chicken adobo

Chicken Adobo. It’s arguably the National Dish of the Philippines. While there is agreement of what the main ingredients are–chicken, vinegar, soy sauce, black pepper, garlic, bay leaves–there are a ton of different recipes and variations to choose from. How do you make your chicken adobo?

I decided to make mine by initially browning it over a stove, which is how most chicken adobo recipes start, but then to finish it up in the oven under low heat for a long time (low and slow) and followed by a quick broil, just to see if I could get it almost fall-off-the-bone tender, but with each piece of chicken still holding it’s shape.

I liked it so much that it’s now how I make adobo all the time!!

I based the recipe initially from what I remember Mama telling me to do (stovetop), plus cookbooks, and then adjusted it for my individual tastes! I also added some orange juice concentrate, which seems odd, but I’ve been making it like this for awhile now, and I think it really helps. And that’s actually the only reason why we continue to buy orange juice concentrate!

Also, if you don’t like your chicken meat quite as tender, you can increase the oven temperature and decrease the amount of time, or simply just use the stove top method.

I hope you enjoy!

Chicken Adobo


1/3 cup vegetable oil

12 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped and/or smashed

1 (3-inch piece) ginger, peeled and sliced in thin vertical strips

12 chicken thighs, or a combination of parts (skin-on, bone-in)

coarse sea salt

freshly coarse ground or crushed black peppercorns

1 cup vinegar, distilled white, apple cider, or sukang maasim

1/4 cup soy sauce (regular or low-sodium Kikkoman, or Datu Puti (Filipino brand soy sauce with calamansi))

2 Tablespoons orange juice concentrate

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

3-4 bay leaves


Heat oven to 325 degrees F.

Pat each piece of chicken dry with paper towels. Season both sides of each piece with coarse sea salt and freshly coarse ground or crushed black pepper, plus about a teaspoon of whole black peppercorns.

Add the oil to a Dutch oven or similar large, oven-safe pot, on a stovetop over medium-high heat. When the oil is very hot, brown each piece of chicken in the oil, on each side, 4-5 minutes per side. Use a small spatula whip flipping to ensure skin stays with each piece of chicken and doesn’t get stuck to the bottom of the dutch oven.

After each piece is browned temporarily transfer chicken pieces to a plate or bowl and add the garlic, ginger, teaspoon of whole black peppercorns and bay leaves to the pot, stirring the pot to get ingredients coated with the oil in the pot. Continue to cook for a few minutes.

Place chicken pieces back to the pot and add the vinegar, soy sauce, orange juice concentrate, and lemon juice. Stir a little and bring back to a boil.

As soon as mixture starts to boil, place cover on the dutch oven and place in the oven in middle rack for 1 and 1/2 hours at 325 degrees F.

After 1.5 hours, remove cover from the pot and turn on the broiler for about 4 minutes until the skins of each chicken piece is browned sufficiently.

Serve hot over Asian-style white rice.

3 responses to “chicken adobo”

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