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Easy Chicken Mole

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Tender, juicy, flavorful Chicken Mole recipe. Rich and smooth Mexican mole sauce is full of warming, savory flavors. This chicken with mole sauce is great over rice, in chicken mole tacos, and more!  

This easy mole recipe is made common ingredients without any obscure spices. It’s gluten-free and light in calories. Read on to see my secret ingredient to make the tastiest mole sauce!

fork digging into shredded chicken with mole sauce

Mole sauce

Have you ever tried mole sauce? It is one of my favorite Mexican sauces, and whenever I see chicken with mole sauce in Mexican restaurants I always order it! Here’s my white girl summary of what mole sauce is all about. Bear with me. 🙂

“Mole” is pronounced “MO-leh,” kind of like the ending in “guacamole” (“guaca-MO-leh“).

It is traditional Mexican sauce that has a base of peppers – typically poblano peppers – and spices. In addition, it is often thickened with ground nuts (such as almonds, pine nuts, peanuts, etc) or seeds (such as sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds). Some mole sauces contain chocolate (cocoa) and coffee. Some contain cinnamon and fruit for a touch of sweetness.

place of chicken mole with rice and avocado

Variations of mole sauce

There are many different kinds of mole – green mole, red mole, and everything in between. But even with all these variations, the one thing that mole sauces have in common are their rich, complex savory flavors and a thick, coat-the-back-of-a-spoon texture. 

In short, mole sauce is GOOD and mole chicken is AMAZING!

Every region of Mexican has their own version of mole sauce, and every family has their own traditional mole recipes as well. Many of these traditional recipes require the sauce to be simmered and thickened for hours to marry the rich flavors together and make the most irresistible sauce.

This is my version of the mole sauce. It’s a much quicker recipe. Am I claiming that this is a traditional mole sauce? No, of course, not.

But is this absolutely delicious and somewhat quick and easy to make?? Yes!

Even though this recipe takes a whole hour from scratch, it is still considerably faster than many mole recipes, and you will be able to brag about making mole sauce from scratch!

On top of that, my version of mole has really easy-to-find ingredients, so you won’t need to buy specialty peppers or spices for this and then have them sitting in the cabinet for years.

fork with mole chicken on it

How to serve mole chicken

Mole chicken is so versatile and can be served and used in many different ways:

  • Over rice, with your favorite sides and toppings (sliced avocado, beans, side salad)
  • In tacos (YUM!)
  • In quesadillas – just scoop out the mole-coated chicken so it is not too soggy or saucy
  • In enchilada casseroles
  • On pizza

Sound good?? Let’s get started!

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed and finely diced (or feel free to use more traditional poblano peppers!)
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons brewed espresso or strong brewed coffee (or use ½ – 1 teaspoon instant coffee)
  • Cilantro leaves, lime wedges, sliced avocado for garnish, and rice for serving

See? I promised no difficult-to-find ingredients! I love adding coffee and cocoa powder for a rich flavor and dark color. 

If you want to make this extra kid-friendly, cut down on the jalapeño to reduce spice, and skip the coffee or use decaf coffee.

If you want to go a little extra, you can add any of the following:

  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • A tablespoon of lime juice
  • A few tablespoons of sesame seeds
  • A quarter cup of cashews or peanuts (for a thicker sauce and a nuttier flavor)

ingredients for chicken mole

How to make mole chicken

Step 1: Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with ground cumin. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet, and add the chicken. Cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned. Remove the chicken onto a plate. The chicken won’t be fully cooked yet, and that’s OK.

cooked chicken breasts in a pan

Step 2: In the same skillet or in a small saucepan, sauté the diced onion, minced garlic clove, and diced jalapeño in 1 tablespoon of oil for about 5 minutes, or until the onion starts to soften. Add the chopped tomato, and the dried oregano, and sauté for another 2 minutes.

sauteed tomato with jalapeno in a pan

Step 3: Add the chicken broth, cocoa powder, coffee, and salt, to taste. If you want to add cinnamon, sesame seeds, nuts, or lime juice, add them at this time too. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. It should start to reduce in volume. 

mole sauce in a pan

Step 4: Use an immersion blender to puree the sauce until mostly smooth, or transfer to a small food processor or blender and process until smooth. Be careful, this is hot! 

blended mole sauce

Step 5: Add the browned chicken and the sauce back to the skillet, and simmer for another 20-30 minutes, or until the sauce is further reduced and the chicken is fully cooked and starts to shred easily. Add more water a few tablespoons at a time, if necessary, to prevent the sauce from burning or getting too thick.

chicken with mole sauce in a pan

Step 6: Lightly shred the chicken, or roughly dice the chicken. Garnish with cilantro leaves and lime wedges, and serve over rice.

plate of chicken with mole sauce with rice and avocado

Looking for more Mexican-inspired recipes?

Looking for more flavorful ethnic chicken dishes?

If you enjoyed this recipe, let me know with a comment and a star rating below. And don’t forget to share it on Facebook and save it on Pinterest for later!

plate of chicken with mole sauce with rice and avocado
Print Recipe
4.75 from 8 votes

Chicken with Mole Sauce

This Chicken with Mole Sauce recipe uses a secret ingredient to give an amazing flavor and depth to the decadent mole sauce. Make this tasty, spicy dish for dinner tonight!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Kate

Equipment

  • Immersion blender

Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • 2-3 chicken breasts
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Rice for serving
  • Avocado, cilantro, lime wedges for garnish

For the mole sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper seeds removed and diced (use more or less to taste)
  • 2 small tomatoes or 1 large tomato, roughly chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons brewed espresso or strong brewed coffee (or use ½ - 1 teaspoon instant coffee)
  • teaspoon salt to taste
  • Optional sauce ingredients: 1 tablespoon lime juice, pinch of cinnamon, 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, ¼ cup cashews or peanuts

Instructions

  • Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with ground cumin.
  • Preheat a skillet and add the olive oil. Add the seasoned chicken breasts. Cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned. Remove the chicken onto a plate. The chicken won’t be fully cooked yet, and that’s OK.
  • In the same skillet or in a small saucepan, sauté the diced onion, minced garlic clove, and diced jalapeño in 1 tablespoon of oil for about 5 minutes, or until the onion starts to soften. Add the chopped tomato, and the dried oregano, and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the chicken broth, cocoa powder, coffee, and salt, to taste. If you want to add cinnamon, sesame seeds, nuts, or lime juice, add them at this time too. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. It should start to reduce in volume. 
  • Use an immersion blender to puree the sauce until mostly smooth, or transfer to a small food processor or blender and process until smooth. Be careful, this is hot! 
  • Add the browned chicken and the sauce back to the skillet, and simmer for another 20-30 minutes, or until the sauce is further reduced and the chicken is fully cooked and starts to shred easily. Adjust salt and pepper, if needed. Add more water a few tablespoons at a time, if necessary, to prevent the sauce from burning or getting too thick.
  • Lightly shred the chicken, or roughly dice the chicken. Garnish with cilantro leaves and lime wedges, and serve over rice.

Notes

  • You can double the sauce recipe and freeze some to use for later
  • Other serving ideas: in tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, on pizza!
  • Feel free to use more traditional poblano peppers instead of jalapeño, if you can find those
  • The optional sauce ingredients are optional (obviously), but are a nice addition if you're looking for an even richer, thicker mole sauce
1

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Chicken with Mole Sauce
Amount Per Serving (1 chicken breast)
Calories 253 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Cholesterol 108mg36%
Sodium 629mg26%
Potassium 818mg23%
Carbohydrates 6g2%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 38g76%
Vitamin A 51IU1%
Vitamin C 13mg16%
Calcium 29mg3%
Iron 2mg11%
* The nutritional information shown here is just an estimate and not meant to be used as dietary/nutritional advice. Please consult a nutritionist for exact nutritional information based on the exact ingredients you use.

Here are some of my old photos of this recipe, if you’re curious to see where I started out with my food photography:

Chicken with Mole Sauce

Chicken with Mole Sauce over quinoa

Chicken with Mole Sauce over Quinoa

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Recipe Rating




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Chicken with Chocolate Mole Sauce - Yum Goggle

Friday 6th of November 2015

[…] GET THE RECIPE […]

Little Cooking Tips

Monday 2nd of November 2015

Wow. This recipe is totally exotic for us here! And very very interesting of course! We trust your cooking and we know we're gonna LOVE this one, even if it sounds a bit strange to our culture (because of the cocoa and the coffee) :) We'll check it out the upcoming weekend, bookmarked!:) Thank you dear Kate! xoxoxo

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef

Monday 2nd of November 2015

I know what you mean about mole sauce not being attractive. The last one I made looked like baby poo but it tasted out of this world good.

I didn't put coffee in mine and now I want to make your recipe.

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