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 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.
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 a 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 the 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, its pungent taste turns to a subtle sweetness that balances the savory dish.
- Bay leaves and peppercorns- boost the 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 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!
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.
Storage and reheating instructions
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 that 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.
- 1 (3 to 4 pounds) whole chicken, cut into serving parts
- 1 onion, peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 head garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon peppercorns
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and sliced into rounds
- ½ cup vinegar
- 1 cup water
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large bowl, combine chicken, soy sauce, onions, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Massage onto meat and place in the refrigerator to marinate for about 30 minutes. Drain chicken well, reserving liquid and aromatics.
- In a wide, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add the potatoes and cook, turning as needed, until lightly browned and halfway tender. With a slotted spoon, remove the potatoes and drain on paper towels. Remove excess oil from pan except for about 1 tablespoon.
- Add chicken including onions, garlic, and bay leaves. Cook, turning occasionally, until lightly browned.
- Add vinegar and allow to boil, uncovered and WITHOUT stirring, for about 2 to 4 minutes.
- Add the reserved marinade and water and stir to combine. Allow to a boil for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Lower heat, cover, and simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
- Add potatoes and cook until tender and sauce is reduced.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.
- 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.
“This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.”