Filipino Adobo Chicken Recipe

6 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Marinating Time 4 hours

Filipino Adobo Chicken is a flavorful dish marinated and cooked in a tangy sauce with whole peppercorns. An easy meal the family will love!

Filipino recipes are delicious and underrated since other Asian Recipes are more popular in the United States. But if more people try this Adobo Chicken recipe it would even give the crazy popular Orange Chicken a run for its money in the flavor department, as well as Polynesian-style Loco Moco, and of course the delicious Thai Basil Chicken.

Filipino Adobo Chicken

Filipino Adobo Chicken is more than just the casual national dish of the Philippines; this savory chicken dish is a symphony of flavors deeply embedded in the culinary tapestry of the Philippines. “But what is adobo chicken?” you might ask. Originating from the Spanish term “adobar,” which means marinade, this Filipino chicken dish uniquely blends vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, and black peppercorns to create a savory, slightly tangy, and altogether addictive flavor profile. Each ingredient sings its own tune but harmonizes perfectly, resulting in a dish that’s both rich and refreshing.

Whether you’re looking to reminisce about a trip to the Philippines, introduce your family to international flavors, or simply make a hearty and flavorful chicken dish, Filipino Adobo Chicken is a timeless choice that can be enjoyed on any occasion. While the use of vinegar might seem unorthodox to some, it is this ingredient that sets this Filipino Chicken Adobo recipe apart and provides its signature tang.

The method of marinating chicken in vinegar not only imparts flavor but also has historical significance. Before refrigeration was widespread, vinegar served as a preservative, keeping meat fresh in the tropical climate of the Philippines. The peppercorns and bay leaves, on the other hand, add aromatic layers that elevate the dish from simple to sublime.

Yes, there are a lot of bold flavors in this chicken adobo recipe. But once the chicken is done marinading and you braise it in the oven you won’t believe how amazing the flavors are. It isn’t too salty, or too vinegary. It isn’t too spicy from pepper, it is in fact completely well-balanced and perfectly served over Easy Wild Rice.

How to Make Filipino Adobo Chicken

This dish is deceptively simple to prepare right in the comfort of your home. With a handful of pantry staples and some patience, you can recreate this Filipino classic and take a delightful culinary trip to the Philippines. Check it out!

  • Bone in Chicken: This chicken is braised over a long period of time until it is tender, so bone-in skin-on chicken is necessary.
  • Marinate for 4 hours: The time it marinades allows the chicken to absorb all the flavors of the garlic cloves, soy sauce, vinegar, and pepper. Do not skimp on the marinating time. Marinate overnight if possible.
  • Braise the chicken: Transfer chicken pieces to the Dutch oven. Cook the chicken pieces covered first skin side down, then uncovered in the marinade skin side up until it is browned and the chicken adobo sauce is thickened. Cooking times are 30 minutes covered, and 30 minutes uncovered. Garnish the finished dish with green onions and serve hot over white rice! 

More Easy Asian Dinners

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes Filipino Adobo unique?

Arguably, unlike Mexican adobo, which is a chili-based marinade paste/seasoning used to flavor meat, Filipino Adobo is a method of cooking involving meat in its marinade of the unique ingredients of vinegar, bay leaf, whole peppercorns, and soy sauce – ingredients not typically found in classic Mexican-style adobo.

Can I use chicken breasts instead of thighs?

Yes, but thighs tend to be juicier and more flavorful. If using breasts, monitor closely to avoid overcooking.

Why marinate for 4 hours?

Marinating infuses the chicken with flavors, ensuring a richer taste and tender meat. Even better flavor comes if marinated in the fridge overnight.

Is it mandatory to use white vinegar?

Traditional recipes use white vinegar, but apple cider vinegar can be a good substitute for a slightly different flavor profile.

Can I cook this on the stovetop?

Absolutely! Simmering on the stovetop may require more frequent stirring and checking, but the result will be just as delicious.

Key Ingredients in Filipino Adobo Chicken

Filipino Adobo Chicken is a timeless dish, reflecting the heart of Filipino culinary traditions. If you’re sourcing these everyday ingredients, the basics like soy and vinegar are likely in your pantry. Either way, you can easily source these simple ingredients from your local grocery store. Check it out! 

  • Chicken Thighs: Chicken thighs and chicken legs are the two best cuts of chicken to use in this Filipino dish, be sure to use bone-in and skin-on. It is not recommended to use chicken breasts in this recipe, nor skinless chicken thighs. Chicken drumsticks work great too! Technically boneless chicken thighs will work too but might not be as juicy as the bone-in version.
  • Soy Sauce: We use low-sodium soy sauce in all recipes as the sodium in regular soy sauce is just too high and the flavors are too salty in recipe testing. Keep in mind that dark soy sauce is more salty and light soy sauce is, ironically, more salty.
  • White Vinegar: We have tested this adobo recipe with rice vinegar, cane vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and white wine vinegar and the classic version with distilled white vinegar is the best option for you to use.
  • Bay Leaf: Do not skip this ingredient and be sure to remove them before serving. Bonus points if you can find fresh bay leaves.
  • Garlic Cloves: Garlic is a prominent flavor in this recipe and must be included. It is not recommended to substitute with powdered garlic if possible.
  • Black Pepper: You need a full tablespoon of whole black peppercorns, do not add ground black pepper to this recipe, or your palate will be blown out.

Instant Pot Chicken Adobo Recipe

  • Add the marinaded chicken and sauce to your instant pot and set the pressure to high for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken and place it on a sheet pan and place it under the broiler to crisp.
  • Reduce the remaining sauce on the sauté setting of the instant pot until reduced by half.

Slow Cooker Chicken Adobo Recipe

  • Add all the ingredients and the chicken skin side up into a large slow cooker and cook on low heat for 6-7 hours.
  • Remove the chicken and place it on a sheet pan and place it under the broiler to crisp.
  • Remove the remaining sauce from the slow cooker, and reduce on your stovetop in a small saucepan until thickened.
Ingredients for Chicken Adobo

Can Filipino Adobo Chicken Be Made Ahead of Time?

Yes! This dish’s flavors develop beautifully over time. If you want to prepare it a day ahead, simply follow the cooking instructions and let it cool. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, gently reheat on medium heat on the stovetop until warm. The enhanced flavors from the marination will delight your taste buds even more!

Substitutions in Filipino Adobo Chicken

  • Soy Sauce: If sodium is a concern, opt for a low-sodium soy sauce or Tamari for a gluten-free version. Liquid coconut aminos are also a great substitution. 
  • White Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar can be used, offering a slightly different but delightful tang.

Variations on Filipino Adobo Chicken

Looking for some more incredible flavor? The beauty of Adobo lies in its versatility. While chicken is popular, you can venture into variations that reflect personal preferences or regional influences.

  • Coconut Adobo: Add a can of coconut milk for a creamier, richer sauce; and serve with Coconut Rice.
  • Sweet & Spicy Adobo: Toss in a tablespoon of red chili pepper flakes or sliced fresh red chilies for an added kick alongside a tablespoon or two of brown sugar (or white sugar), depending on how your preferred level of sweetness. 
  • Adobo with Potatoes: Incorporate chunks of potatoes to soak up that delicious sauce, making the dish even heartier.
  • Vegetarian Adobo, replace chicken with firm tofu cubes or mushrooms.

How to Serve Filipino Adobo Chicken

For a complete meal, Adobo Chicken pairs wonderfully with white rice, absorbing the flavorsome sauce, and roasted vegetables. 

More Fantastic Vinegar-Based Recipes

How to Store Filipino Adobo Chicken

  • Serve: After cooking, it’s best to consume the Adobo Chicken within 2 hours if left at room temperature. Keep covered when not serving. 
  • Store: In an airtight container, this dish will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Freeze: You can freeze the cooked Filipino Adobo Chicken in the sauce for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat on the stovetop on medium-high heat for best results.

Chicken Adobo Recipe

Pin this recipe now to remember it later

Pin Recipe

Filipino Adobo Chicken

Filipino Adobo Chicken is a flavorful dish marinated and cooked in a tangy sauce with whole peppercorns. An easy meal the family will love!
Yield 6 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Filipino
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 6 chicken thighs , bone-in, skin-on
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic , crushed
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves


  • Add all the ingredients together in a large bowl and marinade for 4 hours.
  • Heat oven to 375 degrees, add the chicken skin side down to a large dutch oven along with the sauce and bake, covered, for 30 minutes.
  • Uncover, turn the chicken over and glaze with the sauce. Then cook, uncovered, for an additional 30 minutes until the chicken is browned and the sauce is reduced.


Calories: 270kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 1168mg | Potassium: 303mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 95IU | Vitamin C: 0.7mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1.4mg
Keyword: Adobo Chicken
Filipino Adobo Chicken Pin

Photos used in a previous version of this post.

Filipino Chicken Adobo Recipe

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


Leave a comment & rating

Have you checked the FAQ section above to see if your question has already been answered? View previous questions.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. It’s been a few years since I’ve made this. I’m not sure why because it’s such a great recipe. On my list for this week.

  2. i really want to make you use regular soy sauce. some of the comments sid use korean soy sauce.i want to know what you do since it is your recipe and it looks great

  3. I made this and it was delicious. My marinade came out oily after cooking. Have you experienced that? I’m wondering if it’s because I used a cast iron dutch oven and I oiled it first.

  4. i make mine on top of the stove. marinate and cook until the meat almost falls off the bone. good idea?

  5. Better than other Filipino adobo recipes around.
    I used a coconut vinegar instead and added a dash of Worcestershire sauce. It turned out really good.
    I like the idea of baking the chicken instead of sauteing the garlic in oil.
    Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  6. Another home run!! This was an amazing dish. I increased the liquid a bit due to more chicken thighs and I only marinated it for about 3 hours. My sauce didn’t thicken probably due to too many thighs in the pan. It still worked though! I poured the sauce over the rice and ate it with pickled red onions. It was Devine! The skin is almost like candy. It was that good. Yum!

  7. Family loved it. I will be making this frequently. I chopped the leftover meat and adding it to fried rice for dinner tonight.

  8. Hi there! Married to a Filipino for 35 years & I’m glad people like your version of chicken adobo. You’re right – Filipino food is deeply underrated! Although the chicken doesn’t necessarily need to be marinated (just seared in the pot at the beginning & then combining all the ingredients after), to each their own (if done right, there won’t be any issues with flavour). I usually just purchase a whole chicken & chop it into pieces but also find bone in chicken is best. One thing I’d stress though, is the type of soya sauce! For best results, use Filipino style soya sauce (I use Marca Pina & you can get it anywhere Asian products are sold eg ethnic aisles in grocery stores, Asian grocery stores, Walmart). It’s not the same flavour as say, Chinese soya sauce (there’s many types of soya sauce). It’s got a unique flavour used in a lot of Filipino recipes. It a combo of salty-sweet & provides a deliciously sticky sauce… yum! Regular soya sauce is too salty for this dish (& for other Filipino dishes) & it’s just not the same. Enjoy!!

  9. Making this for the second time-so delicious! One question. Recipe says “garlic, crushed” but in a photo of marinade it looks like minced. Not a big deal, right?

  10. Your Chicken adobo is Amazing ! Super easy and super delish !! I’ve made others and this is by far is the best! Not my first of your recipes and certainly not my last ! Your site is my go to before any others !!

  11. This was excellent. It made me look like a rockstar in the kitchen. I will make this again & again .
    So glad I found your site.

  12. Heard a lot about Chicken and Pork Adobo! I’m trying Adobo Chicken tomorrow for lunch. Is it okay to add potatoes (parboiled and cut in half) in the last leg of the cooking? We love potatoes. Thanks.

  13. I’ve heard so much about Adobo Chicken and finally made it today using your exact recipe and in a crockpot. Absolutely delicious!….and so easy to make. I’ll definitely show off with this dish many more times.

  14. This dish is phenomenal. My kids, husband, and mother all agree, this is the best chicken they ever had. The sauce makes it. People, do not be put off by the vinegar. Something magical happens in the cooking process an turns it into an umami dream. 🙂

  15. Can I cook chicken adobo in the IP/crockpot, keep it in the fridge, then broil it when we are ready to eat it? Have a ton of leg quarters so want to meal prep. Thanks!

  16. Super delicious! Tho’ I’m not Filipino, I grew up with this dish. I liked the equal parts of vinegar and soy sauce in this recipe and also increased the liquid amount for extra sauce. I cooked it in a crock pot, and my house smelled so good. I forgot to leave pieces whole bc I usually cut up the chicken and PORK into smaller pieces. So good! Totally Keto too if you eat with cauliflower rice!

  17. Nice Adobe but I will add 1\2 teaspoon sesame oil. And a good sprinkle of hot green chili powder you can buy online about 1 teaspoon .. also a splash of real sherry not the garbage they sell for cooking in the baking isle at safeway the sherry adds a little nutty taste…?

  18. The sauce by this recipe does not thicken up, and has a distinct vinegar flavor which upsets the whole dish.

    1. Respectfully, you did something wrong. Perhaps didn’t cook long enough? I don’t know, I have made this dish multiple times and the vinegar flavor departs through the cooking process. It breakdown with the soy sauce and creates this incredible flavor. I use a dutch oven but I have cooked it in a slow cooker as well and it worked nicely. I do prefer the dutch oven process though. I feel the flavor and meat come out slightly better that way. Perhaps give it another go!?

  19. So the marinade you use for raw chicken is all put into slow cooker or whatever method you use to cook it.

    1. I didn’t “marinate” it ,just put everything in the crockpot and let it cook on low 7 hours – plenty of time to be flavorful.

  20. I made this tonight and it was delicious. I used my new dutch oven I got for my birthday and it was perfect for both cooking the dish in the oven and then reducing the sauce a bit more on the stovetop. It was a little on the salty side, but that was to be expected and honestly didn’t detract from our enjoyment of the dish. We will definitely be making this again and, next time, I’ll use lower-sodium soy sauce.

  21. So simple to make and absolutely delicious. Only thing I would do next time put peppercorns in cheesecloth. Not a fan of biting into whole peppercorns.

  22. Easy recipe. Smelled really good. I did use a french oven. My sauce didn’t reduce enough; it was watery. The chicken didn’t have as much flavor as I thought it would although I did use skinless chicken breasts as opposed to thighs with skin. I reduced the sauce on the stove until it became syrupy. I will probably make this again. 0 WW points.

    1. You could definitely use the marinade for a whole chicken, it would be a bit different cooking method but I’m sure it would be delicious! Good luck!

  23. This was so delicious! The sauce was fantastic and I wish I had made some rice to go with it. (I did not see your suggestion to serve it with rice until after I had eaten it) I made it with your brussel sprouts recipe which was also delicious. I will be making both again for sure!

  24. Fabulous! And so easy. And if it is good enough for British royals Prince Harry and Duchess Megan to cook then enough said.

    May I have your recipe for. Baked brown rice?

    1. The Duchess of Sussex also has a recipe for Filipino chicken adobo. Just don’t know where to find it now since she is no longer online.

  25. I have yet to find a recipe of yours that my family didn’t like! I resisted and tried with boneless skinless thighs and these were awesome! You just have a great knack for cooking and I’m so glad I found your site! The sauce tasted great over brown rice. Thanks again!

    1. I don’t recommend it because the acid from the vinegar can end up making the chicken tough if left too long.

  26. I love adobo chicken. I’ve always made it in the crock pot. Do you think this recipe can be done in the instant pot pressure cooker? It would keep our little RV kitchen way cooler being so fast.

  27. Are there cooking directions for a Dutch oven? I don’t have an insta-pot and i really don’t want to use the slow cooker

  28. Excellent flavors! My only change was that dinner plans changed at the last monute, so I removed the chicken from the marinade after 5 hours, and kept the marinade and chicken separately in the refrigerator until today, the re-combined them and baked per your recipe! My other half had seconds and scooped leftovers into a re-heatable dish for tomorrow’s lunch! Thanks, Sabrina!

  29. Fabulous dish! I quadrupled the recipe and served it at a dinner part and was immediately innundated with compliments. However, since no one would leave without the recipe, I was embarrassed by the simplicity of the recipe vs the compliments I received! Definitely a keeper!!

    1. I love when something so simple has such rave reviews!! Thanks so much for coming back to let me know how much everyone enjoyed it.

  30. Hey Sabrina, gonna try this either tonight or tomorrow night for dinner, looks and sounds absolutely delicious. On the picture with the recipe it looks like there are diced green onions added as a garnish but there not in the recipe…is that just something you did for looks? thanks.

  31. This may be healthy, but not for me. That sodium amount is almost my daily limit of 1200mg (recipe saus 1168) and if I had this then another 32 mg and I stop eating for the day. It does sound good tho.

    1. @Jan Halsey – You are calculating the amount of sodium per this entire meal (serving size says 6), so if you divide the sodium amount you are only looking at 194g per serving. Plus I suspect that is the total amount used in the marinade which you wouldn’t be consuming all of that, either since the chicken is braised in it, not a part of a complete dish.

      I haven’t made it yet, but it doesn’t concern me too much.

      1. I’ve been looking for a good adobo recipe and this is amazing! This is exactly as I remember it growing up. The only difference for me I added a lemon to the marinade added some potatoes and threw it into a crockpot for 7 hours on low ? my husband loved it! I’m sure we will be making more of this in the near future.

  32. Sounds yummy. Should the dutch oven be preheating along in the oven or just all the ingredients to a cold pan and place in oven?

    1. Made this in my Dutch oven. The marinade did NOT reduce or thicken. (I’m not a novice cook, either, and I suspect the juices from the chicken added too much liquid.) Any suggestions? Just remove and boil down on stove??