This Chicken Wing Adobo-Filipino style is a traditional way of preparing adobo in the Philippines. It is marinated in umami-rich soy sauce, vinegar-based with garlic and spices that preserves and enhances the flavor. Made with just a few ingredients, this savory and tangy dish will be your next favorite.
This finger-licking good chicken wing adobo is your best choice. Adobo is a National dish in the Philippines because it is so simple to make but so delicious. It’s also a crowd-pleaser that’s using staple pantry ingredients!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Chicken drumette and wingette - This can be substituted with chicken dark meat such as drumstick or thigh or white meat such as chicken breast.
- Soy Sauce. In this recipe, I use dark soy sauce. If you are wondering what is the difference between light and dark soy sauce, light soy sauce is used for seasoning and dark soy sauce is used for adding color to dishes. Light soy sauce is golden brown in color and rich in taste to add flavor during the marinating and seasoning stage and it is also higher in salt. You can use either but for me, dark soy sauce that adds the color stands out.
- Vinegar - I use white vinegar. If you need a different vinegar to substitute for white vinegar, use apple cider vinegar or sherry vinegar. Depending on your recipe, you could also swap in lemon or lime juice. Acidic ingredients like vinegar or lemon juice weaken collagen and protein in meat. Once the proteins are broken by acid, one loose protein can bond with another and trap liquid in the meat, making it juicy and tender.
- Garlic - It is a flavor enhancer and aromatic. The taste of garlic is common in all adobo dishes. Traditional chicken adobo uses fresh smashed or minced garlic. If you are using garlic powder instead of fresh, start to just add half of a teaspoon and go from there.
- Peppercorns – or coarsely cracked pepper
- Sugar – Brown sugar is best, white sugar, honey, or maple syrup is okay to balance the salty and tangy flavor.
- Bay leaves – fresh or dried, not the end of the world if you don’t have;
- Cilantro or green onion – optional garnish
Step 1. The first step is preparing your meat and sauce for marinating. This mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, minced garlic, and peppercorn is a perfect combination for the marinade sauce. Use half of the minced garlic and peppercorn and the other half for cooking later. Combine all the above ingredients and marinate the chicken for 30 minutes up to overnight.
You can skip marination if you if dont have enough time. Your adobo will still be delicious. However, the marinating process will infuse all the flavors of the sauce to mix with the meat.
Step 2. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil. Saute the onion and half of the minced garlic for 1-2 minutes on medium heat.
Step 3. Push the onion and garlic on the side and add the marinated chicken wings. Add a few tablespoons of cooking oil if needed. Seared the wings for a few minutes on both sides.
Step 4. Add the marinade, brown sugar if using any, bay leaves, and the rest of the peppercorn. Stir to combine and let the dish simmer on low to medium heat for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust your seasonings accordingly.
Each region in the Philippines has its own version of adobo. The dish is normally cooked with pork or chicken and sometimes with vegetables.
- Protein - You can use pork, beef, seafood, or vegetables to cook adobo. Try my Adobong Sitaw Recipe, Mushroom Adobo Recipe, and Chicken Feet Adobo Recipe.
- Add Pineapple - Adding pineapple to your adobo is a great way to add sweetness and slight tanginess, and the pineapple is a natural meat tenderizer. Check my Chicken Adobo with Pineapple Recipe.
- Make it spicy - Add green or red chilies
- Make it dry - Cook it dry or make Adobong Tuyo (Dry Adobo) by reducing the amount of the sauce.
Storage and Reheating Tips
Storage - Store your cooled leftover Chicken Adobo Wings in a glass container with a lid. It should be good for 5 days if stored properly.
Freezer - You can freeze the dish in a freezer-friendly bag or container for up to 3 months. Thaw and reheat when you are ready to enjoy it again.
Reheating - Reheat this dish in a small saucepan on medium heat. Add some water with a pinch of salt if it's too dry. Reheat it until warm thoroughly.
- Find the right balance of soy sauce and vinegar for your taste. If you prefer your chicken adobo to be tangy, add a bit more vinegar. If you prefer less salty, decrease your soy sauce.
- Don't stir too much. Once you start simmering, resist the urge to stir too frequently. Let the chicken develop a nice caramelized crust by allowing it to cook undisturbed for a while.
- Low and slow cooking is one of the keys to cooking the best Filipino Adobo. Simmer the chicken gently over low heat to ensure it becomes tender and absorbs all the delicious flavors.
Why I Think You Will Love This Recipe
- Super easy and simple to make.
- It uses minimal ingredients that you may already have in your pantry.
- It is a very forgiving dish, perfect for a beginner or seasoned cook.
Your Questions and the Answers
Adobo is a Filipino national dish that means "marinade, sauce, or seasoning". Although adobo can be made quicker by skipping to marinate, the flavors are more subtle and complex if you take the time to marinate your meat, chicken, or fish with soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and spices.
Yes, Chicken Adobo often tastes even better when reheated the next day. The flavors have more time to meld together. Just store it in the refrigerator and gently reheat it when you are ready to eat.
Filipino adobo is marinated with soy sauce and vinegar-based with garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorn while Mexican Adobo uses sauce or paste made from dried chilies (like ancho, guajillo, or chipotle), garlic, vinegar, spices (such as cumin and oregano), and sometimes tomato. The dried chilies are the primary flavoring agents.
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Chicken Wings Adobo Recipe
- 2 pound chicken wings
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 2 teaspoon garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon peppercorn
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 2 teaspoon garlic minced
- 1 small onion sliced thinly
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 pieces bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon peppercorn
- cilantro (optional) garnish
- Combine the marinade ingredients above, soy sauce, vinegar, minced garlic, and peppercorn is a perfect combination for the marinade sauce. Marinate the chicken for 30 minutes up to overnight.
- In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil. Saute the onion and half of the minced garlic for 1-2 minutes on medium heat.
- Heat the remaining oil in skillet. Add garlic and onion, sautee for 2 minutes.Add the reserved marinade, water, sugar, bay leaves and peppercorn. Bring it to a simmer then turn heat to medium high. Simmer 5 minutes.
- Push the onion and garlic on the side and add the marinated chicken wings. Add a few tablespoons of cooking oil if needed. Seared the wings for a few minutes on both sides.
- Add the marinade, brown sugar if using any, bay leaves, and the rest of the peppercorn. Stir to combine and let the dish simmer on low to medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is nice and tender. Taste and adjust your seasonings accordingly.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with rice or garlic-fried rice.
- The longer you marinate your meat, the tastier it will come out! Leftover adobo is so delicious since it is been marinating with the sauce while sitting in your fridge.
- Try to make fried rice with your leftover sauce.
- Store your leftover in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Soy sauce and vinegar are the key ingredients to keep it longer without spoiling.