Chicken Adobo Recipe

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chicken adobo finished under broilerWhat is adobo ?

Adobo can refer to a seasoning, a marinating liquid, a sauce or a whole dish, like in the Philippines, chicken adobo. It is said that adobo originated in the Philippines but that being said, ever country and region have their own version of adobo. The purpose of adobo was to preserve and flavor meat during the pre refrigeration times. The high amount of vinegar, salt and spices were a way to preserve the meat.

The popular adobo’s are Spanish Adobo, Mexican Adobo and Filipino Adobo. Spanish Adobo consists of paprika, oregano, salt, garlic and vinegar. Mexican Adobo consists of chilies, tomatoes, vinegar and other spices and seasonings related to the area. Filipino Adobo, probably the most popular of them all is made of vinegar, soy sauce, peppercorns, bay leaf and garlic. 3 amazing adobo varieties, all based on the same principles (vinegar, salt, seasoning) but with distinctive differences based on the locations and regions of the adobo.

Adobo Guide

Adobo Seasoning Recipe – salt, garlic powder, oregano, black pepper, turmeric, onion powder, thyme, cumin, bay leaf, paprika

Spanish Adobo Recipe – paprika, salt, vinegar, oregano, garlic

Mexican Adobo Recipe – dried whole chilies, salt, garlic, oregano, black pepper, vinegar

Filipino Adobo Recipe – soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, black peppercorns, bay leaf

Chicken Adobo Recipe

My favorite chicken adobo recipe is from the Lucky Peach cook book, 101 Easy Asian Recipes. The recipe calls for a small can of coconut milk, which brings balance to the dish by providing some sweetness to the soy sauce and vinegar.

Chicken Adobo

Lucky Peach Chicken Adobo Recipe
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: adobo, chicken adobo, filipino adobo
Servings: 4


  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 smashed garlic cloves
  • 1-2 dried chilies
  • 8 piece of chicken legs and thigh skin on and bone in
  • + cooked white rice


  • Pour the coconut milk, soy sauce, and vinegar into a large, lidded skillet and toss in the peppercorns, bay leaves, garlic, and chilies (if using Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces. Snuggling them into a single layer, the sauce should come about three-quarters of the way up the pieces (If it doesn't, add more water)
  • Return the sauce to a simmer, then cover the pan and reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook the chicken until the meat is very tender,
  • Remove the chicken pieces and continue simmering the sauce, over medium-high heat until it reduces by half and the sauce thickens a little/turns syrupy/coats a spoon, about 5 minutes. The flavor should be concentrated but not overpoweringly salty/sour.
  • Serve the chicken with cooked rice. Spoon sauce over the dish. You can also add some cilantro or green onions. Enjoy