My recipe for Filipino chicken adobo is easy to make and delivers seriously big flavor. You only need a few simple ingredients to make this classic South Asian masterpiece that is savory, salty, sweet, spicy, and sour all at the same time.
Filipino Chicken Adobo is the national dish of the Philippines — and for good reason! This traditional dish captures the whole spectrum of intoxicatingly delicious flavors from the region.
Chicken thighs and drumsticks are marinated in a sensationally scrumptious sauce that is the signature of the dish. Bright, tangy vinegar teams up with salty, savory soy sauce, and sharp, spicy peppercorns and garlic while coconut sugar (or brown sugar) adds just the right amount of caramel-like sweetness to the mix.
After the chicken is baked in the flavorful liquid, the braising sauce is reduced down to make a truly dynamite sauce. Make this easy recipe for your next weeknight dinner and get ready to make your family swoon!
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Chicken – Go with bone-in thighs and drumsticks for the most tender and flavorful meat.
- Coconut Vinegar – This key ingredient is milder than most vinegars with a slight sweetness to it. Definitely take the time to find it if at all possible, usually at an Asian market. If you can’t, substitute with cane vinegar or a blend of pantry ingredients — find those measurements in the recipe card below.
- Soy Sauce – The ultimate umami sauce, this adds salty, savory, tangy depth to the recipe.
- Coconut Sugar – Offers just the right pop of sweetness to balance out the sour and spicy tones. Regular or brown sugar can be used instead.
- Peppercorns – Black peppercorns add a snap of peppery heat and smoky spice.
- Garlic – Adds a potent blast of zesty, pungent flavor.
- Bay Leaf – Slightly bitter with hints of mint and pine, bay leaf subtly yet powerfully balances the other flavors of the dish.
- Green Onion – Adds a fresh splash of color and a slightly pungent, slightly sharp flavor.
HOW TO MAKE FILIPINO CHICKEN ADOBO
- Transfer Chicken. Find a resealable plastic bag or a large container and put the chicken inside.
- Make the Marinade. Combine the vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, peppercorns, garlic, and bay leaf together in a bowl. Pour the entire mixture over the chicken, turning and flipping the pieces to make sure everything is coated. Place the container in the refrigerator and marinate for at least 4 hours, up to overnight.
- Preheat the Oven. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Place the chicken in a 13×9 baking dish and cover with aluminum foil.
- Bake the Chicken. Bake with the pan covered for one hour. Then, uncover, flip, and baste the chicken with the braising liquid before returning it to the oven to cook for another 30 minutes. Chicken is done baking when it has reached an internal temperature of 165°F.
- Reduce the Sauce. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it and cover with aluminum foil to keep it warm. Transfer the braising liquid to a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Continue until the sauce has thickened and reduced down by half.
- Serve & Enjoy. Pour or baste the sauce over the chicken. Serve with steamed rice and top with chopped green onions. Enjoy!
Is Filipino Adobo the Same as Mexican Adobo?
They are totally different. Filipino adobo is made with vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, and black peppercorns. It is thinner, savory, and a tad sweet. It also refers to the entire dish, including the chicken or pork simmered in the sauce.
Mexican adobo, on the other hand, refers to the sauce that is used as a marinade for various meats. It is thicker, spicier, and is made out of vinegar, salt, dried chilis, paprika, oregano, garlic, and other spices.
How Can I Thicken My Filipino Adobo?
Low and slow is the key to thicker sauce. Make sure that the stovetop is turned to low and the saucepan is gently simmering. It can take about 12-15 minutes (sometimes more) to get the liquid reduced down by half, so a little patience goes a long way. If you’ve given plenty of time and your sauce still won’t thicken, you can try adding a cornstarch slurry of 1 tablespoon of cornstarch mixed into 1 tablespoon of water.
What Goes With Filipino Chicken Adobo?
You are going to love the versatility of this recipe! While it is perfect served up traditionally with a steaming pile of fresh rice, there are lots of other ways to enjoy it. Here are a few side dish ideas to get you going:
- Yams or mashed potatoes
- Quinoa or whole grains salads like this Turkish Bulgur Salad
- Chilled Moroccan Carrot Salad or other crisp salads
- Roasted or steamed veggies
Leftovers are really useful as well. I like to toss the shredded meat into soups, on salads, or into different rice dishes.
Filipino Chicken Adobo
- Place the chicken pieces in a large container or plastic, sealable bag.
- In a bowl mix together the vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, peppercorns, garlic cloves and bay leaves. Pour this mixture over the chicken, turning to coat and seal. Refrigerate overnight or minimum 4 hours.
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Place the chicken and marinade in a 13×9″ baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. Uncover, turn the chicken, baste with braising liquid and cook uncovered for another 30 minutes or when chicken internal temp reaches 165°F.
- Remove the chicken and keep warm covered with the aluminum foil. Pour the braining liquid in a saucepan and bring to a boil, reduce by half to thicken. Season to taste. Baste and pour this over the chicken when serving with green onions and steamed rice.
- cane vinegar another not found in everyones pantry
- use 3 parts white vinegar plus 1 part water,
- use 3 parts white vinegar plus 1 part white wine vinegar
- use 3 parts white vinegar plus 1 part cider vinegar
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.