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Easy Mole Chicken (Less Than 60 Minutes)

Easy Mole Chicken made with Pumpkin Seeds and Popcorn begins with a divine nut and chile based paste that really is a simple mole.  If you have never had mole before, this is a great introduction to this classic Mexican dish.

Pumpkin Seed Chicken Mole in skillet

Chicken mole is the perfect fall dish. Cooked with nuts and spices, this earthy dish, with its succulent and savory sauce doesn’t take hours to make.

No, this isn’t the thick and rich chocolate sauce  that is found in many Mexican restaurants. This mole sauce is lighter and though it has a touch of cocoa, it is quite different than that other mole sauce.

Mole is considered a traditional sauce and marinade in Mexico. There are countless varieties. Some are green. Some are fruity. Some are a rich brown color. And some are black. Yes, mole is almost whatever you want it it to be.

Except! Most moles contain a fruit, a nut, chile peppers and an assortment of spices. This mole doesn’t contain a fruit, though a bit of pumpkin stirred in would be marvelous, too.

Chicken Mole

Chicken is what is used in this dish, though turkey is very traditional also.

To make this mole, it is as simple as toasting almonds and pumpkin seeds. Add those to the spices and chiles and combine them in a food processor until finely ground.

Now sear the chicken, remove it from the skillet, and time to make the savory sauce. Chicken broth and an onion create the liquid in the mole.

From there it’s a matter of stirring in the nut paste and simmering it with the chicken broth. The ground nuts help thicken this mole.

Mole Chicken

After this thickens just a bit, no more than 5 to 10 minutes, it’s time to add back the browned chicken to make this simple chicken mole.

Can’t get much easier than this comforting one skillet dish that can also be easily reheated if cooked ahead.

Grilling weather is quickly coming to a close in Colorado which means moving my cooking back inside where the range is the big attraction.

This pumpkin seed mole sure does remind me that Fall is in the air. With the added, but subtle heat of cumin and chilies, this mole sauce perfect for cooling temps.

Mole Chicken

What to serve with this delicious mole chicken?

In fact this made so much gravy that I could have also added in some potatoes or pumpkin to simmer. However, I chose rice to serve this over instead. 

Try this mole and let me know what you think. It certainly pleased Manservant and our neighbor friend.

Manservant said it reminded him of a roux based sauce but like I said, mole is thickened with nuts and not flour.

This easy chicken mole is soothing and comforting and some might even think it’s creamy, but no cream in this.

Just some wholesome ingredients that manage to make ordinary chicken extraordinary.

Need a Few More? 

Chicken Vesuvio

Chicken Vesuvio
Ma Po Tofu
Fresh Fried Rice with Jerky and Potato Chips

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Mole Chicken

Chicken with Pumpkin Seeds and Popcorn

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 25 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 Minutes
  • Total Time: 55 Minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Mexican


This simple, nut based, chile sauce manages to take chicken from ordinary to extraordinary. The mole sauce is savory with a hint of spice.


Units Scale

1/2 c slivered almonds

1/4 c hulled pumpkin seeds

3/4 t ground cumin

1 c popped popcorn

2 garlic cloves

4 fresh jalapenos or serranos

1 t salt

1 t ancho chile powder

1 t cocoa

1 t ground coriander

1 t black pepper

1 sliced medium sized onion

3 c chicken broth

4 bone in chicken breasts with skin or 8 bone in thighs with skin

3 T sunflower oil


Toast almonds in a dry skillet over low heat, shaking until golden. Add pumpkin seeds and toast for a few minutes but don’t burn.

Place nuts and seeds in a food processor with popcorn, garlic, chilies, salt, chile powder, cocoa, coriander and pepper. Grind to a fine textured paste.

In skillet, heat 3 T sunflower oil over medium high heat. Add chicken that has been seasoned with salt and pepper. Brown chicken and remove from skillet.

Add sliced onion to pan with chicken broth. Heat to boiling and slowly whisk in nut paste to make a gravy styled sauce. Simmer for 5-10 minutes until thickened and reduced. Whisk from time to time so that the nut paste does not stick to the bottom of the pan.

Add chicken pieces back to pan and simmer over low heat for 20-40 minutes until cooked.

To reheat: I left this in the skillet, covered it with foil and refrigerated it. Then I brought this back to room temperature, and reheated it covered in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes until gravy was bubbly. If you do want to reheat it, err on the side of chicken being a touch under cooked when you remove it from the stove top.


Notes: To make popcorn, take 1/4 c popcorn kernels, place them in a brown paper lunch bag with the top rolled down twice. Then place  in the microwave for 2 :30 minutes on high. My popcorn popped just fine and I had leftovers to eat as I cooked!




Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

All That I'm Eating

Thursday 1st of October 2020

I love mole chicken and I love the idea of it being ready quicker! Would love to try this recipe, it sounds like a winner.


Friday 2nd of October 2020

A great simple mole. Enjoy!

Karen (Back Road Journal)

Wednesday 30th of September 2020

I'm glad you brought the recipe back as I didn't see it the first time. I make a chicken with green mole and can't wait to try your recipe. While similar, it is different with the popcorn and sounds great.


Friday 2nd of October 2020

This is an unusual mole but very satisfying. Perfect for fall flavors and so much simpler than most moles! Thanks Karen!


Wednesday 30th of September 2020

Wow - it's very hard to figure out how to leave a comment. And, I feel cheated - as we didn't have this Chicken Mole in like forever.... That said, the pictures made me hungry and I want this soon. XOXO MS


Friday 2nd of October 2020

We will see about that Mr. Manservant.

Healthy World Cuisine

Tuesday 29th of September 2020

I see we loved this in 2017 and even better in 2020! Love this lighter version of the sauce that is thickened with the seeds and nuts. Super cozy and perfect fall recipe.


Friday 2nd of October 2020

Thanks Bobbi. This reminds me that I better make it again soon!

Healthy World Cuisine

Wednesday 6th of September 2017

This is a very unique recipe abbe, popcorn in the sauce. Yes, it getting cool here and time for some slow cooked stovetop and baked favorites.