What Is Mole?

Mole, a traditional Mexican sauce that has a deeply rooted history that is as flavorful as it varied. 

The term “mole” comes from the Aztec Empire in which the Nahuatl’s language described sauces as “molli.” 

Over time, the prevalence of sauce in Mexican cuisine has grown to be an integral part of the region. 

Today, you can find all sorts of variations of mole with each dish offering its own unique flavors and uses. 

shop glassware

The original molli consisted of a base of chilies which was ground up to form a paste. 

Over time, infusion from European, African, and Asian culture has helped shape the different ingredients that go into the paste, changing the way the sauce tastes and the different meals it is served with. 

For many food historians, molli, or today’s mole is seen as one of the first dishes to have such cross-cultural infusion. 

The base ingredient has also changed overtime, thus changing the type of mole sauce created. For example, the popular side dish guacamole is essentially a type of mole with a base of avocados. 

This plate shows the diverse range of Mexican mole sauces. | Photo By: Luisa Navarro​​

Today, mole sauces are served with a variety of dishes in a variety of flavors. The base ingredients of mole are also varied. 

Mole poblano, or the “chocolate mole” is one of the most favored. Mole negro, mole colorado, and mole verde are also favorites throughout Oaxaca, a region noted for its varied mole sauces. 

Image: Mole preparation with tortillas, avocados, cheese, chicken, and mole sauce. ​​

Most often, these sauces are served over enchiladas or tacos. 

As you sample different flavors through Mexico’s diverse regions (Oaxaca, Puebla, Yucatán), you’ll be amazed at how mole can amplify the flavors of the dishes they are served with. 

other posts you may love...

About the Author

Nadia El-Yaouti

Nadia El-Yaouti is a writer and photographer based out of Central Virginia. As a travel writer, she enjoys connecting readers with stories and sharing photographs that depict the beauty of different cultures. Some of her most prized work introduces readers to underrated destinations like Mexico, Kurdistan, and North Africa. When she’s not juggling work, she can be found traveling the globe with her wonderful husband and three darling children.

Book a Free Travel Consultation

Mexico in My Pocket has just launched a new consultation service for anyone looking for some help planning their next Mexico vacation. Our goal is to create a custom itinerary that will give you incredible memories!

schedule your call today!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published


Interested in traveling to Mexico?

Sign up for a travel consultation and we'll help you create a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Mexico!

Book Now