Classic Chicken Adobo Recipe

Out of all the Filipino recipes that anyone can name off the top of their head, none is quite as beloved or as well-known as the magical adobo—it doesn’t matter if it’s pork or chicken, if you prefer yours puti—using only vinegar—or delight in the traditional juxtaposition of soy sauce with vinegar, adobo is an absolute must in any Filipino kitchen. If you’ve never cooked adobo before or simply want to play around with the proportions of the sauce ingredients, try this one and see if you prefer it. The optional brown sugar is really only there to add a hint of caramelization to this tantalizing, well-marinated dish that is perfect with heaps of white rice. This dish gets even better when the chicken has had time to absorb the flavors of bay leaf, garlic and soy sauce, making it a perfect midnight treat as well.

Classic Chicken Adobo Recipe


  • 3 lbs /1.5 kilos pieces of Chicken or one whole chicken, cut-up or a combo of Chicken and Pork
  • 1/2 cup white Vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Water
  • 1/3 up to 1/2 cup Soy Sauce
  • 1 Whole Garlic cloves separated, crushed, but left unpeeled
  • 2 teaspoons whole Black Peppercorns
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon brown Sugar optional


  • Place the meat and the rest of the ingredients in a large pan like a Dutch oven. You can also marinate the meat overnight prior to cooking.
  • Using medium heat, bring to a boil. Adjust the heat to the lowest setting and cook uncovered for 20 minutes. This helps mellow the taste of the vinegar.
  • Cover and then continue to simmer on low until the chicken (and pork) pieces are tender about 30-40 minutes. When the meat is already tender, sprinkle the brown sugar on top. Gently stir to allow sugar to be absorbed by the meat. Cover and cook for another 2-3 minutes. This will not really sweeten the adobo but just help enhance the flavor and add a little caramel glaze to the meat. The adobo is already yummy at this time but its taste improves as it ages. And don’t forget the rice – lots of rice as this is a particulary more-ish dish.


Other Adobo Recipes you may like:

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