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Chicken Adobo

This Filipino Chicken Adobo is the ultimate EASY chicken dinner that your entire family will love! It’s tangy, salty, savory, sweet, and spicy with a delectable sticky glaze that will make you swoon. You will love that it’s made with everyday ingredients, the marinade does all the heavy lifting and everything gets cooked in one pot! The Chicken Adobo is made by first marinating the chicken in a few simple ingredients – soy sauce, vinegar, Asian sweet chili sauce, brown sugar, garlic and spices and then simmering the chicken in the marinade – how easy is that?! The marinade reduces to a delectable sticky sauce that envelops the chicken as your home fills with the intoxicating aroma of anticipation. The resulting Filipino Chicken Adobo is incredibly juicy, tender and exploding with flavor in every bite. Serve this effortless Chicken Adobo recipe with rice and veggies and watch everyone clamor for more.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Asian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 6 servings



  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs skin removed
  • 4 chicken drumsticks skin removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil




  • Sliced green onions


  • Whisk the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl or freezer bag. Add chicken and turn to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator 4-24 hours.
  • Heat oil in large heavy bottom skillet/braiser (with a tight-fitting lid) or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Once hot, remove chicken from marinade (don’t discard marinade) and pat dry as you add chicken to the skillet. Brown chicken on each side then stir in reserved marinade, water and bay leaves.
  • Bring the chicken to a boil, then cover and reduce to LOW. Simmer, covered for 25 minutes, flipping the chicken once at 15 minutes and replacing lid.
  • After 25 minutes, remove the lid and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is reduced to a sticky glaze, about 10- 20 more minutes. Be prepared to stir in additional water if the sauce evaporates too much. Alternatively (but not likely), if the sauce isn't thick enough, remove the cooked chicken to a plate and continue to simmer the sauce until thickened. Return chicken and turn to coat.
  • Serve chicken with steamed rice.


Tips and Tricks 

  • Soy sauce.  Use reduced sodium soy sauce or your Chicken Adobo will be too salty as the sauce reduces into a glaze. Also, please don’t use dark soy sauce as it will be too strong once reduced.
  • Use whole black peppercorns. Don’t shy away as their pops of mild heat make this dish!
  • Use bone-in chicken.  Use bone-in, chicken thighs and/or drumsticks for the best flavor and juiciest chicken.  Please do NOT use chicken breasts. The fat in the drumsticks and thighs break down into the sauce, enriching the flavor and allowing it to reduce down to a glaze. 
  • Skin on or off.  This comes down to personally preference.  I prefer to remove the skin so my sauce is guilt free and not overly greasy or blanketed in soggy skin.
  • Use the correct pan.  Use a pan with a tight-fitting lid that comfortably fits all the chicken in a single layer.   
  • Sear chicken.  Browning the chicken first results in deep complex flavor – those browned bits are gold!
  • Don’t sear at too high heat.  If you notice black instead of brown bits when searing your chicken, the heat is too high.  You don’t want black bits because this will make your sauce taste burnt. Remove any black bits before adding the marinade.
  • Simmer over low heat.  Simmer the chicken low and slow for the most tender chicken. Dark meat should be cooked to 175 degrees F as opposed to chicken breasts' 165 degrees F because it has more connective tissue.
  • Use a meat thermometer.  This ensures your chicken is cooked to the correct temperature and never overcooked.
  • Reduce sauce. The sauce will not be “saucy” but more of a thick glaze.  Reduce the sauce until it is almost completely evaporated.
  • Add water.  Be prepared to stir in additional water if the sauce evaporates too much before the chicken is cooked through.
  • Remove chicken and reduce.    Alternatively (but not likely), if the glaze isn't thick enough, remove the cooked chicken to a plate and continue to simmer until thickened.  Return chicken and turn to coat.
  • More glaze.  If you want saucier Chicken Adobo, add additional water and reduce.


This Filipino Chicken Adobo reheats wonderfully for lunches or dinners because the dark meat stays juicy.
  • How to store:  Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • How to reheat in microwave: transfer small portions to a microwave safe dish, heat for one minute, test, then heat at 30 second intervals as needed. 
  • How to reheat on the stove: For larger portions, rewarm gently in a large skillet, flipping occasionally.  You may want to add a splash of water to thin the glaze.
  • Pan fry:  leftover Chicken Adobo is also fantastic to pan fry when it’s not as saucy.  Simply shred the chicken and pan fry in some oil until you get hot, crispy strands.  Add the chicken to anything!


You can freeze the marinade, the chicken in the marinade or the cooked Chicken Adobo.
  • Marinade: whisk together, add to a freezer bag or freezer safe container, label and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Chicken in marinade. Add the chicken to the marinade in a freezer bag or freezer safe container.  Squeeze out any excess air and seal. Freeze for 2 to 3 months.  The chicken will marinate as it’s defrosting.
  • Cooked chicken: After you have cooked the chicken, let it cool completely then transfer it to an airtight container or plastic freezer bag along with the glaze.  Squeeze out any excess air and seal. Freeze for 2 to 3 months.
  • To defrost:  thaw chicken in the refrigerator overnight. Don’t microwave or the chicken can become rubbery.