Filipino Chicken Adobo recipe is a classic dish of the Philippines. Enjoy juicy and tender chicken smothered in a savory, sweet glaze that goes well with white rice or noodles. I have included a video to show just how simple it is to make this dish.
A classic and a national dish of the Philippines, its popularity reached other countries rapidly. If you have chicken thighs, vinegar, soy sauce, and black peppercorns, you can make this adobo recipe in no time!
🥘 INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED
Chicken thighs: I have used skinless, boneless chicken thighs since it cooks relatively quickly. You will notice that the chicken thighs in the video look small it is because I have used farm-raised organic chicken!
Soy sauce: No need for dark soy sauce. Go for regular all-purpose soy sauce, and it’s best to use one with low sodium.
White vinegar: The authentic recipe calls for cane vinegar made from sugar cane. However, I used white vinegar, and it was perfect.
Black peppercorns: You can’t skip this spice; it helps eliminate any odor from the chicken and make the sauce flavorful.
Sugar – Brown sugar is recommended for this recipe, but you can use white sugar. We add sugar to balance the intense flavors of soy sauce and vinegar.
🔪 HOW TO MAKE
In a bowl, add all the sauce ingredients and mix well.
In a hot pan, add the oil and sear the chicken from both sides.
Remove the chicken, then add the onion and garlic and saute. Return the chicken, season with black pepper, and add peppercorn, the sauce, and water.
When the chicken is fully cooked, remove it again from the sauce and let the sauce simmer until it reduces and gets darker.
Add the chicken to the thickened sauce and cook for 30 seconds.
💭 COOKING TIPS
- If you don’t mind the extra calories, it’s best to use chicken thigh with skin. Searing the chicken will bring out a lot of flavors.
- To have more sauce to pour on the rice, don’t reduce the sauce much but make a slurry by mixing one teaspoon of cornstarch with three tablespoons of water and pouring it into the sauce while stirring. Cook the sauce until thick, and then serve. This step also works well when using regular soy sauce because it is salty, and reducing the sauce will give you a very salty sauce.
- When using chicken breast, sear both sides and do not crowd the pan with the chicken; otherwise, the chicken will lose moisture and dry.
- If you are in Japan, you’ll have more than six different types of soy sauce. Go for the all-purpose soy sauce.
- Originally, chicken adobo had cane vinegar. If you want to go all authentic and can’t find cane vinegar in the stores, order it online; however, white vinegar, rice vinegar, and apple cider vinegar work just fine.
- When serving rice, do not pour a lot of the sauce; a little will go a long way. The sauce’s taste is strong so keep that in mind.
📖 DELICIOUS VARIATIONS
Chicken Adobo tastes good as is, and it is best that you make the recipe as written in the recipe card below. In case you want to add variations then these are some suggestions.
Use chicken wings: The sauce is great with chicken and with chicken wings, it tastes even better.
Add some heat: Adding chopped green chilis will add flavor and a little heat.
Try different meat: Use thinly sliced steak pieces instead of chicken.
💬 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
It is a classic dish from the cuisine of the Philippines. Chicken adobo has different ways of cooking it. Some marinate the chicken with soy sauce and peppercorns, others cook the chicken with skin, and in some recipes, brown sugar is omitted.
Filipinos cook some of their food using vinegar to keep the food fresh as long as possible despite the tropical climate the Philippines is known for. Vinegar is mainly added in seafood dishes and chicken to maintain the flavor; the vinegar not only preserves the freshness of the dish, but for some dishes, it enhances the flavor with time; hence the leftover doesn’t taste like a leftover!
Some chicken adobo recipes call for marinating the chicken in soy sauce, garlic, and black peppercorns for an hour or two. I understand that marination brings out more flavor from the chicken. However, I also noticed that the method I use in this recipe, browning, not only enhances the taste, but the chicken absorbs all the flavors from the sauce while cooking. Instead of waiting two or three hours for the chicken to marinate, you can have your dinner ready on the table within 35 minutes.
The chicken adobo’s flavor will remind you a little of Chicken Teriyaki once that soy sauce and a hint of sweetness hit you. I’m sure you are worried about the number of peppercorns in the recipe, but soy sauce and vinegar reduce the heat and bring out more flavor from the peppercorns.
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🌡️ STORING AND REHEATING
The chicken adobo recipe is one of those dishes that tastes better with time. The white vinegar’s flavor tones down and, with time, enhances the flavor of the chicken and the sauce. Therefore, I’m not sure if we can call the leftover from the adobo chicken a leftover!
In the fridge: Place it in a plastic container, preferably an airtight container, and refrigerate for up to one week.
Filipino Chicken Adobo Recipe
- 900 gm chicken thighs skinless and boneless. Pat it dry
FOR THE SAUCE
- ⅓ cup soy sauce low sodium
- ½ cup white vinegar
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
FOR COOKING THE CHICKEN
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 5 minced garlic cloves Around 1 tablespoon
- 1 onion thinly sliced
- 1 cup hot water
- ¾ tablespoon black peppercorns
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper powder
- In a small bowl, mix all the sauce ingredients well and keep them aside.
- Heat a large pan and add oil. Add the chicken and sear from both sides. If your pan is not large, then sear the chicken in batches. When both sides of the chicken are golden, remove from the pan.
- To the remaining oil in the pan, add onion slices and fry until translucent, then add the garlic and cook on medium-low heat to prevent the garlic from burning for a few seconds.
- Return the chicken to the pan and cook for two minutes; this will allow the chicken to absorb flavors from onion and chicken. Add the black pepper powder and black peppercorns and mix for a few seconds.
- Pour the previously prepared sauce into the chicken and add one cup of hot water. Cover the pan and let it come to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat and let it simmer until the chicken is cooked.
- Remove the chicken and let the sauce reduce until it looks like glaze and a little darker.
- Return the chicken to sauce and mix for 30 seconds. Turn off heat and serve the chicken adobo with rice.