Adobo chicken is one of the most iconic dishes in Filipino cuisine. This delicious dish features tender chicken pieces marinated in a blend of soy sauce, vinegar, and spices, resulting in a savory, tangy flavor that's hard to resist. And it is much easier to make than you might think.
Are you familiar with Filipino cuisine? Unfortunately, I am not, but I kind of think this adobo chicken tastes authentic. All I know it doesn't taste anything like what I have ever cooked before and it is finger-licking delicious. It tastes like the food you get at the food court at the market somewhere in Singapore. Tender, sweet, and just a little tangy. I always wished I could cook like this and guess what, yesterday I did and I strongly encourage you to give this recipe a go. My whole family absolutely loved it and I know yours will too.
Why should you make Filipino adobo chicken
There are so many reasons why you should try this Filipino chicken dish:
- Easy to make. Adobo chicken is a an easy dish to make, with a little bit of preparation and some patience while cooking, you can have a flavorful and satisfying meal on the table in no time.
- Delicious. Adobo chicken is known for its bold, tangy, and savory flavors that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. The combination of soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and spices creates a unique and irresistible taste that's hard to replicate.
- Family- and kids-friendly. The Adobo chicken is sweet and tender and it is liked by big and small eaters alike. Furthermore, this dish is very versatile and can be customized to suit your taste preferences. You can use different cuts of chicken, and adjust the marinade ingredients to make it more sour or salty to make sure your entire family enjoys this delicious meal.
- Fun. Adobo chicken tastes like nothing you have tried before. And isn't it fun to explore new cuisine at home?
- Budget-friendly. Adobo chicken is cooked with dark chicken meat which is usually very affordable, even if you choose free-range or organic. Otherwise, this easy recipe requires only very basic ingredients.
Ingredients for Filipino Adobo Chicken marinade
The Adobo Chicken marinade is a crucial element in making this popular Filipino dish. It is a simple mixture of soy sauce, white vinegar, garlic, black peppercorns, and bay leaves, which when combined together, create a unique and delicious flavor profile.
The soy sauce provides a salty umami flavor while the vinegar adds a tangy and sour taste. But keep in mind if you are following a gluten-free diet regular soy sauce is not gluten-free. I use Tamari sauce, which tastes just like soy sauce and is free from gluten.
What chicken cuts to use?
The choice of what chicken cut to use absolutely depends on your preferences. Traditionally, Adobo Chicken is made with skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs or chicken drumsticks. I used boneless chicken thighs to make my adobo chicken because it requires a shorter cooking time.
If you prefer white chicken meat, you can use skinless chicken breasts, just keep in mind that you need to adjust the cooking time to prevent your chicken become too dry.
While chicken is definitely the most popular version of adobe, you can also use other meats such as beef or pork. Make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
How to make adobo marinade
To make the marinade, simply combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl or a resealable plastic bag. Mix the ingredients together, then add the chicken pieces, making sure they are coated evenly with the marinade. Let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or overnight.
Ingredients for Adobo Chicken
Once the chicken is marinated, it is ready to be cooked. We will need:
- extra virgin olive oil, please don't use vegetable oils in your cooking.
- garlic cloves
- small onion finely chopped (you can use the white parts of the spring onions to minimize the waste)
- organic raw sugar or coconut sugar
See the full list of ingredients in the recipe card below.
How to make adobo chicken
Cooking adobo chicken is quite easy. Once the chicken is marinated there are only a few steps to make:
- Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan or a dutch oven.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. RESERVE THE MARINADE.
- Fry the chicken pieces for 3-4 minutes on each side. Take the chicken out and set it aside. Do not wash the pan.
- Add another splash of oil to the pan and fry the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes.
- Return the chicken pieces to the pan along with the reserved marinade, and a cup of water. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook the chicken over low heat uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is very soft and tender and the sauce became thick and sticky.
Your homemade adobo chicken is ready to be served.
How to serve adobo chicken
I suggest you serve this adobo chicken over basmati rice, it is really the perfect match. Freshly cooked rice is the best way to enjoy the sweet sauce. I also made my favorite pickled cucumber salad to go with it. Sprinkle some chopped green onions, fresh cilantro, or toasted garlic to add extra flavor and texture.
If you would like to add some vegetables to our dinner plate to make it a complete meal, steamed broccoli, and bok choy are great choices.
Serve adobo chicken over cauliflower rice for a low-carb meal.
How to store
I am pretty sure this chicken will taste amazing cold the next day, but I never had a chance to test it, we don't have leftovers in our house. 🙂 But if you happened to have some, refrigerate it for up to 3-4 days. When reheating add some chicken stock or a splash of water if the sauce became too thick.
This family-friendly chicken dinner recipe is a great plan-ahead meal. You can marinate the chicken the day before, ready to go on the next day.
You can also marinate and freeze it in a freezer-safe airtight container or a zip bag. Take it out in the morning and let it defrost naturally and it will marinate while defrosting.
I hope you will enjoy this classic Filipino dish as much as we did. And if you did, please let me know in the comments below, I love hearing from you.
More quick and easy dinner recipes
The only Filipino adobo chicken recipe you will ever need
Adobo Chicken Marinade:
- 6 chicken boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 3 garlic cloves minced or finely chopped
- ⅓ cup of soy sauce I use Tamari, which is gluten-free
- ⅓ cup white vinegar
- 3 dry bay leaves or fresh if you have
- ½ teaspoons whole black peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons of organic raw sugar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion finely chopped (I actually used the white parts of the spring onions)
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup water
- Spring onions and basmati rice to serve
Make the adobo marinade
- In a medium-sized bowl combine soy sauce, white vinegar, minced garlic, and bay leaves. Add the chicken pieces, mix well so the chicken pieces are all coated with the marinade. Marinate the chicken for 30 minutes or overnight.
Cook the adobo chicken
- Take the chicken out and pat dry with some paper towels. KEEP THE MARINADE
- Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and cook the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Take the chicken out and set it aside.
- Add one tablespoon of olive oil and fry the onions and garlic for 1-2 minutes.
- Return the chicken pieces to the pan along with the remaining marinade and water, and let it simmer for 30 to 40 minutes until the chicken is very tender and the sauce became thick and sticky.
- If your sauce hasn't thickened during the cooking time, take the chicken out and simmer the sauce on its own for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken back into the frying pan and stir well so that the chicken is coated with this delicious sauce.
- Your chicken is done! Sprinkle some spring onions and serve over freshly cooked basmati rice.
Thank you so much for this fabulous recipe, which I made last evening. I wouldn’t change anything. Soooo tasty.
So happy to hear you enjoyed it, Lina!
Your recipe looks similar to how I prepare mine. Well done. But it's spelled and pronounced ADOBO!
Hi Paisley, thank you so much for letting me know! Silly mistake 🙂
And glad to hear you like the recipe! Elena
Ich mag Hänchen und freue mich immer für ein neues Rezept, Morgen werde ich es ausprobieren,danke