Chicken Adobo is a classic and lovable Filipino dish. As kids, my sister and I would have this easy Chicken Adobo recipe on constant rotation because of how simple, quick, and delicious it was to make! If 10-year-old Mikha can make this, you 1,000% got this! Best of all, it’s made with pantry basics in one pot only and cooks in less than 30 minutes!
If you’ve never had Chicken Adobo, you’re missing out! Here’s your opportunity to redeem yourself.
What is Chicken Adobo?
Chicken Adobo has a beautifully balanced sweet, savory, and tangy sauce that gently braises meat until it’s juicy and tender. One of my favorite parts though is the caramelized onions that add another layer of sweetness that balances the savory soy sauce.
This easy chicken adobo recipe is an absolute staple in every Filipino household, right up there with Sinigang and Arroz Caldo. Definitely check out my Sinigang na Manok (with Chicken) and Miso Salmon Sinigang recipes for more comforting favorites!
I’m pretty sure there are as many Filipino Adobo recipes as there are mothers, but this is my fail-proof version of making chicken adobo, quick and easy!
Key Tips to Making Mouth-Watering Chicken Adobo
- Quickest Way to Create Extra Flavor: As a general rule of thumb, searing meat before adding any sauce or broth is such an easy way to add an extra layer of flavor and color when cooking meat. Technically, you can dump all the ingredients in the pan and cook away (I've done this plenty of times growing up haha), but the extra minute or two to sear makes a HUGE difference!
- The Importance of Not Stirring: Once you add all your ingredients to the pot, stir the sauce so it's well combined. Then, let it work its magic without interfering. Stirring in between will make the vinegar take longer to cook and you'll end up with a sharp vinegar flavor. Or you'll have to cook the dish longer, risking dry chicken thigh. Bleh!
- How Saucy Do You Like It??: Adobo is a braising dish and I usually make mine with just enough sauce to braise the chicken and coat some rice. However, I know some people love their Adobo extra saucy (which I don't blame them because this is BOMB). If this is you, double the sauce ingredients! If you don't use up all the sauce, you can use any leftovers to make THE MOST EPIC garlic fried rice. You're welcome 😉
- Protein: Chicken is one of the most popular proteins to use when making adobo, however, pork is another classic choice. If you'd like a healthier version, you can experiment using vegetables as well. When my mom was vegetarian, she made adobo with shishito peppers and they were SO good too!
- Sauce Add-In: This recipe is probably the most common version of Adobo you'll see, however, different regions of the Philippines have their twist! For example, you can add a bit of coconut milk for a luxurious creaminess. Or, add some pineapple chucks towards the end of cooking and it'll brighten up your Adobo! Any way you decide to have it, guaranteed, you and your family will be licking your plates clean!
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Easy Chicken Adobo Recipe
- 1 pound chicken thigh skinless & boneless
- 1 small onion thinly sliced
- 7 garlic cloves minced
- 4 dried bay leaves
- Heat a pot or skillet on medium-high heat then add about 1 tablespoon of oil.
- Add onions and saute for a couple of minutes, or until they’re soft. Add in garlic and cook for a few more seconds, or until fragrant.
- Push onions and garlic to the side of the pan. Add in chicken thighs flat side down and sear for about 1 minute per side, or until they start to brown. The chicken shouldn’t be cooked through yet.
- Stir together. the chicken, garlic, and onions in the pan then add soy sauce, rice vinegar, bay leaves, whole black peppercorns, sugar, and water. Bring them to a boil. Avoid stirring while cooking so the vinegar cooks.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and cook uncovered for 20 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through. Once it’s cooked, the sauce should be reduced to a sweet and savory sauce. You should be able to make a line on the back of a spoon without the line disappearing. If the sauce isn’t thickened enough, remove the chicken and reduce the sauce further (it’ll reduce much quicker without the chicken). Return chicken to the skillet and coat chicken in the sauce.
- Serve over steamy hot rice and enjoy!
- Sauce: The sauce ingredients make a light sauce to coat the chicken with some rice. If you like a very saucy adobo, you can double the sauce ingredients!
- Leftovers & Reheating: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days (of course, if it’s not gobbled up by then!). Reheat the Chicken Adobo in the microwave or simmer it in a pot until warm.
Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and provided for informational purposes. Nutrition may vary based on product availability, methods of preparation, origin, and freshness of ingredients, etc. For the most accurate nutritional information, use your preferred nutrition calculator, actual ingredients, and quantities used for the recipe. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian if more precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.