Apr 9, 2019

Filipino Chicken Adobo

Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 55 mins
Chicken adobo or adobong manok is one of the most well known Filipino dishes. Chicken thighs and drumsticks are simmered in a tangy sauce made from soy sauce and vinegar with plenty of garlic.

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Adobo actually referrs to the cooking technique of marinating the chicken in the flavorful sauce before its cooked. The sauce is sour, sweet and salty all at the same time. It can be left unreduced for a saucy version or reduced for a more sticky-glazed version – it is all a matter of preference!

Filipino Chicken Adobo

About Filipino Chicken Adobo

As with any well-known dish, everyone has their favorite version of Filipino chicken adobo – some have coconut milk, others add additional aromatics to the marinade. It’s the national dish of the Philippines after all! I prefer this paired down, more classic version of chicken adobo – it is a favorite weeknight dinner of mine. The chicken can also be substituted with other proteins and cooked in the umami-packed sauce.

This recipe comes together in under an hour with just a few ingredients and makes for an easy dinner when served with vegetables and rice. The rice is the perfect companion for the chicken as it absorbs some of the flavor and sauce. I swear the chicken is even more flavorful and tender the second day, so get excited for leftovers.

Braised filipino chicken

What you need to make this recipe

Soy sauce

I use reduced sodium soy sauce so that I can control the amount of salt in the recipe, adding more if needed.

Palm sugar

While palm sugar is considered traditional in chicken adobo, light brown sugar can also be used.

Garlic

Smashed whole cloves of garlic are added to this recipe to add garlicky flavor to the sauce which complements the soy and vinegar.

Black peppercorns

Rather than ground black pepper, whole peppercorns are used to flavor the sauce and are strained out before serving.

Canola oil

Canola oil or vegetable oil are neutral oils. Meaning, it doesn’t have its own flavor. As a result it doesn’t overpower the other flavors in this dish.

Chicken

I use a combination of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs as well as skin-on chicken drumsticks in a traditional version of this recipe. Just chicken thighs or a broken down whole chicken can be used instead. I recommend using skin-on chicken because it adds lots of flavor to the recipe. Other proteins can be used in place of chicken in this recipe in the adobo style.

Bay leaves

Aromatic whole bay leaves are added whole to add depth of flavor and removed before serving.

White vinegar

Cane vinegar is traditionally used in adobo though it can be difficult to find at more places. White vinagar is an easy, accessible swap. Cooking mellows the pungent flavor of the vinegar, but the acidity helps to flavor the meat of the chicken.

Green onion

I garnish the chicken adobo with thinly sliced green onions to add a bit of color to the chicken.

Filipino chicken adobo Chicken legs and thighs are cooked in a tangy sauce made from soy sauce vinegar and garlic in this classic recipe.

How to make this recipe

  1. Make the adobo sauce. In a large bowl whisk together the soy sauce, sugar, garlic and peppercorns.
  2. Marinate the chicken. Add the chicken to the bowl and turn to coat the chicken. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
  3. Sear the chicken. Heat a 7-quart Dutch oven over medium heat, add the oil and heat through. Add the chicken thighs skin side down and drumsticks to the pot. Sear, until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  4. Cook the chicken. Flip the chicken then pour the marinade into the pot as well as the bay leaves and simmer. Add the vinegar then lower the heat to medium-low and cover the Dutch oven, cooking until the chicken is completely cooked through.
  5. Reduce the sauce. Remove the chicken from pot and set aside. Continue to cook the sauce until syrupy and reduced, about 10 minutes. Return the chicken to the sauce and top with green onions.
  6. Serve. To serve, add rice to bowl and top with chicken. Spoon the sauce over the top.

closeup filipino chicken adobo recipe from cooking with cocktail rings

Tips for the recipe

  • Add the vinegar at the end so the chicken doesn’t become rubbery.
  • Swap the chicken for another protein in this recipe like fish or pork.
  • Chicken adobo makes great leftovers! The sauce becomes even more flavorful as it has time to meld.

closeup filipino chicken adobo recipe from cooking with cocktail rings closeup

Filipino Chicken Adobo

Print Pin
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar (or light brown sugar)
  • 10 cloves garlic, smashed
  • ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2½ -3 pounds)
  • 4 skin-on chicken drumsticks (about 1½ pounds)
  • 5 bay leaves
  • ¾ cup distilled white vinegar or cane vinegar
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced

Instructions:

  • In a large bowl whisk together the soy sauce, sugar, garlic and peppercorns. Add the chicken to the bowl and turn to coat the chicken. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
  • Heat a 7-quart Dutch oven over medium heat, add the oil and heat through. Add the chicken thighs skin side down and drumsticks to the pot. Sear, until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Flip the chicken then pour the marinade into the pot as well as the bay leaves and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the vinegar then lower the heat to medium-low and cover the Dutch oven, cooking until the chicken is completely cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken from pot and set aside. Continue to cook the sauce until syrupy and reduced, about 10 minutes. Return the chicken to the sauce and top with green onions.
  • Serve chicken over rice.

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