This spicy adobo chicken is savory, zesty, and delicious. This simple recipe creates a juicy, tender piece of chicken and requires only one pan!
Spicy adobo chicken is a classic filipino dish that can easily be made in your own home. This recipe is the perfect easy weeknight dinner or meal prep option. The chicken can be marinated and prepped ahead of time, so all you have to do is cook it when you get home.
This is a recipe with lots of spice. The amount of spice can easily be increased or decreased. I’ll give full instructions below on how to do this!
What is Adobo Chicken?
Adobo chicken simply refers to the cooking style in which the chicken is prepared. Adobo chicken is marinated in a combination of vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic. The chicken is then cooked over the stove in the same marinade. This is a Filipino dish that tastes savory and spicy.
This spicy adobo chicken is different than traditional adobo chicken because it contains crushed red chili flakes and cayenne pepper. These ingredients increase the spice level of the dish. Add as much or as little as you like!
Reasons to Love This
- The chicken breast is perfectly tender, moist, and juicy! This is a melt-in-your-mouth recipe!
- The recipe is easy to make and only requires one pan. Make sure to allow enough time for the chicken to marinate.
- The spicy adobo chicken works great for meal prep: cut up several pieces of chicken and place them over a bed of rice in a meal prep container. Add extra veggies if desired.
White vinegar: this is the main component of an adobo chicken marinade. The acidity in the vinegar helps to tenderize the meat.
Soy sauce: use a low-sodium soy sauce to prevent the meat from becoming too salty. You can also use tamari sauce as a gluten-free option.
Garlic: minced garlic works best and adds flavor.
Peppercorn: use whole peppercorn. It is located in the spice aisle.
Red Chili pepper flakes: these add spice to the dish! Adjust based on your preferences
Cayenne pepper: adds spice, start small and add more if desired
Combine all ingredients except for the water and oil in a large bowl. Mix and allow the chicken to marinate for 1 hour.
Once the chicken has finished marinating, heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the chicken and brown on each side for 3 minutes.
Add in the remaining marinade, cayenne pepper (optional), and water. Bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce to medium-low heat and simmer.
Cover the pan with a lid and stir every couple of minutes. Simmer for 30 minutes. Chicken is done when it reaches 165F and is tender.
Traditional chicken adobo is served with steamed white rice. This can also be served on top of brown rice, cauliflower rice, rice noodles, pasta, or quinoa. The juices from the marinade absorb into the rice or grain, which makes it a great way to serve.
The chicken is perfect as a main entrée. Here are some easy side dishes to pair it with:
- Chicken must marinate for at least one hour and can marinate for up to 3 hours. It’s important not to skip this step!
- Allowing the chicken to cook in a pan with a lid helps to trap steam inside, which results in a juicy and moist piece of chicken.
- Add extra flavor by adding in some diced onions or bell peppers. Spicy adobo chicken with peppers is a very popular dish!
Frequently Asked Questions
The red chili pepper flakes and cayenne pepper add spice to this dish. Make it spicier by increasing the amount of these spices used. Start with a small amount of cayenne pepper and add more if needed.
This recipe works best with chicken thighs. The thigh meat is a tender and juicy cut the absorbs the marinade well. Chicken drumsticks can also be used. You can also use chicken breasts or tenders. Make sure all chicken is boneless and skinless.
The spicy adobo chicken can also be cooked in the crock pot or the instant pot. Cooking times will vary!
Spicy Adobo Chicken
- 1 skillet
- ¾ cup white vinegar
- ½ cup soy sauce use tamari for gluten free option
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorn whole
- 1 teaspoon red chili peppers
- 1 cup water
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, breast or drumsticks
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Cayenne pepper optional, to taste
- Combine the vinegar, soy sauce, bay leaves, minced garlic, peppercorn and red chili pepper flakes in a large bowl. Mix until combined.
- Add the chicken and mix until coated. Place in the refrigerator and allow to marinade for 1 hour.
- Once chicken has finished marinating, place a medium sauce pan over medium heat and add oil. When oil is hot, add the chicken and cook for3 minutes on each side to brown.
- Add in the remaining marinade, cayenne pepper (optional) and water. Bring to a boil.
- Once it reaches a boil, reduce to medium low heat, cover with a lid and simmer.
- Simmer for 30 minutes, flipping the chicken every 5 minutes to prevent it from burning.
- Chicken is done when it reaches 165F and is tender. Remove the bay leaves before serving.