This chicken adobo recipe features braised chicken thighs in a flavorful, savory, tangy glaze. Made with simple ingredients, it makes a fast and satisfying dinner.
Chicken thighs are one of the most versatile chicken cuts to cook.
If we keep things simple, we tend to air fry it or cook it in the sous vide machine. However, when we feel like enjoying something a little more fancy and impressive, we alternate between Huli Huli chicken and chicken adobo.
What does chicken adobo taste like?
Popular in the Philippines, chicken adobo is a recipe loved by anyone who enjoys juicy chicken in sauce. Thanks to the flavorful marinade that is then cooked down to a delicious glaze, this dish is perfect over some rice, or for a low carb version, try cauliflower rice.
Due to the ingredients used in the adobo sauce, the chicken turns out salty and spicy, with a hint of sweet and sour flavors.
Why this recipe works
- Simple and easy. This dish doesn’t call for any special ingredients and has an inherently easy preparation process.
- Versatile. Like almost all chicken dishes, this one is very versatile. It makes a wholesome dinner paired with a range of different vegetables and grains.
- Juicy and tender chicken. No matter your chicken cut, the meat turns out very juicy and flavorful. Marinating the chicken in vinegar and various aromatics is the secret to tender chicken adobo.
- Ready in under 30 minutes. This is the kind of chicken dinner you can make on busy weeknights.
What is chicken adobo made of?
Besides chicken thighs and some seasonings, there really isn’t much else that goes into making this recipe. Here is what you’ll need:
- Chicken thighs. Bone-in skin-on chicken thighs create a rich chicken flavor.
- Vinegar. Apple cider vinegar and white vinegar both work well for this recipe.
- Soy sauce. Dark or regular soy sauce will work.
- Garlic. Minced.
- Ginger. Grated.
- Onion. Sliced.
- Red chilies. Sliced and seeded. Adjust the number of chilies depending on how spicy you want the stew to be.
- Bay leaves. To further enhance the flavor of the stew and give it an herbal aroma.
- Brown sugar. Measure it firmly packed in the cup.
- Black peppercorns. To give the stew a peppery kick. You can remove the peppercorns when serving the dish.
- Chicken broth. Homemade or store-bought.
How to cook chicken adobo
This is the ultimate hands-off recipe, and the prep work is minimal. Ready to whip up some chicken?
Step 1 – Marinate the chicken
Start by adding all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix until fully combined. Add the chicken thighs, give them a quick mix, and allow them to marinate for at least 5 minutes.
Step 2 – Cook the chicken in sauce
Transfer the chicken in the marinade into a deep pot and turn on the high heat. Bring the liquid to a boil and allow the chicken to cook on medium heat for around 20 minutes.
Step 3 – Simmer the sauce until it thickens
After 20 minutes, remove the chicken thighs and simmer the sauce until it thickens. Bring back the chicken and cook everything for 5 minutes or until the chicken is glazed.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Sear the chicken. Browning the chicken first helps create a deeper flavor base for the dish. It also helps crisp up the skin on the chicken thighs.
- Don’t skip the marinating step. Marinating the meat for at least 30 minutes is essential if you want to make the chicken juicy, tender, and flavorful. If you are planning to marinate the meat longer, put it in the fridge.
- Cook on medium heat. Don’t cook the dish on high heat from beginning to end, attempting to shorten the cooking time. Cooking the meat on medium heat ensures it’s evenly cooked and juicy.
- Don’t omit any ingredients. For the best flavor and aroma, don’t leave out any ingredients. The flavor profile of chicken adobo is a balanced combination of sweet, salty, sour, and savory flavors.
To store. Transfer leftovers to an airtight container as soon as it cools, and refrigerate them for up to 5 days.
To freeze. Freeze the chicken for up to 3 months.
To reheat. You can reheat the chicken in the microwave or on the stove over medium heat. Add a splash of water or broth if needed.
More recipes to try
If you enjoy this Filipino chicken adobe recipe, you’ll like to try these recipes too:
Frequently asked questions
The word adobo refers to flavoring food in a sauce or marinade consisting of vinegar, garlic, various herbs, and spices. While cooking in adobo sauce is popular in Mexican cuisine too, chicken adobo is a traditional Filipino dish.
Chicken thighs are fattier and richer in flavor and work perfectly for this dish. But you can also use chicken breast, drumsticks, and chicken wings.
This recipe goes well with a variety of side dishes. While rice is a staple, we like to change things up by pairing it with some hearty salads (rice salad or orzo salad) or over a bed of mashed cauliflower.
The traditional chicken adobo recipe doesn’t have any potatoes. However, you can add them to your chicken stew if you like. To cook chicken adobo with potatoes, peel and cut them into large cubes or wedges and let pan fry them for several minutes. Add them to the sauce simultaneously as the chicken but do not remove them once the chicken cooks.
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- Add all the ingredients, except for the chicken thighs, into a large mixing bowl and mix until combined. Add the chicken thighs and let it sit for 5 minutes, to marinate.
- Transfer everything into a deep saucepan or pot and place over hot heat. Bring it to a boil, then reduce it to medium and let everything simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and allow the sauce to continue to simmer until it reduces and thickens.
- Return the chicken to the pan and cook everything together for a further 5 minutes, or until the chicken is glazed.
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