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What does mole a sauce have in it?

Mole sauce is a classic Mexican sauce that has a complex, rich flavor. It contains a mixture of ingredients that balance different flavors like sweet, spicy, earthy, and bitter. The exact ingredients in mole sauce can vary, but there are some core components that are key to making an authentic mole sauce.

Key Ingredients in Mole Sauce

Here are some of the main ingredients typically found in mole sauce:

  • Chiles – Most mole sauces contain a blend of dried chiles. Common types include ancho, pasilla, mulato, and chipotle chiles. The chiles provide spiciness, smokiness, and rich flavor.
  • Nuts – Nuts like peanuts, almonds, sesames seeds, or pumpkin seeds help add texture and nutty flavor. They often get toasted to bring out more flavor.
  • Chocolate or cocoa powder – Dark chocolate or cocoa powder adds subtle sweetness and depth of flavor to mole.
  • Spices – Spices like cinnamon, clove, black pepper, cumin, and Mexican oregano boost the flavor complexity.
  • Seeds – In addition to nuts, seeds like pumpkin or squash seeds are commonly used. They add crunchy texture.
  • Dried Fruit – Raisins, prunes, or dried apricots lend subtle sweetness and fruitiness.
  • Chile Broth or Stock – The sauce base is made by simmering chiles in broth or stock.
  • Thickeners – Ingredients like masa harina, bread crumbs, tortillas or corn tortilla chips help thicken and add body to the sauce.

Types of Mole Sauce

There are many types of mole sauce throughout Mexico that feature different ingredients and flavor profiles:

Mole Poblano

Mole poblano is considered a classic, standard mole sauce. It has a rich, complex flavor that balances chocolate, chili peppers, spices, seeds, and nuts. Common ingredients include:

  • Ancho, mulato, pasilla chiles
  • Chocolate or cocoa powder
  • Peanuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds
  • Onions, garlic
  • Cinnamon, cloves
  • Stock or broth

Mole Negro

Mole negro gets its dark color from chiles that have been roasted until blackened and charred. It often contains:

  • Chilhuacle negro, mulato, pasilla chiles
  • Peanuts, almonds
  • Plantains, banana
  • Anise, cinnamon
  • Chocolate, burnt sugar

Mole Verde

Mole verde gets its green color from tomatillos, herbs, and pumpkin seeds. Common ingredients are:

  • Tomatillos
  • Cilantro, parsley, epazote
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Jalapenos, serrano chiles
  • Garlic, onion
  • Chicken or vegetable stock

Mole Amarillo

Mole amarillo has a vibrant yellow color. It often contains:

  • Guajillo, pasilla, chipotle chiles
  • Tomatoes
  • Plantains
  • Peanuts, almonds
  • Onion, garlic
  • Chicken broth

Making Mole Sauce

The process of making mole sauce is labor intensive, but results in incredibly complex, layered flavor. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Prepare chiles by removing stems, seeds, and veins. Toast chiles in a dry skillet until fragrant.
  2. Toast nuts, seeds, and spices in the skillet until aromatic.
  3. Simmer chiles in broth until softened. Allow to cool slightly.
  4. Blend chiles, nuts, seeds, spices, chocolate, broth, and aromatics like onion and garlic into a smooth paste.
  5. Fry mole paste in oil while stirring for a few minutes to release flavors.
  6. Gradually stir in more broth and simmer mole for at least 30 minutes, until thickened and darkened.
  7. Season to taste with salt.
  8. Use mole right away or allow to cool fully before storing.

The paste can also be thinned with additional broth, water, or even beer when reheating before serving.

Uses for Mole Sauce

Mole sauce is very versatile and can be used to flavor and complement many dishes:

  • Mole poblano is traditionally served over turkey or chicken.
  • It’s excellent on enchiladas, tamales, and burritos.
  • Use it as a sauce for grilled or roasted meat, fish, or vegetables.
  • Add a spoonful to stews, soups, or sauces for extra flavor.
  • Mix it into rice dishes, quinoa, or grains.
  • Drizzle it over fried eggs in the morning.
  • Use as a dip for tortilla chips.

Tips for Mole Sauce

Here are some helpful tips for working with mole sauce:

  • Look for mole paste or concentrate at Mexican markets to save time prepping.
  • Toast each ingredient well for best flavor.
  • Simmer for as long as possible to develop the deepest flavor.
  • Add broth gradually until desired consistency is reached.
  • A bit of dark Mexican chocolate adds richness.
  • Garnish with sesame seeds, chopped onion, cilantro, lime, crema.
  • Store mole tightly sealed in the fridge up to 1 week or freeze for months.

Nutrition of Mole

Mole sauce is high in calories, fat, and sodium, but does provide some beneficial nutrition:

Nutrient Per 1/4 cup
Calories 160
Fat 12g
Saturated Fat 2g
Sodium 460mg
Carbs 9g
Fiber 3g
Sugar 4g
Protein 5g

The chiles provide vitamin A. Nuts and seeds add healthy fats, fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, and iron. Overall, mole sauce can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes mole sauce taste good?

The complex layers of flavor from ingredients like chiles, spices, nuts, seeds, chocolate, and broth all combine to create mole’s signature tasty, rich flavor. Toasting the ingredients well and long simmering allows the flavors to meld and develop.

Is mole sauce spicy?

Mole sauce has mild to moderate spiciness depending on the types of chiles used. Some versions like mole poblano have a subtle heat, while mole negro can be quite spicy from blackened chiles. Adjust the amount and type of chiles to suit your desired spice level.

What meat goes with mole sauce?

Chicken and turkey are classic mole pairings. But mole sauce also goes great with beef, pork, lamb, duck, vegetables, and even fish. The complex flavor of mole complements most meats.

How do you thicken mole sauce?

If your mole sauce comes out too thin, you can thicken it by simmering it uncovered for longer to reduce it. You can also blend in a small amount of masa harina, crushed tortilla chips, bread crumbs, or cornstarch slurry to thicken it more.

Can you freeze mole sauce?

Yes, mole freezes very well for long term storage. Let it cool fully then transfer to freezer bags or containers. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating gently over low heat. The flavor holds up nicely for months in the freezer.


Mole sauce has an incredible depth of flavor that balances the sweet, spicy, savory, and bitter. Traditional mole takes time and effort to make, but the resulting sauce is well worth it. Feel free to experiment with different dried chiles, nuts, spices, and other ingredients to put your own spin on mole. With its bold flavors and versatility, mole sauce can transform a simple dish into something extraordinary.