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White bowl with homemade mole sauce and dried pasilla chiles on the side.

How To Make Classic Mole Poblano Sauce


Classic Mole Poblano is a complex, rich sauce used in dishes for holidays and other celebrations. Four types of chiles, Mexican chocolate, nuts, seeds, and fruit blend together to create a thick sauce that is reddish-brown in color, smoky, earthy, and slightly sweet.



1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped

5 large garlic cloves, peeled

1 medium poblano, stemmed and roughly chopped (leave in the seeds if more heat is desired)

2 medium tomatillos, peeled and washed

⅓ cup bacon fat, more if needed

3 medium dried ancho chiles, washed, stemmed and seeded, cut into 4 pieces

3 medium dried mulato chiles, washed, stemmed and seeded, cut into 4 pieces

4 large pasilla chiles, washed, stemmed and seeded, cut into 4 pieces

2 medium chipotle chiles, washed, stemmed and seeded, cut into 4 pieces

6 cups chicken stock, divided

1 teaspoon white vinegar

½ cup skinned almonds

⅓ cup toasted sesame seeds

½ cup raisins or 4 snack-size 

15-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes with their juice

2 small slices sourdough or bolillo bread, toasted until very dark, but not burnt, broken into pieces

2 corn tortillas, stale, torn into small pieces

⅛ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon Mexican oregano

½ teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

⅛ teaspoon ground anise seed

½ cup chopped Mexican chocolate

1 teaspoon Kosher salt (or to taste)

3 tablespoons agave syrup (or to taste)


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Place the onion quarters, tomatillos, and whole poblano on the baking sheet.

Spray the vegetables very lightly with cooking spray.

Roast in the oven until the vegetables are charred on one side – about 5 minutes.

Carefully turn them and roast until they have a char on the other side – another 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, melt the 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat.

When the fat is shimmering, add the dried chiles and garlic. Stir to coat with the fat.

Cook, stirring often, until the chiles are fragrant – about 10 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to carefully spoon the mixture into a high-speed blender, reserving as much fat as possible.

Dump the roasted aromatic vegetables, along with any accumulated juices, into the blender.

Pour 2 cups of the broth into the blender as well. Set aside to allow the chile mixture to cool.

Next, add the sesame seeds, almonds, and raisins to the same Dutch oven. If the bottom of your pot isn’t covered with fat, add another tablespoon of the bacon fat.

Cook the mixture, stirring often, until the almonds begin to turn golden and the raisins plump – about 5 minutes.

Carefully scrape the mixture into a large bowl. Rinse the pot and set it aside.

Blend the chile mixture at the highest speed until as smooth as possible. Scrape down the sides a few times and continue to blend. Timing will depend on your blender. You may need to do this in batches, depending on your blender size.

Add the nut mixture and continue to blend.

Pour in additional broth if the mixture is too thick to blend properly.

Spoon a tablespoon of the bacon fat into the Dutch oven and melt over medium heat.

Scrape the pureed chile mixture into the Dutch oven. 

Stir constantly and cook until the mixture darkens and thickens to a tomato paste consistency – about 10 minutes.

Add the canned tomatoes, white vinegar, toast pieces, tortilla pieces, all of the spices, 2 cups of the remaining broth, and the chocolate.

Reduce the heat to a low simmer.

Stir well and partially cover the pot with it’s lid, allowing enough space to allow moisture to evaporate. Use the spoon to break up the toast and tortilla pieces and the tomatoes.

Cook the mixture, stirring often to prevent sticking for 1 hour. Continue to break up the solids in the mole.

Add the agave syrup and any remaining broth and stir to combine.

Cover and continue to simmer for an additional 1 ½ hours or more until the mixture has a ketchup-like consistency. The longer the mixture simmers, the more the flavors meld together.

Use an immersion blender to smooth the mixture. Alternatively, you can spoon the mixture back into the blender to process.

For a very smooth and silky mole, spoon the mixture into a fine mesh strainer set over a large bowl. Use the back of a wooden spoon to push the mole through the strainer.

Taste and adjust for salt and sweetness. The mole should have a very slight sweet note to combat the bitterness of the chiles.

Cool the mole to room temperature.

  • Prep Time: 60 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Simmer
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: classic mole poblano, Mexican recipes, Mexican food, mole recipes, Cinco De Mayo, Spicy food, dried chile peppers