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Filipino Chicken Adobo

The ultimate guide to making the best Filipino Chicken Adobo. Here you will learn how to make the chicken flavorful and tender, the adobo sauce rich, fatty, garlicky, and less salty. Tips, techniques, and different adobo variations are also included.

Chicken Adobo with Eggs

Chicken Adobo

Chicken Adobo is my one kid’s favorite Filipino food. They eat this on a bi-weekly basis without a hitch. They love it with rice. My daughter specifically can’t get enough of the sauce. She’s absolutely obsessed with it!

That’s why I’m so excited that I’m finally sharing my version with all of you. I hope this becomes your favorite adobo recipe too!

How to make the best Filipino Chicken Adobo

A perfect Chicken adobo should have the perfect balance of salt, sour with a hint of sweetness. The chicken must be tender but not overcook and the sauce should be rich, fatty (yep!) and thick yet saucy enough to be poured over rice

  • Marinate chicken in the adobo marinade. Use equal parts of soy sauce and vinegar. At the minimum, I use 1/4 cup for every  1 pound of meat then I add more only when I feel like its necessary. I recommend using a measuring cup to get the balance of both ingredients right.
  • Brown the chicken in hot oil, skin side down first. This step is the key to making a rich and flavorful adobo.
  • Saute garlic and onions until soft and translucent. Add back the chicken then pour the marinade along with brown sugar, black pepper, and oyster sauce. DON’T STIR. Let it boil for a couple of minutes.
  • To make adobo saucy and not too salty, add water. Having enough liquid will allow you to cook the chicken or pork until it’s tender. I’ve seen other people add more soy sauce to increase the liquid. DON’T DO IT!
  • Cover the pot with a lid until the chicken is 80% done and only remove it to reduce the sauce into the desired consistency. Cooking with lid on, cooks the meat evenly without dispersing the liquid.
  • If the sauce has evaporated too quickly (caused by different factors such as using the wrong pot etc.) and the meat is still not tender, just add more water. IT WILL EVAPORATE (just remove the lid). So don’t worry the sauce won’t be diluted.
  • Add sugar to balance the salt and enhance the overall flavor. A couple of teaspoons will do. Of course, if you like it sweeter, just add more 🙂
  • Remember the sauce gets saltier as the sauce reduces i.e. water evaporates. Do a taste test before adding more salt or soy sauce BEFORE your adobo finishes cooking. If you end up adding too much soy, balance it with more sugar or add a small amount of water.

Filipino Chicken Adobo recipe

Best part of chicken for Adobo

Chicken thighs, legs, and wings are a crowd favorite of Adobo lovers. My daughter loves the wings, while I love the thighs. It’s meaty, moist, and has a smooth texture.

My husband, on the other hand, loves the breast part.

So to make everyone happy, I often use 1 whole chicken. Cut in 12 pieces and you’ll have 2 wings, 2 thighs, 2 breasts, and 2 bonus chicken legs!

Now onto the best parts! And they are……the skin and the bones!

Why leave them on?

The skin protects the meat so it doesn’t dry out in high heat while searing. The fat is rendered and makes the sauce rich and silky (and fatty). The bones add flavor while the chicken slowly cooks. This is one of the secrets to the best stews you’ll ever make.

how to make chicken adobo

What is the best soy sauce for adobo?

I recommend using the classic Filipino soy sauce to get that authentic adobo flavor. It can be substituted with any regular soy sauce but you will need to experiment with the amount because the saltiness does vary.

What I don’t recommend are light soy sauce/ low sodium and premium dark soy sauce. The former is doesn’t have enough flavor and color, while the latter is too dark and thick and less salty.

What is the best vinegar for adobo?

For the vinegar, I personally love using white rice vinegar (not seasoned). It’s less acidic and mild in flavor.

It can be substituted with cane vinegar, coconut vinegar, and apple cider vinegar.

Sukang Iloko is also a favorite of many Ilocanos when making adobo. It is made of sugar cane and has a unique strong acidic scent.

What to serve with chicken adobo?

Adobo is best served with warm rice. I love pairing it with boiled eggs and often atchara (Filipino pickled papaya).

Chicken Adobo Recipe

Notes and variations:

  1. To prevent the sauce from being too oily, trim-off the excess visible fat from the chicken. Use a sharp knife while carefully leaving the skin-on.
  2. Classic adobo uses dried laurel leaves or bay leaves. I don’t usually use it because I find its aroma too strong for adobo. Use it if preferred.
  3. Adobo extenders: Add chunks of potatoes or eggs. I love pairing adobo with eggs!
  4. Adobo toppings: fried onions, garlic, and fresh green onions.
  5. Add ginger! My husband’s Ilocano relatives love adding ginger to their adobo.
  6. Make it spicy by adding chopped bird’s eye chili or siling labuyo.

More Filipino recipes for your weekly menu!

Watch the video on how to make Filipino Chicken Adobo

how to make chicken adobo

Filipino Chicken Adobo

The ultimate guide to making the best Filipino Chicken Adobo. Here you will learn how to make the chicken flavorful and tender, the adobo sauce rich, fatty, garlicky and less salty. Tips, techniques and different adobo variations are also included.
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Servings: 4 -5 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 900 grams / 2 lbs chicken (cut into pieces, bone-in, and skin-on)
  • 1 bulb garlic (chopped, divided)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp vinegar (I used rice vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil (I used canola)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorn
  • 2 tsp sugar (white or brown)
  • 1 onion
  • hard-boiled eggs (optional)

Instructions

  • Place chicken pieces in a bowl. Add soy sauce, vinegar and half of the chopped garlic. Toss until each piece is coated with the marinade. Marinate for 30mins to 1 hour.
  • Heat oil in a large pot. Brown the chicken on both sides. Do this in batches if the pot is not big enough. I did mine in two batches. Transfer to a large plate.
  • Saute the remaining chopped garlic and onion until fragrant. Add back the chicken. Pour the marinade, water, oyster sauce, black pepper, and sugar. Cover with lid and cook for 20 to 30mins until chicken is tender. Use a fork to check the doneness. Add hard-boiled eggs half-way through.
  • Remove the lid and let the sauce reduce for 10mins. Taste, adjust sugar/ pepper. Serve with rice, add your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Recipe Notes and Tips:

  • Cooking time may vary depending on the size of the chicken pieces. Adjust accordingly.
  • Chicken: use skin-on, bone-in. Thighs, legs and wings are good options while whole chicken cut in pieces are highly recommended.
  • Soy sauce: Use Filipino soy sauce to get that authentic adobo flavor. It can be substituted with any regular soy sauce but you will need to experiment with the amount because the saltiness does vary.
  • Not recommended: Light soy sauce/ low sodium and premium dark soy sauce. The former is doesn’t have enough flavor and color, while the latter is too dark and thick and less salty.
  • Vinegar: white rice vinegar (not seasoned), cane vinegar, coconut vinegar, and apple cider vinegar are good options.
  • To prevent the sauce from being too oily, trim-off the excess visible fat from the chicken.
  • Aromatics: Dried laurel or bay leaves, red bell pepper and ginger can be used for variation of flavor.
  • Extenders: add chunks of potatoes and carrots and cooked with the chicken.
  • Adobo toppings: fried onions, garlic, and fresh green onions.
  • Make it spicy by adding chopped bird’s eye chili or siling labuyo.
  • Remember the sauce gets saltier as the sauce reduces i.e. water evaporates. Do a taste test before adding more salt or soy sauce BEFORE your adobo finishes cooking. If you end up adding too much soy, balance it with more sugar or add a small amount of water.
Jump to Video
Course : Main Course
Cuisine : Filipino
Keyword : adobo recipe
Nutrition Facts
Filipino Chicken Adobo
Amount Per Serving
Calories 297 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Fat 20g31%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Cholesterol 81mg27%
Sodium 1012mg44%
Potassium 290mg8%
Carbohydrates 7g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 22g44%
Vitamin A 151IU3%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Calcium 26mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. The instructions mention oyster sauce but it’s not listed in the ingredients. How much oyster sauce should I use? Thank you!

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