers, chocolate, toasted nuts, seeds and lots of seasonings and big flavor.

We’re making our own Mole Poblano Sauce in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen today, my friends. If you are a lover of Mexican cuisine, this is a recipe you need.

Mole sauce is a staple of Mexican cooking, referring to a number of different sauces that are actually quite different from each other. When most people think of “mole”, however, they usually think of mole poblano, which is a rich, dark, chocolatey sauce made with upwards of 25 ingredients or more.

It’s a fairly time-consuming sauce to make, with a number of steps and ingredients, and there are as many variations as there are cooks. It’s most definitely worth the effort, however, considering the end flavor.

It is often served with turkey or chicken, though you can enjoy it in any number of Mexican recipes.

Mole Poblano Recipe

Learn more – what is mole sauce?

Let’s talk about how we make mole poblano, shall we?

Mole Poblano Ingredients

  • FOR THE CHILI PUREE
  • Guajillo peppers
  • Pasilla peppers
  • Ancho peppers
  • Mulato peppers
  • FOR THE SPICE BLEND
  • Pepper Seeds. Reserved from the above dried chili peppers.
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Black Peppercorns
  • Cloves
  • Coriander Seeds
  • Anise Seeds
  • Dried Thyme
  • Mexican cinnamon
  • Bay Leaves
  • ADDITIONAL MOLE INGREDIENTS
  • Pork Lard. Or use peanut oil or a neutral vegetable oil.
  • Plantain
  • Raisins
  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • White Bread. Use bolillo bread or French Bread.
  • Corn Tortillas
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Tomatoes
  • Mexican Chocolate
  • Chicken Broth or Stock
  • Salt
  • Sugar (optional, for a sweeter mole sauce)

Serving Mole Poblano sauce from the pan

Mole Poblano Recipe Breakdown

Making mole poblano requires a number of ingredients and steps, which can become confusing. To make it easier, I’ve reduced it to the following steps, which I will elaborate more on below.

  • Chili Puree
  • Toast and Grind Seasonings
  • Final Puree
    • Fried Elements
    • Pan Elements
  • The Simmer
    • Reduce the Chili Puree
    • Final Puree + Chocolate + Chicken Stock

How to Make Mole Poblano – the Recipe Method

MAKE THE CHILI PUREE

Remove the stems and seeds from the dried chilies. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the seeds and set aside. Cut the peppers into flat pieces.

Reserved pepper seeds for making mole poblano

Heat a large pan to medium heat and dry toast the chili pepper pieces for 1-2 minutes per side, until they darken and release some of their oils. They might puff up a bit.

Dried peppers for making mole poblano

Transfer the toasted peppers to a large bowl and cover with very hot water. Soak for 20-30 minutes, or until very softened.

Strain the softened peppers and reserve the soaking liquid.

Transfer the peppers to a food processor with 1/2 cups of the soaking liquid and puree until very smooth. Add more soaking liquid if needed.

Straining the pureed peppers for mole poblano sauce

Strain the pepper puree into another bowl and set aside. Discard the solids and any additional soaking liquid. Set the chili puree aside for now.

Strained pureed peppers

FOR THE SEASONINGS

Heat a pan to medium heat. Add the reserved pepper seeds, sesame seeds, peppercorns, cloves, coriander seeds, and anise seeds. Dry toast for 1-2 minutes, until they become fragrant. Do not burn.

Toasting the seeds and seasonings in a hot pan

Transfer to a spice grinder or food processor along with the dried thyme, cinnamon and bay leaves. Process until you have a uniform seeds and spices mix. Set aside.

Ground spices and seeds in a bowl

FOR THE FRIED ELEMENTS

Heat ½ cup pork lard or oil in a large pan until melted and hot. Add the plantain and cook for 2 minutes, until they begin to soften.

Add the raisins and cook another minute, until they start to soften.

Add the almonds, peanuts, and pumpkin seeds. Stir and cook another 1-2 minutes, stirring.

Transfer mixture onto paper towels to drain. Reserve the oil and set the pan back onto the heat.

Tear the bread and tortillas into pieces and fry them until they become crispy and brown, turning here and there, about 2 minutes.

Fried nuts, bread and tortillas for making mole poblano

Transfer the fried bread and tortillas to a food processor along with the drained raisins, almonds, peanuts and pumpkin seeds.

PAN ELEMENTS

Heat the same pan back to medium heat. Add more lard or oil if needed. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until it softens up.

Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute.

Transfer the onion and garlic to the food processor along with the nuts and bread mixture.

To the food processor, add the roasted tomatoes and reserved spice mix.

Add 2 cups chicken stock and puree until nice and smooth. If needed, add a bit more chicken stock to ensure a very smooth mixture.

Straining the ground nuts and seeds mixture for mole sauce

Strain this mole flavoring mixture into a second bowl and set aside for now. Discard any solids. NOTE: You may want to do multiple rounds of straining, then reprocess the solids with a bit more chicken stock to get the most out of the solids.

The strained second puree in a bowl

MAKE THE MOLE

Heat 2 tablespoons lard or peanut oil in a large pot. Add the reserved chili puree and cook for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring, until the sauce thickens up and coats the back of a spoon.

Add the contents of the second bowl (the pureed and strained mole flavoring mixture), along with the chocolate, remaining 4 cups chicken stock and salt to taste.

Swirling chocolate into the pot of mole sauce

Stir until the chocolate is melted through, then simmer for at least 30 minutes, though 1 hour is better, stirring constantly, to let the flavors develop. Add more chicken stock if you’d like a thinner mole.

A spoonful of Mole Poblano

Taste and adjust for salt. If you’d like a sweeter mole, stir in 1 tablespoon sugar and simmer. Taste and adjust as desired.

Boom! Done! It looks and smells delicious, doesn’t it? Very much like you might find in your favorite Mexican restaurant. As mentioned, making mole poblano does take a number of steps and ingredients to do it right, but it’s definitely worth the effort.

Mike scooping up some Mole Poblano sauce from the pan

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • Straining Steps. I like to strain my peppers and my second puree of seeds, nuts and seasonings multiple times to achieve a more uniform consistency. It is not required, but I like a smooth mole sauce.
  • The Peppers. I enjoy my mole poblano sauce with 4 different dried Mexican peppersAncho Chiles, Guajillo Peppers, Mulato Peppers and Pasilla Peppers. Together they offer a wonderful flavor base. However, you can use only ancho and guajillo if you’d prefer, and feel free to include other dried Mexican peppers, like smoky chipotle peppers, chile de arbol for extra heat, or others.
  • Extra Ingredients. There are many other ingredients you can use to make your mole poblano sauce. Other popular additions I’ve seen in other recipes include marjoram, tomatillos, parsley, vinegar, roasted poblano peppers, chipotle or other peppers, sugar or honey for sweetening and cutting any bitterness, and others.
  • Serving Mole Poblano Sauce. Mole poblano is traditionally served with turkey or chicken, though it is great in many dishes, like enchiladas, tacos, chicken mole and others. There are so many ways to enjoy it.

Chicken Mole Recipe

That’s it, my friends. I hope you enjoy this hugely flavorful mole poblano recipe. Let me know if you make it. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you. And how you served it!

Cookbook Recommendation

If you love traditional Mexican cooking, I love this cookbook with recipes from all over Mexico. Definitely recommended.

Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes

Mole Poblano sauce on a spoon

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Mole Poblano sauce on a spoon
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Mole Poblano Recipe

This mole poblano recipe is a classic Mexican mole made with a puree of chili peppers, chocolate, toasted nuts, seeds and lots of seasonings and big flavor.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Course: Main Course, sauce
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: ancho, chili sauce, dried peppers, mulato, pasilla, poblano, sauce
Servings: 64
Calories: 52kcal

Ingredients

FOR THE CHILI PUREE

  • 6 guajillo peppers
  • 6 pasilla peppers
  • 4 ancho peppers
  • 4 mulato peppers

FOR THE SPICE BLEND

  • 2 tablespoons pepper seeds reserved from the above dried chili peppers
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds + more for serving, if desired
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon anise seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican cinnamon
  • 3 bay leaves crushed

ADDITIONAL MOLE INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup pork lard for frying + 2 tablespoons - or use peanut oil + more as needed
  • ½ plantain peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup almonds skin on
  • 1/3 cup peanuts
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds pepitas – best when raw
  • 2 slices white bread use bolillo or French bread
  • 2 corn tortillas stale tortillas are great here
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 large tomatoes roasted and peeled about 1 pound
  • 3.5 ounces Mexican chocolate 100 grams
  • 6 cups chicken broth or chicken stock + more as needed
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional: Sugar for a sweeter mole sauce

Instructions

MAKE THE CHILI PUREE

  • Remove the stems and seeds from the dried chilies. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the seeds and set aside. Cut the peppers into flat pieces.
  • Heat a large pan to medium heat and dry toast the chili pepper pieces for 1-2 minutes per side, until they darken and release some of their oils. They might puff up a bit.
  • Transfer the toasted peppers to a large bowl and cover with very hot water. Soak for 20-30 minutes, or until very softened.
  • Strain the softened peppers and reserve the soaking liquid.
  • Transfer the peppers to a food processor with ½ cup of the soaking liquid and puree until very smooth. Add more soaking liquid if needed.
  • Strain the pepper puree into another bowl and set aside. Discard the solids and any additional soaking liquid. Set the chili puree aside for now.

FOR THE SEASONINGS

  • Heat a pan to medium heat. Add the reserved pepper seeds, sesame seeds, peppercorns, cloves, coriander seeds, and anise seeds. Dry toast for 1-2 minutes, until they become fragrant. Do not burn.
  • Transfer to a spice grinder or food processor along with the dried thyme, cinnamon and bay leaves. Process until you have a uniform spice mix. Set aside.

FOR THE FRIED ELEMENTS

  • Heat ½ cup pork lard or oil in a large pan until melted and hot. Add the plantain and cook for 2 minutes, until they begin to soften.
  • Add the raisins and cook another minute, until they start to soften.
  • Add the almonds, peanuts, and pumpkin seeds. Stir and cook another 1-2 minutes, stirring.
  • Transfer mixture onto paper towels to drain. Reserve the oil and set the pan back onto the heat.
  • Tear the bread and tortillas into pieces and fry them until they become crispy and brown, turning here and there, about 2 minutes.
  • Transfer the fried bread and tortillas to a food processor along with the drained raisins, almonds, peanuts and pumpkin seeds.

PAN ELEMENTS

  • Heat the same pan back to medium heat. Add more lard or oil if needed. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until it softens up.
  • Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute.
  • Transfer the onion and garlic to the food processor along with the nuts and bread mixture.
  • To the food processor, add the roasted tomatoes and reserved spice mix.
  • Add 2 cups chicken stock and puree until nice and smooth. If needed, add a bit more chicken stock to ensure a very smooth mixture.
  • Strain this mole flavoring mixture into a second bowl and set aside for now. Discard any solids. NOTE: You may want to do multiple rounds of straining, then reprocess the solids with a bit more chicken stock to get the most out of the solids.

MAKE THE MOLE

  • Heat 2 tablespoons lard or peanut oil in a large pot. Add the reserved chili puree and cook for 10 minutes, stirring, until the sauce thickens up and coats the back of a spoon.
  • Add the contents of the second bowl (the pureed and strained mole flavoring mixture), along with the chocolate, remaining 4 cups chicken stock and salt to taste.
  • Stir until the chocolate is melted through, then simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, to let the flavors develop. Add more chicken stock if you’d like a thinner mole.
  • Taste and adjust for salt. If you’d like a sweeter mole, stir in 1 tablespoon sugar and simmer. Taste and adjust as desired.

Notes

Makes about 2 quarts. Calories estimates with 1/4 cup serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 52kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 13mg | Potassium: 106mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 464IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg