How to Make Filipino Adobo

July 12, 2017

adobo perfection
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How to Make Filipino Adobo

Hopefully you’ve had at least had one Filipino friend who has brightened your day by cooking pancit (noodles), lumpia (fried egg rolls), and the most common of Filipino dishes, adobo.


“You’re Filipino? I love that adobo you guys have.”


Yup! Adobo is like the king ulam dish of Filipinos. Think: steak and potatoes = adobo and rice.


“Ulam” – the Tagalog word for a main dish


How to make Filipino adobo

Have you ever wanted to learn how to make adobo?

Now, every Filipino cook will claim to have the best adobo recipe of all. But to ask for their special recipe you may get this answer:


I also claim to have the best adobo recipe, which I have carefully crafted over time. But I gladly share it with you. The most basic adobo recipe is made with a few simple ingredients: chicken or pork, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and ginger.

Everyone has their own preference for the right balance of vinegar and soy sauce, and this adobo recipe has come to be my favorite. Feel free to make adjustments to fit your own taste. That’s the joy of cooking!

adobo ingredients

Recipe for Adobo Perfection

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 lb skinless chicken thighs, chopped into large pieces
  • 2-3 medium potatoes, chopped into 1 or 2 inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 TBSP brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 inch chunk of ginger, sliced in small pieces (about 2 tbsp)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • handful of peppercorns
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil

Heat up olive oil in a frying pan, add the garlic and sauté. Next add in the red onion and continue to sauté, finally adding in the ginger. Add the pieces of chicken and sauté until they begin to sear and brown on all sides. Then sprinkle the sugar over the chicken and sauté for another minute or two. Add the chicken to a medium pot with the soy sauce, vinegar, water, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat to medium or medium low and let simmer for 30 minutes. Finally add in the potatoes and cook for another 20 mins or until the potatoes are tender.

And don’t forget that adobo is ALWAYS served with tons of rice. Eat up!

rice filipino food

Have you tried Filipino food? What is your favorite ulam dish?

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More about Deborah

Filipino American with a passion for making a difference. Writer. Blogger. Dreamer. Adventurer.

  • Paolo

    Still haven’t perfected this dish I feel kind of embarrassed lol There are so many slight variations to it though makes it hard to perfect your own style. I may have to try this recipe one day. Thanks!

    • I know what you mean! I still can make it quite like the titas. They must add something special to it lol.

  • I’ve never had Filipino food (does halo halo count?) but I’ve always wanted to try it! I definitely want to give this a try, it looks amazing!

  • Aida Arain

    I’m Filipino, and I grew up eating chicken adobo! That and pancit were pretty much the only Filipino dishes we ate regularly, and I love them both! I’ll have to give your recipe a try :)

  • we love foods from other cultures! will have to try this wonderful recipe!

  • Carly Ned

    I’ve never had adobo, but I might just have to give it a try!

  • I love adobo! And you’re right, everyone makes it a little different. I make mine with chicken and pork. But my all time fav ulam is kare-kare!

  • I love adobo! Everyone does make it a little different, I’ve never tried making it with sugar!

  • Kate

    I’d have to say that this seasoning sounds like it would be great on a lot of things!

    • For sure! I’ve had it on green beans before and that works great!

  • Justine Jobelle M. Kimoden

    I love it! Adobo was the first Filipino dish I learned to cook when I moved out of my parent’s house as it is my favourite Filipino food! Next would be sinigang <3

    • Nice, I love sinigang! Adobo and lumpia were my first dishes to learn how to make on my own. Then I learned how to make tinola when I lived in the Philippines.

  • Jauwan Stinson

    I have never tasted this dish but it looks and sounds delicious!

  • LOL – those are the three staples that all of my friends know and love if they’ve eaten with my family! Lumpia, Pancit, and Adobo :) Your adobo recipe looks pretty delicious!

    • Thanks! Yeah, those 3 dishes are the first thing anyone talks about when they learn I’m Filipino :D

  • Haha it really is the Filipino version of steak and potatoes! Probably my favorite dish.

    • I know, it’s definitely one of my favs and crowd pleaser as well!

  • Jessica Bradshaw

    Oh my gosh! This looks amazing. My cousin’s husband is Filipino. I will have to try to make this next time they are in town.

    • Awesome! Yeah you will definitely have to try it and see what he thinks!