Filipino Chicken Adobo Recipe

Catalina Castravet
By Catalina Castravet
5 from 2 reviews

Filipino Chicken Adobo is a savory Asian dish marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, and spices. It’s then simmered down to a delicious glaze that penetrates deeply into the meat. Addictive and delicious served over hot white rice!

For more Asian-inspired meals, try this smoky Korean Beef Bulgogi, the Best Hunan Beef Recipe you’ll ever make, and Teriyaki Salmon with Homemade Teriyaki Sauce for a lighter option.

chicken adobo with rice

Filipino Style Chicken Adobo 

Filipino Chicken Adobo is synonymous with the Philippines. When I searched must-make Filipino recipes, this was the hands-down the winner. Everyone I know who’s tried it or been to that beautiful country can’t stop raving about this dish. So, I had no choice but to try it myself!

Well, folks, all of them were right! This dish is next-level delicious and healthy. The marinade and braising method transform humble ingredients into one amazing meal. Also, this is an easy recipe that yields juicy, tender chicken coated in a sweet and savory glaze.

You can make it with thighs or boneless breasts, the result will be equally delicious. It is the perfect dinner for busy weekdays that is incredibly tasty and affordable. If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, this tastes even more amazing the next day!

filipino chicken adobo ingredients

What is Chicken Adobo?

There’s adobo seasoning, and then there’s adobo. One is an all-purpose seasoning made with a mix of spices like cumin, garlic powder, oregano, onion powder, and chili powder. The other is a cooking method.

You see, food goes bad quickly in tropical countries like the Philippines. To counteract this, this cooking method involves a soy sauce and vinegar marinade. This briny soak helps make the dish last longer.

It’s then braised slowly until that marinade becomes a salty glaze with a tanginess that coats every bit of the meat. If you ask me, that flavorful sauce is the best part!

Filipino Chicken Adobo Ingredients:

Soy sauce and vinegar form the base of the marinade. To this, you’ll add garlic cloves, a bit of salt, ground pepper, and bay leaves. Don’t forget the bay leaves! You need it for that distinctive adobo taste.

Drumsticks and thighs are the best cuts to use for this recipe. I encourage you to stick to these cuts. The fatty skin renders into the sauce and adds moisture and richness to the dish.

Prepare some canola oil for searing the meat. Mince more garlic and onions. Measure out one cup of water. Mellowing out the saltiness is a small amount of brown sugar.

Set some chopped green onions aside for garnish.

steps how to make filipino chicken adobo

How to make Filipino Chicken Adobo?

  1. Marinate the meat: I recommend marinating it for about half an hour. If you are in a hurry, feel free to skip this step. However, marinating it will result in a juicier and more flavorful chicken. Once marinated, remove and pat it dry. Reserve the liquid.
  2. Sear the chicken: Sear the meat until brown. Set aside.
  3. Prepare the sauce and cook it: Caramelize the onion, then the garlic, and add the sugar. Next, pour the remaining marinade and water. Bring to a boil, then return the meat to the skillet. Turn down the heat until a reduced sauce forms.
  4. Serve it: Served with chopped green onions on top.

Recipe Variations and substitutions:

  • Add red chilies for a spicier version
  • Make it creamier with coconut milk
  • Also, feel free to substitute honey in place of brown sugar
  • Swap white vinegar with cane vinegar, rice vinegar, or coconut vinegar
  • Use other proteins like pork and beef
  • Throw in some sliced ginger to the aromatics
  • Braise the meat with potato chunks
  • Add turmeric powder for a curry-like adobo
  • Add fried tofu
  • Flake the meat and fry it for a crispy topping for salads, burgers, and sandwiches

filipino chicken adobo with rice and sauce

What to serve with Filipino Chicken Adobo?

Because adobo has a salty flavor profile, go easy on the salt for your side dishes.

This dish is traditionally served over fluffy white rice. Also, it goes well with brown rice. For more fiber or something more special, pair it with Coconut Rice.

I also like serving it with plain quinoa, Perfectly Creamy Mashed Potatoes, steamed broccoli, or a simple arugula salad on the side.

More chicken recipes:

filipino chicken adobo

Storing Instructions:

This dish is tastier the next day because those flavors really come together. Also, it’s an excellent recipe for meal prepping. Just serve with sides for each day!

  • To refrigerate: first, cool leftovers completely. Then, store in the fridge for up to 4 days. 
  • To freeze: user a freezer-safe dish, or an airtight container. Freeze for up to 3 months. 

Recipe Tips:

  • Use low-sodium soy sauce to reduce the salt level. Do not use dark soy sauce because it is too intense for the sauce. 
  • Marinate the chicken overnight so the flavors really penetrate into it. I recommend using the thighs or drumsticks.
  • As much as possible, don’t use breast parts because it can get dry.
  • The bay leaf is essential to the flavor, so remember to add it in.
  • Also, you can skip searing the meat if you prefer.
  • For more vitamins, throw in some spinach at the end of cooking. 
  • Love garlic? Double the amount in the recipe!
Save Recipe
5 from 2 reviews

Filipino Chicken Adobo

Author: Catalina Castravet Serves: 4 servings
Prep time: 1 hour Cook time: 45 minutes Total time: 1 hr 45 mins



Nutrition information

Calories: 554 Carbohydrates: 11 Protein: 33 Fat: 40 Saturated Fat: 9 Cholesterol: 189 Sodium: 2129 Potassium: 484 Fiber: 1 Sugar: 7 Vitamin A: 150 Vitamin C: 3 Calcium: 42 Iron: 2
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Leave a reply

Lisa Joy Thompson

This looks amazing! My husband and I are always searching for new chicken and rice dishes and this looks like a winner!


Ryan Escat

I'm flattered that you love our famous Filipino Dish! That's one of my favorites dishes and your recipe is really amazing! Glad you loved it.



I have never tried chicken adobo before. I'll have to make it though because this looks amazing. I also really enjoy chicken. It's one of my favorite meats.


Toni Dash

I love chicken adobo, too!! I tried it and it instantly became a favorite meal at my house!



I grew up eating deep brown adobo so I use dark soy sauce. Lessen or eliminate the salt if there is concern for sodium intake. There are many regional and personal variations of this dish so feel free to experiment.



This chicken adobo recipe looks so delish! I love making different kinds of chicken recipes and this one is so mouth watering! YUM!


Jomar Haboc

You can also add boiled eggs.


Anne Marie

I like that your recipe uses chicken thighs, because this cut is more economical


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