easy · Egg free · Gluten free · main dish · Recipes · Sesame free · Special Diet · starch

Adobo Chicken

Chicken adobo has become one of our go-to dishes over the past few years. It’s a simple recipe that can be quickly whipped up on the stove top but is also an excellent use for our slow cooker.


In The Adobo Road Cookbook, Marvin Gapultos describes ‘adobo’ as “the Filipino method by which any meat, seafood, fruit, or vegetable is braised in a mixture containing vinegar, bay leaves, garlic, black pepper, and salt.” In most cases today the salt is provided by a soy sauce, which for us is tamari. Much to our delight adobo is an extremely flexible recipe that encourages variation and experimentation. That is, mistakes are generally tolerated and we can vary things up.

The following is our slow cooker version adapted from the Adobo Road Cookbook.

Ingredients (and our sources) 

  • 6 to 8 smashed cloves garlic (farmers’ market)
  • Half cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons tamari (San-J)
  • Coarsely ground black pepper -I do four or five turns of our pepper grinder (McCormick)
  • 2 bay leaves (McCormick)
  • 6 to 8 pieces of Chicken thighs and/or drumsticks (Foster Farms)


  • Add the liquid and seasonings into the slow cooker. Mix around.
  • Add in the chicken.
    • If you use a larger slow cooker, such as a six quart version, add the pieces in single layer.
    • The chicken should be at least half-covered, if not mostly covered by the liquid. If you need more liquid then double the tamari, vinegar, garlic, and bay leaves.
  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours. The chicken is done at 6 hours and the adobo sauce will over overcook (and become slightly bitter) if more than 8 hours.




  • Traditionally adobo uses sugar cane vinegar, which is readily available at Asian markets here in L.A. We haven’t tested any brands of cane vinegar as of August 2016. We may in the future. The reason why we use rice vinegar in this recipe is a legacy of Sprout’s limited diet and our capacity to test new items. Even on Saipan where Filipinos are half the population and cane vinegar sold in bulk we had difficulty testing because the manufacturing companies weren’t easily reachable. We liked this recipe with rice vinegar when we first made it, and that is sufficient.
  • Feel free to use other cuts of meat. Adobo is a generic name like ‘stew.’ For example, try pork loin or pork shoulder/butt.
  • Here are some optional ingredients we add from time to time. Double the liquid if you add these.
    • Optional: 1 to 2 carrots cut into chunks (farmers’ market)
    • Optional: 2 to 3 yukon gold or similar potatoes cut into chunks (farmers’ market)
  • I generally use a 2 quart slow cooker but sometimes use the larger 6qt. when I want to add in carrots, potatoes, and other tubers.

Source: The Adobo Road Cookbook by Marvin Gapultos.