Chicken Mole Recipe


The word "mole" is used to describe sauces that come in an overwhelming variety of colors and flavors. What unites all versions of mole is chile—whole, chopped, dried, or fresh, all mole use chile as one of the central components. This version is based on the style that originates in Oaxaca and uses a combination of chiles, spices, nuts and chocolate to create a final product that is complex and enticing. And although the thought of chicken and chocolate may be disconcerting, I have to recommend taking a leap of faith and giving this mole a shot.

Most of the dried chiles used in this recipe can be found at any South American market, or maybe even at a larger grocery store. When picking out a chocolate for this recipe a stone ground Mexican style chocolate will yield the best results. This chocolate is my favorite, but explore and use your own preferred brand.

Recipe Details

Chicken Mole Recipe

Active 60 mins
Total 2 hrs
Serves 4 servings


  • 2 dried Ancho chiles

  • 3 dried New Mexico or Guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded

  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon anise seeds

  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds

  • 6 black peppercorns

  • One 1/2-inch cinnamon stick

  • 3 tablespoons lard

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons raisins

  • 10 whole almonds

  • 2 plum tomatoes, finely chopped

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped

  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth

  • 1 1/2 ounces Mexican chocolate, coarsely chopped

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • One 3-to 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces

  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (for garnish)


  1. In a medium bowl, cover all of the chili peppers with hot water. Let them stand for 30 minutes.

  2. In a large skillet, combine sesame seeds with the anise, cumin, coriander, peppercorns and cinnamon stick. Toast over moderately low heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Allow to cool then grind the seeds and spices to a fine powder using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.

  3. Using the same skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the lard over medium low heat. Stir in the raisins, almonds and cook the mixture until the almonds are toasted and the raisins are plump, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and reserve.

  4. Melt 1 tablespoon lard in skillet. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, onions and the spice powder and cook over medium high heat until just simmering, about 7 minutes. Add the drained chilies and the chicken stock, cover partially, and simmer for 1 hour. Remove from the heat. Working in batches, transfer sauce and chocolate to a blender and puree until smooth, if using a standing blender; if using an immersion blender, blend until smooth in skillet. Season to taste with salt and pepper. At this point you can refrigerate the mole for up to 10 days, or freeze.

  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Melt the remaining lard in the braising dish. Working in batches, brown the chicken over high heat until brown on all sides. Pour the mole sauce over the chicken and bring to a simmer. Cover and place in the oven until the meat is cooked through and very tender, about 45 minutes. Serve with rice and a side of beans, and garnish with chopped cilantro and lime wedges.

Special equipment

Mortar and Pestle/Spice Grinder, Blender/Immersion Blender, Braising dish with lid

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
689 Calories
39g Fat
25g Carbs
60g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 689
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 39g 49%
Saturated Fat 11g 56%
Cholesterol 184mg 61%
Sodium 1399mg 61%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Total Sugars 13g
Protein 60g
Vitamin C 26mg 128%
Calcium 181mg 14%
Iron 5mg 30%
Potassium 946mg 20%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)