Mole con Pollo

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Mole con pollo is a juicy Mexican chicken simmered in a spiced chile and chocolate sauce. Served with lots of crema and rice on the side, it’s a hearty meal.


  • 3 1/2 lb chicken thighs and drumsticks, bone-in
  • Vegetable oil, for cooking
  • 14 guajillo chiles, seeded and stemmed
  • 5 ancho chiles, seeded and stemmed
  • 58 chile de arbol, seeded and stemmed
  • 1/3 cup lard (or vegetable oil)
  • 2/3 cup galletas María (Mexican cookies), finely crushed
  • 2 corn tortillas, roughly chopped
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 6 medium sized garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 1/3 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds (or salted but reduce salt in recipe accordingly)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup unsalted peanuts, crushed
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp piloncillo (or dark brown sugar)
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp chicken bouillon powder
  • 1/21 disk Mexican hot chocolate
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

For serving:

  • Sesame seeds
  • Mexican crema


Sear the chicken. Add about 1-2 tbsp of vegetable oil into a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken in batches, making sure not to over-crowd the pan. Cook it for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until it’s golden brown. It should still be a little bit raw. Transfer to a plate and set it aside.

Toast the chiles. In a separate pan, melt the lard over medium heat. Add the guajillo and ancho chiles. Cook the chiles for up to a minute, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat. Don’t discard the lard. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Place the toasted chiles in a heat-proof bowl. Pour the boiling water over the chiles until they’re fully submerged. Let them rest for at least 15 minutes. Set them aside.

Fry the tortillas. In the same pan as the chiles, use the leftover lard to cook the tortillas over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until crispy. Lower the heat and add the crushed galletas María. Stir well. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set it aside.

Add the aromatics and spices. Add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil into the pan and increase the heat to medium. Add the diced white onion and cook it for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until well combined. Cook the mixture for another minute. Add the pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, peanuts, ground cloves, and ground cumin. Stir well. Cook the mixture for another 6-7 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the whole tomatoes into the pan and cook them for 5-6 minutes. Let them charr on all sides. Remove from the heat.

Blend the sauce. Transfer all of the fried ingredients into the blender, including the crispy tortillas and galletas María. Drain the chiles but reserve their cooking liquid. Add the chiles and 1 cup of cooking liquid into the blender. Process until you get a chunky mixture. Add the piloncillo, chicken bouillon powder, and half of the chicken broth. Blend again until you get a smooth mixture. Season with salt to taste. If the mole is too thick, add more broth until you reach your desired consistency.

Add chocolate. Add the remaining chicken broth into the same pot you cooked the chicken in. Place it over medium heat and when it comes to a simmer, gently scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spatula. Strain the blended mole sauce into the pot. Discard the pulp. Add half of a hot chocolate disk and stir it into the sauce until it has completely dissolved. Taste for sweetness. If you’d like it even sweeter, add the remaining half of the disk and dissolve it into the mixture. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.

Simmer it. Add the seared chicken and chile de arbol into the mole sauce. Stir until completely coated and well combined. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 1-2 hours.

Serve. Serve the chicken and ladle some extra mole sauce on top. Drizzle it with Mexican crema and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top. Enjoy it with a side of rice.

Keywords: chicken mole, Mexican mole, mole sauce