How to Make Chicken Adobo: A Filipino Comfort Food


How to make chicken adobo! This iconic Filipino dish is so comforting over a bowl of rice and big spoonfuls of the sauce. It’s savory, tangy, garlicky, and even better as leftovers!

Let’s get started and make this incredible, yet easy dish!

how to make chicken adobo

What is Chicken Adobo?

Chicken adobo is a Filipino dish that is made by simmering various cuts of chicken in soy sauce, vinegar, bay leaves, garlic, and black pepper. It can also be made with other meat such as pork.

This dish uses simple ingredients but it results in the most flavorful and delicious taste!

Adobo is super popular and a comfort food for many. My husband is Filipino and this was his comfort food growing up and quickly became mine too. Cooking is my love language so I wanted to learn how to make adobo for him.

Pork adobo was actually the first Filipino dish I learned how to make, quickly followed by chicken adobo. I love chicken adobo because it is quicker to make and has leaner meat without sacrificing on taste!


How to Make Chicken Adobo

I know this dish will become your comfort food too, if it’s not already! Let’s walk through this recipe together step-by-step so you can recreate it at home and experience this deliciousness!

There is a recipe card at the end so you can print it out or save for later!

Ingredients for Filipino Chicken Adobo

  • Chicken: I like to use skinless & boneless chicken thighs for this. You can also use skin-on, bone-in, and other cuts such as wings or drumsticks. I don’t recommend chicken breast because it tends to dry out easily. Trim the fat on the chicken before cooking.
  • Aromatics: Lots of garlic is mandatory in Filipino cooking and white onions for extra flavor!
  • Black Pepper: Traditionally whole peppercorns are used but I prefer course ground black pepper because I don’t like biting into whole peppercorns.
  • Soy Sauce: A key ingredient for Filipino adobo! It adds a salty, savory, and umami flavor.
  • Cane Vinegar: A popular brand for cane vinegar is Datu Puti, you can find it at a Filipino or Asian grocery store. I like to use this vinegar for adobo because it’s slightly sweet and has a less aggressive acidity compared to regular white vinegar. However, if you are unable to find cane vinegar, white vinegar would be fine as a substitute. Another suggestion would be to mix white vinegar and apple cider vinegar to get more of that sweetness.
  • Brown Sugar: Add a little sweetness with brown sugar. Adjust the measurements to taste if you like it sweeter or leave out if you don’t want it sweetened. You can substitute with white sugar or your favorite sweeter.
  • Bay Leaves: Dried or fresh bay leaves are another key ingredient for this recipe to infuse more flavor into the sauce.
  • Green Onions: An optional topping for a pop of color and bite.
  • Water: Add enough water to cover the chicken. This helps to keep the chicken moist while it braises. The amount depends on the pan or pot you use. The excess water will evaporate when you uncover to reduce the sauce.


Datu Pui cane vinegar for Filipino chicken adobo

Step 1: Sear the Chicken

First, turn your stovetop on to medium heat and add a drizzle of oil into a pot or deep pan.

Sear the chicken on all sides until it develops a nice golden brown color.

Don’t worry about cooking the chicken all the way through at this step. It will fully cook when we braise it later on.

Step 2: Add in the Aromatics

In the same pan with the seared chicken, add in the chopped onions, minced garlic, and coarse black pepper.

Cook until the onions are softened to bring out the flavors.

Step 3: Prepare the Adobo Braising Liquid

Next we are going to create the braising liquid.

In the same pan, add soy sauce, cane vinegar, brown sugar, and bay leaves.

Then add just enough water to cover the chicken. This ensures that the chicken stays moist and tender as you simmer and braise.

The amount of water depends on the size of the pan or pot you are using. Excess water will evaporate when you simmer uncovered later on.

Mix the braising liquid well to combine all of the ingredients.

filipino chicken adobo recipe

Step 4: Simmer the Chicken Adobo

After the braising liquid is prepared, cover the pan with a lid.

Simmer the chicken on low heat for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, uncover the lid, and simmer for an additional 10 minutes or until the sauce reduces to your liking.

Make sure to flip the chicken and baste it in the braising liquids occasionally so that it cooks evenly and stays moist.

The uncovered simmering time depends on your stove, pan size, and the amount of water you added. Keep an eye on it, 10 minutes is the sweet spot for me.

Simmer less if you like it more light and liquidy, simmer more if you like it thick and concentrated. The sauce should be a slightly thick consistency.


Step 5: Taste, Adjust, and Enjoy!

After the 25-minute cook time, taste test, and adjust the seasonings as needed.

If you find that the sauce is too thick or salty, add more water.

If the sauce is too light or liquidy, simmer uncovered longer and/or add more soy sauce.

Once it is to your liking, serve over a bowl of rice. I recommend 2 chicken thighs per person or per serving.

The sauce is my favorite part so don’t forget to top with generous spoonfuls of it!

Finish it off with optional green onions and enjoy!

how to make filipino chicken adobo served over rice

Save this Filipino Chicken Adobo Recipe

Filipino chicken adobo is like a hug in a bowl. It’s inexpensive and made with simple, humble ingredients, but so flavorful and heartwarming.

Save this recipe and recreate this easy yet satisfying dish! I hope chicken adobo becomes a regular recipe on your rotation at home like it is in mine!

Did you make this recipe? I would love to see! Tag me on IG @feedmi_ or TikTok @feedmi

Filipino Chicken Adobo Recipe

How to make chicken adobo! This iconic Filipino dish is so comforting! It's savory, tangy, garlicky, and easy to make!
4 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2


  • 1 lb chicken thighs, skinless & boneless (or 4 chicken thighs with skin & bone-in)
  • ¼ onion, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp black pepper, coarse ground
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup cane vinegar
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • water
  • green onions (optional)


  • Trim fat from chicken thighs.
  • In a deep pan or pot on medium heat, sear the chicken thighs on both sides until golden brown. It does not need to be fully cooked at this step.
  • Add onions, garlic, and black pepper. Cook until softened.
  • Add soy sauce, cane vinegar, brown sugar, bay leaves, and enough water to cover the chicken.
  • Simmer covered on low to medium heat for 15 minutes.
  • Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes or until the sauce reduces to your liking. The sauce should be slightly thick.
  • Taste test and adjust to your liking.
  • Top with optional green onions.
  • Serve chicken adobo over rice with spoonfuls of the sauce and enjoy!



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