Chicken Adobo

Chicken adobo is one of those “simple, yet complex” dishes that makes you feel like a rock star in the kitchen. It’s simple to make, yet the flavor is deep and bold. Best of all, it’s simple to experiment with the spices to create something truly unique.

Chicken Adobo
Chicken adobo, served with white rice

The magic first happens in the chicken adobo marinade. This recipe calls for double-fermented soy sauce (for a richer flavor) and a “pepper mixture”—a mix of black pepper, ground chilies, and/or white pepper. We’ve left it open to how warm/hot you want it. You could keep it simply warm with black pepper or opt for a healthy portion of cayenne to bump things up. If not sure, a good starting spot is 2/3 black or white pepper with 1/3 chili pepper. You can also opt for a ground chili that’s much milder than cayenne (ancho, pasilla, and guajillo all come to mind—popular mole ground chilies.)

–> Learn More: Black Vs. White Pepper (on SPICEography)

But you don’t have to limit yourself to pepper in that mix. Aromatic spices work really well with chicken adobo. For instance, try adding some allspice or nutmeg to the mix. It gives a fragrant scent and exotic/warming twist to the marinade.

The chicken, once marinated, is pan-fried to a perfect brown, sealing in all the flavors and adding a layer of crispiness that contrasts wonderfully with the tender meat inside. The process of browning the chicken not only enhances its texture but also deepens its flavor, making it even more tasty.

The braising process that follows is a second round of magic. The addition of brown sugar and water to the pan, along with the remaining marinade, creates a sweet and savory glaze that coats the chicken thighs beautifully. As the chicken simmers, it absorbs the flavors from this glaze, making it incredibly succulent and juicy. The result is a dish that is rich, spicy, sweet, and tangy all at once.

Like this recipe? You’ll love these too:

100 Spicy Recipes from
Around the World

$9.99 (ebook)

Explore the world of spicy food through these delicious globally inspired recipes! From tasty handhelds and bold soups to fiery pastas, meals, desserts, and more. PDF AND EPUB provided. Kindle ready.

Chicken Adobo

Chicken Adobo

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Marinating Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Calories 969 kcal


  • 6 chicken thighs boneless/skinless preferred, fat trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon pepper mixture a mix of black pepper (and/or white pepper) and ground chili pepper, depending on your heat tolerance. Feel free to experiment. See notes.
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 onion chopped fine
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup double-fermented soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • Place the bay leaf and pepper mixture in a large bowl. Pour in the soy sauce and vinegar. Stir to combine.
  • Place the chicken thighs in the marinade and let stand at room temperature for 25 minutes. For more flavor, marinate them in the refrigerator for 12 hours.
  • Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade (but save the marinade.) Blot the thighs in a cotton towel to remove any excess marinade.
  • Heat the oil in a pan. Fry the chicken until browned over high heat. Transfer the chicken thighs to a plate.
  • Place the onion and garlic in the same pan and fry, stirring, for 2 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
  • Add the chicken, along with the sugar, water, and remaining chicken marinade. Braise over medium heat for about 20 to 25 minutes. Do not cover with a lid. Turn over several times during cooking so they are evenly coated with the glaze. When the marinade has evaporated and thickened, turn off the heat.
  • Serve and enjoy!


The chicken is best served with a side dish of white rice.
To add more depth to the flavor, experiment with adding ground aromatic spices to the pepper mix. Allspice and nutmeg are good options and add delicious warmth.


Calories: 969kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 59gFat: 71gSaturated Fat: 17gPolyunsaturated Fat: 13gMonounsaturated Fat: 34gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 332mgSodium: 1897mgPotassium: 912mgFiber: 2gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 292IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 85mgIron: 4mg
Did you make this?Mention @PepperScale or tag #PepperScale so we can see what you made!

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on April 6, 2024 to include new content.
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments