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Mole tamales recipe

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This mole tamales recipe Brings two of the top dishes made in Mexico and turns them into a sea of flavors. Traditionally, mole has been made for centuries. And though times change, there’s no doubt we are in for a great experience. When combining these two big names together, you can expect nothing but the best. And as if we didn’t have enough, adding a nice cup of champurrado will definitely seal the deal for a great meal.

a tamal with mole rojo sauce

Making tamales is a labor of love, but the outcome makes it all worth it! It gives you a rewarding feeling that can’t be explained. After all, homemade makes all the difference. Tasting the goodness of a freshly made mole tamales recipe is something that can’t be taken for granted. Also, you will now be able to make two separate recipes if desired!

masa for a tamal in a husk


Every time I make tamales I can’t help but feel a sense of excitement! The craft itself helps me connect with a heritage that could go extinct if not preserved. As a matter of fact, Mexico itself has more than THREE HUNDRED different ways to make them. It is, indeed, a craft worth preserving. As a result, we will ensure that future generations have access to such a delicious meal. So, let’s keep on making tamales!

Tamales de mole video tutorial

Full step by step mole tamales VIDEO on YouTube
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Mole tamales recipe

Recipe by Villa Cocina
5.0 from 1 vote
Course: MainCuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Medium


Prep time




Cooking time




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Mole is one of the top dishes made in Mexico together with tamales! Today we are combining, the rich and savory  flavors of mole with the subtle sweet corn flavor from a smooth, buttery tamal. We are making Tamales filled with mole, two traditional dishes in ONE, how amazing!


  • Mole Part ONE
  • 4-5 lb chicken thighs, bone in and skin-on

  • Aromatics for chicken broth

  • 1/4 ea bunch cilantro, fresh

  • 1/4 white onion, medium

  • 1 roma tomato, roughly diced   

  • 4 sprigs hierba buena (mint)

  • 8 ea garlic cloves, peeled   

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • 15 cups cups water 

  • ➤ Dried peppers
  • 20 ea dry chile guajillos, cleaned, de-seeded, cut into small pieces

  • 5 ea dry puya chiles, cleaned, de-seeded, cut into small pieces

  • 5 cups chicken broth, hot (we made)

  • ➤ Pan fry/Sauté
  • 3-4 TBSP avocado oil

  • 1 ea corn tortilla

  • 1/4 ea medium white onion, sliced

  • 4 ea garlic cloves, peeled

  • ➤ Toast nuts/seeds
  • 10 almonds, whole, unsalted

  • 6 ea pecans, whole, unsalted

  • 3 TBSP peanuts, whole, unsalted

  • 2 TBSP pumpkin seeds, unsalted 

  • 2 TBSP sunflower seeds, salted 

  • 2 TBSP sesame seeds, unsalted

  • Aromatics # 2
  • 1/2 tsp cumin, whole

  • 4 ea cloves, whole

  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns, whole

  • 2 cups warm broth + 1/2 cup, we made

  • ➤ Fry the sauce 
  • 1 TBSP Avocado oil 

  • ➤ Season at the end
  • 1 TBSP + 2 tsp kosher, salt (TO TASTE)

  • Tamales Part TWO
  • 33-35 ea Corn Husks

  • 12 ea additional corn husk (to cover the tamales)

  • ➤ The Corn Masa Dough
  • 10 cups corn masa harina (2 lbs 10 oz)

  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder 

  • 2 TBSP Kosher salt or to taste

  • 2 1/3 cups avocado oil

  • 6 1/2 – 7 cups warm chicken broth, we made

  • Topping 
  • Sesame seeds, sprinkle as needed

  • If you run out of filling
  • Queso fresco, sliced

  • Peppers, sliced


  • Cook chicken in broth (note #1): Place the chicken, aromatics and water in a large pot. Let it reach a boil over medium high heat. Then, lower to medium low heat, remove any impurities that rose to the top, and allow the chicken to fully cook on a gentle simmer, about 25-30 minutes. Turn off the heat, and leave the chicken in the broth for an additional 10-15 minutes. Remove the thighs from the broth and let them cool down. Strain the broth and reserve until needed.
  • Pan-fry the tortilla: Place a large pan over medium heat and add the oil. When hot, pan fry the corn tortilla until crispy and golden brown on both sides. Transfer to a heat proof plate. Lower the heat to medium low. On the same pan, sauté the onion and garlic until the onions begin to soften. Transfer in with the tortilla.
    Toast the dried peppers (notes #2 and #3): turn the heat to low, add in the prepped peppers. Stir continuously to prevent them from burning. Transfer to a heat proof deep dish as soon as they release their fragrance, about 2 minutes. Carefully pour in the hot broth and let them hydrate until soft, about 5-10 minutes. Set aside until needed.
  • Toast the Nuts/seeds: On the same pan and over medium heat, with no or very little oil, toast all the nuts until fragrant and golden brown. Start from largest to smallest. Set aside until needed. 
  • Blend first batch: In a blender process the rehydrated peppers, onion, garlic and soaking broth until completely smooth. Transfer the sauce into a large container and proceed to blend the second batch. 
  • Blend second batch: In a blender process the fried tortilla, toasted nuts, aromatics # 2; including the 2 cups of chicken broth, until completely smooth. (Note # 4)
  • Make the mole: Place a large pot over medium heat and pour in the oil (fry the mole.) When the oil is hot, pour in the first blended mixture and stir. Next, add in the second blended mixture. Pour 1/2 cup of broth into the blender, swirl and pour back into the pot, stir to combine. When boiling, lower the heat to medium low and allow it to cook on a gentle simmer until it turns into a deeper red color and thickens, about 25 minutes. While that happens, shred the cooled chicken.
    * When the mole looks done: Mix in salt to taste. Remove 3 cups of the mole sauce for plate up/serve as a sauce. Lastly, mix the shredded chicken with the remainder of the sauce in the pot until completely coated. Set aside until needed.
  • Prep the corn husk: Sort through them, pick medium-large whole pieces. Discard any with dark spots or big holes in the center. Soak them for about 15 minutes in warm water. Rinse, remove corn silk, drain and set aside until needed.
  • Prepare corn masa dough: In a large bowl combine the corn masa harina, baking powder, and salt until well incorporated. Pour in the oil and knead until well distributed.
    * Wet Ingredients: Add the broth gradually, kneading in between additions until the dough is fully hydrated (note # 5). Then, knead for an additional 5 minutes until the dough forms a ball, feels soft, smooth, and can easily spread. Cover it with a damped paper towel to prevent it from drying out. 
  • How to make a tamal – STEP by STEP
  • Place a corn husk on the palm of your hand, the wider end at the bottom. Use the smooth side of the husk. If needed, rub some oil in between your hands to prevent the dough from sticking to them.
  • Grab some of the dough, form into a ball, then flatten into a disk. Place on the center of the husk and spread in all directions. 
  • When spreading across and bottom stop before you reach the end of the husk. When spreading towards the narrow top, stop a little over midway. 
  • Add a generous amount of the filling. Just make sure you can close it. 
  • Fold one end from across over to the opposite side and gently press to secure, peel the husk away.
  • Now, fold across to the opposite side, lightly press, tuck the husk and roll to wrap the dough. 
  • Feel where the masa ends at the top of the tamal and fold downward. Pinch the bottom to seal and there you have it. Follow the same steps with the rest of the tamales. Arrange on a baking sheet.
  • Alternative: Fill them with sliced queso fresco and sliced peppers if you run out of filling.
  • Steamer pot – Cook the tamales
  • Place a large steamer pot with 1-2 inches of water over medium heat, add the base but don’t let it touch the water.
  • While it reaches a boil, arrange 3 tamales into a T shape, open side facing the center, and tuck the flap under. Arrange the rest of the tamales where they fit best, open side up, with the 3 tamales as the base.
  • Cover the tamales with the additional corn husk and carefully tuck . The water should now be boiling, cover them with the lid and let them to cook for about 50 minutes – 1 hr or until cooked. Add more water to the bottom of the pot if it starts running low. 
  • Test a tamal: Carefully remove a tamal from the steamer. Let it slightly cool down. During this time the dough will firm up. You will know they are completely cooked if it releases easily from the husk, is set, does not taste raw and feels smooth. Turn off the heat.
  • Serve: Enjoy right out of the pot or on a bed of the mole sauce, topped with sesame seeds.

Recipe Video


  • Note # 1 : Make enough broth to make both the mole and dough.
  • Note # 2 : Clean the peppers with a damped paper towel because we will be running them through hot oil. Keep them dry.
  • Note # 3 : While handling peppers, feel free to wear kitchen gloves if needed.
  • Note # 4: Give the blender enough time to process everything until smooth because we are not going to strain the sauces. Straining, would get rid of a lot of the flavor.
  • Note # 5 : If needed, you can add more broth to the masa; in order to, get it to the right consistency. If you run out of broth, use warm water.
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