This thick, slow-cooked chocolate sauce reigns supreme in Oaxacan cuisine.

One of the most beloved and famed dishes in Mexico is molé – a thick and creamy sauce made of chocolate and spices that you serve with a protein like chicken or pork. In Oaxaca where molé originated, you’ll find 7 traditional versions: Molé Negro, Rojo, Coloradito, Amarillo, Verde, Chichilo, and Manchamantel. Here, host Carla in Chicago shares her family’s molé recipe.

In my culture, chocolate is a fundamental part of our cuisine. From our beverages to dishes, using chocolate in sauces is very common. For drinks, we usually mix cacao beans, cinnamon, almonds, vanilla and a bit of sugar with water or mile. For cooking, we mix spices and chocolate to make a sauce that is the main ingredient for molé.

Host Carla – Chicago, IL


  • 1 Chile mulato
  • 1 Chile ancho
  • 1 Chile pasilla
  • 3 Tomatoes
  • 1 Onion
  • 3 Cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tablet of Mexican chocolate
  • 2 Tortillas
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 2 cups Chicken broth 
  • 1 Banana 
  • 3 Cloves
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp. Anise seeds 
  • 1/2 tsp. Coriander seeds 
  • 1/4 cup Sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup Almonds
  • 1/2 cup Peanuts 
  • 1/4 cup Crisco all-vegetable shortening 
  • 1/4 cup of Raisins 
  • 4 Ginger cookies
  • 2 tsp. Chicken flavor bouillon



  1. Remove the seeds from the chilis.
  2. In a pan, roast the tomatoes, onions, and garlic.
  3. Then add the sesame seeds and coriander seeds. Roast until golden.
  4. Add the almonds, chiles, banana, peanuts, and cookies. 
  5. Put all the previous ingredients in a bowl and add the raisins.
  6. Burn the tortillas directly on the stove fire until they’re black (but not burned!). Add to the bowl and cover for 5 minutes. This is how you get the smokey flavor.
  7. After you’ve let the bowl of ingredients sit, start to grind up the ingredients. If you need liquid, you can add the chicken broth. 
  8. In a big pan, add the Crisco, half of the sugar, and the Mexican chocolate. Turn up the heat and mix the ingredients thoroughly.
  9. Add the rest of the ingredients and the grounded paste and leave on medium heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour. If needed, you can add more sugar, salt, and chicken broth to taste,
  10. You can strain if you want the sauce more creamy and without seeds,  and served with warm tortillas filled with sheered cook chicken.

 Learn more about host Carla and her dining experiences in Chicago here.