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How to Make Chicken Adobo

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Best Filipino Chicken Adobo Recipe

What is Chicken Adobo?

Adobo is the unofficial national dish of the Philippines and is quite addictive. If you are looking for a really flavorful and easy-to-make chicken dish, look no further! This delicious Filipino dish is full of tangy and savory flavors. It really will leave your taste buds wanting more. If you have never tried it, you don’t know what you are missing. Even the leftovers are fantastic! Chicken is my favorite way, but you could use pork or beef as well. Making chicken adobo from scratch, using simple ingredients, will be a dinner to remember.

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Ingredients for Chicken Adobo

To make this popular Filipino dish, you will need chicken pieces (such as thighs or drumsticks), soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, pepper or peppercorns, and bay leaves. This combination of ingredients creates a delicious marinade that infuses the chicken with a rich and tangy flavor. I left out the peppercorns because I knew my kids would be able to tell if I added them and they are very anti-pepper. But add them in if that works for you!

You can also use chicken breasts but be mindful that they can dry out faster. My next variation is going to be try this same recipe with small chunks of chicken breast, though, and see what happens. Let me know if you try that before I do! This time, I went with boneless skinless chicken thighs because that’s my husband’s preference. It was his birthday meal, and he is Filipino after all, so I took his advice. Keeping the bone in can add extra flavor and texture. You can even chop the skin into little pieces and include it. I kept it simple. One of my friends makes adobo with both chicken thighs (bone-in) and legs, and hers is really great too.

Some will tell you that chicken adobo is a versatile dish that is best to enjoy with rice, noodles, bread, or even a fried egg. For us, white rice is the only way to go. Trust me! The white rice soaks up the flavor and it is the perfect companion. Whether you’re a beginner in the kitchen or a seasoned cook, this recipe is sure to impress your family and friends. You will be so glad you try it!

How to make Chicken Adobo

This chicken adobo recipe is easy to customize, so if you want to add a little extra of one ingredient, go for it. I like to use more bay leaves than what is often recommended, for example, and lots of potatoes. I cut my potatoes very small so they will cook faster, but you might prefer large chunks of potatoes. Also, I used what I had on hand in my pantry rather than driving to a specialty store for cane vinegar. It takes 2-3 days for Walmart to ship me Datu Puti Vinegar or Steen’s Cane Vinegar. The Nakano Natural Rice Vinegar I had worked fine, but I will try Datu Puti next time if I can get my hands on it. My family doesn’t like green onions so I skipped out on those for a topping.

My favorite thing about this recipe is that it’s all made in one pan.

Chicken Adobo

A quick and easy dinner, made in one pan, to delight all of your taste buds!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time55 minutes
Total Time1 hour 10 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Filipino
Keyword: comfort food, special dish
Servings: 5


  • 1 wok or very large pan
  • 1 lid to cover pan


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lbs chicken pieces
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper optional
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 onion sliced or chopped
  • 4 potatoes cut into small chunks


  • Place the oil in the pan and heat over medium high heat.
  • While the oil is heating, take whatever chicken is your preference (thighs, breasts, legs) and prepare it. If you want to keep the skin on chicken thighs or use boneless skinless thighs and legs, you don't need to do any prep. If you want smaller pieces of meat, cut the thighs or breasts into pieces.
  • Throw the freshly chopped garlic, onion, and ginger into the pan and cook for a few minutes until the onions are becoming soft.
  • Add the chicken into the pan. Cook until the chicken starts to brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Next, add the following into the pan as well: soy sauce, potatoes, pepper, and bay leaves.
  • Stir the ingredients in the pan to mix them well.
  • Pour the vinegar into the pan and cover the pan with a lid.
  • Wait a few minutes until your dish is boiling and stir again.
  • Add water.
  • Reduce your heat to simmer.
  • Cover again, and let cook for about 30 minutes. Of course you will want to keep a check on it to make sure it's not boiling over (is my stove the only one that's crazy?).
  • Check the potatoes to make sure they are soft. If not, keep simmering until they are perfect. Once they are done, your dish is ready to be enjoyed.


I used more ginger than noted above because I love it, but if you aren’t sure about it I wouldn’t put too much in. I also admittedly added an extra splash of the soy sauce in addition to the ingredients above because it’s so delicious and I felt like I had a ton of chicken.
Of course the pepper is optional and I think it’s just as good without it, so no worries if you decide to leave it out. 
You would have been laughing at me because I didn’t have a lid large enough for my wok, so I covered it with a pizza pan. Do what you have to do!
Don’t forget to serve over white rice. Perfection!

Don’t forget…calories don’t count when eating chicken adobo!

chicken adobo easy
Check out this t-shirt my awesome and talented sister in law made.
Adobo is a big deal a special dish!

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