Filipino Chicken Adobo


Tender falling-apart Chicken Adobo in a tangy, vinegary garlic sauce. The quintessential dish of the Philippines.

Filipino Chicken Adobo

If April Bloomfield (chef and co-owner of 3 Michelin starred restaurants) deemed Filipino adobo worthy to be included in her “A Girl and Her Pig” cookbook, then you must definitely give adobo a try. At least once. Adobo, a tangy, salty dish of stewed meat in soy sauce and vinegar, is ‘the’ quintessential dish of the Philippines. Some even name it the unofficial national dish.

This is my first time tasting a Filipino dish. I didn’t get a chance to taste any when I was on Palawan Island (one of the 7,000 beautiful islands that made up the Philippines), because of being on a 7-day Raw Food Retreat. Furthermore, most Filipino dishes are made with pork (mainly influenced by the Spanish colonisation) and I do not eat pork.

Fortunately, chicken adobo is just as delicious. There are several variations out there on how to cook adobo and it all comes down to your own personal preference . The traditional way of cooking this dish is real easy, dump everything in a pot or wok and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, usually eaten with rice.

Filipino Chicken Adobo

I chose the method of adding the vinegar at the end of the cooking time, instead of letting the meat cook in it. When marinated or cooked in harsh acids for long periods of time, the meat becomes dry and tough and nobody likes a dry piece of meat. Adding vinegar at the last 10 minutes of cooking will yield tender falling-apart chicken in a tangy, vinegary garlic sauce, that is neither too sour or salty. My boyfriend and I love the sauce, we’ll definitely see this easy dish on our weekday menu.

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest – Philippines hosted by The Sweet Spot.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Filipino Chicken Adobo
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Tender falling-apart Chicken Adobo in a tangy, vinegary garlic sauce. The quintessential dish of the Philippines.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Filipino
Serves: 2
  • 2 whole Chicken Legs - cut in half
  • 3 tablespoon light Soy Sauce or low sodium Soy Sauce (use Tamari for gluten free option)
  • 3 cloves Garlic - mashed
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • 3 pieces dried Bay Leaves
  • 12-15 whole Black Peppercorns (give about 3 per piece of chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons Vinegar (I use Rice Vinegar)
  1. Combine soy sauce, garlic, chicken in a large pot or container, and marinate for at least 1 hour, but if you have the time let it marinate overnight.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan on medium heat. Place the chicken on the pan and brown on all sides for about 2 minutes per side. The oil will splatter a bit, so it’s better have a cover or splatter guard at the ready.
    Filipino Chicken Adobo Filipino Chicken Adobo
  3. Once both sides of chicken pieces are browned, pour in the remaining marinade of soy sauce and garlic, water, bay leaves and peppercorns into the pan. Bring to a boil. Taste and adjust by adding more water if needed. Switch the heat to medium-low to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Do not let it come to a hard boil.
  4. After 30 minutes, stir in vinegar and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until chicken pieces are tender.
    Filipino Chicken Adobo Filipino Chicken Adobo
  5. Serve hot with rice.



  1. Hi Shannon,
    I’m on a salt-free diet. Can I use Bragg’s liquid aminos in place of soy sauce or will this change the flavor a lot?

    • Sorry for late reply! Liquid aminos has a different flavour/taste than soy sauce, so the end result will not be the same. but if you don’t mind the authenticity of the taste (like me), then go for it.

  2. I’ve been collecting various recipes on making the all famous chicken adobo, I will be sure to try this tomorrow in my kitchen! Thank you for sharing!

  3. I really got to cook this dish at least once, saw Phong Hong’s and now yours…inspiring!
    Jeannie Tay recently posted..Light Cheddar CheesecakeMy Profile

  4. Shannon, what a coincidence! I posted adobo too. Yours looks a lot better, more colour.
    Phong Hong recently posted..Chicken Adobo with Potatoes : AFF PhilippinesMy Profile

    • Ahh i think there’s quite many people who will make adobo for AFF. Hmm I wonder why yours is lighter in colour because other photos I’ve seen are darker colour.

  5. I’ve never had adobo before. I feel like I’ve been missing out. It looks delicious! Trying this soon 🙂
    Anna @ One Prickly Pear recently posted..Attack of the Smoothies [Recipe]My Profile

  6. That plate of chicken adobo look so delicious, Shannon. Love the close up shot as it feels like I could almost grab those drumsticks. Thank you. 🙂
    wok with ray recently posted..Taho – Sweetened Silken TofuMy Profile

    • Thank you Ray. Now that I’ve tried the delicious adobo, I wonder why I wasn’t introduced to Filipino cuisine sooner. Must check out your site for more recipes

  7. Enjoyed your interesting take on our Philippine adobo and how you prefer adding vinegar at the end instead of stewing the meat with it. We love adobo at home and I cook a large pot of it every week, just like my mom did when we were kids. I always delight in finding my cuisine featured on other blogs and feel national pride when it is shared. Thanks for sharing this post. Glad I found your blog site. All the best to you!
    Elizabeth Ann Quirino @Mango_Queen recently posted..How to make homemade Mango JamMy Profile

    • Thanks for dropping by my blog Elizabeth. Now that I’ve tried the delicious adobo, I wonder why nobody introduce Filipino cuisine to me. I am making it a point to try other dishes, must check out your site for recipes.

  8. We love this the Adobo too. My Filipino helper, a fantastic cook does this recipe beautifully.

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