Filipino Chicken Adobo made easy with our step-by-step guide! Experience the authentic tangy, savory, and sweet flavors of this traditional cuisine of the Philippines at home. Perfect for anyone interested in exploring Southeast Asian dishes.

Filipino chicken adobo in a skillet.

My Experience with Chicken Adobo

The first time I ever tasted chicken adobo was when I resided in Singapore two decades ago. Our family had a live-in helper from the Philippines who delighted in preparing meals, especially Southeast Asian dishes, for us.

When she presented her traditional filipino chicken adobo for us to sample, it was an instant infatuation. I had no idea that chicken simmered in a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar could produce such a delightful flavor.

Even my picky-eating three-year-old at the time enjoyed it. From then on, this authentic Filipino chicken recipe became a regular part of our meals.

It was straightforward enough for someone like me, who was new to traditional Filipino cuisine, to replicate the authentic taste. Try this easy recipe to make the best chicken adobo, Filipino style!

Filipino chicken adobo dish served over rice.

Unique Features of Filipino Chicken Adobo

Influence of History and Culture

The culinary brilliance of Filipino Adobo lies in its blend of Spanish influence and indigenous Filipino cooking techniques. The captivating simplicity of the dish, coupled with its ability to develop richer flavors over time, makes it a treasured gem in the realm of Filipino cuisine.

Popularity of Filipino Chicken Adobo

Originating from the Philippines, Filipino Chicken Adobo has captivated palates worldwide with its distinctive tangy and savory flavors. Regarded as the national dish of the Philippines, it showcases the richness and diversity of Filipino cuisine.

Cooking Method

The recipe primarily involves marinating chicken pieces, preferably bone-in, in a flavor-packed mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, black peppercorns, and bay leaves. Similar to my devil’s chicken recipe, the marinated chicken is then simmered or braised until tender, allowing the flavors to permeate the meat and result in a dish boasting a harmonious blend of sweet, salty, and sour tastes.

Versatility of Filipino Chicken Adobo

Filipino Chicken Adobo stands out in its versatility. Although the traditional recipe calls for chicken, various adaptations with pork, beef, or even seafood are popular, reflecting the recipe’s flexibility to cater to different dietary preferences and cultures.

Authentic Filipino chicken adobo garnished with green onion in a skillet.

What Does Filipino Chicken Adobo Tastes Like?

Chicken adobo has a glaze that’s a delightful combination of savory and sweet, with a subtle tang that keeps things interesting. The distinct soy flavor shines through, complemented by the aromatic presence of garlic, which form the savory base of the dish.

Bay leaves add their unique touch, while the peppercorns provide little bursts of subtle heat, adding that extra layer of flavor to the whole experience.

Filipino chicken adobo recipe ingredients

Ingredients for Authentic Chicken Adobo Recipe

  • Chicken: Opt for bone-in chicken pieces for the best flavor and tender texture. You can use boneless chicken thighs or drumsticks as substitutes, but adjust the cooking time accordingly.
    • While boneless chicken thighs or drumsticks can be used as substitutes, keep in mind that the cooking time should be reduced. Lengthy simmering to glaze the sauce can dry out boneless chicken easily.
    • Avoid using boneless chicken breast, as they don’t absorb the sauce as well. In this recipe, a whole chicken is cut into small pieces for convenient cooking.
  • Soy sauce: This key ingredient provides the savory and umami base for the adobo sauce. It adds depth and richness to the dish.
  • Vinegar: The tangy element in the adobo sauce, vinegar balances the flavors and adds a delightful acidic note.
    • You can use white vinegar or a combination of white and rice vinegar for a nuanced taste.
  • Garlic: A crucial flavor enhancer, garlic infuses the dish with its aromatic and pungent taste. It adds a distinct savory character to the adobo sauce.
  • Bay leaves: These fragrant leaves contribute a subtle and earthy flavor to the dish. They provide a gentle herbal note that complements the other ingredients.
  • Sugar: Whether white or brown, sugar balances the flavors and add a touch of sweetness. It helps to round out the tanginess and savory profile of the adobo sauce.
  • Whole peppercorn: These little powerhouses bring a hint of heat and spice to the dish. They provide subtle pops of flavor throughout.
  • Green onion (optional): As a garnish, green onions add a fresh and vibrant touch to the finished dish. They contribute a mild onion flavor that complements the overall flavors of the adobo.

Easy Step-by-Step Guide to Making Filipino Chicken Adobo

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to creating this delightful dish in your own kitchen.

Step 1. Marinate the chicken

  • In a large zip bag, combine soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic, peppercorns, and mix well.
  • Add chicken pieces and bay leaves, then toss to ensure to coat with the marinade.
  • Let the chicken marinate for at least 20 minutes or up to overnight.

Step 2. Sear the chicken

  • Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or pot. Remove the chicken from the marinade, allowing most of the marinade to drip back into the bag (reserve the marinade).
  • Place the chicken in the hot pan and cook undisturbed for 2 minutes, until it becomes slightly brown and golden.
  • Flip the chicken and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Step 3. Simmer with marinade

  • Add the reserved marinade, including the bay leaves, to the skillet. Pour water over the chicken, and bring it to a boil.
  • Then, reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes uncovered until the sauce reduces down to a thick glaze.
  • Flip the chicken to the other side while simmering.
  • If the sauce isn’t thick enough, remove the chicken onto a plate and let the sauce simmer on its own— it will thicken more quickly. Then, return the chicken to the skillet and coat it with the glaze.
  • Serve the adobo chicken over fluffy white rice or corn rice, and garnish with chopped green onions.
Filipino chicken adobo served over white rice in a bowl.

This step-by-step guide to the homemade chicken adobo recipe aims to bring traditional Filipino cuisine into your home. I hope you love this savory, tangy, and sweet dish as much as we do.

If you try this recipe or have any variations of your own, let us know in the comments section below! And don’t forget to check out our other authentic Southeast Asian recipes and share this post on your social media. Happy cooking!

Fabulous Southeast Asian Dishes to Try

Filipino chicken adobo in a skillet.

Authentic Filipino Chicken Adobo Recipe: Easy Guide

Filipino Chicken Adobo made easy with our step-by-step guide! Experience the authentic tangy, savory, and sweet flavors of this traditional cuisine of the Philippines at home.
5 from 5 ratings

Ingredients

  • 2 lb (900 g) bone-in chicken pieces, or chicken thighs and drumsticks
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar, or brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp whole peppercorn
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
  • 1 green onion, chopped, optional garnish

Instructions 

  • In a large zip bag, combine soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic, peppercorns, and mix well. Add chicken pieces and bay leaves, then toss to ensure they are coated with the marinade. Let the chicken marinate for at least 20 minutes or up to overnight.
  • Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or pot. Remove the chicken from the marinade, allowing most of the marinade to drip back into the bag (reserve the marinade). Place the chicken in the hot pan and cook undisturbed for 2 minutes, until it becomes slightly brown and golden. Flip the chicken and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Add the reserved marinade, including the bay leaves, to the skillet. Pour water over the chicken, and bring it to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes uncovered until the sauce reduces down to a thick glaze. Flip the chicken to the other side while simmering.
  • If the sauce isn't thick enough, remove the chicken onto a plate and let the sauce simmer on its own—it will thicken more quickly. Then, return the chicken to the skillet and coat it with the glaze.
  • Serve the adobo chicken over fluffy white rice, and garnish with chopped green onions.
Calories: 591kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 46g, Fat: 41g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g, Monounsaturated Fat: 19g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 170mg, Sodium: 1814mg, Potassium: 530mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 362IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 48mg, Iron: 3mg
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