20-Minute Mole Sauce (2024)

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The quick mole sauce recipe celebrates all of the delicious flavors traditional Mexican mole sauce. But thanks to a few shortcuts, it’s easy to make in about 20 minutes yet tastes like it has been simmering all day. Perfect for drizzling on tacos, enchiladas, burritos, nachos, chicken, poblanos, veggies and more.

20-Minute Mole Sauce (1)

For years and years now, you guys have been asking for a mole sauce recipe here on the blog. And for years and years now, I havereferred you onto othersources because this famously delicious but super-labor-intensive sauce has never really been my style.

Don’t get me wrong — I’ve been a big fan of Mexican mole sauce (pronouncedmoh-leh)ever since I was first introduced to it in high school. I’ve actually even taken two Oaxacan cooking classes over the years specifically to study the authentic art of mole, andhave tremendous respect for the tradition behind the sauce and the cooks who so patiently and lovingly make it. But as much as I love mole, I’ve gotta be honest — any sauce that requiresdozens of ingredients andmany hours (or even days!)of work is realistically just not going to be an everyday recipeinkitchen.

However, a 20-minute version that still tastes amazing that I can easily whip up on a weeknight?!

Game-changer. ♡

Friends, allow me to introduce you to my new 20-minute mole sauce recipe. It’s features all of the rich, layered, nutty, chocolate-y, savory, and slightly sweet flavors that I love in a good authentic mole. But thanks to a dozen shortcuts, it can magically come together on the stovetop in record time. It’s also naturally vegan and can be made gluten-free, if you’d like. It’s easy to customize with your desired level of spiciness and sweetness. It can be drizzled on everything from tacos to enchiladas, nachos, burritos, poblanos, baked proteins, veggies, rices and more. And it is downright irresistible.

Now, I’ll be the first to say it — 20-minute mole will never be truly authentic mole. (I would recommend this recipe if you would like a more authentic mole.) But if you’re looking for a quick new mole-inspired sauce to add to your repertoire, I recommend that you gather the ingredients and make this one soon. I think you’re going to love it.

20-Minute Mole Sauce (2)

Easy Mole Sauce Ingredients:

So speaking of, let’s talk about your ingredient list. To make this 20-minute mole sauce recipe, you will need:

  • Cooking oil:Whatever kind you prefer to sauté the veggies.
  • Onion, garlic, jalapeño:Said veggies. If you prefer your sauce not to be spicy, you canomit the jalapeño.
  • Chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, oregano:Instead of working with dried chiles, cinnamon sticks, whole cumin seeds and fresh oregano, these pantry staples will be our shortcuts to season the sauce. (Please note that the chili powder is American chili powder, which is a milder blend and completely different than cayenne pepper.)
  • Flour:To thicken the sauce. If making this gluten-free, you can either use a GF all-purpose flour blend. Or thicken the sauce instead with cornstarch. (See instructions below.)
  • Vegetable stock:Or chicken stock, whichever you have on hand.
  • Almondbutter:Instead ofblanchingand toasting and pureeing the nuts, this is our easy shortcut! I have tested this recipe with both peanut butter and almond butter, and either are delicious. Or if you have a nut allergy, feel free tosubstitute sunflower seed butter or tahini.
  • Tomato paste:To add some rich tomato flavor.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder:I prefer this to adding chopped chocolate bars, so as to control the amount of sweetness. But if you prefer a sweeter mole sauce, you can add ina drizzle of maple syrup or honey.
  • Sea salt:Absolutely essential.

20-Minute Mole Sauce (3)

How To Make Mole Sauce:

This mole sauce will have you moving and multi-tasking. But if you have your ingredients ready to go, and move quickly, it can easily be made in less than 20 minutes. Simply:

  1. Sauté your veggies. Chop your onion,the sauté it for 5 minutes until soft. Meanwhile, chop your garlic and jalapeño. Then add them to the pan and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes. Meanwhile, measure out your dry seasonings and flour then…
  2. Add dry seasonings and flour to the veggies. And stir until evenly mixed. Continue to cook for 1-2 more minutes, which will help to toast and bring out the flavor of the seasonings.
  3. Remove pan from heat and add veggie stock. Then stir to combine. At this point, the mixture should be warm but not hot.
  4. Puree. Either puree the mixture until smooth using an immersion blender (my preference). Or alternately, you can transfer the mixture in half batches to a blender and puree until smooth. The cautionas always is to be incredibly careful when blending warm/hot liquids. They expand when blending, so you want to be sure that your blender is not too full. I like to cover/vent the top of my blender with a kitchen towel instead of the snug plastic lid, just to be careful. Return the pureed mixture to the saucepan.
  5. Add remaining ingredients. And whisk until evenly combined.
  6. Simmer until thickened. Continue to cook thesauce until it comes to a simmer and thickens.
  7. Taste and season. Adding any extra salt (or more of any other ingredients you prefer) as needed.
  8. Serve warm. Or transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

20-Minute Mole Sauce (4)

Mole Chicken Enchiladas

Customize Your Mole Sauce:

Everyone has their preferences about what makes theperfectmole sauce. So feel free to experiment and find what you love best! For example, if you…

  • Want a sweeter mole? Feel free to add in a drizzle of maple syrup or honey to sweeten.
  • Want a spicier mole? Add in an extra jalapeño pepper (and/or include the seeds, where most of the heat resides).
  • Want a milder mole? Nix the jalapeño pepper altogether.
  • Want a smokier mole? Sub in chipotle powder for half of the chili powder. Or, add in a chipotle pepper in adobe sauce.
  • Want a more chocolate-y mole? Double the cocoa powder.
  • Want to make it gluten-free? Either use a GF all-purpose flour blend that performs well with a roux (like this one). Or nix the flour altogether andwhisk3/4 teaspoon cornstarch into the lukewarm veggie stock before adding it to the recipe.
  • Want to add in some extra seasonings? If you want your mole to taste even more complex and authentic, feel free to add in a bay leaf, a pinch of ground cloves, a pinch of ground coriander, and/or a pinch of ground anise.

Ways To Serve Mole Sauce:

This sauce can be used in so many ways. Some classics could include:

  • Tacos, enchiladas, burritos, nachos, etc. The saucecan be drizzled over or baked into a number of classic Mexican dishes.
  • Stuffed peppers:Mole poblano is one of my favorite dishes, made with stuffed roasted poblano peppers.
  • Baked proteins:Use mole as a simple finishing sauce for baked chicken, steak, pork, tofu, etc.
  • Veggies:Drizzle your roasted or sautéed veggies with mole for extra flavor.
  • Rice and beans: Stira few spoonfuls of mole into rice or beans for delicious seasoning.
  • Soups and stews:Stir mole into soups for a rich and delicious broth.
  • Dips, salsas, queso and guacamole:Stir a spoonful of mole into various dips for extra seasoning.

How To Store Mole Sauce:

I highly recommend making a double batch of this sauce while you’re at it to have for leftovers! But either way, if you have leftovers or are making this sauce in advance, you can either store it in a sealed container and:

  • Refrigerate:For up to 3-4 days
  • Freeze:For up to 3 months. (*The texture of the sauce won’t beexactly the same, but it will still be delicious.)

20-Minute Mole Sauce (5)

20-Minute Mole Sauce

5 Stars4 Stars3 Stars2 Stars1 Star4.8 from 51 reviews

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 0 About 3 cups 1x
Print Recipe


This easy mole sauce celebrates all of the flavors of traditional Mexican mole. Yet thanks to a few shortcuts, it can be made in about 20 minutes. See notes above for tips on how to customize your mole sauce.



  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup diced white onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • (optional)1 jalapeño, cored and diced
  • 1/4 cup chili powder*
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons smoothalmond butter(or your preferred nut or seed butter)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent. Add garlic and jalapeño(if using) andsauté for 1-2 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. Add chili powder, flour, cinnamon, cumin,and oregano, and stir until everything is evenly mixed. Continue sautéing for 1 more minute, stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove pan from heat. Addvegetable stock, and stir until combined.
  3. Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture until smooth. Or transfer it in two small batches to a traditional blender, and purée until smooth, beingvery careful(**see note below)since warm liquids expand when they are blended.
  4. Return thesaucepan to medium-high heat. Addalmond butter, tomato paste, cocoa powder and sea salt, and whisk until combined. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a simmer and the sauce as thickened.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low. Taste, and season the sauce with more salt if needed.
  6. Serve warm. Or let the sauce cool to room temperature, then refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.


*I used American-style chili powder, which is not the same as cayenne chili powder.

**Since the mixture should still be pretty lukewarm at this point, it should be ok to blend in small batches. But if it feels hot, let the mixture cool for 10 minutes before blending. As an extra precaution when blending warm liquids, I always recommend covering the tiny cap opening on the lid of the blender with a kitchen towel or paper towel, instead of the cap.)

posted on October 8, 2018 by Ali

Dairy-free, Dips / Salsas, Freezer-Friendly, Gluten-free, Make-Ahead, Mexican-Inspired, Sauces, Vegan, Vegetarian


20-Minute Mole Sauce (2024)


What is mole sauce made of? ›

Mole is created from dried chiles, nuts, seeds and sometimes, chocolate and more ingredients. Did you know that many traditional moles require 30 ingredients and some may even have 100 or more? This is why mole sauce has a complex flavor – one that you cannot explain directly.

How long does mole sauce last? ›

How do I store the cooked mole sauce and how long does it last? After cooking, you can freeze it and can keep it for up to 6 months. If you decide to store it in the fridge, it can last up to 6 days.

How to thicken up mole sauce? ›

To add savoriness and acidity, I used tomatoes. Specifically, canned tomatoes which are always in my pantry. Mole sauce should be thick. Nuts or bread are common choices to thicken the sauce, so I used almonds.

Is mole sauce unhealthy? ›

Mole is a food unique to Mexican food culture. Not only does it demonstrate the uniqueness of Mexican food, but it also provides plenty of health benefits. Overall, most mole recipes provide a good amount of fiber, antioxidants, and healthy fats, thanks to the chiles, nuts, and seeds.

What does mole taste of? ›

What Does Mole Sauce Taste Like? All mole sauces taste a bit different. Some are sweeter, others are spicier, and they have varying consistencies—but they all feature spicy, smoky, and earthy-sweet notes contributed by ingredients such as chiles, nuts, warm spices, raisins, and tomato.

What do you eat with mole sauce? ›

Mole sauce can be spooned over just about anything. Tacos, eggs, grilled chicken, beef, pork, enchiladas, burritos, you name it.

Does all mole have chocolate? ›

Chocolate is the ingredient that people most associate with mole—but there are more than 40 different forms of the sauce and they don't all include chocolate. A properly done mole takes hours (sometimes even days) to prepare, with as many as 30 ingredients prepped individually.

Where is mole sauce most popular? ›

The dish enjoys its greatest popularity in central and southern Mexico, but simpler versions of mole poblano did make their way north. However, northern versions are far less complex and generally used to make enchiladas.

What nuts are in mole? ›

This authentic Mole Sauce (Mole Poblano) is made by toasting and blending sweet and earthy ingredients and spices including dried chiles, peanuts, sesame seeds, chocolate, cinnamon and anise.

Can I freeze mole sauce? ›

I use this easy mole sauce to kick up the flavor of chicken dishes. I've been known to spoon it over spaghetti. This recipe makes a lot and it freezes really well. Cook once and use it for several meals - one of my favorite ways to save time.

What if mole sauce is too thick? ›

If the sauce seems too thick, add a little more water or broth; it it's too thin, let it cook down (though always being careful to not let it burn).

Is mole the same as adobo? ›

However, they are entirely different in terms of flavor. Mole can have dozens of ingredients, depending on what type you're making. This results in a complex, nutty, and spicy sauce. Mexican-style adobo sauce is made with far fewer ingredients, including vinegar, chili powder, sugar, garlic, and herbs.

Does mole need to be cooked? ›

If you prepare the mole from scratch you have to roast and boil the ingredients, and the answer again is yes, it is cooked. Yes. It's cooked and served with chicken or turkey, pork can also be used. Traditionally beef is not served in mole but other sauces.

Do you eat mole hot or cold? ›

Serve warm. Or let the sauce cool to room temperature, then refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

What are moles made of? ›

Moles are small coloured spots on the skin made up of cells called melanocytes. These produce the colour (pigment) in your skin. Some moles are present at birth, although most develop during the first 30 years of life.

Does mole contain corn meal? ›

The first type of mole is mole amarillo, and this sauce prominently features varied chilies and dried fruits. Corn flour is also used to give this type of mole more body. No chocolate is used to flavor mole Camarillo.

Why is mole sauce black? ›

The toasting of the dried chiles is very important—in fact, it is the key to turning out a true black mole. One of the most important differences between Oaxacan black mole and, say, Pueblan mole (mole poblano) is dark, dry-heat toasting of the chiles.

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