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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Cozy Chicken Mole Rojo

The first time Nate and I tasted mole sauce was at a Mexican restaurant in Arlington, MA when we were in college. My roommate and best college friend Estela was from Juárez and was always educating me on what good Mexican food was. One such dish was mole, which she described as a savory “chocolate” sauce served over chicken. When Nate and I spotted it on the menu that night so long ago we knew we had to try it, and we loved it. Sadly, we’ve hardly eaten mole since then. It’s not a dish you generally find served in Mexican restaurants in the U.S. and we had no idea how to make it…until now! (If you live in the Bay Area, Lulu’s serves both green and red mole and they are both divine.)

recipe for mexican chicken mole rojo by @janemaynard

I finally sat down to figure out how to make a red mole sauce on my own and it turned out so so so good. This recipe is great for about a million reasons, but I’ll just share a few. It’s a crockpot recipe, making it very hands off. You just blend most of the ingredients together, dump it over chicken in the crockpot and let it cook. Easy peasy! Traditional mole sauces can take days to prepare, but the crockpot actually helps speed up the process. (That’s probably the first time a crockpot meal has been described as speedy!) This red mole sauce is quite rich and full of flavor, but not too spicy, so kids can enjoy it, too. However, you can definitely add cayenne pepper for more heat. Heat is good. And the richness from the unsweetened chocolate counterbalances the heat of the peppers beautifully. Lastly, this recipe for chicken mole rojo is healthy! I originally developed it for Disney and had to follow strict dietary guidelines, all of which I met in this recipe.

recipe for mexican chicken mole rojo by @janemaynard

And, if you have kids, just tell them they are eating mud and they will eat every bite of their dinner. It’s like magic.

Chicken Mole Rojo
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Cuisine: Mexican
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • One 28-ounce unsalted whole tomatoes
  • ½ onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 dried pasilla-ancho chile, stem removed
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • ¼ cup unsalted almond butter
  • ⅓ cup raisins
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • Cayenne papper, to taste
  1. Place chicken in a crock pot.
  2. Add all ingredients EXCEPT chicken, baking chocolate and cocoa powder to a blender. Blend well. Pour sauce over the chicken in the crock pot.
  3. Cook on low for about 6 hours.
  4. When chicken is cooked through, heat the baking chocolate in the microwave for 1 minute. Remove and stir until all the chocolate has melted. Sift cocoa powder over the chicken and also add the melted chocolate to the chicken. Stir well, breaking up the chicken into large chunks as you stir. Add cayenne pepper to taste at this point if you want to add some heat.
  5. Serve with tortillas, rice and beans.



  1. 1

    GREAT recipe, Jane! Thanks! Next time you’re in SLC, you must visit Red Iguana. Great variety of delicious moles.

  2. 2

    I order mole enchiladas almost every time I see them on a menu. I just had mole last night at a place on Main Street in Los Altos, CA called Casa Lupe. Yum! I’ve had some outstanding ones and some only ok ones. I’ll definitely make this recipe.

    Also, want to know one thing I’ve found that goes really well with mole? Cole slaw! Something about the hot and cold, crunchy and soft, sweet and vinegar, is so good.

    • you’ll have to try the green mole at lulu’s – and savor it for me! and next time we’re in the bay area might have to try case lupe!

      I bet the coleslaw is so yummy – GREAT idea! thanks for sharing, love it!

  3. 3
    Rachel U

    I looooove mole. Excited to try this recipe! Thanks!!

  4. 4
    Julia T.

    I made this mole for dinner tonight and it was delicious. I followed the recipe and it turned out great. Such an easy recipe. Next time I am going to try chicken thighs with bone in.
    One question, my mom is allergic to almonds. Is there something I can substitute for the almond butter or can I leave it out?

    • I am so happy that you loved it and that it came out perfectly for you – and yes, so easy, that’s the best part! 🙂

      I have emailed a friend of mine who is a fabulous cook and Mexican to see what her thoughts are on the almonds. almonds are pretty traditional for mole. I wanted to see what she thought might be a good substitute. my gut is to either just leave it out or maybe try something like sunflower or pumpkin seeds, or maybe pinenuts. but I really don’t know, so I’ll let you know what my friend says! 🙂

  5. 5
    Carlise Ballinger

    I use peanuts and that works beautifully.

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