Spicy Mole Chili

As the self-proclaimed queen of procrastination, I have something to confess.

Instead of getting this post ready in 30 minutes, which was my goal, I’ve stretched it out to over an hour and a half now. Not because I’m doing anything related to this…mostly because I got sucked in by YouTube.


And after watching an hour and a half of random videos, I’ve made some pretty big life decisions.

1. I would like John Krasinski and Emily Blunt to be our neighbors. Could you imagine the dinners and cook outs? Jim, next door. I can’t even handle it.

2. Joseph Gordon Levitt can do no wrong. Ever. And why don’t more guys wear vests? Am I the only one that likes that look?

3. If there is ever a movie made about my life (which would be pretty boring considering I just watched an hour and a half of youtube videos…), I want Anna Kendrick to play me. Or maybe I just want to be her in my next life. She is awesome – good hair, great skin, a closet full of clothes I want, and the comedic timing I’ve always wished for. And she sings. Done!


Second big confession – I don’t think I’ve ever made a real mole sauce! But I think it’s time.

This chili is a fake-out mole. Real mole sauce is made with all kinds of chiles, nuts, and seeds that are cooked and pureed into a silky sauce that’s sitting on the edge between sweet and savory.

I didn’t use the nuts or seeds in this, but the mix of spices and cocoa powder gives you that mole flavor without having to let this cook for hours.


If you’re not a fan of unsweetened cocoa powder but still want that bit of depth from the chocolate in your mole chili, throw in a few pieces of semi-sweet chocolate and let it melt in.

It feels totally wrong to throw chocolate into a pot of chili…but believe me, you’ll be happy you did. This is one way to eat chocolate for dinner and not feel bad about it.

OH – and if you’re totally nosy like I am, make sure to check out {a day in the life} with me over at Rachel Cooks! I love that girl and am so excited to be featured!


Spicy Mole Chili
Makes: 6-8 servings


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium peppers, cored, deseeded, and diced (spicy or not – use your favorites! I love using red peppers and poblanos)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ground buffalo or ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or less, if you like it less spicy)
  • 1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed


  1. In a large pot, heat the oil on medium heat and add the diced onion and peppers.
  2. Let the veggies cook for 3-5 minutes until they begin to soften. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
  3. Crumble the beef or buffalo into the pot and cook, stirring to break up the meat while it browns. Let the meat cook for 6-7 minutes until the juices are running clear and the meat is browned.
  4. Stir the tomato paste into the meat and cook for 3-4 minutes on medium heat. You’ll be able to smell the tomato paste cooking into the meat and vegetables.
  5. Add the chili powder, cocoa powder, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and cayenne to the pot and stir the seasonings into the meat. Let this cook for another 3-4 minutes until you can smell the spices.
  6. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, beef broth, kidney, pinto, and cannellini beans into the chili. Bring the chili to a simmer and cook for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors develop.


  1. I heart chili in any form or fashion – this sounds so warm and comforting!

  2. Oh I want a big bowl of this so much right now! I’m definitely going to make this soon.

  3. Sounds so bizarre yet so good!

  4. One of my favorite chili recipes calls for cocoa powder and coconut. Not something you would consider in a chili but it’s incredible!

  5. When I made spaghetti the other night i made my own marinara and threw in a little bit of cinnamon. I didn’t know how it would go over with the family but they loved it! I’m guessing it’s kind of like putting cocoa in your chili! I can’t wait to try your recipe!

  6. Ummmmm I just want to say Yes, Definitely Yes, Yes, and Yum.

  7. I LOOOOVE mole sauce and I’d really like to make out with this bowl right now.

  8. This looks all too delicious! And I’m sick today, so I totally need chili to kick it out of my system ;)

  9. I have never made or eaten mole sauce. I have heard mixed things about it so always been hesitant. Reading your posts and from other readers, I am tempted to try this out. looks so heart and delicious

  10. What tha? I love this. I need to ask permission to make it and add some Chocolate Stout. Oh, and I have this odd crush on Joseph Gordon Levitt, I would watch him in anything.

    • Yes to the chocolate stout! And then bring it to my house so we can taste test it. And double yes to JGL. I think we’ve seen almost all his movies – they’re all so good! If you haven’t seen Brick or the Lookout, you need to.

  11. I recently made cheater mole sauce for enchiladas and it was AWESOME!

  12. My husband would lose his head over this! I guess I should make it for him.

  13. this looks so amazingly good. i love how hearty it is and the FLAVORS. oh man, i need to make this! pinning!

  14. MOLE!!!! I could drink this. I love it so much.

  15. I love your recipes, just found your sight when perusing through WW magazine. Also saw a recipe you posted on skinny taste. You do not post calories etc…so its up to me to make adjustments to keep the points low…
    Great blog none the less!!…
    Happy New Year!

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