Chicken adobo

Tender, delicious stewed chicken. The easiest main dish you’ll ever make – everything in a pot and ready to cook.


  • 1 pack chicken drumsticks (5-6 drumsticks, around 2 lb) – or you can use 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, each cut crosswise into 3-4 pieces
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns or ground black pepper (yes, this is a lot of pepper; use less if you prefer, but I like the gentle kick)
  • 2-3 bay leaves (Turkish are the ones you want for cooking, not California)
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup water


  1. Rinse chicken.
  2. Put all ingredients in large pot or dutch oven. Bring to boil over medium heat.
  3. Turn chicken over. Reduce to gentle simmer and cover.
  4. Cook for 30 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, depending on how much time you have. The longer it cooks, the softer the chicken becomes.
  5. If you prefer a thicker sauce, leave the lid slightly ajar during cooking so that steam can escape, or simply take the cover off toward the end, raise heat and cook a few minutes until the liquid is reduced.
  6. Serve over rice.


  • Scaling up this recipe is easy. Double or triple ingredients, throw in bigger pot.
  • This is also a great leftover or make-ahead dish, as it tastes just as good or better the next day.
  • The vinegar does have a strong smell when cooking. Don’t be afraid, it tastes good in the end.

Serves 3-4.

Here’s the link back to the post and pictures.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

cc 11 December 2010 at 2:52 pm

I love this recipe! As an official non-cook, this is one dish where it’s hard for me to over cook the chicken & is always delicious… If I’m short on time, I sometimes microwave the chicken a bit so it’s not red in the middle… Love it!


Chrispy Thomson 1 April 2014 at 6:11 pm

I was listening to that cooking show on NPR on Saturday. The idea that “boiling” a stew would ruin it struck me like a potato on the head. When you say, “bring to a boil,” I take it that returning the chicken “stew” to lowest heat for the duration is key to not ruining it. Why is that? Thanks. My hypothesis would be that many of the flavorful and nutritious chemical compounds will vaporize at boiling point, and that the chicken will harden and dry out?


cg 3 April 2014 at 12:44 am

hi chrispy – yes, i bring the liquid to a boil just to get everything hot. it’s the low, slow cooking afterward that breaks down the connective tissue of the meat into gelatin and makes everything falling-apart tender. this is why tougher cuts of meat with more connective tissue make for better stews. they have great flavor, but they are tough. stewing breaks down the toughness so that you get very tender, very flavorful meat. hope that helps!


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