The Best Filipino Chicken Adobo

5 from 6 votes
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This savory yet tangy chicken dish only requires a few ingredients and lets the marinade do all the work for a flavorful and easy Filipino dish you can make in your own kitchen. {Gluten-Free}

Filipino chicken adobo with onion and carrot

Filipino cuisine has been sweeping the culinary world by storm. I love trying out different flavors and when I got The Filipino Cookbook by my Miki Garcia, I couldn’t wait to try it out. The cuisine is bright and friendly just like Filipino culture, and I loved that this book makes it easy for anyone to create Filipino dishes even if they’ve never tried this type of cuisine before. It always feels a bit mystifying when stepping into a new cuisine, and this cookbook does a fantastic job of keeping you assured and confident in the kitchen.

I decided to try the chicken adobo first because I was fascinated with the technique. In warmer climate, it’s very common to find methods of preserving food. Vinegar is an excellent way to keep bacteria away which is why Filipino natives turned to this method of marinating to keep meats from spoiling. Chicken adobo is also one of the most popular dishes in the Philippines. Luckily, we don’t need our passports to get an authentic taste of the flavors today!

Filipino chicken adobo with onion and carrot served over rice

Traditionally, chicken adobo (as well as other types of adobo) were cooked in clay pots, but you can use cast iron, enameled cast iron, or stainless-steel pans instead. Whatever you do, don’t use aluminum because the vinegar reacts chemically with it and it changes the taste.

Along with vinegar, the marinade recipe includes soy sauce, bay leaves, garlic, black peppercorns, onion, and brown sugar. It’s important to note though that the type of vinegar makes a difference. You should try to find Filipino cane vinegar to completely match the authentic flavor. If you’re not able to find it at your local Oriental market, you can use white vinegar or cider vinegar, but you must dilute them with water. To match the cup of vinegar, you’ll need to add 2 cups of water.

Filipino chicken adobo with onion and carrot in dutch oven

Marinating it is the key to matching the true taste of this dish. Simply preparing the marinade and allowing the chicken to absorb all the flavors of the ingredients mingling together is really all it takes to get real chicken adobo in your kitchen. At the end, I love to add a handful of vegetables to make the dish more colorful. Serving it over a bed of fluffy white rice is highly recommended to get the most of this delightfully delicious and tangy sauce.

Once you perfect this technique for making chicken adobo, you can try it with other meats like pork, beef, or even seafood!

Filipino chicken adobo with onion and carrot served over rice and broccoli

More delicious braising recipes

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

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The Best Filipino Chicken Adobo - This savory yet tangy chicken dish only requires a few ingredients and lets the marinade do all the work for a flavorful and easy weekday dinner you can make in your own kitchen. {Gluten-Free} #easy #recipe #stovetop #authentic #thighs #vegetables

The Best Filipino Chicken Adobo

5 from 6 votes
This savory yet tangy chicken dish only requires a few ingredients and lets the marinade do all the work for a flavorful and easy Filipino dish you can make in your own kitchen. {Gluten-Free}
Author: Maggie Zhu
Course: Main
Cuisine: Filippino
Keyword: comfort food
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 2 1/2 lbs skin-on bone-in chicken thighs or drumsticks (or boneless skinless thighs)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3 cloves garlic , crushed with the side of knife
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 large onion , sliced into rings
  • 4 carrots , peeled and chopped (Optional) (*Footnote 1)



  • Combine the marinade ingredients in a large ziplock bag. Add chicken and shake to mix well. Squeeze out as much air as possible and seal the bag. Let marinate in the fridge overnight.
  • When you’re ready to cook, remove the chicken from the marinade and place on a plate. Reserve the marinade juice.
  • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet or a dutch oven over medium heat until hot. Add the chicken, skin side down. Cook until browned, flip to brown the other side. It takes about 10 minutes in total.
  • Add the reserved marinade liquid, garlic, whole black pepper, brown sugar, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil then turn to medium low heat. Cover, simmer, until the chicken turns tender, 40 minutes for well-done chicken. Or up to 60 minutes for falling-off-the-bone chicken.
  • Add the onion rings and carrots. Cook uncovered for another 5 minutes, until the vegetable turns tender.
  • Serve hot as a main dish with steamed rice.


  1. The recipe is slightly adapted from The Filipino Cookbook by my Miki Garcia.
  2. Authentic chicken adobo does not contain this vegetable, but I love to add some veggies to make my fish more colorful. You can skip it, or use other veggies as substitution, such as potatoes or broccoli.


Serving: 8g, Calories: 209kcal, Carbohydrates: 7.3g, Protein: 25.8g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 76mg, Sodium: 695mg, Potassium: 365mg, Fiber: 1.3g, Sugar: 3.6g, Calcium: 30mg, Iron: 1.4mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Don't forget the last step! Leave a comment below, and tag me @OmnivoresCookbook and #OmnivoresCookbook on Instagram!
The Best Filipino Chicken Adobo - This savory yet tangy chicken dish only requires a few ingredients and lets the marinade do all the work for a flavorful and easy weekday dinner you can make in your own kitchen. {Gluten-Free} #easy #recipe #stovetop #authentic #thighs #vegetables

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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Danielle says:

    5 stars
    Maggie – I am drooling reading this. This is perfection. I’ve got to find that filipino cane vinegar. There is a filipino market down the street from me, so I’m sure I can get it there!

  2. Melody says:

    5 stars
    This was my first time trying to make a filipino dish. The flavors were delicious! My family ate this up with no left overs! Thank you for sharing this recipe

  3. Alex says:

    5 stars
    As a filipino chinese, what we do is add some potatoes and a teaspoon of 5 spice powder. It adds a twist to the normal adobo. Glad to see this one. Cheers!

  4. Soozcat says:

    You seem to have forgotten to add the carrots to your instructions. Where would you add them — along with the onions, or with the rest of the ingredients in step 4?

    • Maggie says:

      Thanks so much for letting me know! Just updated the recipe. You should add the carrots with the onions.

  5. Arpita Patel says:

    5 stars
    It does sound very exotic to me your stint in the Philippines! Bet it was tough being apart from Brad (had similar but much less exotic break from my husband when we first started going out and it was hellish) but the wonderful memories the letters bring back must make it all worth it now. Oh and the dish looks amazing too

  6. Herman says:

    5 stars
    With a few small changes, this is now our favorite Adobo version. •About half cut up large pork ribs, and half cut up chicken thighs. •Doubled the marinade and the braising liquid. •Skipped adding water to the vinegar. •Thirty minutes of simmering with extra bay leaves and peppercorns. •Then added the carrots and red onions for the suggested five minutes. •Served over steamed white rice. Great lunch or dinner. Thanks, Maggie. So delicious.

  7. Wendy says:

    5 stars
    This was delicious! I’d never made a Filipino Adobo chicken before, but it was a hit.

    I adapted the recipe for use in my Instant Pot. Here is what I did, the result, and my thoughts on what I’ll tweak next time.

    I used chicken drumsticks, with the skin on. I marinated the chicken for only about 20 minutes while I prepped other meal items, since I 1) didn’t have time for an overnight marinade and 2) figured the pressure cooker would work its magic anyway.

    Added the oil to the Instant Pot and set it to Saute. Took the chicken legs out of the marinade and browned the chicken per the recipe, then added onions to the bottom of the Instant Pot, layered the browned chicken legs on top, then poured in the marinade and the other ingredients. Put the lid on, and set to pressure cooker. Processed on High / High pressure for 25 minutes. Let it release naturally for about 15 minutes then did quick release when I was ready to move to the next step.

    I took the lid off, then turned the Instant Pot back to saute, added carrots and decided to add more onion since my first batch of onions were now part of the sauce. Simmered for five minutes and served over white rice.

    Fall off the bone! Amazing flavor. The carrots & onions were delicious. Will definitely make again!!

    Notes on what I’ll try next time:
    I’ll take the skin off the chicken legs next time since it didn’t add anything spectacular to the dish in the Instant Pot.
    I’ll just add the onions at the end of the pressure cooking time, not with the chicken – I added the extra onions with the chicken to keep the chicken from burning but there is plenty of sauce to serve that purpose.
    I think the onions that simmered at the end needed a bit more time. I’d add them in first, and cook for about 2 minutes, then add the carrots for another 5 minutes (I don’t like mushy carrots).
    Speaking of sauce – there is a LOT of it! I used organic chicken legs from Costco, and only used two of the three packages, but next time I’ll make all three packages (about 5 lbs) with same amount of sauce. The family was wanting more anyway, and I know it will make great leftovers!
    25 minutes created amazing fall-off-the-bone but I’m sure I could get excellent results with less time. I plan to try 18-20 minutes next time to experiment.

  8. Chris says:

    I’m just curious to know why you’ve listed this as Chinese cuisine yet you’ve clearly titled it “Filipino adobo”? 😂

    • Maggie says:

      Sorry about the typo! I changed the recipe card system and some errors occurred when I moved things over. This is updated the now.

  9. Joyce says:

    Yes! Adobo is best cook when marinated and/or pan fried a little bit however you don’t want to put onions on your Adobo or it will look like “Bistek” If you want to add vegetables you can add potatoes carrots string beans or Chinese Spinach/ Water Spinach. Or any hard vegetables I guess.

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