If you’re looking for an easy chicken dinner winner; look no further than this insanely delicious chicken adobo recipe. This traditional dish of the Philippines is such a flavor-forward powerhouse! Sure to be a dish that everyone will love!

chicken adobo in large cast iron pan

Hello to this easy, dreamy, weeknight-friendly, delicious chicken dinner, only! Just kidding, hello to y’all as well, ha! Seriously speaking, this chicken adobo dish really needs no words- I mean, just look at the images alone, whew. This is one of my most favorite recipes to make of all time. So ready to get into it!

Filipino-Style Chicken Adobo

For starters, what is chicken adobo? ⇢ Great question! Chicken adobo is a traditional dish of the Philippines. It consists of braising chicken in a blend of soy sauce and vinegar along with aromatics like garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves, and more. The taste is salty, vinegary, slightly sweet, and tangy with bits of heat. Filipino chicken adobo is a fairly straightforward and simple recipe to make.

What You’ll Need For This Recipe

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)

  • Chicken: I use both thighs (boneless/skinless) and drumsticks. The combination of both is typically common with chicken adobo and what I recommend. See notes below for other pieces of chicken.
  • Garlic: This is a big-time flavor bomb and staple of this signature dish- yes, my recipe calls for 12 cloves of garlic, you read that correct, ha!
  • Scallions: You may also know them as green onions, they’re used in the marinade as an aromatic as well as for garnishing the finished dish.
  • Black peppercorns: This is what adds that pop of heat in each bite. Since peppercorns are whole and not ground, they add a tiny kick in every bite. It also adds a contrast in flavor against the salty/tangy/vinegar flavors.
  • Brown sugar: A touch of sweetness to provide balance in the chicken adobo.
  • Rice vinegar: This is a vinegar made from fermented rice with a sweet + delicate taste. My recipe calls for unseasoned rice vinegar which does not have added salt/sugar, etc. Soy sauce gives plenty of saltiness already.
  • Distilled vinegar: Traditional and common household vinegar- this one has a more sour and harsher taste than rice vinegar.
  • Soy sauce: One of the main liquids that makes up the sauce, low-sodium, to control the overall saltiness.
  • Bay leaves: An aromatic leaf that gives nice flavor in braised dishes.
  • Olive oil: For searing the chicken until browned all over.
chicken adobo with white rice on small speckled plates with gold fork

How To Make Chicken Adobo

(Note: please see the recipe card directly below for the complete written instructions.)

⇢ Good news…making chicken adobo is sooo easy and sooo delicious!

  1. Marinate the chicken. Combine the chicken pieces along with all of the liquids and aromatics together. Transfer the mixture into the fridge to marinate for at least 2 hours or more preferred, overnight.
  2. Brown the chicken pieces. For big, deep flavor, searing the chicken is so important. The browning process, aka the Maillard reaction, creates a level of caramelization which further transcends the flavor development.
  3. Pour in the marinade. After the chicken pieces have been browned, add in the marinade and let it come up to a slight boil.
  4. Add the chicken. Place the chicken pieces back into the pot with the sauce.
  5. Simma, simma. Let everything simmer together for 30 minutes, then go back to the pot and flip the chicken over and continue simmering on the other side for another 30 minutes. The sauce will have thickened.
  6. Serve it up! Enjoy the chicken adobo with jasmine rice or as desired!

Let’s Talk About Chicken For This Recipe

So, earlier I mentioned that this recipe calls for boneless/skinless chicken thighs and drumsticks. When making chicken adobo, these pieces are my preference. However, feel free to use bone-in/skin-on chicken thighs if you’d like.

⇢ If using, be sure to adjust the cooking time as bone-in thighs will need to cook for longer. All other chicken pieces such as breasts and wings, I do not recommend for this chicken adobo recipe. The reason being is that chicken breasts and wings do not have as much fat which helps the glaze come together.

Here’s Why We Love Chicken Adobo

  • SO FLAVORFUL! Filipino-style chicken adobo is just damn good. The ingredients are so simple yet this recipe is so unbelievably perfect. The chicken is braised in big, bold flavors that really penetrate to the bone. I mean, you’ll be licking your fingers clean with the glaze in this dish, yessir.
  • SUPER EASY! We all love an easy but swoon-worthy meal, yes? That’s what I thought- well, this recipe comes together in a pinch! All you do is marinate the chicken, then brown, and then braise- it’s that simple.
  • MINIMAL INGREDIENTS! Not only is this recipe easy to make, but you only need a handful of ingredients to bring this chicken adobo together! It’s likely that you already have a good portion of the ingredients on hand.
  • FOOD WITH CULTURE >. I don’t know about you but we love dishes with cultural ties over this way. The monotony of everyday American food is great and all but there is nothing like enjoying a meal of cultural significance. Filipino food is one of my favorites (also, pancit and lumpia, delish!).

& psst…don’t miss my brown stew chicken, this chicken with caper cream sauce, my creamy beef pasta, and for sure these braised short ribs, ooeee.

chicken adobo in large cast iron pan with gold serving utensil

What To Serve With Chicken Adobo

Serving this Filipino Chicken Adobo with rice is an absolute must, y’all! They go hand in hand like gravy is to mashed potatoes, ha. In all seriousness, you’ll want that succulent glaze to be soaked up and rice is the perfect accompaniment. We love serving it with some fluffy jasmine rice, as pictured. You can also pair alongside cauliflower rice, brown rice, or steamed veggies for a low-carb option.

Can I Make This Recipe In The Instant Pot?

Sure thing! This chicken adobo can also be made using a pressure cooker. Here’s what to do ⇢ First, marinate the chicken as written in the recipe card, below. Then place the instant pot setting to the sauté function and add the oil. Once the oil shimmers, in batches, brown the chicken. After all the chicken has been browned, add them back into the pot along with the marinade. Next, set the instant pot to seal and pressure cook for 8 minutes.

Once done cooking, allow the IP to release all of its pressure naturally in the vent function. Remove the lid and place the IP back to the sauté function. Allow the sauce to come up to a boil, stirring every so often, for about 15-20 minutes or until thickened. Remove the bay leaves and serve!

chicken adobo with white rice on small speckled plate

Can I Make This Recipe In A Slow Cooker?

Yes, you can! If you’d like to make this chicken adobo in your crockpot, let’s do it. Here’s how it’ll go down ⇢ First, marinate the chicken as written in the recipe card, below. Next, follow steps 3-4 to brown the chicken. Lastly, place all of the browned chicken pieces along with the marinade directly into your slow cooker vessel. Set the cooker on low to cook for 5-6 hours.

One note– the sauce doesn’t get as thick in the slow cooker, you may have to bring it to a boil on the stovetop if you prefer a thicker glaze.

Storing & Reheating Chicken Adobo

Who loves them some leftovers?! Well, this filipino chicken adobo stores beautifully. The flavors actually deepen and get even more scrumptious as it sits. Store any leftovers inside of an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. Then simply reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop as needed.

chicken adobo with white rice and gold fork on speckled plate

I hope y’all enjoy this filipino-style chicken adobo recipe. Until next time! ♡

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chicken adobo in large cast iron pan

Chicken Adobo (Filipino-Style)

  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 15m
  • Cook Time: 1hr
  • Total Time: 1 hr 15m
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Asian

Description

If you’re looking for an easy chicken dinner winner; look no further than this insanely delicious chicken adobo recipe. This traditional dish of the Philippines is such a flavor-forward powerhouse! Sure to be a dish that everyone will love!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 45 boneless/skinless chicken thighs
  • 45 chicken drumsticks
  • 12 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1/3 cup chopped scallions, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 12 tablespoons olive oil, vegetable/canola oil as sub
  • jasmine rice, for serving- optional

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the chicken pieces (thighs + drumsticks), crushed garlic, scallions, peppercorns, brown sugar, rice vinegar, distilled vinegar, soy sauce, and bay leaves together. Use your hands (fitted with disposable gloves, if desired) to massage everything together- make sure all of the chicken is submerged.
  2. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to marinate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight- because we’ll need this later on, do not discard the marinade!
  3. In a large dutch oven or braiser/heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, coat the bottom of the pot with 1 tablespoon of oil.
  4. Take a few pieces of chicken out of the marinade, shaking off any excess aromatic bits, and place into the hot pan. Careful not to overcrowd the pan, work in batches. Sear the chicken on all sides until lightly browned/crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side. Then place the seared chicken pieces onto a large plate/baking sheet and set aside. Repeat this process until all of the chicken has been browned, coating the pan with more oil, as needed in between batches.
  5. Once all of the chicken has been browned and is set aside, add the reserved marinade directly into the pot along with all of the aromatics- leave nothing behind. Let the marinade come up to a slight boil and then immediately reduce the heat to low. 
  6. Add the browned chicken pieces back into the pot, spooning a bit of the marinade over the chicken. Then cover the pot with a lid and let the chicken simmer for 30 minutes. Once done, uncover the pot and carefully flip chicken pieces over, basting the chicken with the marinade once more. Cover the pot and let the chicken simmer for another 25- 30 minutes. At this stage, the sauce should have thickened and developed into a more glaze-like texture. 
  7. Remove the bay leaves and serve the chicken adobo with sauce on top of jasmine rice, and garnish with scallions, if desired. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. Please read the blog post in its entirety for more tips + tricks.
  2. Storing: Store any leftovers inside of an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. Then simply reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop as needed.
  3. Notes on sauce thickness: If you’d like your sauce to be thicker, you can make a slurry (1 tablespoon of cornstarch combined with equal parts water, mix to combine) and pour it into the sauce on stove with the chicken pieces set aside. Let it come to a boil until sauce thickens to desired consistency then add the chicken back into the pan.

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