Filipino Chicken Adobo
Filipino Chicken Adobo
Filipino Chicken Adobo is the national dish of the Philippines and may well become your new favorite Asian chicken dish! Just a few everyday ingredients I can practically guarantee you already have, it’s an effortless recipe that yields juicy, tender chicken coated in a sweet savory glaze with little pops of heat from peppercorns.



  • 1.5 lb chicken thigh fillets , boneless and skinless (5 - 6 pieces) (Note 1)
  • 3 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1/3 cup (85ml) soy sauce, ordinary all purpose or light (not dark soy sauce, Note 2)
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 4 bay leaves (fresh) or 3 dried


  • 2 tbsp oil , separated (vegetable, canola or peanut)
  • 3 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 small brown onion , diced
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) water
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp whole black pepper (sub 2 tsp coarse cracked pepper)


  • 2 green onions/scallions , sliced (garnish)


  1. Combine Chicken and Marinade ingredients in a bowl. Marinate for at least 20 minutes, or up to overnight.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet over high heat. Remove chicken from marinade (reserve marinade) and place in the pan. Sear both sides until browned – about 1 minute on each side. Do not cook the chicken all the way through.
  3. Remove chicken skillet and set aside.
  4. Heat the remaining oil in skillet. Add garlic and onion, cook 1 1/2 minutes.
  5. Add the reserved marinade, water, sugar and black pepper. Bring it to a simmer then turn heat down to medium high. Simmer 5 minutes.
  6. Add chicken smooth side down. Simmer uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes (no need to stir), turning chicken at around 15 minutes, until the sauce reduces down to a thick jam-like syrup.
  7. If the sauce isn't thick enough, remove chicken onto a plate and let the sauce simmer by itself - it will thicken much quicker - then return chicken to the skillet to coat in the glaze.
  8. Coat chicken in glaze then serve over rice. Pictured in post as a healthy dinner plate (415 calories) with cauliflower rice and Ginger Smashed Cucumbers.

Recipe Notes:

  1. Chicken thighs - do NOT substitute with breast. You need the fat in thighs in order for the sauce to reduce down to a glaze. Can also use bone in thighs, wings or drumsticks (add 3/4 cup water and simmer 30 minutes).
    • The best way to achieve the closest result with chicken breast is to add 2 tbsp of any oil to the sauce, take the chicken out once cooked and reduce the sauce right down to become jammy, then smear it on the breast.
  2. Soy sauce - use all purpose or light soy sauce. Do not use dark soy sauce - bottle will be labelled as such if it is. Dark soy is too intense for this sauce once reduced.
    • You probably won't need all the sauce because it is very strong in flavour. Save the leftovers and use it to make fried rice! It is perfect because it is so strong in flavour so a little bit goes a long way. I used it to make a fried rice with leftover Filipino Chicken Adobo and chopped Asian greens. No other flavourings required!
  3. Nutrition per serving, chicken only and assumes all sauce consumed which is unlikely as it's quite strong. Reduce sodium by using low sodium soy.

Make a low calorie dinner plate with a side of Cauliflower Rice and Smashed Cucumbers - total 415 calories for dinner plate (first photo in post)

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