Mole Powder Recipe

Mole powder, also known as mole paste or Mexican mole spice blend, is an essential component of traditional mole sauces. Mole sauces feature prominently in Mexican cuisine, with origins tracing back to the 1600s. The sauce itself has a rich, complex flavor, blending savory, sweet, and spicy elements.

Mole Powder Recipe

At its heart, mole powder forms the base of mole sauce, providing deep flavors that get enhanced by additional ingredients. By making your own mole powder at home, you unlock the ability to create fantastic mole sauces anytime.

Given mole's blend of New World and Old World ingredients, mole powder recipes tend to use:

  • Mexican chile peppers - These provide both heat and fruity flavors. Ancho and mulato peppers see heavy use.
  • Warm Mexican spices - Cumin, cinnamon, clove, and Mexican oregano build layers of flavor.
  • Nuts - Almonds, peanuts, sesame seeds lend nuttiness and thickness.
  • Chocolate or cocoa - Dark Mexican chocolate or cocoa powder contributes bitterness and richness.
  • Dried fruits - Raisins, prunes, dried chiles bring sweetness and acidity.
  • Thickeners - Masa harina, cornstarch, or breadcrumbs add body.

Beyond this core group, mole powder recipes can contain other Mexican pantry items like chiles de arbol, tomatillos, hoja santa, avocado leaves or tortillas. The myriad ingredients make for complex flavor combinations not easily replicated.

When blended together and ground down, these ingredients create an umami-rich powder primed for transforming into sauce. Now, let's see mole powder in action!

Key Takeaway: Mole powder gains deep savoriness through Mexican chiles, warm spices, nuts, chocolate, and dried fruits.

Step-By-Step Homemade Mole Powder Recipe

This homemade mole powder provides an easy start towards fantastic mole sauce. Feel free to tweak and adjust to your taste!

Mole Powder Recipe

Homemade Mole Powder Recipe

This homemade mole powder provides an easy start towards fantastic mole sauce. Feel free to tweak and adjust to your taste!


  • 8 dried ancho chiles, seeded, destemmed
  • 1 dried mulato chile, seeded, destemmed
  • 1 cup blanched almonds
  • 1/2 cup peanuts
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 3 tablespoons Mexican oregano
  • 3 inches cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 ounce Mexican chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 2 slices white bread, torn into pieces


  • Toast chiles in a dry pan until fragrant, 1-2 minutes per side. Transfer to a bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak 30 minutes.
  • In the same dry pan, toast almonds, peanuts, and sesame seeds separately until light golden brown, about 2-3 minutes each. Allow to cool.
  • Toast cumin, oregano, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, and peppercorns until aromatic, about 1 minute. Grind toasted spices into a powder.
  • Drain soaked chiles and blend into a paste with Mexican chocolate and torn bread.
  • In a food processor, blend chile paste, toasted nuts and seeds, ground toasted spices until a fine powder.
  • Transfer mole powder to an airtight container. Keeps 3 months stored in a cool, dark place.

Now just follow the directions above to transform your homemade mole powder into incredible mole sauce! Then smother it over meat, veggies, rice, tamales - anything your heart desires.

Ideas for Customizing Homemade Mole Powder

Tailoring mole powder to specific mole styles requires adjusting the ingredient ratios. Here are some ideas for putting your own spin on homemade mole powder:

Smoky, Spicy Mole Powder

  • Use ancho, chipotle, cascabel, and pasilla chiles.
  • Heavy dose of Mexican oregano and cumin.
  • Good for red enchilada sauce or taco fillings.

Sweet and Chocolatey Mole Powder

  • Bump up chocolate/cocoa ratio.
  • Include raisins, prunes, or dried chiles.
  • Lean into cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg.
  • Lovely drizzled over chicken or pork.

Herby, Toasted Mole Verde Powder

  • Swap out chocolate/cocoa for more nuts and seeds.
  • Use tomatillo, herbs like cilantro, epazote.
  • Work in lime, jalapeños for acidity and heat.
  • Killer with crispy carnitas or fish.

The combinations prove endless, so experiment until finding your perfect homemade mole powder recipe! Jar and gift your custom creations to share deliciousness with others!

How to Use Mole Powder

True mole sauces require patience, containing a few dozen ingredients cooked over hours. Mole powder lets home cooks prepare excellent mole sauce in under an hour. With the base flavors embedded within the powder, using it looks like:

  1. Toast the mole powder - Heating it blooms spice flavors and aromatics. Do this in oil for 1-2 minutes while stirring.
  2. Simmer with broth - Whisk mole powder into warm chicken or vegetable broth until dissolved. Allow to simmer 10-15 minutes.
  3. Finish with extras (optional) - Stir in a pat of butter, splash of booze, or handful of sesame seeds.
  4. Use as sauce - Smother mole sauce over meat, veggies, rice, enchiladas - anything!

And that's it - with premade mole powder, preparing mole sauce becomes easy. The mole powder carries the sauce's signature deep, layered flavors, only needing slight embellishment through extra ingredients.

Now, mole sauce has regional variations across Mexico. Cooks can customize their mole powder recipe to match their preferred flavor profile - whether rich and fruity Oaxacan negro, or vibrant, herbal Verde, or nutty Pipian mole.

Key Takeaway: Mole powder lets home cooks make incredible mole sauce by just simmering the powder in broth for 10-15 minutes.

Homemade mole powder equips you to easily add rich mole flavor intoMexican and TexMex favorites. Beyond using it for sauce, try:

  1. Mole Chicken Enchiladas - Stuff tortillas with mole chicken filling before drowning in sauce.
  2. Mole Chili - Stir mole powder into beef or turkey chili. Top with queso fresco.
  3. Mole Pork Carnitas Tacos - Sprinkle mole powder when crisping carnitas in the broiler.
  4. Mole Roasted Squash - Toss cubes of butternut squash with oil, mole powder, cumin. Roast.
  5. Mole Hot Cocoa - Whisk mole powder into Mexican hot chocolate for depth.
  6. Mole Salad Dressing - Emulsify vinegar and oil with toasted mole powder. Toss with greens.
  7. Mole Guacamole - Mix cumin-y mole powder into chunky avocado dip.
  8. Mole Roasted Nuts - Toss pecans or peanuts with oil, mole powder, salt. Roast until crispy.
  9. Mole Powder Vodka - Infuse vodka with reconstituted mole powder. Use for cocktails.

With the flavors already built into the powder, mole easily incorporates into anything. Now you can skip the hours of simmering traditional mole recipes require!


How long does homemade mole powder last?

Properly stored in an airtight container away from light, heat, and moisture, mole powder keeps 3 months at room temperature or 6 months refrigerated.

Can you freeze mole powder?

Absolutely - for maximum shelf life up to a year, store mole powder in the freezer inside a moisture-proof container. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using.

What kind of chiles work best for mole powder?

Ancho and mulato chiles see heavy use since they bring dried fruit sweetness. Guajillo, pasilla, cascabel all work too. For heat, blend in arbol, chipotle or jalapeños.

Is mole powder gluten-free?

It can be! Swap breadcrumbs for masa harina or cornstarch to keep gluten-free. Some types of Mexican chocolate contain gluten, so verify if avoiding.


Mole powder provides home cooks with an easy route towards preparing fantastic mole sauce. With its origins going back centuries and endless regional variations, mole sauce can seem daunting to create from scratch.

But by toasting spices, grinding nuts, and blending chiles into powder, you capture those complex mole flavors in one simple blend. Then just add broth for quick yet delicious mole sauce.

Additional Resources:

  1. - This website provides a recipe for Bulk Mexican Mole Powder, which is a layered blend of chiles, spices, dried fruits, and seasonings. It also includes information on the history of moles and how to use mole powder.
  2. - This website provides a recipe for Dry Mexican Mole Spice Blend, which contains just 4 spices in perfect balance - cumin, cocoa, red chile powder, and cinnamon. It is a quick and easy way to add bold flavor to lamb tacos, stews and soups, even dry-rub a chicken.
  3. - This YouTube video by Anahid Trejo demonstrates how to make Chicken Red Mole using a powder base. It includes step-by-step instructions and helpful tips.
  4. - This website provides information on El Popular's Mole Paste and Powder, which is a 100-year-old recipe containing chili peppers, chocolate, almonds, sesame, peanuts, corn oil, and a secret blend of quality spices. It also includes recipes and serving suggestions.
  5. - This article from the LA Times provides tips on making mole from premade pastes, including how to revive and enliven the paste to make your own mole creation. It also includes instructions for making a simple mole sauce using chicken bouillon powder or paste.
Sarah Cortez
Sarah Cortez

My name is Sarah and I'm a baker who loves trying out new recipes and flavor combinations. I decided to challenge myself to use a new spice or ingredient powder in my baking each week for a year. Some successes were the cardamom sugar cookies, vivid turmeric cake, and beetroot chocolate cupcakes. Failures included the bitter neem brownies and overwhelmingly hot ghost pepper snickerdoodles. Through this experience I've discovered amazing additions to spice up desserts while learning how to balance strong flavors. Follow my journey as I push the boundaries of baking with unique powders!

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