Filipino Chicken Adobo

W hen you are going to ask every Filipino what is their favourite dish, I’m sure everyone will say almost the same thing. It’s the famous Fi...

When you are going to ask every Filipino what is their favourite dish, I’m sure everyone will say almost the same thing. It’s the famous Filipino adobo recipe either pork/chicken adobo.

In this article, I will show you how to prepare and cook the Filipino chicken adobo with the best sauce that you’ll surely ask for more rice to eat with it. Your adobo depends much on the taste of your adobo sauce. If you fail on the sauce, it will affect the whole recipe. 


Adobo has been popular in the Philippines since before the Spanish colonized the Philippines. The old folks use the procedure inadobo to cook this recipe because the refrigerator and freezer were not available then. Inadobo is a way of cooking using vinegar and soy sauce. Vinegar is known to extend the shelf life of food. As long as I can remember, my grandparents used to make it then put it in a jar and keep it for a few days at room temperature.


Chicken adobo is known because of its simplicity of ingredients. It just uses chicken, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, whole peppercorn, bay leaf, oil, onion (optional) and sugar as the main ingredients. 
CHICKEN - Chicken being used is usually bone-in skin-on chicken. I use and I recommend the chicken with bone and fat particularly the drumstick and thigh. But you can use any part of the chicken like, even the breast. You can also remove the skin if you prefer to.
SOY SAUCE - You can use either dark soy sauce if you want the colour of your adobo to be darker. You can also use the lite soy sauce or less sodium soy sauce if you are more concerned about your health. It might affect the taste but not in a bad way. Although, I feel it’s the same taste as the regular one.     
GARLIC - This makes the adobo savoury, so you can use as many cloves as you can. You can use a whole head or just a few cloves of 5 cloves of garlic. 
VINEGAR - The most common type of vinegar that is usually used in adobo is white vinegar. If not available, other types can also be used like the cane vinegar or the apple cider vinegar.
ONION - Onion should be sauteed after you pan-fry your chicken.
SUGAR - It is used to balance the taste of your adobo. Some use oyster sauce instead. It is your choice.
OIL - Any kind of oil can do. It can olive oil, vegetable oil or canola oil.


Chicken adobo is the first Filipino dish that I’ve ever learned. The steps are very simple and the procedure is straightforward.

After gathering all your ingredients and preparing them, you can start preparing your marinade. This will define how good your adobo will be.

Whisk your preferred soy sauce in a bowl with the garlic. Vinegar can also be included in the marinade if you prefer to. Make sure that your garlic is crushed so the flavour will be infused. Then add your choice of chicken into it. It is recommended to marinate the chicken into the mixture overnight (up to 12 hours) to make sure that the marinade flavour will be absorbed by the chicken. Keep it in the fridge. I know this is time-consuming but this is very important to the result of your adobo.

Sometimes, you will crave for it but you don't have enough time, you can still cook adobo but be sure to simmer it for longer in a low fire to get the flavour into the chicken. If you have a choice, at least marinate it for 1-3 hours before cooking.


After marinating your chicken, remove the chicken from the marinade. Don't throw your marinade, keep it as we will use later. Pan-fry your marinated chicken at least a minute or two on both sides. This will give more flavour and make sure to give the outer part of the chicken a good sear, tough and intact. Although you can skip this step, it is recommended in this recipe. Be sure not to overcrowd your pan, so the chicken can be pan-fried nicely and get the flavour that we are at.

After pan-frying, pour the marinade into the pot. Add water and let it boil. You can also add bay leaf and your whole peppercorn at this point. Let it simmer in low heat, take note low heat until your chicken is tender.

Add the vinegar. Let it boil and don't cover the pot. After 10 minutes, you can add the sugar. Add salt if needed, according to your taste. You may not need to add any salt. Let it simmer until the sauce evaporates or lessens. This is again according to your preference. Some want dry adobo but many like it with sauce over a plate of hot steamed rice.

You can also add some vegetables into it if you prefer to like potatoes or green beans. To give a twist, coconut milk is also sometimes added in adobo sauce. Another one is adding chilli peppers or a piece of Thai chilli to give some heat on the taste.

Feel free to share how it turned to into yours. Happy cooking!


2 lbs chicken cut into serving pieces
1 head garlic, crushed, fresh
8 tablespoons soy sauce, according to your preference
3 pieces dried bay leaves
4 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon whole peppercorn
1 1/2 cups water
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt, according to your taste


1. Make your marinade by combining soy sauce and garlic in a bowl. Add chicken and mix well. Marinate and keep in the fridge for at least an hour. 

2. Remove the chicken from the marinade. Set aside the marinade for later use.

3. Heat pan and pour some oil. Pan-fry your marinated, drained and dried chicken at least 1-2 minutes each side. To dry it, dab it with a paper towel. Don't overcrowd the pan to get a good sear for each chicken.

4. Put the marinade we set aside with the garlic in the pan. Add water and let it boil.

5. Add the bay leaf and whole peppercorn. Let it simmer until the chicken is tender. 
Approximately 25-30 minutes.

6. Add the vinegar. Don't stir yet until it boils. Let it be uncovered. 

7. Then, put sugar and salt according to your taste. Simmer for at least 10 more minutes or until the sauce is less.

8. Serve hot with your hot steamed rice. Enjoy!



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Filipino Cuisines: Filipino Chicken Adobo
Filipino Chicken Adobo
Filipino Cuisines
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