Oaxacan Pork Mole Negro

4.41 from 5 votes

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

You won’t regret taking the time to make this authentic mole negro! This smoldering chile sauce is rich and smooth, a blend of fresh vegetables, spices, and nuts to bring out a complex flavor that’s equally sweet, spicy, nutty, and savory.

closeup: mole negro on shredded braised pork shoulder

Mexican mole, pronounced “moh-lay”, is a complicated yet rewarding sauce. Heaping helpings of spices, herbs, dried and fresh peppers, onions and garlic, nuts, fruits, and even chocolate are stirred, simmered, and blended into an intense, complex, and downright delicious sauce with a silky texture.

Today we’re preparing mole negro, which many consider to be the most intriguing and intense of the “7 Moles of Oaxaca.” More specifically, we’re preparing Oaxacan pork mole negro with melt-in-your-mouth, tender pork that’s been slow cooking in a rich sauce for maximum flavor.

extreme closeup: shredded pork mole

The great state of Oaxaca is responsible for so many of the Mexican dishes we know and love in the United States, including the deep mahogany mole poblano and crispy chile roast turkey. Then, there’s creamy Oaxaca cheese!

Tip From Kevin

Chocolate Doesn’t Equal Sweet

Yes, mole negro is a chocolate mole sauce, but that doesn’t mean the sauce is sweet — it’s not. Mexican chocolate is dark, with a high cocoa content and bittersweet flavor.

As an aside, many assume that all mole recipes include chocolate. The truth? Only 3 of the 7 traditional mole recipes are variations of chocolate mole. Now you know!

overhead: ingredients to make Oaxacan pork mole negro

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Mole Negro Sauce – The preliminary sauce contains tomatoes, garlic, raisins, salt, sesame seeds, and:
    • Chile Negro – Also known as pasilla, or “little raisin” chiles, these delicate and fruity peppers are actually the dried form of the Chilaca pepper.  
    • Ancho Chiles The dried form of Poblano.
    • Mexican Chocolate – Sold in cakes, these can vary between 3 or 4 ounces, so grab two just in case. Sometimes I’ll double the chocolate for an even richer flavor!
    • Raw Almonds – To make Oaxacan pork mole negro without nuts, just double the sesame seeds — you’ll get the same warm, toasted flavor and thickness.
    • Spices – There are a whole slew of spices added to the sauce, including whole cloves, anise seeds, coriander seeds, one cinnamon stick, and black pepper.
    • Piloncillo – Also known as Mexican sugar cone, this unrefined whole cane sugar can be substituted with brown sugar.  
    • Chicken Stock – Feel free to use bouillon or vegetable broth. 
    • Corn Tortillas – Toasted and blended into the sauce, corn tortillas add great thickness and texture. 
  • Boneless Pork Shoulder – The best alternatives to pork shoulder are a picnic roast or boneless pork loin roast. The pork is seasoned with salt, seared in vegetable oil, and slow-cooked in chicken stock along with fresh herbs, onions, garlic, cumin, and peppers. See the recipe card for a full list of ingredients.

How to Make Mole Negro

  1. Toast & Soak Peppers. In a sauté pan, toast the Ancho and Negro chiles until aromatic and pliable. Remove from heat, remove stems, and steep in a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes. 
  2. Toast Tortillas & Spices. Lightly toast the tortillas and set aside. Then, toast the almonds, cloves, and cinnamon, plus the sesame, coriander, and anise seeds, for just a minute or two. 
  3. Blend. Add the toasted spices and tortillas to a blender with the cinnamon, black pepper, garlic, chocolate, and stock. Blend into a thick paste. Now, add the tomatoes, onions, raisins, soaked peppers, and soaking liquid to the blender. Blend until smooth.
  4. Simmer on the Stove. Transfer to a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the piloncillo and salt, stir, and simmer for 15 minutes. 
  5. Add Salt & Sear Pork. Salt the pork and sear on all sides in a skillet over medium-high heat. Transfer the pork to the pot and deglaze the skillet with chicken stock. 
  6. Cook Low and Slow. Add all remaining ingredients to the pot with the pork and simmer uncovered for 3 ½ to 4 hours. 
  7. Shred Meat & Blend Sauce. Remove the pork from the pot and shred. Use an immersion blender or stand blender to blend the mole sauce until smooth.
  8. Plate & Serve. Plate the shredded pork and spoon the smooth mole negro sauce over top. Serve pork mole with toppings of choice.
  • Blender – This pork mole recipe includes many ingredients of varying textures and sizes. To break it all down into a velvety, smooth sauce, you’ll need an immersion or standalone blender. 

Storing and Reheating

Store any leftovers in the refrigerator and eat within 4 days. To reheat, return the shredded pork and sauce to the stovetop and reheat on medium-low until warmed through.

overhead: serving of pork mole on white plate

Share this recipe on Pinterest!

Love this recipe? Share it with the world on Pinterest.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between mole negro and poblano?

Mole negro, or black mole, is as it sounds: dark and rich. It contains nuts, herbs, spices, chiles, and chocolate for some really complex, layered flavors.

Mole poblano is similar but doesn’t have as intense of a flavor, nor as much sweetness. It’s also dark red in color. I prepare it with turkey in my Oaxacan turkey mole poblano, so take a look at that recipe to really contrast the two! 

How long does it take to prepare pork mole?

It takes between 4 and 4 ½ hours to toast, blend, and simmer everything needed for an authentic Oaxacan pork mole negro. Much of the cooking time is spent waiting for the pork shoulder to cook through until fork tender — you’re not stuck at the stove!

How is Mexican chocolate different from American chocolate?

Mexican chocolate contains coarse cocoa, sugar, and other spices — usually cinnamon and sometimes nuts and spices. As mentioned, it isn’t overwhelmingly sweet. It’s actually found just as often in savory recipes as it is in desserts, quite unlike American chocolate!

I go into more detail in this Mexican chocolate edition of my Kitchen Basics series.

oaxacan pork mole negro on crispy charred tortilla

This post, originally published on Kevin is Cooking Oct. 19, 2013, was last updated with new content on February 1, 2024.

Still Hungry?

Subscribe to my Newsletter, follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube for all my latest recipes and videos.

close up: mole negro on shredded braised pork shoulder

Pork Mole Negro

4.41 from 5 votes
Mole negro is a velvety, spicy chile and chocolate sauce. Serve this Mexican sauce with tender pork, slowly simmered in spices and peppers.
Servings: 12 servings
Prep: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook: 3 hours
Total: 4 hours 30 minutes


Molé Negro Sauce

  • 4 dried Chile Negro (See Note 1)
  • 4 dried ancho chiles (See Note 2)
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 corn tortillas 8″ round size
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp anise seeds
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 4 oz Mexican chocolate cut into 4 pieces (See Note 3)
  • 4 cups chicken stock divided
  • 4 plum tomatoes quartered
  • 1 medium white onion quartered
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1 cone Piloncillo (See Note 4)
  • 3 tbsp salt



Make Molé

  • Dry toast the Negro and Ancho chiles in a sauté pan until they give off an aroma and are pliable. Remove and discard the stems. Place in a bowl and cover with warm water and let steep 15 minutes.
  • In the same sauté pan dry toast two corn tortillas slightly and set aside. Dry toast the almonds, sesame, coriander, anise seeds, cloves and cinnamon stick for a minute or two.
  • In a blender or food processor add the previous toasted tortillas, seeds, cinnamon, black pepper, garlic, Mexican chocolate and 2 cups chicken stock. Blend until a thick paste forms. Add the chopped tomatoes, onion, raisins, soaked peppers and juice from the steeping bowl. Blend until pureed.
  • Place all in a large pot. Bring to a boil and add a cone of piloncillo and the kosher salt. Simmer for 15 minutes.


  • Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Season the pork with salt and sear on all sides until brown in skillet. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup chicken stock and set aside. Add pork to the large molé cooking pot along with bell peppers, Poblano chilies, onion, garlic, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, cumin, deglazed pan juices and remaining 2 cups chicken stock. Simmer, uncovered for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or until fork tender.
  • Carefully remove meat from molé and shred. Use an immersion blender and puree mole sauce until smooth, or pour into a blender and puree.
  • Serve the shredded pork and spoon molé sauce on top along with toasted sesame seeds with tortillas. Serve with guacamole and pico de gallo.


  1. Pasilla (Spanish for “little raisin”) chiles, also known as Chile Negro, have a thin flesh with notes of berry. Pasilla chiles are the dried form of the Chilaca pepper.
  2. Ancho chiles are the dried form of the Poblano pepper.
  3. I will often double the chocolate for a richer flavor. Mexican chocolate cakes vary in size some between 3-4 ounces. 
  4. 8 oz. Mexican sugar cone, unrefined whole cane sugar. Feel free to substitute brown sugar.


Calories: 622kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 62g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 139mg | Sodium: 3182mg | Potassium: 1939mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 6748IU | Vitamin C: 79mg | Calcium: 179mg | Iron: 8mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Dinners
Cuisine: Mexican
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image (and shown): pork mole negro


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

Free Bonus
5 Secrets to True Tex Mex
Essential recipes & tips for delicious Tex Mex cooking!

email image

Explore More

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. 5 stars
    Very Nice!
    Here’s a hint, I use Masa Harina instead of the tortillas, add nutmeg, achiote molito, and roasted pine nuts in my recipe,

  2. This looks amazing! Do you think smoking the pork shoulder for a few hours would be good? Or would the smoke conflict with the mole?

  3. Hi. This looks yummy
    Just curious…do you chop the onion, bell, and poblanos before adding to pot? And, do you blend them into the final sauce with immersion blender??

      1. 3 stars
        Mole is fantastic. My only gripe is the pork being so under cooked its almost laughable. 4 hour cook time uncovered wasn’t even close. Now putting the pork in slow cooker hoping to salvage the recipe. Again, mole sauce is off the charts.

      2. I don’t see any issues with the recipe as written. What was the weight of the pork you used? I can’t imagine how when searing the pork, then braising for 4 hours, how a 6 lb boneless pork shoulder could not shred? Glad you enjoyed the mole though.

  4. 4 stars
    This reminded me of the Mole I used to get at a little Mexican restaurant in Kansas City. It was great. I had a little trouble grinding the seeds and spiced into a paste in my blender. I’ll probably try a food processor next time.

    It was a little sweet for my wife. I used two Ibarra chocolate wafers and the full cone of pilonillo. Next time I’ll probably use a partial cone. You can always add more to sweeten it up later, but you can’t take it out… 🙂

    I’ll probably also add some habaneros or other hotter chiles next time to give it a little more kick.

  5. 5 stars
    I am about to make this today… Can’t wait! I’m not a huge fan of green peppers, but live poblanos… Can I use all poblanos or should I split it up? Thanks!

    1. Hey Beth, thanks for giving this one a try. It’s so darn good! Feel free to use all poblanos if you like. The thing with moles is the sum of all parts make it, but you also have so many nuanced flavors going on one type of pepper is fine. Let me know what you think after you make it. Cheers! 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    The Pork Mole Negro was fantastic! I used Luker bitter (no sugar) as the chocolate, where one of the two 4.4 ounce bars in a package seemed like the perfect amount. I also used 1 teaspoon of powdered cinnamon instead of a cinnamon stick.

  7. Thanks for the clarification, Kevin. I added the rest of the chocolate disk, so 3.17 oz total and it’s the perfect amount of chocolate for me. This is an excellent recipe! Very complex and a nice degree of spice. Thank you!

  8. The ingredients call for 8 oz of Mexican chocolate, but I only see half of that going into the recipe. Is that correct? I’m making it now and it smells wonderful.

    1. Sorry for any confusion Kathy. Most Mexican chocolate cakes are between 3 to 4 ounces (sometimes I double it, I love the flavor, hence the 8 oz note).

  9. Hi Kevin….You mention 4 dried Pasillo and Ancho chilles for the sauce. Is that 4 of each or 2 Pasilla and 2 Ancho. Also what size corn tortillas? If I just what to make sauce and not do the pork preparation, do I need to add anything more to sauce. I see that you add more ingredients once sauce is in pot with pork. Thank you. Looking forward to making this.

    1. Hi there Amy. For the chiles it’s 4 each and as for the corn tortillas, I can only get the 8 inch size. As for the mole sauce alone, just omit the pork and continue with rest of recipe as written. Thanks for stopping by and I will update recipe to reflect. 🙂

      1. Hi Kevin. Thanks for the response. I do have another question. When you state to deglaze pork pan with chicken stock (I’m assuming it’s 2 cups) and set aside is that the same chicken stock you then add again to the big pot of mole sauce.

        Just to clarify from my previous questions. If not using pork, I omit only pork and add all remaining ingredients listed in step #8 to mole sauce and cook for 3.5 hours, then strain?

        Sorry for bothering you, I just want to do this right.

        Thank you,

      2. Amy, I’ve updated the recipe post to reflect people who would just like to make the mole on it’s own. Thanks for inquiring and I’m sure you’re not the only one so thanks for allowing me to assist. Hope you enjoy. 🙂