Chicken Adobo

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Chicken adobo is another popular Filipino dish.  It traditionally consists of chicken pieces slowly cooked in garlic, vinegar, bay leaf, black peppercorns and soy sauce. The meat is then browned in oil and served with the reduced sauce. Every Filipino has his/her own way of cooking chicken adobo.  Some used onions, brown sugar, pineapple or coconut milk.  It depends on the region or on one’s personal preference.

This recipe is quite different to the traditional chicken adobo. The chicken pieces are first marinated in vinegar and a mixture of spices for 2 hours, slowly cooked in the marinade and then browned in oil.  The addition of coriander  and annatto seeds give this adobo dish its warm, spicy-sweet scent, distinct yellow color and its slightly lemony flavor.  This dish is so delicious and flavorful that you will be proud to take to any potluck :)

Chicken Adobo
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6 servings
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon annatto seeds
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 kg chicken pieces
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  1. Combine the garlic, vinegar, chicken stock, bay leaf, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, annatto seeds and soy sauce in a large bowl. Add the chicken, cover and leave to marinade in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  2. Transfer the chicken mixture to a large heavy-based pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until tender. Gently turn chicken occasionally during course of cooking.
  3. Remove the chicken from the pan. Set aside the sauce.
  4. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, add the chicken in batches and cook over medium heat until chicken are crisp and brown.
  5. Pour the sauce over the chicken pieces and serve with rice.
  6. Enjoy!
This recipe is adapted from “The Essential Asian Cookbook”

Annatto seeds may be purchased at any local Filipino store. If it is not available, substitute ¼ teaspoon paprika combined with a generous pinch of turmeric.



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    • Liza ALiza says

      Oops! Thanks for letting me know Christine :) As for the skin, you can remove or leave it on. What I did was to leave it on and it was sooo delicious.

      • Christine says

        Hi – thanks! How much chicken did you start with for this recipe – I see it serves 6 and we’re only 2 – it would help me in my shopping if you included the weight or parts of chicken you used. Can’t wait to try it

  1. Ruth says

    My aunt is from Philippines but she doesn’t eat any spice. so should i avoid the annatto seeds? and will the coriander seed also make it spicy. My aunt can’t even handle raw onions. so trying to make it for her. Pls let me know/.

    • Liza ALiza says

      Hi Ruth,
      Thanks for stopping by. It is nice of you to cook something for your aunt and adobo is a good choice. It is a dish most Filipinos love. To answer your question,as far as I know, annatto seeds are not spicy. It is used mainly for color. Coriander seeds,on the other hand,adds a certain taste to the adobo. When crushed, it is spicy but if you leave it whole, it’s okay. What I would suggest is for you to cook and try it first. This recipe is one of my flavorful and delicious. I am not fond of spicy food and don’t like eating raw onions either. And lastly, strain the sauce first to get rid of the seeds before pouring it over the chicken. This way your aunt won’t bite any seeds as she eats. Give it a try and let me know!

  2. Christine says

    Hi – FYI – I also used this as a base for a great soup. Cooked the chicken as instructed (without skin) then instead of browning them, took the chicken pieces out and let them cool enough to pull/shred all the chicken off of the bones. I strained the sauce and added 4 cups of water to it, chopped carrots, celery, roasted tomatoes, s&p, and simmered until tender. Added the chicken back, and a bunch of chopped kale, then used a stick blender to emulsify it a bit, leaving chunks. It was great – thanks!!

    • Liza ALiza says

      Very clever Christine! Now you have chicken soup that has full of flavor and you even added kale…yummy!! I will definitely try it, thanks for writing :)

  3. says

    Awesome recipe! For anyone who comes across this version of Chicken Adobo and doesn’t feel like they have time to marinate…I skipped that part and the dish still tasted great, and had loads of flavor! Love this recipe!

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