Mole, mole, mole. There are different types of mole but the one thing that people most commonly identify with the dish is the addition of Mexican chocolate. I’ve only made mole once in culinary school and remember it to be tedious but delicious. Today I decided to take on the mole rojo. Yes, the directions seem endlessly long (imagine cooking this for 50 people like I did!) but the main idea is to toast all of the ingredients, blend it together, strain, and cook. This mole sauce was served on baked chicken with white rice and a side of black beans.

chicken mole

chicken mole


Serves 8


Mole rojo clasico

3 hr, 30 Total Time

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  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 12 medium dried mulato chiles
  • 10 medium dried pasillo chiles
  • 6 medium dried ancho chiles
  • 6 cups hot water
  • 5 medium tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup roasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp anise, ground
  • 2 slices firm white bread, darkly toasted and broken into several pieces
  • 2 ounces Mexican chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 3 quarts chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the chilies, frying them in batches until puffed, about 30 seconds. Flip over the chilies and cook on the other side. Remove from heat and place the chilies in a large bowl. Cover with 6 cups hot water, placing a weight on top to keep the chilies submerged. Let sit for 30 minutes or until softened. Blend the chilies with 6 cups water until smooth. Strain the puree through a fine mesh strainer, discarding skin and seeds.
  3. Place tomatillos on a baking sheet. Roast until charred and softened, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
  4. In the same pot used for the chilies, fry the garlic and almonds, stirring until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Add the raisins to the pan and saute for 30 seconds or until puffed and slightly browned. Remove from heat.
  5. Combine the tomatillos with the garlic, almonds, raisins, sesame seeds, black pepper, anise, bread, chocolate, and water. Blend until smooth.
  6. Heat a large sauce pot over medium-high heat. Heat 1/4 cup oil until smoking hot. Pour the strained chilies and reduce by half, about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Add tomatillo mixture and cook 15 minutes.
  7. Add chicken broth and reduce heat to medium-low. Continue to simmer for 2 hours or until mole has thickened. The sauce should coat the back of a spoon when ready. Season with salt and sugar and serve with desired protein.


**Helpful tips and common mistakes

Mole sauce is a complex sauce that requires multiple steps. However, take the time and prepare this recipe and you will have one outstanding sauce.

Start by frying the chiles. The chiles do fry quickly so keep an eye on them! You know they are ready when they puff up and change color. When dehydrating the chiles, make sure to put a weight on top to keep them submerged in the water. After 30 minutes, the chilies have softened nicely.

rehydrated chilies

When you are ready to blend the chilies, put the whole chile, seed and stems included. You’re going to strain the mixture so these parts will be discarded.



As for the tomatillos, you know when they are ready when they are soft, almost to the point of mush.

Now time for the actual cooking. The chiles need to reduce and thicken for about 30 minutes. Be careful when stirring the sauce since it does pop. You know when it has reached the right consistency when you can drag your spatula through it and the sauce leaves a clear trail.


Add the remaining ingredients and let it cook for another 2 hours. You will know when it is done when it looks like below. The color is slightly lighter and the mole is thick enough to coat a spoon. I added about 1 tbsp of salt and 1/3 cup of sugar and it was perfect!


You can serve this mole sauce with steak, pork, seafood, really anything! I chose to serve it with roasted chicken. To prepare the chicken, season them with a generous amount of salt, pepper, and minced garlic on both sides finished with a drizzle of olive oil.

chicken breast

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes or until the juices run clear. Top with the sauce and sesame seeds and there you have it. I got great feedback for this recipe; people loved it!

There are actually many variations of mole rojo. After discussing it with other women who cook this dish at home, raisins are not a common ingredient found in mole; instead, people use peanut butter and perhaps, pumpkin seeds. Experiment with different ingredients and make this mole your own!

chicken mole


Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.


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