22 Quick and Easy Recipes in 30 Minutes (or less) + 5 Chef Secrets To Make You A Better Cook!

Filipino Chicken Adobo

Tested & Perfected Recipes

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy.

An iconic Filipino dish, chicken adobo features succulent chicken simmered in a sauce of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, black pepper, and creamy coconut milk.

Spoon drizzling sauce over a plate of chicken and rice.

Adobo is a beloved dish in the Philippines that involves simmering meat in a tangy sauce made with vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, and black pepper. There are many ways to make adobo, but my personal favorite is a regional variation made with chicken and coconut milk, inspired by Filipino Chef Romy Dorotan from Purple Yam in Brooklyn. The addition of coconut milk helps to balance the tanginess of the vinegar while adding a creamy texture to the sauce. The dish remains tangy, but the flavors are all in harmony, making it a delicious and satisfying meal.

To enjoy chicken adobo at its best, serve it over a bed of fragrant jasmine rice to soak up the luscious sauce, and add a vegetable, such as roasted carrots or roasted asparagus, to complete the dish. Whether you’re a fan of Filipino cuisine or just looking for a new and exciting recipe to try, chicken adobo is sure to impress!

“This dish was absolutely amazing. Such wonderful flavor and the recipe was so easy to follow.”


What You’ll Need To Make Chicken Adobo

chicken adobo ingredients
  • Chicken thighs: Bone-in, skin-on thighs are preferred for their ability to stay juicy and flavorful, especially when cooked using the slow simmering method.
  • Soy sauce: Acts as the salty base of the adobo marinade, contributing depth and umami to the dish.
  • Coconut milk: Adds creaminess and a subtle sweetness, balancing the savory and acidic components of the marinade.
  • Rice or cider vinegar: Introduces acidity to the dish, tenderizing the chicken and adding a bright contrast to the richness of the coconut milk and soy sauce.
  • Garlic: A generous amount of garlic cloves infuse the dish with a pungent aroma and flavor, a key component in the depth of adobo’s taste profile.
  • Bay leaves: Add a distinctive fragrance and herbal note.
  • Scallions: Also known as green onions or spring onions, scallions provide a mild, slightly sweet onion flavor that enhances the dish without overwhelming the other flavors.
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

Step-by-Step Instructions

Begin by trimming the chicken thighs: cut off any excess fat or flaps of skin with kitchen shears (it’s much easier than using a knife). Marinate the chicken in the soy sauce for about an hour.

marinating the chicken

Next, sear the chicken, skin side down, in a skillet for about ten minutes.

searing the chicken in a skillet

The skin will become crisp and turn a rich brown color. Set the chicken aside.

crisp chicken for chicken adobo

Whisk the coconut milk, vinegar, sugar and pepper into the soy sauce.

sauce mixture in bowl

Discard the fat and wipe the pan clean. Then add the sauce to the pan.

adding the sauce to the pan

Add the garlic and bay leaves.

adding garlic and bay leaves to chicken adobo sauce

Place the chicken in the sauce, skin side up, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 35 minutes.

chicken simmering in sauce

Transfer the chicken to a platter and reduce the sauce until thickened. Then place the chicken back into the sauce (or pour the sauce over the chicken on a platter) and scatter with scallions.

Spoon in a skillet of Filipino chicken adobo.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use drumsticks or chicken breasts to make chicken adobo?

Absolutely! Drumsticks, similar to thighs, are rich in flavor and stay tender during cooking, making them a great alternative. While you can use chicken breasts, it’s best to opt for bone-in, skin-on breasts to maintain moisture and flavor. I don’t recommend boneless skinless chicken breasts, as they will become dry and tough with this cooking method.

Can chicken adobo be made ahead of time?

Yes, this dish is wonderful when prepared ahead of time. The flavors have more time to meld together, enhancing the overall taste. For the best results after reheating, transfer the chicken to a foil-lined baking sheet, skin side up, and quickly crisp the skin under the broiler. This step ensures that the chicken retains its delightful texture and flavor, making it just as satisfying as when it’s freshly made.

Can I freeze chicken adobo?

Yes, chicken adobo freezes well. Allow the dish to cool completely before transferring it to airtight freezer-safe containers. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy it, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat gently on the stove, following the crisping method under the broiler (explained above) if desired.

Spoon drizzling sauce over a plate of chicken and rice.

Video Tutorial

You may also like

Filipino Chicken Adobo

An iconic Filipino dish, chicken adobo features succulent chicken simmered in a sauce of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, black pepper, and creamy coconut milk.

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes
Total Time: 55 Minutes, plus 1 hour marinating time


  • 3½ pounds bone-in chicken thighs (6-8), trimmed (see substitutions note below)
  • ½ cup soy sauce (use gluten-free if needed)
  • 1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk
  • ½ cup rice or cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
  • White rice, for serving


  1. Toss the chicken with the soy sauce in a large, shallow bowl. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Remove the chicken from the soy sauce, allowing the excess to drip back into the bowl. Transfer the chicken, skin side down, to a cold 12-inch nonstick skillet. Set the soy sauce aside.
  3. Place the skillet over medium-high heat and cook until the skin is crisp and dark golden, 8-10 minutes. While the chicken is browning, whisk the coconut milk, vinegar, sugar and pepper into the soy sauce.
  4. Transfer the chicken to a plate and discard the fat in the skillet. Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel. Pour the soy sauce-coconut milk mixture into the pan; add the garlic and bay leaves. Return the chicken to the skillet, skin side up, and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for about 35 minutes, or until the chicken registers 175 degrees. Transfer the chicken to a platter and keep warm by tenting loosely with aluminum foil.
  5. Fish out the bay leaves and skim any noticeable fat off the surface of the sauce. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and cook until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary (if it is too assertive, add a few tablespoons of water and/or a bit more sugar). Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with the scallions. Serve with rice. (Note: if you'd like the skin to be extra crispy, place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and broil for a few minutes before serving.)
  6. Note: Drumsticks, similar to chicken thighs in terms of flavor and juiciness, are a great alternative. If you'd like to use white meat, use bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. If you'd like to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs, skip the first cooking step of searing the skin, and reduce the simmering time to about 20 minutes.
  7. Make-Ahead Instructions: This dish is wonderful prepared ahead of time. After reheating, transfer the chicken to a foil-lined baking sheet, skin side up, and quickly crisp the skin under the broiler.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 752 g
  • Fat: 58 g
  • Saturated fat: 24 g
  • Carbohydrates: 10 g
  • Sugar: 5 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 47 g
  • Sodium: 1392 mg
  • Cholesterol: 259 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

See more recipes:


  • I’ve been making Filipino adobo for years; never really quite finding the perfect recipe. That has all changed. The addition of the coconut milk is a phenomenal way to balance the vinegary-salty delicious adobo sauce. I used unsweetened coconut milk and ended up adding slightly more sugar at the end because of this. What a gorgeous, rich, deeply flavorful dish. I would also note, it is nice to do 1/4 cider vinegar and 1/4 rice vinegar for even more depth of flavor. Just because it might not be 100% authentic doesn’t mean it’s not a far improvement to the taste buds! Thank you for posting this dish – you really have the best ideas!

    • — Sandy on April 3, 2024
    • Reply
  • Well, I’m sure becoming a fan. So far, every recipe on your site that I’ve tried, we have loved. Tonight’s was no exception. It was so nice to have something a little different than my usual chicken thigh preparation. My husband, who is not the most adventuresome eater really liked it. We’ll definitely be having it again.

    • — Janet on February 21, 2024
    • Reply
  • One of the few recipes on the site that didn’t work for us. Too much like straight vinegar and soy, and tasted nothing like the Adobo Chicken from a Filipino restaurant. Maybe with a lot more sugar to balance it out? Something was just off. Will not be making again.

    • — Midwest Trail Runner on November 26, 2023
    • Reply
    • Because yhe recipe is not authentic. We don’t use rice vinegar. We use coconut ar cane vinegar. Adding sugar is really not the norm unless you are making humba.

      • — Liva on March 9, 2024
      • Reply
  • I am a big fan and believer in Jenn’s recipes , and this one did not disappoint.
    I had my future daughter in law, who is filipino, over for dinner and she gave this her stamp of approval. Note, she said her mother never tried for a very thick sauce. She said you want plenty to go around and on the rice!

    • — Mark Hickey on October 7, 2023
    • Reply
  • I can’t believe how good this was! I used Bragg’s liquid aminos instead of soy sauce and it was phenomenal. I couldn’t get my chicken to temp for maybe 45 minutes but it came out so tender and flavorful. I’m not sure if it was because I used liquid aminos or maybe because I cooked it so long, but the sauce split at the end. It was still super tasty but just a PSA to anyone not following the recipe to a T. Served with charred green beans and rice. We will return to this one frequently!

    • — Penny on July 13, 2023
    • Reply
  • I was not quite sure what to expect but WOW!!! How absolutely delicious. I ordered the Philippine vinegar recommended by a few reviewers, and reduced the sugar to 1.5T based on their comments. My sauce also took a bit longer to thicken up, and I wouldn’t say it ever really became thick, but it sure was delicious. The chicken has a wonderful flavor from marinating in the soy sauce. I served the chicken with Jasmine rice and the carrots with thyme. An outstanding and fairly simple meal. Jenn you are brilliant and surely could have been a chemist, but I am sure glad you decided to use your talents in the kitchen. I’m grateful to you everyday, more than I can say!

    • — Mary M. on May 3, 2023
    • Reply
    • ❤️❤️

      • — Jenn on May 3, 2023
      • Reply
  • This dish was absolutely amazing. Such wonderful flavor and the recipe was so easy to follow. Will definitely make again. Made with rice and recommended additional carrot recipe. Thank you, Jenn!!

    • — Heather Fulginiti on April 29, 2023
    • Reply
  • This is my new favorite chicken recipe. I must say I questioned the ingredient list but made exactly as written and it’s fantastic. Served over brown Jasmine rice and peas. Delicious!

    • — Freaknik on April 28, 2023
    • Reply
  • Tripled the recipe for 10 people and it was a hit. Per Jenn’s suggestions, substituted bone-in/with skin chicken thighs for boneless/skinless and her time modification recommendations were spot on. The sauce took longer to thicken than specified in the recipe – had three skillets going….I kept the thighs warm in the oven while we waited, but in the end everyone loved the dinner.

    • — George W. on April 27, 2023
    • Reply
  • HI Jenn
    Could this recipe be done with a very firm tofu instead of the chicken?
    thanks! Your recipes are always well received by the family! I have confidence in you and the receipes that they will be pleasing and delicious!

    • — Susan on April 27, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Susan, I don’t have any experience cooking with tofu so it’s hard to say for sure. I imagine it will work, but I can’t provide much guidance about cooking time. And so glad you like the recipes! 😊

      • — Jenn on April 27, 2023
      • Reply
  • Hi David, This recipe really is best as written with thighs. Would you be open to bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts? (Because they would work much better than boneless breasts.)

    • — Jenn on April 24, 2023
    • Reply
  • Made this last night. Since I am allergic to coconut, I substituted heavy cream (as you had suggested to someone else). It was delicious! That sauce is incredible! Will definitely be making this again. Thank you, Jenn!! 🙂

    • — Amy Grimes on April 24, 2023
    • Reply
  • Quick question Jenn. I saw you used an induction portable in “My Videos” and I was wondering the make. It looks like it works with larger size pans? I’m looking for t would work with 10-12” pans. Thanks so much.

    • — Wendy on April 24, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Wendy, this is the cooktop from the video. 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 25, 2023
      • Reply
  • Made this just as it was written but halved the recipe. Turned out perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing. The sauce was rich and very tasty. The chicken skin was crispy! Thanks for another great recipe!

    • — Naz on April 23, 2023
    • Reply
  • Question for Jenn: Was the rice vinegar you used seasoned or unseasoned? I’m assuming unseasoned (plain/natural). Rice vinegar is a regular staple in my cupboard so that’s what I plan to use rather than searching for Filipino vinegar which is probably hard to find.

    • — Eloise on April 23, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Eloise, Yes that’s correct – unseasoned. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 23, 2023
      • Reply
  • Hi,
    allergy to coconut milk, what do you recommend for substitute?

    • — Janis on April 23, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Janis, I would use heavy cream. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on April 24, 2023
      • Reply
  • That is a LOT of sodium, probable from the soy sauce. How can we make i with less sodium? TIA

    • — Carol on April 23, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Carol, You can try it with low-sodium soy sauce. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on April 24, 2023
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn!
    This recipe was absolutely amazing! Wondering if you think it would work with light coconut milk?

    Thanks for such an excellent recipe. It’s going in the rotation!

    • — Lisa on February 25, 2023
    • Reply
    • So glad you liked it! I think it will work with light coconut milk — just keep in mind that it won’t be as creamy and the sauce won’t thicken quite as much. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on February 28, 2023
      • Reply
    • I only have used light coconut milk (canned from TJs) it is very creamy and rich regardless 🙂

      • — Michelle on April 14, 2023
      • Reply
  • I made this dish last night and it was delicious! My kids ate it up! I doubled the sauce, with just one can of coconut milk. I used Filipino vinegar as suggested by another commenter. I added whole peppercorns instead of ground pepper. I will definitely be making this again!

    There are some tweaks I would do for next time. I would not sear the chicken thighs, as I felt it wasn’t necessary, and skip the marinading for an hr. This avoids a smokey soy sauce mess, and less time to prepare and cook. I would just put all the ingredients together on simmer until the meat fell off the bones. Other than that, the flavor profile was excellent!

    • — SA on January 13, 2023
    • Reply
  • This is a great adobo recipe. It’s the best version I’ve had in a long time. Can this be frozen for later?

    • — Genie W. on September 12, 2022
    • Reply
    • Glad you like it! I haven’t frozen it myself, but I think you could.

      • — Jenn on September 13, 2022
      • Reply
  • I made this tonight and it is really flavorful. I did use Coconut Aminos instead of soy sauce, and used honey instead of sugar. My husband loved it, too. I will definitely make this again! 😋

    • — Lynne on July 6, 2022
    • Reply
  • I’m a Filipino and I thought this was a pretty great version of our national dish! If you can manage to find it in North America (usually in Filipino stores), use Datu Puti brand vinegar. It’s cane vinegar and is the best for adobo. It’s not too sharp/sour and is actually a bit sweeter. You might not need to use as much sugar with cane vinegar.

  • This was absolutely delicious! The chicken thighs took an extra 10-15 minutes to cook through for me, but they were so tender and juicy, and the sauce was SO full of flavor. Restaurant quality. Another winning recipe from Jenn!!

  • Delicious. Made it today.

  • Hi Jen,
    Is it ok to marinate it longer?

    • Hi Maricor, I wouldn’t recommend leaving it for much longer than an hour or it will get too salty.

      • Thank you for your reply

  • Authentic and full of flavour. A beautiful dish. Sauce is amazing. I would suggest doubling sauce too. You can never have too much sauce. One of my favourite recipes.

  • Yummmmmm! Wish I had tried this recipe sooner! Used boneless skinless thighs and cooked in sauce for 20 mins and it was perfectly cooked. Can’t wait to make this again.

  • Super Yummy! This is one of my go to recipes for chicken. I use skinless boneless thighs to cut down on the fat. The sauce is A-ma-zing! Double the sauce. You won’t be disappointed. Another winner winner chicken dinner!!

    • — Janice Torelli
    • Reply
  • Delicious! Definitely adding it to the rotation! In the future, I might use 3 or 4 garlic smashed garlic cloves instead of 8 whole ones (do they impart enough flavor if they aren’t smashed or minced?) and pull the smashed garlic out when I take out the bay leaves (I worried that someone would bite into a whole clove if I didn’t take them out before eating!)

  • I have tried Adobo chicken before and was never crazy about it, but we all loved this recipe! Made it exactly as written and thought it had the perfect balance of tangy, savory sweetness. My kids all had seconds and asked if we could make it again tonight.

  • Made for my family tonight for the first time. Used apple cider vinegar instead of rice vinegar as I didn’t have any. It was great. Thanks for another great recipe!!

  • Delicious! But, my chicken thighs took over twice as long to cook. I had them simmering on medium. They were worth the wait, but I’m wondering if I did something wrong. I cooked them until they reached 165 degrees, according to food safety guidelines. Would there have been a difference in the texture had I cooked them to 175, as your recipe prescribed?

    • Hi Erica, Glad you liked it! I suspect the heat on your stove was probably a little too low if it took that long to cook. I’d assume the texture would’ve been the same had you cooked it to 175 degrees.

  • I didn’t quite follow the recipe (skipped the marinading, used boneless skinless thighs, threw it all in my staub and let it cook until the meat fell apart), but it was easy and delicious. We served over rice noodles instead of rice, and I think all it needed was a little more of a kick – we used sriracha, but I might add red pepper flakes next time. Because I’ll definitely make it again.

  • Hi Jenn,
    Would white wine vinegar work? I’ve learned to follow your recipes to a tee so just wanted make sure it wouldn’t change the flavor. Thank you!

    • Sure, Oya, that should work. Feel free to taste the sauce and add a pinch more sugar if you think it’s necessary. Hope you enjoy!

      • It was absolutely wonderful and didn’t need any adjustments. Not only I cooked this dish for the first time, we actually had it first time! Definitely will make it again!
        Thank for being so courteous with your time and answering all of our questions – very generous of you!
        Can’t wait for your upcoming book!

  • Oh my, the sauce is addictive and the chicken moist and tender and just a tad spicy when the sauce is spooned over it. I used a whole chicken and four legs and followed the recipe exactly.

    • I will be trying it soon but I already know it looks delicious. Would a whole cut-up chicken work as well? By the way, I have been making your Caesar Dressing for years. It is my family’s favorite.

      • Hi Taylor, my only concern is that you may risk over cooking the breasts. I don’t think you need to modify anything with the recipe, but depending on the size of the breasts, you may need to pull them out a little early. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

  • I’ve had a lot of versions of chicken adobo. This was very delicious. I used skinless leg meat and it worked well.

    • — Kathleen hauck
    • Reply
  • I am a Filipino American so I grew up with chicken adobo. It’s definitely a staple in every Filipino home and it’s always better when a grandma, auntie, or mom makes it for ya! However as I got older, I wanted to find the perfect recipe that had the right balance but wasn’t greasy. Plus I love to broil the skin on the chicken because it adds more depth of flavor. I thought I found a recipe that I was happy with, until I tried this one. At first I was skeptical of the coconut milk, but it really brings it all together and mellows out the tanginess from the vinegar. This recipe will be my forever adobo recipe that I hope my kids will eventually learn and keep in their Arsenal. Thank you so much for this perfect balance of flavors that bring me back to my roots! People, if you haven’t tried this recipe yet please do! And prepare with TONS of white rice because you will want to sip up all of the delicious sauce with it!

  • I am learning to follow your recipes excactly. I am learning a lot from you. I made this last night and it turned our wonderful! Such an easy recipe with simple ingredients! I am trying to make a new recipe of yours at least once a week since I go to work (In a seniors home) and after work, self-isolate…what a great way to discover and try new recipes. My sons are ever grateful! This one goes into our family favourites cooking binder!
    Thank you!

  • Hi Jenn — can’t wait to try this! Can I use APPLE cider vinegar instead of rice vinegar?

    • Sure, Eve – that should work.

      • Very good! Followed the recipe exactly, except for using Less Sodium Soy Sauce.
        Next time I’ll double the sauce! Thank you!

        • — Suzy on April 25, 2023
        • Reply
  • Followed this almost exactly – I used skin-on, bone-in breasts and cut the soy soaking time by half because I was in a hurry. It was perfect! Delicious and easy. Everyone loved it and will definitely add to our meal rotation. Thanks Jenn!

    • — kenda macfadyen
    • Reply
  • Holy Moly, that was sooo good! Followed the directions to the letter and it turned out perfect.

  • By far the best and easiest recipe that everyone loves. Jenn, your recipes are the only ones I use now and I have learned to follow them exactly. No substitutes, just perfection!
    So many to choose from that it is hard to pick just one. I now have a folder with all my favorites readily available. Keep em coming!

Add a Comment

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