This chicken adobo is a Filipino inspired dish made with chicken pieces simmered in a sweet and savory sauce. An easy dinner option with minimal ingredients that always gets rave reviews!

When I’m looking to dress up plain old chicken into a special meal, I turn to popular dishes such as baked chicken breast, cider glazed chicken, Moroccan chicken, Hunan chicken and this super easy chicken adobo.

A pan of chicken adobo garnished with sliced jalapeno.

Chicken adobo is one of my all time favorite ways to enjoy chicken. It’s the national dish of the Philippines for good reason! The meat is always perfectly tender in the most delicious thick and rich sauce. Best of all, this is a very simple meal to prepare, and it’s my favorite of all adobo recipes!

Chicken Adobo Ingredients

To make this recipe, you will need vegetable oil, bone-in skin-on chicken, garlic, jalapeno, white vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, black pepper and bay leaves.

How Do You Make Chicken Adobo?

Start by searing chicken pieces until they’re golden brown in a large skillet. Place the chicken in a pot or dutch oven, then pour in the sauce ingredients, which include vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, pepper and bay leaves. Add a sliced jalapeno if you like food with a little heat! Let the chicken simmer in the liquid until it’s cooked through and the adobo sauce is thick. Serve and enjoy!

Small bowls of ingredients including jalapenos, brown sugar, garlic and bay leaves.

Tips For The Perfect Dish

  • I use a blend of bone-in, skin-in chicken parts which include chicken drumsticks and chicken thighs. You can use one or the other, or use bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. The breasts are larger and will take longer to cook, so plan accordingly.
  • This dish works best with the bone-in, skin-on chicken as it tends to be more flavorful and is less prone to drying out. You can use boneless chicken but it will need less time to simmer, so adjust the cook time accordingly.
  • Use freshly ground black peppercorns for the best results.
  • The sauce should be a thick, syrup like consistency. If the sauce is not thick enough after you uncover the pan, you can remove the chicken pieces, then continue to simmer the sauce uncovered until it’s thickened.
  • For even more flavor, use the sauce components as a marinade and let the chicken soak in it for a few hours before cooking.
  • Chicken adobo will stay fresh in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days. You can also freeze it for 2 months. Thaw the chicken in the fridge overnight, then reheat it over medium heat on the stove until warmed through.
  • If you are sensitive to salt, use low sodium soy sauce. To make the recipe gluten-free, use tamari instead of soy sauce.

Quick Tip

The jalapeno in this recipe is optional – it adds a fresh flavor and a bit of spice. If you prefer, you can either omit it, or remove the ribs and seeds from the pepper before you cut it to minimize the heat.

Browned chicken pieces in a skillet.

Recipe FAQs

What does chicken adobo taste like?

Chicken adobo has a characteristically salty, sweet and sour taste. The sour is from vinegar, which pairs with soy sauce for salt, and brown sugar for sweetness. The three ingredients blend together perfectly to create a balanced and complex flavor.

What is chicken adobo made of?

Adobo consists of chicken thighs and drumsticks that simmer in a sauce of vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, soy sauce, pepper and bay leaves.

What is the difference between Mexican adobo and Filipino adobo?

Filipino adobo is a dish where the sauce is made with vinegar, soy sauce and a few other flavorings like garlic and pepper. It also tends to be a little sweeter. Mexican adobo is made with dried chilies and tends to have a thicker sauce.

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A pan of chicken with jalapenos, soy sauce and garlic.

What Is Served With Adobo?

Serve your adobo with rice for a classic preparation. You can do steamed white rice, or brown rice for a healthier option. If you’re watching your carbs, try serving your chicken over cauliflower rice. Any side dish that soaks up the sauce will also work, such as quinoa or mashed potatoes. I also like to serve a green vegetable on the side such as sauteed green beans, grilled broccoli or roasted asparagus.

Chicken adobo served with rice and green beans.

Whenever I make this chicken adobo, there are never any leftovers. It’s just that good!

More Chicken Recipes You’ll Enjoy

Chicken Adobo Video

Love This Recipe?

Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments section further down the page.

5 from 16 votes

Chicken Adobo

AuthorSara Welch
A pan of chicken adobo garnished with sliced jalapeno.
This chicken adobo is a Filipino inspired dish made with chicken pieces simmered in a sweet and savory sauce. An easy dinner option with minimal ingredients that always gets rave reviews!
Time
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Asian
Serves 6

Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces I use a mix of thighs and drumsticks
  • 2 tablespoons garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons sliced jalapeno divided use, remove ribs and seeds for less heat
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
  • 3 bay leaves

Instructions 

  • Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the chicken pieces in a single layer and cook for 4-5 minutes per side or until browned. You may need to work in batches.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan. Add the garlic and 1 tablespoon jalapeno to the pan and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  • Add the vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, pepper and bay leaves to the pan. Return the chicken to the pan.
  • Bring the chicken mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low. Cover the pan and simmer for 35-40 minutes, or until chicken is tender.
  • Remove the cover from the pan. Increase the heat to medium high. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes or until sauce has thickened and is syrupy.
  • Garnish with the remaining jalapenos, then serve.

Notes

  1. I use a blend of bone-in, skin-in chicken parts which include drumsticks and thighs. You can use one or the other, or use bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. The breasts are larger and will take longer to cook, so plan accordingly.
  2. This dish works best with the bone-in, skin-on chicken as it tends to be more flavorful and is less prone to drying out. You can use boneless chicken but it will need less time to simmer, so adjust the cook time accordingly.

Nutrition

Calories: 280kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 116mg | Sodium: 1574mg | Potassium: 348mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 58IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    We absolutely loved this chicken adobo recipe! It was so moist with the sauce and I really liked that I could mix up the chicken pieces to make it so everyone got the piece that they wanted.

  2. 5 stars
    I’m always looking for new chicken recipes and this one is amazing! So flavorful and easy to make!

  3. 5 stars
    Your recipes never disappoint and this was no exception! Love the addition of the jalapeƱos! Gave it the perfect amount of kick to an already delicious dish!

  4. 5 stars
    I love chicken for dinner and the combination of flavours here is to die for! I will be having my sister’s over for dinner on Tuesday and this is the perfect weeknight dinner recipe for me to serve them, thanks!

  5. 5 stars
    I love all of the flavors in this recipe. I’ve never had chicken adobo before, but I have a good feeling my family is going to love this! Thanks for the recipe!

  6. 5 stars
    I love this flavor combo! And appreciate the thorough description of options. I wonder if you have tried this with bone in chicken thighs? I’m thinking that could be a tasty option.

  7. 5 stars
    This is an interesting recipe. I had never heard of it. But seeing how easy it is to cook, I am going to try it soon. I just love these easy yet flavorful chicken dishes.