Adobo chicken is tangy, garlicky Filipino comfort food. Chicken thighs and drumsticks are smothered with a finger-licking sauce that’s full of ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil. And the leftovers are even better than the first time around.
Can I make adobo chicken ahead of time?
Absolutely. The chicken and sauce keep extraordinarily well in the fridge and, as with so many simmered or stewed dishes, they taste better the second day, so consider making the recipe in advance and simply rewarming it for dinner.
- Quick Glance
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 1 H, 15 M
- Serves 4 to 6
- For the adobo chicken
- To serve
In a large, heavy skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the sesame oil. Working in batches, add the chicken pieces in an even layer without crowding them and cook until browned, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Move the chicken to a plate.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the ginger and whole garlic cloves to the skillet or Dutch oven, and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, 5 to 8 minutes.
Stir in the onion, soy, vinegar, sugar, and chile flakes. Bring to a simmer and arrange the chicken pieces in the onion mixture. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
Uncover and continue to cook, spooning the sauce over the chicken occasionally, until the sauce is reduced somewhat and the chicken is fully cooked, 15 to 25 minutes more.
Serve the chicken with steamed rice and a sprinkling of cilantro and scallions.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
Where has this adobo chicken been all my life?! Sweet onion and a nip of sugar buffer salty and sour tastes, and in case that bores you, the garlic-ginger-chile combo creates a braise that's both bold and comforting.
Since I was only cooking for two, I bought 2 leg quarters (connected thigh & drum) at the market weighing just over a pound each, but I kept the sauce quantities as written. I'll admit I didn't find light soy sauce, so I used regular Kikkoman. This adobo recipe differs in that there's no marinade time, but I wanted the flavors to really get there, so after searing the chicken on both sides, I discarded the skin while the garlic and ginger browned.
Unsure whether the relatively short braise time would penetrate the unseparated legs, I gave myself plenty of extra time before dinner, and ended up leaving the finished dish covered on low for an additional 20 minutes before serving. Though it tested done after the 15 minute simmer, I felt it was even tastier after a little longer time in the sauce.
Before serving with white rice, I turned the chicken in the sauce, sprinkled with the green stuff, and we positively gobbled this up, going back for seconds of rice smothered in oniony sauce. I'm in love!
I was nervous to add 1 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes so I added 1/2 teaspoon but wanted more heat. I'll use 1 teaspoon next time.
When a sauce is this tasty, I want to eat it with a spoon! This was perfectly flavorful without tasting slick.
Stunning flavors and easy to pull together. The recipe ticks all the boxes for me—tang, ginger, translucent onions, and tender chicken. The surprise to me was how much my not-so-vinegar-loving spouse liked this. It was even better the second and third day (this definitely serves 6) and, when gently reheated, was so comforting to look forward to.
I recommend a very thorough searing of the chicken. If you don’t have a huge Dutch oven, it might be easier to do in batches. Rice can cook while this is cooking stovetop (using an oven method, it went into the oven the same time I started searing the chicken). The sauce was great with rice. Already on the “please make again” list.
To get the chicken to an internal temperature of 165℉, I added an extra 10 minutes at the end. I did ladle the sauce over the chicken as it cooked during the last phase with the lid off and turned the pieces to keep it as submerged as possible.
Although the sauce did concentrate (and more so when reheating portions the next 2 days), I never felt it was thick, but it made a gorgeous broth. Because we saved 4 servings, I got to see how perfectly the sauce jelled when I reheated leftovers. Stovetop reheating seemed a little aggressive, so we tried a covered dish in the oven and liked that better.
Adobo is completely new to us, so I do not have any baseline to compare, but this was a remarkably delicious recipe.