Moles and Pipianes/

Classic Red Mole

Mole Rojo Clásico
Recipe from Season 7, Mexico—One Plate at a Time
Servings: 3/4 gallon of mole


  • 10ounces (5 medium)tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1 1/3 cup (about 6 1/2 ounces) sesame seeds
  • 1cuprich-tasting pork lard or vegetable oil, plus a little more if necessary
  • 6ounces (about 12 medium) dried mulato chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into large flat pieces
  • 3ounces (6 medium)dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into large flat pieces
  • 3ounces (10 medium)dried pasilla chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into large flat pieces
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1cup (about 4 ounces) unskinned almonds
  • 1cup (about 4 ounces) raisins
  • 1teaspooncinnamon, preferably freshly ground Mexican canela
  • 1/2teaspoon black pepper, preferably freshly ground
  • 1/2teaspoon anise, preferably freshly ground
  • 1/4teaspoon cloves, preferably freshly ground
  • 2slices firm white bread, darkly toasted and broken into several pieces
  • 2ounces (about 2/3 of a 3.3-ounce tablet)Mexican chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 3quarts chicken broth
  • Salt
  • 1/3 to 1/2cup sugar


  1. Preliminaries. On a rimmed baking sheet, roast the tomatillos 4 inches below a very hot broiler until splotchy black and thoroughly soft, about 5 minutes per side. Scrape into a large bowl. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds, stirringly nearly constantly, until golden, about 5 minutes. Scrape half of them in with the tomatillos. Reserve the remainder for sprinkling on the chicken.
  2.  Brown other mole ingredients. Turn on an exhaust fan or open a kitchen door or window. In a very large soup pot (I typically use a 12-quart stainless steel stock pot or a medium-large Mexican earthenware cazuela), heat the lard or oil over medium. When quite hot, fry the chiles, three or four pieces at a time, flipping them nearly constantly with tongs until their interior side has changed to a lighter color, about 20 or 30 seconds total frying time. Don’t toast them so darkly that they begin to smoke—that would make the mole bitter. As they’re done, remove them to a large bowl, being careful to drain as much fat as possible back into the pot. Cover the toasted chiles with hot tap water and let rehydrate 30 minutes, stirring frequently to insure even soaking.
    Remove any stray chile seeds left in the fat. With the pot still over medium heat, fry the garlic and almonds, stirring regularly, until browned (the garlic should be soft), about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove to the tomatillo bowl, draining as much fat as possible back into the pot.Add the raisins to the hot pot. Stir for 20 or 30 seconds, until they’ve puffed and browned slightly. Scoop them out, draining as much fat as possible back into the pot, and add to the tomatillos. Set the pan aside off the heat.To the tomatillo mixture, add the cinnamon, black pepper, anise, cloves, bread and chocolate. Add 2 cups water and stir to combine.
  3.  Blend, strain, cook. Into a large measuring cup, tip off the chiles’ soaking liquid. Taste the liquid: if it’s not bitter, discard all abut 6 cups of the liquid. (if you’re short, add water to make up the shortfall). If bitter, pour it out and measure 6 cups water. Scoop half of the chiles into a blender jar, pour in half of the soaking liquid (or water) and blend to a smooth puree. Press through a medium-mesh strainer into a large bowl; discard the bits of skin and seeds that don’t pass through the strainer. Repeat with the remaining chiles.Return the soup pot or cazuela to medium heat. When quite hot, pour in the chile puree—it should sizzle sharply and, if the pan is sufficiently hot, the mixture should never stop boiling. Stir every couple of minutes until the chile puree has darkened and reduced to the consistency of tomato paste, about a half hour. (I find it useful to cover the pot with an inexpensive spatter screen to catch any spattering chile.)In two batches, blend the tomatillo mixture as smoothly as possible (you may need an extra 1/2 cup water to keep everything moving through the blades), then strain it in to the large bowl that contained the chiles. When the chile paste has reduced, add the tomatillo mixture to the pot and cook, stirring every few minutes until considerably darker and thicker, 15 to 20 minutes. (Again, a spatter screen saves a lot of cleanup.)
  4.  Simmer. Add the broth to the pot and briskly simmer the mixture over medium to medium-low heat for about 2 hours for all the flavors to come together and mellow. If the mole has thickened beyond the consistency of a cream soup, stir in a little water. Taste and season with salt (usually about 4 teaspoons) and the sugar.You're now ready to make Lacquered Chicken or you can cool, cover and refrigerate until you're ready to use. When you're ready to proceed, rewarm the mole.


  1. I was wondering if you can send me a picture of the breast chicken mole that I saw on TV live well net work it really looked very delicious Lithuania you .

  2. Nicely done recipe. By the way Mexican Canela is actually Ceylon Cinnamon. Mexico is the biggest importer of Ceylon Cinnamon from the Island of Sri Lanka and has low Coumarin levels that will NOT damage your liver, unlike Cassia Cinnamon.

    This recipe works best with Ceylon Cinnamon or also called Mexican Canela because the taste is very smooth and not harsh like the Cassia type cinnamon available in US. Ceylon Cinnamon has notes of clove and citrus which gives this dish that characteristic taste.

    1. Hi Cinnamon Vogue,

      Was just wondering what else u have to say about Cassia cinnamon? I’m very interested in food/health and would like to know where u learned this.

  3. The recipe is quite detailed and exact. But I had one question. When you return the puréed chiles to the soup pot you set aside off the heat, do you keep or discard the used oil in that soup pan?

  4. I made this for my husband’s birthday and it was incredible… thank you for sharing such an excellent recipe! I’m glad I planned ahead and did it over the course of two days; I also found a really helpful video of Rick making it on Panna. The sauce is even better the next day- I think this is one of my favorite things I’ve ever made!

    My main question is about toasting the chiles. In the recipe above, it says you should flip them constantly. In the video, Rick toasts them one side at a time and pushes them down (quickly). The water I soaked the peppers in was very bitter- is this a sign I might have toasted them too long? Any more advice about toasting the peppers? Thank you!

    1. Yes, you should only toast the chiles for a few seconds on each side. If your pan is hot enough you will see and smell the change in the chile. This means they are done! 🙂

    1. Hi Teresa-We do use pumpkin seeds in different recipes and I have heard of them being used in different moles. What else have you used that might be different?

  5. I just made this over the weekend and in spite of a few mistakes (over frying a few of the chiles, etc), this turned out well! I used to live in parts of California where there were Mexican restaurants that served good mole, but now living in Georgia I have to make the mole myself and this recipe is great! Well worth the effort, thank you so much!

    I would love to make this for a friend but unfortunately she’s allergic to nuts such as almonds. Is there a substitute for it that’s not a nut?

  6. I could not find mulato chiles locally, so I substituted an equal amount of ancho chiles. Ultimately it turned out ok, but was quite bitter. Not sure if the bitterness/astringency was from the soaking liquid or perhaps the lard used to fry everything. Wasn’t really worth the effort, imho. If I do attempt to make again, I will discard the soaking liquid and the initial frying lard.

    1. Most recipes I’m reading discard the soaking water. I don’t think the lard is to blame– rather than eliminating it, maybe use half lard and half neutral oil, like canola, next time. The lard adds flavor. Happy cooking!

  7. Every time I soak chiles the water is very bitter. Some recipes say to use it. If I do, could I sweeten it somewhat with a bit of sugar? I usually toss it and use broth instead.

  8. We made this yesterday and the results were delicious, it was amazing how the sugar and salt at the end brought everything into balance. It’s very complex, with smokey heat. This was a serious undertaking, it took 2 experienced cooks nearly 6 hours, including cooking time. It’s quite labor intensive prepping all the chilies, frying so many ingredients and the straining steps. However it makes a huge quantity, so I’ve frozen it and will enjoy it for months! Next time I’d likely split the prep over 2 days. Thank you!

    1. My husband and I have tried various mole recipes to no avail. Then we tried yours and it is the best mole either of us has ever had! It’s a great feeling finding the perfect recipe after searching for so long. Many thanks!

  9. To make things easier…get all your ingredients into small separate bowls.
    AKA …”Mise en place”. This is one recipe that almost requires it.

    There are options……so many.
    For instance…use “pepitias” (pumpkin seeds) instead of almonds.
    Use fruit other than the raisins, or in addition-to. Try ripe browned plantains and/or almost any dried fruits.
    Use leftover tortillas in place of the bread.
    Use “palm sugar” or honey instead of white sugar.
    Use different dried chiles, like the mild Peruvian types, “aji panca” or “aji amarillo”. Just be careful as some may be too spicy.

    Consider this a “Master Recipe” from which you can augment to suit or experiment from.
    I make a Mole BBQ sauce used on pork ribs, for instance.

    1. One important note…do not fry the dried chilles too long, it will become bitter.
      Fry them very quickly. Under-frying is better than over-frying.
      I do 5 seconds, flip, and 5 seconds more, max…in almost smoking oil.

  10. Instructions on how to make/ use the pre-made mole in a jar. I heard of using peanut butter or chocolate. Please send recipe

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