Chicken Adobo

Chicken Adobo

Servings: 6
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 1/2 cup cane vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (see notes*)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar or palm sugar
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 lbs) , trimmed of excess skin and fat
  • 5 medium garlic cloves, crushed slightly and peeled
  • 3 bay leaves


  1. In a glass measuring cup whisk together vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, and peppercorns. Set aside.

  2. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Dab skin on chicken dry with paper towels then add 3 thighs to pot, skin side down. Let sear until golden brown on bottom, about 4 - 6 minutes.

  3. Transfer chicken to a plate then repeat with remaining 3 thighs, while adding garlic to pan with chicken during the last 30 seconds to saute briefly to remove harsh bite.

  4. Remove pan from heat and carefully pour in vinegar mixture, return 3 chicken pieces to the pot, skin side down. Nestle in bay leaves. Return to heat, bring sauce just to a boil then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes.

  5. Flip chicken to opposite side, continue to simmer, uncovered, until chicken is cooked through and about 20 minutes longer.

  6. Remove bay leaves. Serve chicken warm over rice with some of the sauce spooned over**.

Recipe Notes

  • *I've found I like the blend of 1/4 cup regular soy sauce and 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce. If you like things salty you can use 1/2 cup regular soy sauce, if you like things less salty use 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce.
  • **To thicken the sauce I don't recommend simmering longer after chicken has been removed to reduce further - sauce will be too salty. Instead if you'd prefer it thicker I recommend whisking together 2 tsp cornstarch with 1 Tbsp water then adding to the pot with the sauce and simmering about 30 - 60 seconds, stirring constantly, just until thickened slightly.
  • Other variations on this recipe include adding 1 small yellow onion (sliced), 1/2 cup coconut milk, or adding 1 sliced Thai chili for heat. You can also make it sweeter if desired by adding more palm or brown sugar.
  • Nutrition estimate based on using low-sodium soy sauce.