Filipino Chicken Adobo

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Chicken Adobo might just be the Philippines’ best kept secret, and it’s about to be your go-to for an Asian chicken dinner. With a handful of ingredients you’ve probably got in your pantry right now, this recipe delivers super juicy chicken with a fantastic sweet and savory sauce, plus a nice little kick from those peppercorns.

Chicken adobo drumsticks on a serving platter.


Filipino Chicken Adobo tastes amazing and stands out as a gem among Filipino dishes, known for its darn good flavors and fall-apart chicken. This rendition involves marinating chicken pieces in a sweet, savory, and tangy sauce, making it a seriously delicious entree that’s surprisingly easy to prepare. The process involves simmering the chicken to tender perfection, followed by broiling it to achieve a nice crispness. Reduced to a silky reduction, the reserved marinade is cooked down and then generously served over the chicken, offering a tasty dinner that epitomizes the essence of Filipino food.

What is Adobo?

Adobo is a wet marinade in some cultures, but it can be a dry rub for others. To others still, adobo is a protein-packed stew that serves as comfort food. The Filipino version inspires this particular adobo. Although it varies from region to region and from household to household, in the Philippines, the term “adobo” refers to a protein (usually chicken or pork) marinated in a flavorful mixture involving vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and simple herbs and spices. The protein is simmered in the marinade until tender.

What You’ll Need

You’ll just need a few basic ingredients to whip up this awesome Filipino Adobo recipe. We’re talking chicken, a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar, a little garlic, and a few other things to add a kick.

Ingredients for chicken adobo separated into bowls and labeled.
  • Chicken drumsticks – Other chicken cuts are okay to use, preferably bone-in and skin-on for best flavor absorption. Thighs or legs make great drumstick substitutes. Using chicken breasts or boneless, skinless cuts may yield a less tender, flavorful result.
  • Apple cider vinegar – Contributes a tangy kick to balance the sweetness and saltiness. Substitute with white vinegar or rice wine vinegar.
  • Low sodium soy sauce – You can use liquid aminos instead if you like.
  • Garlic – Use fresh garlic, but if you have to, you could also use garlic powder, about 1/8 teaspoon per clove.
  • Brown sugar – Adds a hint of sweetness that complements the vinegar’s acidity. Honey or maple syrup can also be used.
  • Whole black peppercorns – You could also just use freshly ground black pepper.
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Bay leaves
  • Sliced green onion – For garnish.
  • Cooked Jasmine rice – For serving.

How to Make Filipino Chicken Adobo

If chicken adobo sounds foreign, fancy, and unapproachable, think again. Making this easy recipe is pretty straightforward and totally doable. We’re just mixing stuff in a bag, simmering, and broiling—nothing too hard.

  1. Marinate the chicken. Mix the chicken, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, light brown sugar, peppercorns, red pepper, and bay leaves in a large zip-top bag. Seal the bag and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  2. Cook the chicken. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Pour the chicken and the marinade into the pan and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes. Turn the drumsticks halfway through cooking.
  3. Broil. Preheat the broiler in your oven and line a baking sheet with foil. Arrange the drumsticks in a single layer on a baking sheet and broil for 4 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. Reduce the sauce. While the chicken is broiling, cook the remaining sauce over high heat until reduced to a maple syrup consistency.
  5. Put it all together. Transfer the chicken to a serving plate and brush with the prepared sauce.
  6. Serve over cooked rice and garnish with green onions.
Chicken adobo drumsticks on a serving platter.

Recipe Tips

  • Adobo sauce. The sauce from this Chicken Adobo recipe packs a punch, so you might not need to use it all. Give it a taste first to see how much you like, then drizzle as desired. And don’t toss any leftovers! It’s perfect for jazzing up rice or any dish that could use a flavorful boost.
  • Be careful with the vinegar. An overly acidic marinade can cause the meat to toughen and become rubbery. So measure carefully here.
  • Don’t skimp on marinade time. Give the chicken plenty of time to absorb the marinade. Anything less than 1 hour will end you with a far less flavorful dish.
  • Use bone-in skin-on chicken. While you can use boneless, skinless cuts, you will find a more deeply flavorful entree if you opt for bone-in, skin-on meat.
  • Don’t forget to flip the chicken. Halfway through its time in the pan, flip the chicken. This will ensure that it cooks evenly and that every inch of chicken is steeped in delicious marinade.
  • Watch that broiler. Broilers are powerful. They can crisp up the chicken very quickly. I recommend 4 minutes under the broiler for this recipe but keep an eye on the drumsticks; if they start to get too brown, pull them out.

Serving Suggestions

You may want to tear the meat off these chicken drumsticks and enjoy them on their own. There’s nothing wrong with that, but they are even better when served with fluffy white rice or brown rice. You could also try quinoa, cauliflower rice, or even barley. Good old-fashioned Garlic Rosemary Mashed Potatoes or these Crispy Sweet Potato Wedges would also do the trick. Try my Green Goddess Salad or this Refreshing Watermelon Salad. Get your veggies in with my Roasted Artichokes or Crispy Air Fryer Roasted Broccoli.

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

  • Cool the chicken fully, and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw before reheating.
  • To reheat, place the chicken in a foil-covered baking dish and reheat at 350°F for 20 minutes.
Chicken drumsticks on a plate with white rice.

More Easy Chicken Recipes

Chicken is a flexible protein and almost every culture seems to have countless ways to cook it up. Here are some of my favorite easy chicken recipes from around the world. I hope you like them!

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5 from 1 vote

Filipino Chicken Adobo

Tender Filipino chicken adobo marinated and cooked in a garlicky, vinegary, sweet, and sour sauce, is incredibly delicious and so easy to prepare.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Marinating Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 4


  • 8 chicken drumsticks
  • cup apple cider vinegar
  • cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic,, minced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper,, or to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • green onions,, thinly sliced, for garnish
  • cooked rice,, for serving
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  • Combine the chicken, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, peppercorns, red pepper, and bay leaves in a large Ziploc bag; refrigerate for 2 hours.
  • Pour contents of the bag into a large nonstick pan or a Dutch oven; set over high heat and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer, cover with a lid, and continue to cook for 30 minutes, turning the drumsticks halfway through cooking.
  • Preheat the broiler.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil; transfer the drumsticks to the baking sheet and broil the chicken for 4 minutes or until the chicken is browned.
  • In the meantime, increase the heat to high and bring the remaining liquid in the pan to a boil.
  • Continue to cook for about 8 minutes or until reduced to a maple syrup consistency.
  • Remove the chicken from the broiler and transfer it to a serving plate. Pour the prepared sauce over the chicken.
  • Serve the chicken over cooked rice and garnish with green onions.


  • Marinate the chicken for at least 1 to 2 hours for flavor.
  • Use bone-in, skin-on chicken for a tastier dish.
  • Flip the chicken halfway for even cooking.
  • To make it ahead, marinate a double or triple batch of this flavorful chicken adobo. Before cooking, store the extras in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you are ready to enjoy, allow the marinated chicken to thaw in the refrigerator before proceeding with the recipe as you normally would.
  • Store leftovers in the fridge for 3 to 4 days or freeze for 2 to 3 months.
Inspired by: Food Network


Serving: 2chicken drumsticks | Calories: 289kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 139mg | Sodium: 738mg | Potassium: 460mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 116IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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  1. Lynn says:

    If using bone-in, skin on chicken breasts, how many would you recommend using for this recipe, 4?
    Thank you!

    1. Katerina says:

      About 1.5 pounds, maximum 2 pounds.

  2. Julie Raasch says:

    I followed the directions, no tweaks, and my husband said “I’ll pass.” He’s not a picky eater. I didn’t care for it either. Sauce was overpowering. I’m glad that we tried it, but it’s just not for us.

  3. bernice tyms says:

    I was so ready to try this recipe, thought about it all day. But, I thought I had the apple cider vinegar and I don’t! Can I use something else to substitute it with?

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Hi! How about white vinegar? Even lemon juice will work.