Chicken Adobo

October 11, 2018
22 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
Author Notes

This garlicky, vinegary chicken adobo is a beloved dish in the Philippines—and a weeknight staple in my house. Cooking it for my family is just one of the ways I preserve my Filipino heritage and culture for my kids. Traditional recipes will have you simmer the whole thing on the stove top, but I find that braising it in the oven yields more tender meat—and less cleanup. If chicken isn’t your thing, feel free to swap in pork or beef (so long as it’s bone-in), or make the whole thing vegetarian; if you go that route, pick something that can stand up to the braising, like broccoli, cauliflowers or carrots. —Amelia Rampe

Test Kitchen Notes

This chicken adobo is well-seasoned, flavorful, and absolutely delicious. I stored the leftovers in a container with the remaining sauce from the dish, and the next day it was too salty (probably because it was bathing in it all night!) Place any leftover chicken in one container and the adobo sauce in a separate container. Reheat separately, and spoon desired amount of sauce over the chicken. —KristinaVanni

Watch This Recipe
Chicken Adobo
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
  • 8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper, plus 1 tablespoon, divided
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce, plus 3/4 cup, divided
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar (Demerara sugar will also work)
  • 1 head garlic, cloves peeled, thinly sliced (about 15 cloves)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 pinch red chile flakes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 cups steamed white rice (for serving)
  • 4 scallion greens, sliced on a diagonal (to garnish)
In This Recipe
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Season chicken thighs with 1/4 cup soy sauce and a pinch of black pepper.
  2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches if necessary, sear the chicken, skin-side down, until the skin starts to brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Set the seared chicken aside on a plate.
  3. To the Dutch oven, add the 3/4 cup soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, garlic, 1 tablespoon black pepper, bay leaves, red chili flake, and 1/2 cup water; bring to a simmer. Return the chicken and accumulated juices to the pan, skin-side up. Cover Dutch oven and transfer to the oven and braise until chicken is cooked through, but not falling apart, about 45 minutes. At this point, the garlic will also be very tender and there will be some chicken fat on the surface.
  4. Remove the lid and continue to braise in the oven, uncovered, until the meat is very tender and the liquid has reduced to more of a glaze, about 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove from the oven and skim the surface of the liquid to remove some of the fat that has accumulated.
  5. Serve the chicken over rice. Spoon extra sauce on top, if you like, then garnish with the scallions.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Anna Fiore
    Anna Fiore
  • Alexis Petre
    Alexis Petre
  • Mary-Ann
  • Wendy Prior
    Wendy Prior
  • marydtoombs

24 Reviews

Anna F. March 24, 2021
Hi Amelia-- thanks for sharing your family recipe! Made a great meal last night. Served over rice with a side of cucumber and tomato for some crisp freshness.

I didn't have the saltiness issue others commented about; I used low sodium soy sauce. The only problem I had was that it took quite awhile for the sauce to cook down, but I think it's a factor of my oven's temperature. I just put it back on the stovetop to reduce a bit further for 10-15mins.
Sternbp2 October 6, 2020
I followed this recipe to a tee. It was a failure. It was so salty it was inedible. I threw out the remainder of our dinners and the leftovers. Any suggestions on what may have gone wrong?
Mary-Ann October 6, 2020
1 cup soy sauce for 8 pieces of chicken is a lot. Not all soy sauce are equal in salt concentration. But the vinegar is 1 cup. Suggest you cut the soy sauce by half and go from there.
cpc October 7, 2020
I always buy reduced salt soy sauce or tamari so I've never noticed this being too salty. Since that's the only salty ingredient here, maybe try it next time with a lower sodium soy sauce. Some palates are more sensitive to salt so you may find that you could use 3/4 cup total of soy and use 1/4 cup water or chicken stock to make up the difference in liquid while reducing the sodium.
Sternbp2 October 6, 2020
I followed this recipe to a tee. It was a dismal failure. We threw out the remaining chicken. It was so salty it was inedible. Any suggestions on where this went wrong? I was surprised by all the positive reviews based on my experience.
Alexis P. October 1, 2020
Was blown away by the flavors developed in this recipe. My dinner guests still talk about this dish
Mary-Ann September 13, 2020
Although the Filipino adobo is ubiquitous in just about every Filipino household, it’s also highly regional. In other regions, instead of soy sauce, the salting agent used is fish sauce, although it’s not a straight substitution. The fish sauce adds another dimension of umami to the dish. In another region, a small amount of coconut milk is added towards the end of the simmer for a new level of taste and flavor.

I agree with the writer that braising in the oven as opposed to stovetop cooking results in a far more tender, juicy, and flavorful dish.
Angela H. September 6, 2020
I've made this four times now and absolutely love it! The only changes I make is I use boneless skinless thighs. So far I haven't figured out how to get my sauce to thicken much, but it's so good I don't care.
Wendy P. August 24, 2020
I’ve made this two times previously and the family LOVED it! Today I am putting in the crock pot and hope for another great outcome- too hot to use the oven! The sauce never becomes a glaze so I’ll try to figure that out too..
Fiona B. April 21, 2021
I'm interested in how this worked in the crockpot. Please share times, temps, etc.!
marydtoombs July 1, 2020
Made this tonight by following the directions to a T and we all (including my picky teen) loved it! Is there a vegetable side that’s typically served with Adobo?
Sara L. July 5, 2020
Raw tomatoes (cherry tomatoes are a personal favourite) are typically paired with adobo. It neutralises the strong flavours of the soy and vinegar. Enjoy!
marydtoombs July 5, 2020
Thank you! Makes sense to have something fresh with it!
Rochelle September 15, 2020
Thank your for this suggestion Sara L. I used cherry tomatoes with finely diced shallot and it really was the perfect accompaniment.....and rice of course.
Nancy G. June 27, 2020
So while this was easy and good, my sauce never became a glaze
Steven1 February 17, 2020
Good recipe and easy. I didn’t care for the fat from the skin though. Second time around I took the skin off and tossed the thighs in some flour. The sauce was thick and less greasy. I also used palm sugar. Have made thus several times. It’s an easy recipe and always good. Thanks Amelia.
Leah C. April 26, 2019
My adobo recipe is one-pot and takes about 30 minutes to cook. Just dump all the ingredients in a skillet. I do add a bit of oyster sauce for umami and don't add sugar or oil. I let everything braise until the sauce thickens and coats the chicken. I continue cooking until the chicken fat renders and the sauce caramelizes. You may have to adjust the heat so it doesn't burn. If you want a 'dry' adobo, this can be served immediately. If you want a 'saucy adobo' add some water and scrape all the fond until you get a thick sauce. Enjoy!
Austin B. March 21, 2019
Only swap was Cane Vinegar instead of rice vinegar. Very good.
Barbara January 10, 2019
Really good, works with chicken breast as well.
lexa January 8, 2019
amazing!!!! extremely juicy, flavorful, and easy!!!
cpc December 5, 2018
I made this last night and loved it. It's easy and fairly hands off once you've got everything prepped. The only change I made was to mince the garlic instead of slicing it. The sauce is wonderful, especially when it's soaked up by the rice.
Sharda O. November 19, 2018
3 stars, I tried to make this but my chicken skin would not get crispy in my dutch oven ... when it did it stuck to the bottom of the pan and ugh, Im so frustrated, i even put in oil so it wouldn't stick.
Sharda O. November 20, 2018
Just kidding, it was incredible. make this!!!!
Eve October 15, 2018
My 3 star rating is a mistake (accidental click). I haven't made the recipe yet. Sorry!