Filipino Chicken Adobo Recipe

Chicken Adobo is a type of Filipino chicken stew. Chicken pieces are marinated in soy sauce and spices, pan-fried, and stewed until tender. The dish gained popularity because of its delicious taste and ease in preparation. It tastes just right and the cooking time is around 30 minutes. The best way to eat chicken adobo is to have it with warm white rice. The combo is simply known as Chicken Adobo and Rice. Pouring some of the adobo sauce over rice before eating is a good idea because it makes it more flavorful.

Chicken Adobo Origin

The famous Chicken Adobo originated in the Philippines. The dish is prepared using the Inadobo style of cooking. It means cooking meat or seafood with vinegar and mostly soy sauce. It is a popular method during the olden days when refrigerators and freezers were not yet available because vinegar helps extend the shelf life of food. Another popular variation is pork adobo using pork belly,

How to Cook Chicken Adobo

Cooking Chicken Adobo is quick and simple. This recipe suggests marinating the chicken to make it more flavorful. It is the best way to go if you want to experience authentic Filipino chicken adobo. If you are in a hurry, feel free to skip this step, but make sure to simmer the chicken longer than 30 minutes to better extract the flavors from it.

Start by marinating the chicken in soy sauce and garlic. The garlic needs to be crushed for best results. This process takes 1 hour to 12 hours depending on how flavorful you want the dish to be. Sometimes marinating for an hour is not enough. I think that 3 hours is optimal. The chicken absorbs most of the flavors from the soy sauce and garlic during this step. It is noticeable when you taste the dish after cooking. Note that it is also possible to include the vinegar in this step.


The next step is to separate the chicken from the marinade. Make sure to set the marinade aside because it will be used later on. Pan-fry the chicken pieces for 1 to 1 ½ minutes per side. This will partially cook the outer part. It also makes the skin tough enough to withstand stewing later. This means that it will remain intact, which is nice for presentation.

Pour marinade into the pot and add water. Let boil. The bay leaves and whole peppercorn can now be added. The process takes 20 to 25 minutes depending on the quality of the chicken. However, feel free to cook longer in low heat for a super tender chicken adobo.

Add the vinegar. This can also be added as a part of the marinade. Let it cook for 10 minutes and then add sugar and salt. I only add salt if needed. It is important to taste your dish before adding seasonings.

Filipino chicken adobo can be served with or without sauce. If you like it very tasty then continue to cook on an uncovered cooking pot until the liquid completely evaporates.

Cooking Tips and Alternative Ingredients

Marinating the chicken adds flavor to it. It can be a time consuming process depending on how you view the situation. Since I cook this often for my family, I usually prepare the chicken ahead of time. I marinate 3 batches of chicken pieces the night before I cook the first batch. Keep the remaining marinated chicken in the freezer for later use.

  • Use any chicken part when cooking Filipino chicken adobo. The common parts that I use are thigh, drumstick, and breast.
  • Dark Soy Sauce is common when for adobo. However, you may use any kind of soy sauce that you prefer. Using light soy sauce is not bad. Coconut aminos will also work.
  • White vinegar is commonly used. Cane vinegar and apple cider vinegar works too.
  • Garlic helps make adobo delicious. Use as many garlic as you prefer.
  • Onions can also be used for chicken adobo. If this is the case, it will need to be sautéed after pan frying the chicken.


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