Chicken Adobo

chicken adobo

The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 56 mins
Marinating Time:: 30 mins
Total: 106 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
907 Calories
58g Fat
3g Carbs
85g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 907
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 58g 75%
Saturated Fat 14g 68%
Cholesterol 320mg 107%
Sodium 2872mg 125%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 85g
Vitamin C 2mg 8%
Calcium 69mg 5%
Iron 6mg 35%
Potassium 912mg 19%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

What started as a means of preservation, adobo is now considered the "National Dish of the Philippines." Due to the geographical makeup of the Philippines, adobo varies slightly from region to region but what most Filipinos agree on is that the main ingredients consist of soy sauce (or salt), vinegar, and garlic. Black peppercorns and bay leaves are also key. The main proteins used are chicken or pork or a combination of the two. You can make squid or vegetable versions as well.

Vinegar is key in making adobo. The acidity of vinegar was used to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria in the original dish, though due to modern food safety and storage methods the vinegar is now primarily valued for adding a tangy flavor. The most common vinegar used in the Philippines is cane or coconut. You can find these vinegars at your local Asian market or online. An alternate is rice wine or apple cider vinegar. I find white vinegar to be too harsh for this recipe.

The adobo cooking method is a braise typically followed by a pan-fry. At my restaurant, Kuma Inn, we finish the dish by pan-frying, but sometimes we finish it on the grill in the sally (broiler), or the deep fryer which all yield tasty results. If pan-frying is too messy at home, I would suggest finishing the dish under the broiler.

Serve chicken adobo with plain white rice or garlic fried rice.

“This is a wonderful combination of crispy, flavorful chicken and rich, tangy sauce. Great served with rice and sprinkled with scallions. Be careful when frying if your chicken pieces are still wet from the braising liquid as the oil may splatter.” —Julia Hartbeck

Chicken Adobo/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup soy sauce

  • 1 cup cane vinegar

  • 1 cup water

  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 3/4 teaspoon black peppercorns

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 3 pounds bone-in chicken parts

  • 2 cups vegetable oil

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients to make chicken adobo

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  2. In a large Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, water, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaves.

    stock pot with soy sauce, water and seasonings

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  3. Add the chicken and marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature.

    chicken marinating in a stock pot

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  4. Place the pot over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover. Cook until the chicken is tender, 30 to 40 minutes.

    chicken cooked in broth in a stock pot

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  5. Remove the chicken from the braising liquid and place on a rack to dry.

    cooked chicken on a wire rack

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  6. Increase the heat to medium-high and reduce the braising liquid until the flavors are more concentrated, about 10 minutes. This will be your sauce. Set aside until the chicken is fried.

    broth in a stock pot

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  7. Add oil to a deep, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil reaches 350 F on an instant-read thermometer, and add the chicken in batches to not crowd the pan. Fry until golden brown on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes per batch.

    chicken frying in oil

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  8. Return the chicken to the Dutch oven with the reserved sauce. Toss the chicken in the sauce, then serve.

    cooked chick in dutch oven with broth

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

Tips

  • You can use this adobo ratio/method with other proteins or vegetables. Adjust the cooking times based on the protein or vegetable used.
  • Adobo tastes even better the next day when the braising liquid has more time to marinate the chicken.

Recipe Variations

  • If you can't find cane vinegar, coconut vinegar, rice wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar can be substituted.
  • Adjust the vinegar based on how sour you like your adobo. I prefer sour.
  • In some regions of the Philippines, cooks reduce the braising liquid all the way down or add a splash of coconut milk to finish the sauce.
  • You can also spice it up with sliced Thai chilies. Add one to three chiles depending on your preference.