Serious Eats’ Weeknight-Friendly Filipino Chicken Adobo

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Chicken adobo, a national treasure of the Philippines, is more than just a dish – it’s a flavor explosion of savory, tangy, and garlicky goodness. This recipe from Serious Eats captures the essence of this beloved dish, resulting in incredibly tender chicken pieces bathed in a rich and flavorful adobo sauce.

Here’s everything you need to know to make this iconic Filipino comfort food at home, complete with a breakdown of the ingredients, step-by-step instructions, and nutritional information.

Chicken Adobo (Filipino-Style Braised Chicken)
Chicken Adobo (Filipino-Style Braised Chicken)


(Yields 4 servings)

1 tablespoon canola oil (or other neutral oil)

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken legs, separated into thighs and drumsticks (about 2 ½ pounds)
  • 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 whole fresh bay leaves (or 3 whole dried bay leaves)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup rice vinegar

  • Directions:

    1. Brown the Chicken and Render the Fat: Heat the canola oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Season the chicken legs generously with salt and pepper. Add the chicken pieces skin-side down to the hot oil and let them cook undisturbed for about 5 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown and crispy.

    2. Bloom the Aromatics: Once browned, flip the chicken pieces and add the sliced garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorns to the pot. Let the garlic cook for about 30 seconds, stirring frequently, until it becomes fragrant.

    3. Deglaze the Pot and Simmer: Pour in the water and scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon (this step is called deglazing). Bring the liquid to a simmer, then add the soy sauce and rice vinegar. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.

    4. Simmer Until Tender: Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer the chicken for 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and very tender. You can check for doneness by inserting a thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh – it should reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

    5. Thicken the Sauce (Optional): If you prefer a thicker sauce, remove the chicken pieces to a plate and increase the heat to medium-high. Let the sauce simmer uncovered for about 10-15 minutes, or until it reduces by half and thickens slightly.

    6. Serve and Enjoy: Serve the chicken adobo hot with the delicious sauce spooned over the top. Pair it with steamed white rice or garlic fried rice for a complete and satisfying meal.

    Nutrition Facts (per serving):

    Calories: 550

  • Fat: 35g
  • Saturated Fat: 10g
  • Cholesterol: 180mg
  • Sodium: 1200mg
  • Carbohydrates: 10g
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Protein: 45g

  • Conclusion:

    Chicken adobo is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed on its own, served with rice, or even incorporated into other recipes. The leftovers taste even better the next day, as the flavors have a chance to meld further. So ditch the takeout menus and give this recipe a try – you won’t be disappointed!

    Unique FAQs:

    1. Can I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this recipe?

    Yes, you can definitely use boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this recipe. However, since they cook faster than bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces, be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly. Simmer the breasts for about 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through.

    2. What kind of vinegar can I use instead of rice vinegar?

    If you don’t have rice vinegar on hand, you can substitute it with white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. However, rice vinegar has a slightly sweeter and more delicate flavor that complements the adobo sauce best.

    3. Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

    Absolutely! Chicken adobo is actually a great dish to make ahead of time. The flavors develop even further overnight, so it can taste even better the next day. Simply let the dish cool completely, then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop over low heat until warmed through.