5.0 from 5 votes

Red Mole Recipe (Mole Rojo)

Mole means “sauce” and it was known by pre-hispanic people as “ Molli or mulli.” This sauce displays the greatness of the dried peppers available in the region which were used on a day to day basis. In addition, the unique contrast of flavors/consistency in Molli evolve when the mixture of nuts and dried peppers meet to create its enchanting color. Learn how to make this Red Mole Recipe (Mole Rojo) and you will be re-living a part of Mexican history. 

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a white plate with chicken Mole Rojo and mexican rice
Mole rojo Michoacán style
Mole means "sauce" and it was known by pre-hispanic people as “Molli or mulli." 

Mole is one of the most traditional and festive dishes cherished by the people. In fact, there are so many types of mole to choose from. For instance, Oaxaca itself is home to 7 different types, that’s amazing. However, choosing which region makes the best mole can easily turn into a debate but I feel it’s a meaningless discussion with no right or wrong answer.

Michoacan-style Mole Rojo recipe
a plate with mole rojo and mexican rice
Mole Rojo displayed with a side of Mexican Rice.

Mole Rojo Traditions

First of all, mulli helped preserve years of history, culture, tradition, and creativity of pre-hispanic people. Therefore, cooking a delicious red mole recipe creates our most memorable times of family gatherings. Secondly, because the best mole is the one that makes you day dream about Mexico’s weather, landscapes, buildings, people, street food, parties, and family/friends. In conclusion, all types of Mole recipes have something to offer but Michoacán style takes me back home, where I spent years of my childhood.

water being poured into a pot with aromatics
Cooking the chicken in a flavorful broth.

Cooked chicken and broth

Chicken : This step in the cooking process can be used to your advantage. For instance, using a whole chicken helps turn the broth flavorful due to the bones. First, simply take a whole chicken and cut it into smaller pieces. Second, cut each half of the breast into 3 parts. Feel free to use which ever part of the chicken you prefer.

Broth: Both the chicken and broth will be used to make this Red Mole recipe. However, be sure to make enough of the broth for the entire recipe.

Blending stage details

We are striving for a silky smooth sauce. However, to achieve the consistency needed, we will blend in two seperate batches. If you can’t get the ingredients to break down completely, feel free to strain. You always want to give the blender enough time to puree everything down to the best of its abilities, specially if you are straining. Vitamix A3500 Smart blender Professional grade 64oz ←(blender I use)

Batch # 1: contains the hydrated peppers, onion, garlic, and some broth.

Batch # 2: contains all the toasted nuts, fried corn tortilla, aromatics (cumin, cloves, black peppercorns) and some broth.

My mothers tip: 
If after blending batch # 2 you need to strain because the ingredients did not break down completely, take the paste left behind from straining and place it back into the blender. Once all of the paste is in the blender, add more broth, blend again, and strain into the pot. This step helps you draw as much flavor as possible from the pureed ingredients. 

Keep in mind the more broth you add to the mole, the looser it will get. To get the right consistency simply allow the mole to reduce on a very low simmer until silky smooth and loosely thick. 


Divide the broth needed to puree batch # 2 in half to puree both times. If needed you can add more broth in small amounts. 
selection of nuts used to make mole rojo
Almonds, pecans, peanuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds.

Toasting the nuts

Toasting the nuts draws out the nutty flavors enhancing their natural characteristics into deeper and profound flavors. By the way, toasting the nuts does not require oil, at least not this recipe.

All the nuts used are unsalted and un-toasted, except for the sunflower seeds. If you can't find the sunflower seeds un-toasted/unsalted that's fine, still use them. 
showcasing three types of pepper: guajillo, puya, and Chile de arbol
Guajillo, puya, and chile de arbol dried peppers.

Types of dried peppers used

Mole Rojo is the perfect dish to display and show off the amazing qualities of dried peppers. The flavors come through in a clean and rich way.

  • Guajillo dried peppers-is one of the top 3 most important dried peppers used in Mexican cuisine. Its moderate heat makes it perfect for so many dishes and marinades; also, It pairs great with other dried peppers.
  • Puya dried peppers- Puya means “steel point” which is a great representation of this pepper, because it is skinny with a sharp spicy flavor. This chili is similar in flavor to a Guajillo, but puya is spicier. 
  • Chiles de arbol(dried peppers)-this small chili is used because of its potent spicy flavor, usually added in small amounts depending on your tolerance. As you can tell, Chile de arbol are small and thin. 

The Aromatics

Don’t we all love food that smells great? for instance a group of herbs/spices paired strategically will create layers of flavor and splendid aromas.

chicken mole rojo served in a white plate along with mexican rice
Mole topped with toasted sesame seeds.

Mole Rojo Sauce

This Mole Rojo does not have chocolate, cookies or bread included in the recipe. The absence of chocolate is one of the most noticeable differences but this recipe has charm of its own, it is definitely my favorite.

Oil/lard options

Lard or vegetable oil are traditionally used to make this dish. In addition, because of health reasons I like to use a smooth olive or avocado oil. As you can tell there are definitely options, pick the one that best suits you.

When ready to serve, accompany with a side of Mexican Rice and drizzle lime juice over the mole to open up the flavors. 
Feel free to check the video tutorial below the directions↓

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Red Mole Recipe (Mole Rojo)

Recipe by Villa Cocina
5.0 from 5 votes
Course: EntreeCuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time





Mole means “sauce” and it was known by pre-hispanic people as “ Molli or mulli.” This sauce displays the greatness of the dried peppers available in the region which were used on a day to day basis. Mole has more than color derived from the deep red chilis, this delicious sauce is set to combine with a variety of pureed toasted nuts that take the color, consistency and flavors to the next level.


  • 5 lb whole chicken, cut into pieces

  • Aromatics for chicken broth
  • 1/4 ea bunch cilantro, fresh 

  • 1/4 yellow onion, medium  

  • 1 tomato, diced  

  • 4 hierba buena, sprigs (mint)

  • 5 ea garlic cloves, peeled 

  • 10 cups water 

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • Pan fry and sautéed ingredients
  • 3-4 TBSP avocado oil

  • 1 corn tortilla (pan fried)

  • 1/4 ea medium yellow onion, sliced 

  • 4 ea garlic cloves, peeled

  • 20 ea dry chile guajillos, cleaned & devained 

  • 5 ea dry puya chiles, cleaned & devained 

  • 3 ea dry chiles de arbol, cleaned 

  • 4 cups hot broth (rehydrate dried peppers)

  • 1 cup of broth (blend the peppers) (1st batch)

  • Toast the Nuts un-toasted & unsalted
  • 10 almonds, whole

  • 6 ea pecans, whole

  • 3 TBSP peanuts, whole

  • 2 TBSP sunflower seeds, whole (see note above)

  • 2 TBSP pumpkin seeds, whole

  • 2 TBSP sesame seeds, whole

  • Aromatics 
  • 1/2 tsp cumin, whole

  • 4 cloves

  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns 

  • 2 cups hot broth (puree 2nd batch)

  • 1/2 cup of broth (swirl in the blender)

  • Season
  • Salt to taste


  • Cook chicken in broth: Place the chicken in a large pot with the water, aromatics for the chicken broth, diced tomato and salt. Let it reach a boil, then lower the heat and allow the chicken to fully cook on a gentle simmer, about 25-30 minutes. Check for doneness. Remove from the heat, reserve the broth and set to the side until both the broth and chicken are needed. 
  • Prep the dry peppers: Remove the stem, seeds and veins from the guajillos and puya dried peppers. Feel free to use kitchen gloves for this process. Next, cut them into smaller pieces and place them in a container together with the whole chiles de arbol. 
  • Pan-fry the tortilla: Place a large pan over medium heat and add 3-4 TBSP of avocado oil. When hot, pan fry the corn tortilla until crispy and golden brown on both sides. Remove when ready. Lower the heat to medium low heat. To the same pan add in the sliced onion and whole garlic cloves, stir as needed. When the onions begin to soften, lower the heat to the lowest setting and add in the prepped dried peppers. Toast the dried peppers: Stir continuously to prevent them from burning because it will ruin the sauce by making really bitter. When they start to release their fragrance, about 2 minutes, transfer the onion, garlic, and dried peppers from the pan to a large bowl. Pour in the 4 cups of hot broth the chicken was cooked in. Submerge in the broth and allow them to rehydrate, about 5 minutes and set them aside until needed. 
  • Prep the Nuts: Place a clean large pan over medium heat and toast all the nuts from the largest to the smallest until fragrant and golden brown. Set aside until needed. 
  • Blend first batch: add into a blender the rehydrated peppers, onion, garlic, broth they were soaked in plus 1 additional cup of the broth. Puree until completely broken down and smooth. Strain if large pieces of chili skin were left behind. Transfer the sauce into a large container and proceed to blend the second batch. 
  • Blend second batch: add into a blender the fried tortilla, toasted nuts, cumin, cloves, black peppercorns and 2 cups of the chicken broth. Blend until completely broken down and smooth. Strain if needed(see information above.) Set to the side until needed. 
  • Make the mole: Place a large pot over medium heat and pour in 1 TBSP of avocado oil. When the oil is hot, pour in the first batch blended and stir to combine. If needed lower the heat to medium low because the sauce will begin to bubble/splatter. Now add the second blended batch as well and mix to combine. Add an additional 1/2 cup of the broth into the blender, swirl it in to get the last bit of the pureed ingredients and pour/strain into the pot. Mix, then allow it to cook on a gentle simmer for about 25 minutes or until it turns into a deeper red color and thickens. Stir as needed. When ready season with salt to taste and mix to combine. Add in the cooked chicken and coat it in the sauce. 
  • Ready to serve: Serve hot and drizzle lime juice over the mole, then mix it in with the spoon. Traditionally mole is paired with Mexican Rice and Corn tortillas. Enjoy!

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