Instant Pot Chicken Mole

Holy Mole!

Being I’m a Mexican food fanatic, and I’m obsessed with a great mole sauce, it was time I made one of my own.

So what exactly is a mole sauce? No, it’s not made from moles (it’s pronounced “mo-lay”) but it IS a rich and super flavorful sauce made with some wonderful and simple ingredients and then mixed together with some chocolate at the end! Yup! You read that properly. This is a sauce that goes over chicken with chocolate in it!  But not to worry or feel concerned – it isn’t quite what it may sound like nor is the chocolate overbearing or too sweet. It’s just a light hint and offsets all the other ingredients brilliantly.

The experience is truly magical where the flavors just come together in this wonderful marriage of sauce perfection. Try it yourself. It will likely become one of your favorite sauces and it’s wildly easy to make in your Instant Pot!

Here’s How I Made It!: 

Start out by taking an onion…

…and dicing it up.

Then get some chicken thighs (skinless) and season both sides with some salt & pepper.

Add some oil to the Instant Pot and heat it up.

And then briefly sear the chicken…

…flipping it over…

…so that each side gets seared.

Once all pieces are seared, remove the chicken with some tongs to a bowl and set aside.

Now, add some butter to the pot…

…and as it melts, deglaze (scrape) the bottom of the pot so any chicken remnants from searing comes up.

Once the butter’s melted, add in the onions and let cook for a few moments until lightly softened and lightly browned.

Now it’s time to add in the garlic…

…along with a few key spices such as chili powder…



…and cinnamon.

Stir the spices in very quickly (they’ll will want to stick to the bottom of the pot) so they’re nice and combined with the onion.

It’s time to get some liquid going on and to get saucy. Add in some chicken broth…

…and then immediately do a thorough deglaze of the bottom of the pot so nothing is stuck to it. Everything should come up really easily now.

We’ll also add in a can of Ro-Tel…

…and tomato sauce.

Stir everything together very well…

…and add the seared chicken back into the pot in the sauce (it’s okay if the sauce doesn’t totally cover the chicken). Secure the lid and cook at high pressure.

Once done, it’s gonna look and smell amazing.

Take some tongs and place the chicken in a serving bowl

…so it’s awaiting its moment to get dressed up in our soon-to-be amazing mole sauce.

Speaking of which, let’s shift our focus back to the pot to complete this mole.

This is the part where things may get weird to some but is what makes it a wonderful mole with incredible flavor. We’re going to add in some semi-sweet chocolate chips…

…and some peanut butter.

Stir them in until totally melded with the sauce which will darken in color.

Now, add a little heat to the pot and bring it to a bubble and then add in the cornstarch slurry.

Give everything a good stir and then turn the heat off and let the bubbles die down. The sauce will have thickened a bit at this point and is done and ready to pour over our chicken!

Drape that magnificent mole over the chicken…

…so it’s nice and smothered.

…and finish it off with some sesame seeds if you desire!

This is also great with some cotija cheese sprinkled on top and absolutely perfect over some yellow rice! The sauce mixed with the rice alone is incredible!

Try it with my Creamy Chicken Enchiladas,Refried BeansChicken Tortilla Soup or ANY of these Mexican-inspired gems that will pair up perfectly!

Instant Pot Chicken Mole
Yield: 6

Instant Pot Chicken Mole

Instant Pot Chicken Mole

A mole (pronounced "mole-ay") sauce is dark, rich and slightly bittersweet. The reason why? It contains some chocolate! I know, it sounds a little strange on paper, but one bite after it's coated some juicy chicken and you'll be hooked.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 16 minutes
Total Time 21 minutes


  • 2-4 pounds of skinless chicken thighs (bone-in or out is fine and you can use breasts too, but I love thighs for this)
  • Kosher salt, for seasoning the chicken (a few shakes)
  • Black pepper, for seasoning the chicken (a few shakes)
  • 2 tbsp (1/4 stick) of salted butter
  • 2 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 1 medium Spanish or yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp of crushed garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp of chili powder
  • 1/2 tbsp of ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of oregano
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (1/2 cup of water + 1/2 tsp of Chicken Better Than Bouillon)
  • 8 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 10 oz can of Ro-Tel
  • 1/2 cup of semisweet chocolate chips/morsels
  • 1 tbsp of smooth peanut butter (I used natural, but regular is fine too)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch + 1 tbsp of water, to form a slurry
  • Sesame seeds, for topping (optional)
  • Cotija cheese, for topping (optional)


  1. Lightly season the chicken with the salt & pepper
  2. Add the vegetable oil to the Instant Pot, hit “Sauté” and adjust so it’s on the “More” or “High” setting. Allow the oil to heat up for 3 minutes
  3. Next, add the chicken to the hot oil in the pot and sear on each side for 30-60 seconds max on each side (the chicken may want to stick to the pot when the flip it over, but just use some light force with the tongs to flip them). Remove the chicken in a bowl and set aside
  4. Then, add the butter to the pot and deglaze (scrape) the bottom of the pot as it melts with a wooden spoon/spatula, trying to get up any chicken remnants that may have stuck from the searing process. Once the butter’s melted, add in the onion and cook for about 3 minutes until softened and lightly browned, continuing to deglaze the bottom every so often
  5. Add in the garlic and chili powder, cumin, oregano and cinnamon and stir into the onions for another minute and stir constantly so the spices don’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
  6. Now, add in broth and really deglaze the bottom of the pot immediately. Everything will come up easily and nothing should be stuck to it. Add in the Ro-tel and tomato sauce, stir well so everything is blended.
  7. Add the chicken back to the pot (it doesn’t need to be totally submerged in the sauce if some is above it). Secure the lid and hi “Keep Warm/Cancel” and then hit “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” High Pressure for 8 minutes. Follow with a quick release when done
  8. When done, remove chicken with tongs and place in serving dish so the sauce is still left in the pot. Stir the chocolate chips and peanut butter into the sauce until totally melded. Hit “Keep Warm/Cancel” then “Sauté” and adjust so it’s on the “More” or “High” setting and bring it to a bubble. Add in the cornstarch slurry, allow it to bubble for a minute and then turn the pot off. The mole sauce will thicken up perfectly
  9. Pour the mole sauce over the chicken, top with some sesame seeds and crumbled Cotija cheese if using and serve as is or over rice and/or vegetables
  10. Enjoy!

Jeffrey's Tips

I know it sounds strange to add chocolate chips to a sauce, but trust me: IT WORKS and it’s what makes a mole a mole! 😉

Some people like their mole super smooth. If that’s the case, simply take an immersion blender and purée the onion and tomato into the sauce right before pouring over the chicken and serving.

Pour the sauce over some yellow rice and mix it in. TO. DIE. FOR.

Try it with my Creamy Chicken Enchiladas, Refried BeansChicken Tortilla Soup or ANY of these Mexican-inspired gems that will pair up perfectly!

Reader Interactions


  1. Jennifer Dover

    Hi Jeff, we absolutely love your recipes! Could your chicken mole be made with ground beef and beef broth instead of chicken? I’ve had beef mole at restaurants but your chicken mole is fabulous! But just wondering if ground beef can be a substitution?

  2. Ann

    I’ve been wanting to make chicken mole for years and finally did tonight. Used 3 lbs of chicken breast and then followed the recipe as listed and it was delicious! I’ll definitely make this again.

  3. Wendy

    Hi, Jeffrey! Came across your IP recipes site today and have spent the last several hours pouring over recipes, tips and comments. I haven’t used my IP in a while, but I am so re-inspired! Everything looks and sounds so easy and flavorful! A Q: on this chicken mole recipe, please: I’ve heard that many – but not all – moles use chocolate. My Mom is allergic to caffeine so she can’t have chocolate; can you recommend either to leave the semi-sweet chocolate chips out…or a great substitute for the chocolate…or another cocoa-free mole sauce to somehow incorporate into your recipe? Congrats on a wonderful website!

  4. Barb

    This is a favorite for sure. Had Chcken Mole for first time in San Antonio and LOVED it. Searched for a good recipe and found this several years ago.
    This is so good. Semi sweet chocolate and peanut butter. It’s not sweet like dessert but very savory with a little heat. Challenge your taste buds and try.


    Authentic mole includes peppers, lots of them. I remember spending hours over a 3-day period in very Hispanic Dallas trying to round up more than a dozen kinds of peppers for my authentic recipe. “One of this; two of that.” Moreover, in Mexican history, sweetness has never been the goal of chocolate. Everybody focuses on chocolate in mole because it surprises them and they think it is a candy or dessert ingredient. Far from the only ingredient in mole, chocolate is bitter, never sweet.

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