If you’ve never made homemade mole sauce at home, it’s time to give it a try. This traditional Mexican sauce is jam-packed with flavor and can be used in many ways – like in these creative turkey or chicken mole bowls.

Turkey or chicken mole bowls: Learn how to make flavorful mole sauce at home.

About The Recipe: Turkey Or Chicken Mole Bowls

Awhile back, I found a recipe for mole sauce on Carpé Season. The long and diverse ingredient list piqued my interest.

If you’ve never had mole (mo-lay) sauce, you should give it a go. It’s a traditional Mexican sauce that contains all sorts of seemingly random ingredients: Tomatoes, peppers, raisins, nuts, spices, and even chocolate.

But trust me, it all comes together in the end.

Ingredients to make homemade Mexican mole sauce.

A Simple Mole Sauce Made With Common Ingredients

This simple mole sauce recipe is a great starter recipe. It’s a little bit spicy, a little bit smoky, a little bit nutty, and a little bit sweet. To make a simple version of this Mexican sauce, you’ll need:

  • Canned tomatoes
  • Onion (red, yellow or white onion will work)
  • Dried chiles (ancho peppers – add more than suggested if you like a higher heat level!)
  • Adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • Almonds
  • Raisins
  • Chocolate
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Cumin
  • Cinnamon

There are many, many versions of mole sauce – so feel free to make some substitutions if you don’t have a particular ingredient on hand.

For example, I used chopped dates instead of raisins in my latest batch of homemade mole sauce.

Substitute a different type of nut if you don’t have almonds. Don’t have a block of bittersweet chocolate? Add a tablespoon of cocoa powder instead.

Just remember to taste and adjust as you go. You’ll come up with a version of mole sauce that works for you!

The finished sauce goes great with chicken or turkey, smothered on burritos or enchiladas, or on top of Mexican rice with a side of refried beans.

Thanksgiving leftover recipes: Turkey mole bowls

Looking at the long list of ingredients, you may be reluctant to call this a cheap recipe. But hear me out. It makes a really big batch and it freezes well.

I have made many meals out of one batch of mole sauce. I’ve made several mole “bowls”, with a random combination of leftover food items. This particular bowl featured leftover turkey, pinto and black beans, tomatoes, avocado, and scallions.

Simple homemade mole sauce: Use to make chicken or turkey mole bowls and other Mexican dishes.

How To Serve Mole Sauce

There are SO MANY ways to enjoy mole sauce. Here are a few ideas to get you going:

  • As pictured: In turkey or chicken mole bowls, with rice, avocado, red onions, and meat simmered in mole sauce. Serve with lime wedges on the side.
  • Smothered on top of a corn tortilla topped with chicken and cheese
  • Smothered on top of homemade enchiladas
  • As a base for a unique Mexican pizza (mole sauce, chicken, red onion, Mexican blend cheese)
  • As a simmer sauce for chicken or turkey
  • Drizzled on top of Mexican or Tex Mex nachos
  • Drizzled on top of pinto beans and Mexican rice
  • As a dip or topping for cheese quesadillas

The sky is the limit – once you taste the homemade mole sauce, you might come up with additional ideas. The complex flavors may inspire your inner chef!

Homemade mole sauce used to make turkey or chicken mole bowls.

I encourage you to try this recipe, make any adjustments you want based on what ingredients you have on hand and your preferred heat level, and ultimately make it your own! It makes a big batch and leftover mole sauce can be repurposed the next night or frozen for future use.

Homemade mole sauce used to make turkey or chicken mole bowls.

Turkey Or Chicken Mole Bowls

Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

First time trying mole sauce? Use it much like you would use enchilada sauce. Or get creative and use it in lieu of tomato sauce on Mexican-inspired pizza.


For mole sauce

  • 1 can (28 ounce) whole tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 dried ancho chile peppers, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 tablespoon adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3 ounces bittersweet baking chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

To assemble bowls

  • Rice
  • Black beans
  • Leftover turkey or chicken
  • Avocado
  • Red onion, sliced


  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth.
  2. Transfer sauce to a large saucepan and simmer for about 15 minutes. Choose your mole bowl ingredients and top with about 1/3 cup of sauce. Freeze any leftover sauce in an airtight container up to four months.

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