authentic filipino chicken adobo recipe

authentic filipino chicken adobo recipe

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authentic filipino chicken adobo recipe

Chicken Adobo – crazy delicious Filipino chicken adobo recipe made in one pot. Chicken Adobo is an easy dinner for the entire family.


  • 1/4 cup (65 ml) soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) white Filipino cane vinegar, or distilled white vinegar
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of a knife and peeled
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 skin-on bone-in chicken thighs


  1. Place the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, black peppercorns, and bay leaves in a large, nonreactive sauté pan, and then nestle the chicken thighs, skin side down, into the pan. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, and then cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Turn the chicken over, and then cover and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  2. Uncover the pan, and then increase the heat to high and return the sauce to a boil. While occasionally turning and basting the chicken, continue boiling the sauce, uncovered, until it is reduced by half and thickens slightly, 5–7 minutes. Serve with steamed white rice.
authentic filipino chicken adobo recipe
authentic filipino chicken adobo recipe

authentic filipino chicken adobo

Chicken braised in pungent vinegar and soy sauce with an addition of garlic and ginger.


  • 8 chicken pieces legs and thighs
  • 125ml/1/2cup soy sauce/Bragg or Kikkoman brand for gluten-free version
  • 125ml/1/2-¾cup cup rice vinegar adjust it to your taste
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 inch long piece of ginger grated
  • 5 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1-2 carrot medium, cut in large chunks
  • 3 potato medium, cut in large chunks
  • 125ml/1/2cup water
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 spring onion optional
  • 1 lime


  • In a large bowl combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, 1 tbsp of oil, 4 garlic cloves crushed, half of grated ginger, black pepper, add chicken pieces and let them marinade for 30 minutes in the fridge.
  • In a wok or a deep pan brown chicken pieces for 3 minutes on each side, might need to do that in batches not to overcrowd chicken, otherwise they will steam instead of brown. Do not discard the marinade. Chicken will not be cooked all the way through, remove it from the pan to a plate and set aside.
  • To the same pan add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil, sliced garlic and the remaining ginger, stir fry for 1 minute, do not let them brown. Add the chicken, marinade, water, bay leaves, potatoes and carrots, (the sauce will not cover the chicken entirely), turn the heat up and bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 45 minutes until carrots and potatoes are easily pierced with a fork and the chicken is cooked all the way through.
  • In a small bowl mix cornstarch with water, making sure there are no clumps and add to the sauce, mix through and let it simmer for a couple more minutes, which will allow the sauce to thicken. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, it should be thick enough to coat the pieces. If the sauce is not thick enough, cook it a bit longer until desired consistency. Sprinkle with sliced spring onion.
  • Serve with plain rice and lime wedges.
authentic filipino chicken adobo recipe
authentic filipino chicken adobo recipe

authentic filipino chicken adobo recipe

For my Filipino Chicken Adobo, chicken thighs and drumsticks are braised in coconut vinegar, soy sauce, lot of garlic, bay leaves and black peppercorns.


  • 4 lbs chicken thigh and drumsticks
  • 1 cup coconut vinegar (See Note 1)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar (See Note 2)
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 15 garlic cloves
  • 6 bay leaves (fresh preferably)


  • Place the chicken pieces in a large container or plastic, sealable bag.
  • In a bowl mix together the vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, peppercorns, garlic cloves and bay leaves. Pour this mixture over the chicken, turning to coat and seal. Refrigerate overnight or minimum 4 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 300°F.
  • Place the chicken and marinade in a 13×9″ baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. Uncover, turn the chicken, baste with braising liquid and cook uncovered for another 30 minutes or when chicken internal temp reaches 165°F.
  • Remove the chicken and keep warm covered with the aluminum foil. Pour the braining liquid in a saucepan and bring to a boil, reduce by half to thicken. Season to taste. Baste and pour this over the chicken when serving over steamed rice.
authentic filipino chicken adobo recipe
authentic filipino chicken adobo recipe

Chicken Adobo Recipe (Authentic Filipino Version)


Chicken & Marinade

  • 6 chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar 
  • 8 peeled and crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 3 dried bay leaves

 For Cooking

  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Brown sugar (optional)
  • Sliced green onions (optional)


  1. In a bowl, combine the ingredients listed under ‘Chicken & Marinade’, and marinate for at least 1 hour — best if you can do it overnight. (If only for an hour, try to flip the thighs to the other side by the 30th minute so that the whole of the chicken is well-marinated by the end of the hour. Otherwise, if you’re in a rush, it’s also fine if you can’t marinate it.)
  2. Separate the chicken pieces only from the marinade but keep the marinade mixture for use later.
  3. Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet. Once it’s hot enough, sear the chicken pieces until brown (about 1 minute on each side only to brown them up; you do not need to cook the chicken through just yet).
  4. Pour in the marinade you set aside in step #2 into the skillet. Add the water too.
  5. Bring it all to a boil and then turn the heat down to medium or low. Cover the skillet and let it simmer for about 30 minutes (you can flip the chicken around the 15th-minute mark so that the other side gets soaked in the sauce too).
  6. By now, the sauce should be thick and rich; if it’s not, you can put the heat higher so that the sauce is reduced faster. It helps to turn and baste the chicken in its own sauce once in a while to help add a bit more color to the chicken pieces.
  7. Once the sauce looks like a glaze, taste the sauce and see if it’s to your liking. If you want to make it sweeter, stir in about a teaspoon of brown sugar (optional).
  8. Serve with steamed hot rice and sprinkle sliced green onions on top (optional).

What is Adobo Chicken?

A dish and cooking process native to the Philippines, adobo refers to the method of marinating meat, seafood, or vegetables (pretty much anything!) in a combination of soy sauce and vinegar. This marinade also includes other herbs and flavorings like garlic, bay leaves, and whole peppercorns.

Cooking food in vinegar is no foreign concept to us Filipinos. In pre-colonial times, our ancestors used to cook seafood in vinegar in order to preserve their freshness. Many regard adobo as a spin on kinilaw, which is another traditional cooking method. Kinilaw refers mainly to cooking raw seafood in vinegar and spices. Another similar process is paksiw, which utilizes meat broth in vinegar and spices.

What Does Filipino Chicken Adobo Taste Like?

Heaven, if you ask me. But to be more precise, it is a dish that is intensely savoury and tangy with just a hint of sweetness. If you taste the sauce before it reduces, it will be unpleasantly sour. But as it cooks, the flavours mellow and become less sour.

Though bone-in chicken is traditionally used for this dish, I prefer to use chicken thighs. Cooked in the punchy sauce they become fork-tender and quite literally melt in your mouth. It is a beautiful dish to enjoy with your family and most definitely would be a hit if served to guests.

What to serve with Chicken Adobo?

Rice to soak up the sauce is essential! Though if you’re counting calories, I can highly recommend Cauliflower Rice – pictured in the first photo in the post alongside Smashed Cucumbers for a seriously delicious dinner plate clocking in at a grand total of just 415 calories.

You may not use all the sauce this Filipino Chicken Adobo recipe makes. It is quite strong, so have a taste before dousing your entire plate with it.

PS If you do have leftover sauce, don’t throw it out! That stuff is GOLD. I use it to make Filipino Chicken Adobo fried rice – just fry up cooked rice with chopped up pieces of this chicken, some chopped Asian greens and the sauce. The sauce is so flavoursome that you don’t need anything else!

authentic filipino chicken adobo recipe
authentic filipino chicken adobo recipe

Suggested Variations

Though incredibly easy and straightforward to make, a Filipino adobo sauce relies on the perfect balance of flavours. If you haven’t made it before, I encourage you to follow the recipe as written at least once before making any adjustments. Here are a few variations you might enjoy:

  • Use a different protein: I love this recipe with tofu! Simply drain and dry the tofu then cut into thick slices. Sear the tofu slices on both sides then proceed with the recipe. You can also use chopped up pork shoulder, squid, or even shrimp. Just make sure to adjust cooking times for more delicate protein.
  • Make it with veggies: Slabs of cauliflower or chopped eggplant would be excellent vegetables to cook in this Filipino adobo sauce. You can even combine the two or add sugar snap peas, edamame, and broccoli florets – yum! I have also made it with just mushrooms  which I absolutely love.
  • Add coconut milk: Some Filipino adobo recipes call for coconut milk. I haven’t tried it but I imagine it would be quite delicious. Here’s what I would do: Add 1 cup coconut milk but reduce the vinegar and soy each by 1/4 cup. Add the 1/2 cup of water only if necessary.
  • More garlic: Filipino adobo is made with lots of garlic. I went middle ground but some recipes double it so if garlic is your jam, go ahead and add more!
  • Add some heat: The peppercorns add minimal heat so if you want a spicier adobo sauce, add a few chopped up bird’s eye chilis or some red pepper flakes.


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