Lick-the-bowl Instant Pot Chicken Mole

Chicken Mole

Chicken Mole is a great make-ahead meal. The Instant Pot makes it easy!

If a Cinco de Mayo celebration is in your future, I’ve got you covered in one word. Mole. Not to be confused with a rodent, 🐀 mole (pronounced MOH-lay) is a rich, dark Mexican sauce made from chiles, seeds, nuts, spices, vegetables and fruit.

Mole sauce ingredients

Though there are many variations of mole, the cook’s kitchen often dictates what ends up in the pot. That means the variety of chiles, both fresh and dried, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, pine nuts, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, onions, garlic, tomatoes, zucchini, basil, raisins, pineapple, plantain or bananas and chocolate contribute to the deliciousness of the concoction that is typically served with turkey, pork or chicken. These ingredients add flavor. Lots of it! But it is also filled with beneficial plant compounds. So every forkful delivers healthful benefits. Vegetables and spices reduce damage to your cells and inflammation.

  • onion
  • garlic
  • unsweetened cocoa, Chile powder, ground cumin, ground cinnamon, ground cloves
  • 1 14.5 ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes, or regular canned tomatoes
  • 1 14.5 ounce can chicken broth
  • 2 skinless, bone-in chicken quarters (leg and thigh)
  • raisins
  • chopped almonds
  • chipotle peppers
  • adobo sauce (from chipotles)
  • sesame seeds, optional

Chicken Mole

An authentic mole can take hours to make. After a bit of chopping and measuring, I turned on the Instant Pot to get Chicken Mole on the table in less than 45 minutes.

bowl of Chicken Mole with tortilla

This Chicken Mole with sesame seeds smells so good!

How to make Chicken Mole faster

The beauty of this recipes is that it’s one pot. A little extra time for the onion and spices, then you fill the Instant Pot then let it do its thing.

I use chicken legs and thighs in this recipe because they are more forgiving than the lean breast. The dark meat won’t get dry and tough if your cooking time runs a little long. Because of that, these dark pieces are good in a slow cooker or braised dish.

With the Instant Pot, if you find the chicken is undercooked because you stopped cooking a little too soon, you can repressurize the pot and add time, or cook on Saute with the lid off. The chicken is done when a food thermometer reaches 165°F.

The best way to store spices

For maximum health benefits and flavor, store spices away from heat, moisture and direct sunlight. That means out of the window, away from the stove, dishwasher and sink. When you open the jar you should get a strong scent of what’s in the jar. If the taste isn’t obvious, it’s time to replace.

Dried ground spices typically last 2-3 years, whole spices may last 4 years and dried herbs from 1 to 3 years.

A few more Instant Pot recipes to get your going:

  1. Instant Pot Apple Pumpkin Butter
  2. Instant Pot Korean Beef Lettuce Wraps
  3. Instant Pot Chicken Jambalaya
  4. Instant Pot Short Rib Ragu
  5. Instant Pot Curry Egg Salad
Make it your way

Short on time? Don’t have chicken pieces and parts on hand? Make the sauce and stir in some cooked, shredded chicken. Or serve with a pork loin or pulled pork. It’s also great with firm tofu or beans and rice. Oh, and on a taco. However you eat it, mole is a delicious celebration of Mexican culture.

Why I like Chicken Mole

  • I love the nuanced and rich flavors in this sauce!
  • Ingredients can be flexible.
  • The flavors improve with age, so mole is a magnificent make-ahead meal.
  • Rather than hours of simmering, the Instant Pot made this a pretty quick meal.
Chicken Mole in bowl with tortilla

Rather than cooking chicken, use rotisserie chicken, beans, tofu, or leftover pork

You may like these healthy Mexican-inspired recipes

MORE healthy Mexican food recipes


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bowl of Chicken Mole with tortillas


Chicken Mole

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

3 from 1 review

I serve this with warm tortillas to scoop up every drop of the sauce!

A typical mole requires simmering for several hours,  I used my Instant Pot to cook this mole in about 30 minutes.

  • Author: Judy Barbe
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Mexican


  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 14.5 ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 14.5 ounce can chicken broth
  • 2 skinless, bone-in chicken quarters (leg and thigh)
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 2 chipotle peppers, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons adobo sauce (from chipotles)
  • sesame seeds, optional


  • COMBINE garlic, cocoa, chile powder, cumin, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and cloves. Set aside.
  • COOK Press Saute on Instant Pot, add oil and onion. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in spice mixture, cook 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, chicken broth, raisins, almonds, chipotle and adobo sauce. Add chicken and nestle into the sauce. Close lid making sure Vent is closed. Cook on Manual, High for 25 minutes. Turn off, allow to vent naturally 5 minutes, then open vent valve.
  • FINISH Using tongs, pull the chicken out of the sauce, and set on a plate or cutting board. Shred meat, removing pieces of fat and gristle. Add meat back to pot. If sauce has cooled, warm for a few minutes before serving. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.


  • Serving Size: 1.5 cups
  • Calories: 290

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Instant Pot Chicken Mole


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  4. Made per recipe. A little watery, more like a stew. I suppose it would have been less so if the water was reduced. Too much heat for some but I liked the heat. All in all not bad, just not what I would call a mole. I will probably make it again with a few changes – less water, less chili powder.

    1. Author

      Thanks for the note, Mike.I like a bit of heat, too. During testing, I didn’t find mine to be watery, but know not all electric pressure cookers are alike. Sounds like you’ve found what works for you.

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