Adobo Chicken

Rule #12: Keep it simple. Keep it flavorful.

Adobo Chicken originated in the Philippines way back in the day. The basis of the recipe is the marinade of apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, and jalapeño. There are many, many versions of this delicious, flavorful dish. This is my Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner take on this traditional dinner (aka: it’s easy and healthy).


Marinating the chicken breast ahead of time really allows the flavors to soak in before you brown the chicken. I’m a huge fan of marinating chicken breast. (Pssst… it’s not the most flavorful cut of meat in the carnivorous world.) Traditional Adobo Chicken uses either a fryer or chicken thighs. I opt for chicken breast because it’s a bit lower in calories and fat.

adobo chicken close up

Chicken Adobo Marinade

This marinade is as simple as they come: apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, and a diced jalapeño pepper.


Nuzzle your chicken breasts in there, cover, and marinate in the fridge for about 8 hours or overnight. You can also throw these in a Ziploc bag and marinate them that way!


Brown the Chicken

Once the chicken has finished marinating, heat a bit of canola or vegetable oil to shimmering in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken on both sides (about 3 minutes per side), reserving the marinade for later.


Set the browned chicken to the side.


Make the Adobo Sauce

In the same pot or Dutch oven, sauté a diced onion until softened (about 8 minutes).


Add in some minced or pressed garlic; sauté another minute.


Now, pour in the reserve marinade, and stir to combine. Next, add in some agave syrup (or honey), Kosher salt, and black pepper.


Add in some chicken stock, stirring to combine. Make sure to scrape up all of the brown bits at the bottom (there’s flavor in the brown).


Then, add in a few bay leaves.


Nestle the chicken back into the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer for 20-25 minutes (until chicken is cooked through).


The result is ohhhh soooo gloooorrioouuuussss! “Oh Happy Day!” I’m singing it in my head as I look at this picture and remember the savory, sweet, slightly spicy flavor of this Adobo Chicken!


What to Serve with Adobo Chicken

We love to have our Adobo Chicken with Cheesy Polenta and a simple salad. This recipe makes 5 good-sized servings each coming in at about 240 calories, 7g fat, 11g carbs, and 38g protein. The leftovers also freeze like a charm!


I think what I love most about this recipe is that it’s made with things I usually have on hand or that have a long shelf-life. So, if like most weeks, I get off on the Menu Plan I’ve made, I can just save this recipe for later or make it in a pinch!

adobo chicken delicious

There’s nothing like a low carb, delicious dinner that’s still insanely full of flavor!

Adobo Chicken

3 tbs. apple cider vinegar
¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 jalapeño pepper, seeds and membranes removed, chopped
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 large)
1 tbs. canola oil (or vegetable oil)
1 yellow onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 tbs. agave (or honey)
¼ tsp. Kosher salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1-2 bay leaves
3 tbs. chicken stock (or water)

Marinate chicken in apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, and jalapeño in a large glass dish or Ziploc bag overnight in the fridge (or 8 hours before cooking).

Remove from fridge while you prepare the sauce. Heat 1 tbs. canola or vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet or Dutch oven. Remove chicken from marinade (reserving marinade) and brown on both sides (about 3 minutes per side). Remove browned chicken to a plate. Add the onion to the pan and sauté until softened (about 8 minutes). Add in the garlic and sauté another minute.

Add in the marinade, stirring to scrape the bottom. Next, add the agave, Kosher salt, pepper, bay leaves, and chicken stock to the pot. Stir to combine. Add the chicken and any juice back to the pot. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer until chicken is cooked through (about 25 minutes).

Discard bay leaves and serve over Cheesy Polenta (on my blog) or steamed white rice.

12 thoughts on “Adobo Chicken”

  1. Made this tonight and it is so good!! My whole family loved it! I was a little nervous that the jalapeño would make it too spicy for my kids, so I only used half of one and didn’t put them in the pan when I poured in the reserved marinade. It wasn’t spicy at all, but full of flavor and ever last bite has been consumed. (I also made the cheesy polenta which was another winner for my crew.)

    Thank you for another delicious recipe!

    • Oh my gracious!! That is all so wonderful to hear!! Thank you for trying the recipe and giving such wonderful feedback. It means so much to me!

  2. At the tender age of 57 I am learning to cook. I made this tonight, and it is my favorite recipe so far! The family loved it! Thank you so much!

    • That’s a great question. And no – no typo! This recipe is based on a traditional Filipino dish typically called Chicken Adobo. The flavors are meant to marry sweet and spicy. No adobo peppers are in this or any other traditional recipe. Thanks for asking!

  3. Made this recipe for my family my husband is Filipino and said it was delicious. We used drumsticks instead and he had it over white rice. I did not use the jalepano because my young kids were eating it. Great traditional Filipino dish! Great Job!


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