Mole — rhymes with Olé! — is a rich, smooth sauce and a chief component in many of Mexico’s signature dishes.

Oaxaca Connections

The most well-known mole sauce in Oaxaca is the black (negro) variety, which includes spices and chocolate. To many Oaxacans, mole negro is the only mole. The other ‘moles’ are in a secondary class.

Beyond the black sauce, there is red (rojo), yellow (amarillo), deep red (coloradito) and green (verde). Pipián can be red or green and is made from ground pumpkin seeds. Less well known and usually made to order are rarer varieties, such as manchamanteles, castillo, estofado and chichilo.

The word ‘mole’ comes from the Nahuatl word ‘molli,’ meaning concoction, stew or sauce.

Tip: If the black mole is too strong, you can add a little bit of Oaxacan chocolate.

Mole Matrix

Name Description
Negro = Black The most well-known mole sauce in Oaxaca is the black (negro) variety, which includes spices, nuts, and chocolate; made with chilhuacles negros, among other chiles
Almendrado = Almond
Amarillo = Yellow Mole amarillo can be made with chilhuacles amarillos. If you can’t find chilhuacles amarillos, you can use guajillo chiles.

Amarillo, es un mole de sabor interesante; con pollo se añade hierba santa, con cerdo va con cilantro, y carne de res con pitiona. Se puede hacer con chilhuacles amarillos. Si no encuentra chilhuacles amarillos, se puede usar guajillos.

Chichilo Sierra juarez
Coloradito – Deep Red less complex than mole negro; has fewer ingredients, and includes chilhuacles rojos
De Cadera El Mole de caderas es un caldo elaborado a base de carne de ganado caprino, tomate verde, jitomate, cebolla, ajo, chile costeño, huajes y pepicha
De Olla
Manchamanteles includes fresh fruit, usually including pineapple
Estofado No chiles, lots of spices, after cooking add chiles güeros en vinagre (tangy)
animal gourmet

Pipián Pipián can be red or green and is made from ground squash seeds.
Rojo = Red Cebolla, Pasa, Almendras, Sesame seed
Verde = Green Made with tomatillos and fresh herbs, often including hoja santa or acuyo (sometimes called root beer plant in English) and radish leaves, among other greens, jalapeño chile



Ajo (Garlic) – Ajonjolí (sesame seeds) – Almendra (Almonds) – Ancho Chiles – Cacahuates (Peanuts) – Canela (Cinnamon) – Caserola (Casserole Dish) – Chichilo – Chiles – Chihuacle Rojo Chiles – Chocolate – Cilantro – Coloradito – Conejo (Rabbit) – Embarrada – Enmolada – Estofado – Epazote – Frijol (Bean) – Guajillo Chiles – Guajalote (Turkey) – Hoja de Rabano (Radish Leaf) – Lechuga (Lettuce) – Maiz (Corn) – Manchamanteles – Mezcal – Miltomate (Tomatillo) – Mi Mero Mole (The Real Deal) – Mitos (Myths) – Mole – Mole Crudo – Mole de Caderas – Mole de Gato – Mole de Olla – Mole Negro (Black Mole) – Mole Amarillo (Yellow Mole) – Mole Verde (Green Mole) – Mole Rojo (Red Mole) – Opciones (Options) – Pasilla Oaxaqueña Chiles – Pasta (Paste) – Perejil (Parsley) – Pipian – Pollo (Chicken) – Polvo (Powder) – Reconstuir (Reconstitute) – Segueza – Tamales – Tomate (Tomato) – Tortilla

Food, Health and Cultivating Communities


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