Instant Pot Chicken Mole
It takes little convincing to talk me into Mexican food. Need a partner in crime for your next taco night or Cinco de Mayo bash, or just want to hang out so that we can both pretend the other person ate all the chips? I’m your girl! My latest favorite: Instant Pot Chicken Mole.
If you’ve never had mole sauce, I couldn’t be more thrilled to introduce you.
If you have, then you are aware of how this wonderfully rich, complex sauce can transform even the most basic ingredients (shredded chicken, I am looking at you) into something extraordinary.
You also might be aware that authentic mole sauce frequently calls for 20+ ingredients and a day or more of cooking…
Which is why today we are making a cheater streamlined Instant Pot Chicken Mole recipe. It might not be 100% traditionalist approved (or even 80%), but it is unquestionably delicious and maintains the slightly sweet, smoky, and seductive flavor of authentic chicken mole.
Since discovering the tastiness and speed of these Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Tacos, this Instant Pot Mexican Casserole, and this Instant Pot Chicken and Rice, I’ve had creating other Instant Pot chicken recipes running in the back of my mind. (Get a whole roundup of Instant Pot recipes in this post: 15 Healthy Instant Pot Recipes!)
Add this weekend’s Cinco festivities, and my calling was clear: more Instant Pot chicken tacos, por favor.
Since mole sauce typically takes hours to prepare on the stove, it’s an ideal candidate for the Instant Pot. Making chicken mole in an electric pressure cooker concentrates the mole sauce’s flavors much more quickly, and the fact that the meat cooks in the Instant Pot at the same time as the sauce saves an extra step.
Ingredient-wise, I kept the most essential chicken mole components that the sauce wouldn’t taste complete without—nuts, raisins, cinnamon, cumin, and chocolate (yes, chocolate! It’s the secret to mole’s inexplicably deep flavor)—then combined them with a few “super” ingredients that have a whopping amount of flavor on their own.
The most important of the super ingredients is canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I’m hooked on these rich, smoky peppers and often use them to impart mega flavor with minimal effort. Many mole sauce recipes call for a blend of three or four different peppers…and maybe I’ll go to that much effort one day.
But for now, I’m sticking with my one-ingredient wonder.
You can find chipotle peppers in the Hispanic aisle of most grocery stores for less than $3 or online here. You’ll have a few peppers left over in the can, which you can enjoy in any one of these recipes.
The sauce ingredients go into the blender, then you dump the whole shebang right into your Instant Pot with the chicken.
The chicken cooks in just 8 minutes of pressure and will be incredibly moist and tender. It soaks up the wonderful flavors of the sauce, and, once it’s shredded, you can use it any way you like.
This Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Mole would be an ideal filling for enchiladas or quesadillas, but I love it most as mole chicken tacos or mixed with brown rice and black beans. The chicken has so much flavor on its own, it needs little else.
Happy Cinco de Mayo! Treat yourself to an extra chicken mole taco and Skinny Margarita. It’s the right thing to do.
If you are looking for more Mexican-themed menu ideas, don’t miss my entire section of Cinco de Mayo recipes.
- 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic roughly chopped
- 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces)
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce NOT two cans, just 2 peppers
- 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from the can of chipotle peppers
- 1/4 cup toasted pepitas or toasted sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
- Prepared brown rice or tortillas whole wheat or corn
- Your favorite toppings: freshly chopped cilantro avocado, sliced radishes, chopped almonds or pepitas, cheese, etc!
Set a 6-quart or larger Instant Pot or similar electric pressure cooker to SAUTE. Add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onion and sauté until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Turn off the Instant Pot and scrape the onion and garlic into a blender. Return the insert to the pot and set back to SAUTE. Add a few splashes of water, scrape up any browned bits, and discard them. You want the bottom of the Instant Pot to be fairly clean so that it does not burn. Turn off the Instant Pot.
To the blender with the onions, add the tomatoes, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, pepitas, raisins, cocoa powder, salt, cumin, and cinnamon. Blend until smooth.
Lightly coat the Instant Pot with nonstick spray and place the chicken in the Instant Pot. Pour the sauce over the top and do not stir. Cover and seal the Instant Pot. Cook on HIGH pressure for 8 minutes (for chicken breasts) or 10 minutes (for chicken thighs). Vent immediately.
Remove the chicken to a plate. Turn the Instant Pot to SAUTE and bring the sauce to a simmer. Let bubble, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is rich and thick, about 10 minutes. Place a layer of paper towels over the top as the sauce cooks to catch any splatters. While the sauce cooks, shred the chicken with two forks. Return the chicken to the pot and toss with the thickened sauce. Enjoy with any desired toppings over rice, as a filling for tacos or quesadillas, over nachos, or right out of the Instant Pot with a fork.
- To make in a slow cooker: I have not tried this method myself, but if you'd like to adapt the recipe for the crock pot, here's what I would recommend. Saute the onions and garlic in a skillet instead of the Instant Pot and proceed with the rest of step 1 and 2 to make the sauce. Place the chicken and sauce in the slow cooker as directed in step 3 and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours on high or 4 to 5 hours on low. After the chicken is cooked, transfer the sauce to a saucepan to reduce.
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