Mole Sauce: Traditional Mexican Recipe

We learn how to cook mole sauce (both poblano and de olla) according to the traditional Mexican recipes.

El mole poblano suele servir de acompañamiento para carnes y arroces.
Mole poblano is usually served as an accompaniment to meats and rice dishes


Mole sauce is one of the best-known sauces and dishes of Mexican food. De olla and poblano are two of the most famous varieties, but we can also find the red and the green ones.

This typical sauce usually serves as an accompaniment to meat or fish. In this article, we will discover what mole sauce is and how to make mole poblano and mole de olla according to traditional Mexican recipes.

What is mole sauce?

Mole sauce is a Mexican-origin recipe made with chiles and spices that are thickened with corn, tortilla or bolillo. It usually accompanies dishes made of meat, rice or vegetables.

In Mexico the most famous are the red and green mole, being the first the most common. Mole poblano is a variety of this dish that has its origins in the state of Puebla, Mexico.

This type is prepared with several ingredients like dark chocolate, chili peppers, chipotle, tomatoes, almonds, bananas, nuts, onions, garlic, and many other ingredients.

Mole sauce is usually served with chicken and sometimes with rice. Mole de olla, on the other hand, is made with vegetables and meat and is similar to soup.

El mole (poblano, de olla, rojo o verde) es una de las recetas más representativas de la cocina mexicana.
Mole sauce (poblano, de olla, red or green) is one of the most representative recipes of Mexican cuisine

Mole poblano recipe

This dish is very rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, proteins, and fiber —which is why it is so nutritious. Below are the easy and simple steps to prepare this delicious type of mole sauce recipe.

1. Ingredients

The first thing that we have to know to make mole sauce is that we have to remove the stem and seeds of chili peppers previously.

Now, the ingredients needed to make this type of mole sauce are: lard, 1 kg of chile mulato, 125 g of pasilla chili, 10 chiles anchos, 5 chipotles, 3 chiles mecos, 1/2 kg of almonds, 1/2 kg of raisins, 1 tablespoon of aniseed seeds, 1 tablespoon of dried coriander, 1/2 tablespoon of black pepper, 3 cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, 3 slices of bolillo or baguette, 1 tortilla, 5 dark chocolate bars, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 head of garlic, 3 tomatoes (chopped and seedless), and salt.

2. Toast the chilies

First, we melt the lard in a frying pan over medium heat. Next, toast the chiles for a short time to prevent them from burning. If the chipotle burns, the sauce will taste too hot. Remove the frying pan from the heat and place the chili peppers in a bowl.

3. Cook the other ingredients until lightly browned

Add the almonds to the same frying pan. Remove and put them in the same bowl.

Repeat the same procedure with the raisins, coriander, pepper, cloves, aniseed, and cinnamon.

4. Toast the bread

Next, cook the slices of bread, tortilla, and chocolate in the frying pan. As in the previous steps, we put these ingredients in the bowl that we had set aside with the rest.

Cook the tomato pieces in another frying pan but with less lard. When they are ready, add them to the same bowl.

5. Cook the garlic

At the same time, peel the garlic and cook over medium heat until golden brown. Remove and add it to the bowl. Toast the sugar in a new frying pan over medium-low heat and try not to dissolve. When it is ready, add it to the same bowl.

6. Blend

Finally, blend all the ingredients in the bowl until we get a smooth sauce. Then our mole poblano will be ready to eat or store. 

A diferencia del mole poblano, el mole de olla es más similar a una sopa o caldo.
Unlike mole poblano, mole de olla is more similar to a soup or broth

Mole de olla recipe

The following recipe is also very simple and easy to make. We will show you how to prepare mole de olla. Many of the ingredients are similar to those of the previous recipe.

1. Ingredients

Although in this mole sauce the ingredients are different from the previous one, we will also proceed to remove the seeds and stem of the chilies.

The ingredients we will need are for this mole sauce are: 1 kg of beef backbone, 1 pork shank, 1/2 onion, 1 clove of garlic, 2 branches of wormseed, 2 spoonfuls of chicken bouillon powder, 1 tomato, 1 chile ancho, 1 pasilla chili, 1 clove, 3 peppers, 1 cinnamon stick, a pinch of oregano, a pinch of cumin, 1 tablespoon of flour or cornstarch, 6 small squashes, 2 corn in 3 slices each, salt, 1/2 onion, 3 lemons.

2. Boil 

First, place the meat in a saucepan and add the onion, garlic, and wormseed. Cover everything with water and add the chicken bouillon powder.

Let the pot boil over high heat. Reduce the intensity, cover and let the ingredients simmer for half an hour.

3. Toast the chilies

In the meantime, soak the chiles in hot water until they soften. Roast the tomato over medium heat and move it until the peel is burned.

4. Blend

Peel the tomato and put it in the blender with a little water, the soaked chilies, cloves, peppers, cinnamon, oregano, and cumin.

Strain the mixture over the meat after the first 30 minutes of cooking and add the flour. Mix everything and let the mixture boil for 1 hour.

5. Cook everything together

Finally, we add the vegetables and cook everything until we see that all the ingredients are ready.

At this moment we can add more salt or chicken bouillon powder if necessary. Finally, serve the mole de olla with chopped onion and a little lemon juice.


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Jamison, C. A., Bill, J. (1995). The Border Cookbook. Boston, MA: Harvard Common Press. p. 294.