Mole is a traditional Mexican sauce that has been enjoyed for centuries. It is known as the “national dish of Mexico” and is an integral part of their culture, often served during special occasions and holidays.

Varieties of Mole

The word mole comes from the Nahuatl word molli, which means “sauce” or “mixture.” There are many different types of mole, each with its own unique flavor and ingredients. The most popular versions are mole poblano, mole negro, and mole coloradito. Mole poblano is the most well-known and is made with a blend of spices, chocolate, nuts, and chili peppers. It originates from the state of Puebla and is often served over chicken or turkey.

Mole negro, also known as mole Oaxaca, is a rich and complex sauce made with over 20 ingredients, including blackened chili peppers, chocolate, and various spices. It has a dark color and is often served over chicken or pork.

Mole coloradito, meaning “little red mole,” gets its name from the use of ancho chilies in the sauce. It is a sweeter version of mole and is often served over chicken or pork.

Other variations of mole include mole rojo, which uses red chili peppers for a spicier flavor, and mole verde, which uses green chili peppers and herbs. Each region in Mexico also has their own unique spin on this beloved sauce, incorporating local ingredients and flavors.



One thing that sets mole apart from other sauces is the time and effort that goes into making it. It can take hours to prepare, with the ingredients being roasted, ground, and simmered to perfection. This labor of love truly shows in the rich and complex flavors of mole.

Cultural Significance

In addition to its delicious taste, mole also has a significant cultural importance in Mexico. It is often served during celebrations and special occasions, such as weddings or birthdays. Its roots can be traced back to pre-Hispanic times when the Aztecs would use molli sauce in their dishes.

The Versatility of Mole

The versatility of mole lies in its adaptability. The sauce can be adjusted to the desired level of heat, sweetness, or thickness. Some may prefer their mole with a hint of cinnamon and cloves, while others might enjoy a more savory version with garlic, onion, and cumin. The consistency can range from a thick paste to a pourable sauce, depending on the dish it’s served with.

The Mole Experience in Mexican Restaurants

Mexican restaurants are known for their flavorful and customizable offerings. These establishments often feature mole in their menus, serving dishes like enchiladas, tacos, and burritos doused in this delicious sauce. The mole at these restaurants is prepared with the same love and patience as in traditional Mexican kitchens, simmered to perfection over hours.

Restaurants also cater to a variety of dietary preferences, incorporating mole in both meat-based dishes like chicken mole or beef enchiladas, and vegetarian options where vegetables and beans take the center stage.

Mole: More Than Just a Sauce

Mole is more than just a sauce in Mexican cuisine – it’s a cultural symbol. It echoes the rich history of Mexico, from the pre-Hispanic era to the present day. The presence of mole in Mexican restaurants around the world is a testament to the global appreciation for this culinary masterpiece.