Homemade Walnut Mole Sauce (Easier Mole Negro)

closeup of mole negro on a wooden spoon.

Want homemade an authentic, homemade mole sauce recipe without 30 ingredients or days of simmering? Try this Walnut Mole Sauce! It's an easier mole negro that still uses whole ingredients and has an authentic taste without hours of work! (gluten-free, dairy-free)


  • 2 dried ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed (can also use pasilla, or a combination)
  • 2 cloves garlic, skin on
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1 1/2 tsp anise seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp peppercorns
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 cup vegetable, chicken or beef broth
  • 1 tbsp neutral flavored oil, such as canola or avocado


  1. Heat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking sheet. Place tomato, onion, garlic and chiles on the baking sheet and roast until chiles are toasted, turning them once halfway through, 10-15 minutes.
  2. Remove chiles and garlic from the baking sheet. Set garlic aside, rotate onion and tomato, and place the baking sheet back in the oven. Continue roasting until onion and tomato are blistered, about 20 more minutes. When the tomato is done, the skin should slide right off with your hands. Discard the peel.
  3. Place the chiles in a large bowl and cover with 1 cup boiling water. Place a heavy plate over the chiles to keep them submerged, or just cover the entire bowl tightly with plastic wrap or foil. Let the chiles soak while the tomato and onion keep roasting.
  4. Meanwhile, toast the walnuts, anise seeds, coriander seeds, sesame seeds, peppercorns, cloves and bay leaf. I use the dutch oven that I will use to simmer the sauce later. Heat the dutch oven on medium heat, add the walnuts, seeds, and spices, and toast until golden and fragrant, stirring, about 5-10 minutes.
  5. Add toasted nuts and spices to a high powered blender (I love my Vitamix), and blend until finely ground.
  6. Add roasted tomato and onion, squeeze garlic from the skin into the blender, and add the chiles with the soaking liquid. Blend until smooth.
  7. Add the remaining ingredients (raisins, cocoa, sugar, salt, cumin cinnamon, thyme, oregano and broth). Blend until smooth.
  8. Heat oil in the dutch oven over medium heat Once hot, add the sauce and stir. Lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. The sauce should be thick.
  9. Remove from heat and serve as desired.


  • Dried chiles and the whole spices used in this sauce can usually be found in the Mexican section of your grocery store, or on Amazon.
  • You'll need a few key tools here. A high powered blender is one of them, along with a heavy bottomed pot, like a dutch oven, for toasting and simmering. I recommend a Vitamix blender (you'll have it forever) and Staub dutch ovens (get $20 off one from Food52 using this link!).
  • If you like a spicier sauce, double up on the chile peppers.
  • I pared down the steps for this sauce as much as I could, but the roasting, toasting and cooking the sauce are all important for the best flavor and texture, so don't skip them.
  • This sauce is messy to make. Embrace it.
  • You can store this sauce in the refrigerator up to a week, or you can freeze it up to 3 months.
  • Double the recipe if you'd like to make a bigger batch to save for later!

Ingredient Substitutions

  • If you can't find ancho chiles, use pasilla chiles. If you can't find either, use the dried chiles you can find, such as guajillo, mulato, or New Mexico chiles. I like a combination of chiles for more depth of flavor, but use what you can find!
  • If you can't find whole anise, coriander, or cloves, you can use ground, but still toast them with the walnuts. Use 1 tsp ground anise, 1 tsp ground coriander, and 1/4 tsp ground cloves.
  • You can also use whole cinnamon if you'd rather. Use 1/2 stick and toast it with the walnuts.
  • If you don't have walnuts, you can use almonds or pecans.
  • Prunes or dates can be used in place of raisins.

Keywords: mole negro, homemade mole sauce, authentic mole sauce, easy mole negro, Mexican mole sauce