Chicken Adobo

Chicken Adobo is easy on prep yet big on flavor. Braised in vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic, this classic Filipino stew is a delicious medley of savory tastes you’ll love with steamed rice!

Chicken Adobo with potatoes in a serving bowl with a plate of steamed rice on the side
Chicken Adobo

Table Of Contents

  • What you’ll need
  • Cooking tips
  • How to serve
  • Storing leftovers
  • More adobo recipes
  • Chicken Adobo

Chicken adobo is one of the many variations of the classic Filipino style of cooking. Like its pork counterpart, this chicken version is made by braising the meat in a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, and aromatics such as onions, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaves.

Like most popular dishes, there are many ways to cook this stew.  Some recipes include a small amount of sugar to balance the salty and tangy flavors of the dish with a hint of sweetness or minced chili peppers for a kick of heat. Other recipes add liver spread for a richer flavor, tamarind instead of vinegar, or replace soy sauce with fish sauce.

cut-up chicken, sliced potatoes, vinegar, soy sauce, water, onion, bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns in bowls

What you’ll need

  • Chicken– although boneless chicken will work in a pinch, bone-in is recommended for the best flavor. Use a whole chicken cut up into serving pieces or your choice of parts such as legs, thighs, or wings. You can also add liver and gizzard.
  • Soy sauce– adds umami flavor. There are many types of soy sauce in the market, from Japanese varieties to Chinese, light to very dark, and sweet to very salty. For a more authentic taste, I recommend using Filipino brands.
  • Vinegar– adds the sour flavor and helps prolong freshness. Filipino adobo is traditionally made with palm or sugarcane vinegar. You can substitute white distilled or apple cider vinegar but you might need to adjust amount as these varieties have a stronger acidity.
  • Garlic– the heart of adobo, adding tons of flavor and aroma
  • Onion– brings an extra layer of texture and flavor. As it cooks down and caramelizes, it’s pungent taste turns to a subtle sweetness that balances the savory dish.
  • Bay leaves and peppercorns– boost flavor
  • Salt and pepper– adjust the seasonings as needed
  • Pan-fried potatoes– or hard-boiled eggs are a delicious way to extend servings
adobong manok in a pan with fried potatoes

Adobong manok is the perfect meal you’d want on your weeknight dinner rotation. It requires simple pantry ingredients, cooks in one pan, and is ready in minutes yet tastes like you slaved in the kitchen all day long!

The incredibly tender, flavorful chicken smothered in a boldly-flavored, savory sauce is sure to be a winner at the table. The combination is pure heaven on heaps of steamed rice!

cooking chicken adobo with potatoes in a pan

Cooking Tips

  • To quickly peel the skin, crush the garlic clove with the flat side of a large knife blade to loosen the peel.
  • To ensure a good sear, drain the chicken well and use a wide pan or cook in batches if necessary. Properly browning the meat gives the dish an incredible depth of flavor.
  • Make sure to “cook-off” the strong vinegar flavor by allowing it to boil uncovered and without stirring for a few minutes before adding the marinade and water.
  • For a touch of sweetness, you can add about 1 teaspoon of sugar to the sauce.
  • Pan-fry the potatoes before adding to the stew to keep them from falling apart.
adobong manok with steamed rice on a white plate

How to serve

Chicken adobo is traditionally enjoyed with steamed rice for lunch or dinner, but it can also be served for breakfast as a silog meal with garlic fried rice and sunny-side-up eggs.

Storing leftovers

Pre-colonial Filipinos did not have the modern convenience of refrigerators and preparing meat and seafood in vinegar and salt was initially a way to preserve food and prolong freshness. Adobo is a great make-ahead dish and in fact, tastes better after a day or two when the flavors have melded.

  • Cool completely and transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
  • Reheat in a wide pan over low heat to an internal temperature of 165 F or in the microwave at 2 to 3-minute intervals until completely heated.

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