Mexican Adobo Chicken includes tender pieces of chicken cooked in a deliciously rich, smokey red chili sauce. This one-pot dish is pure comfort food and super easy to make.
Using boneless, skinless chicken thighs and 25-minute adobo sauce means this dish will be on the table in about an hour.
As a card-carrying red chili lover, saucy Mexican Adobo Chicken is the encapsulation of everything I love the most:
- The super-easy Mexican Adobo sauce is lush, spicy, savory, and saturated with the incredible smokey flavor of red chilies.
- The recipe is quick and easy and requires just 1 pot.
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are juicy and tender and fully cooked after just 20 minutes of simmering in their delicious Mexican Adobo bath.
- The chicken can be eaten over rice, with beans or crispy fried potatoes and some pickled onions, or shredded and layered into tortillas for adobo chicken tacos.
If you're a fellow member of the red-chili lover club, you might want to take a moment to add Adobo Fish Tacos and Cheese Enchilada Casserole to your to-make list. Then come back here and get ready to fall in love with your new favorite comfort food.
Ingredients Needed to Prepare This Recipe
Mexican Adobo Chicken is a one-pot dish that requires just a few ingredients:
- Butter and vegetable oil. Browning the chicken in a combination of butter and vegetable oil before smothering it in Mexican Adobo sauce creates a more flavorful dish than using oil alone. Using only butter can result in burnt butter.
- Boneless skinless chicken thighs. Using boneless, skinless chicken thighs makes this dish quick, easy, less fatty, and easier to eat. You could also use boneless, skinless chicken breasts if you like, but I think thighs are more flavorful, tender, and juicy.
- Mexican Adobo. Adobo is a staple sauce in Mexican cooking used in a wide variety of dishes. This Mexican Adobo recipe takes only 25 minutes to make and requires just a handful of ingredients: diced garlic and jalapeño, dried spices, pureed red chile, vinegar, and fresh cilantro. Make a double batch of adobo so you have enough to coat the chicken and spoon over rice (or whatever else you're serving), with plenty left over to sop up with warm tortillas.
*See the recipe card for precise quantities.
How to Make Mexican Adobo Chicken
Step #1: Make the Mexican Adobo Sauce.
Follow this Mexican Adobo Recipe to prepare a double batch of adobo. You should have approximately 2 cups of adobo.
By the way, Mexican Adobo can be prepared up to 2 weeks in advance and stored in the refrigerator, or frozen for up to 3 months.
Step #2: Brown the Chicken.
Blot the chicken with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel to soak up excess moisture. Then, add the chicken to a hot skillet containing some vegetable oil and melted butter.
Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and let it cook on one side until starting to brown.
Flip the chicken over, sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper, and let it cook until brown on the other side.
#3. Pour the Mexican Adobo over the chicken.
Pour the adobo sauce over the chicken, bring it to a boil, then cover the pan and let the chicken simmer until cooked through - about 20 minutes.
That's it! The chicken is now ready to serve!
How to Serve Mexican Adobo Chicken
My favorite way to eat Mexican Adobo Chicken is over rice or stuffed into tacos. But honestly, there's no wrong way to eat this saucy chicken.
- Shred the chicken and use it as a filling for burritos or enchiladas
- Use Mexican Adobo Chicken to make sandwiches or wraps (so good with sliced avocado, pickled onions, and cotija cheese)
- Shred the chicken and use it to top nachos or tostadas
- Add cooked Mexican Adobo Chicken to Chicken Tortilla Soup or Cheese Enchilada Casserole
Or, serve it as pictured here: Spooned over rice and topped with sliced avocado and quick pickled onions.
How to Prepare this Recipe in Advance
Mexican Adobo Sauce can be prepared up to 2 weeks in advance and stored in the refrigerator or frozen for up to 3 months.
After cooking, you can keep the Mexican Adobo Chicken in the sauce for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Or, scoop the chicken and the sauce into a freezer container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
Allow frozen adobo chicken to thaw in the refrigerator overnight then reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop over low heat. Reheating this dish over low heat is important to prevent the sauce on the bottom of the pan from burning.
Mexican Adobo Chicken Makes a Great Camping Recipe
Calling all campers! Mexican Adobo Chicken is a perfect camping recipe. The adobo sauce can be made in advance and the chicken can be cooked on an RV stovetop, a camping stove, Blackstone Griddle, or even over an open flame.
It's important to match the cooking pan to the heat source you will be using to cook the chicken.
If cooking on a Blackstone Griddle or over an open flame, use a well-seasoned cast iron skillet or cast iron dutch oven. The acid in the adobo can react with cast iron and cause a metallic flavor IF the pan isn't well seasoned. Use a well-seasoned pan, and you're golden.
One more thing to note about cast iron - even if your pan is well seasoned, don't store leftover adobo chicken in the cast iron pan. Scoop it into another non-reactive container for storage.
A: Yes, absolutely! Feel free to use any cut of chicken you like, bone-in and ski-on or boneless and skinless.
I like to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs for Mexican Adobo Chicken because they cook faster than the bone-in variety and make the dish less fatty. I also prefer to use thighs (or any dark meat pieces) for braised or stewed dishes because they stay tender and juicy; chicken breasts are easy to overcook and can taste a bit dry.
The dish will take longer to cook if you choose to use bone-in and skin-on chicken. Cook until an instant-read thermometer registers at 165 °F (74 °C).
A: Yes! Start the dish on the stovetop as instructed - brown the chicken, pour the adobo sauce into the pan and bring it to a boil on the stovetop. Then, cover the pan, put it in a preheated 350-degree oven, and cook until the chicken registers at 165 °F (74 °C).
A: First of all - let me stress that both Mexican Chicken Adobo and Filipino Chicken Adobo are delicious! But they are completely different dishes.
Filipino chicken adobo includes chicken that’s been marinated in a sauce made with vinegar, soy sauce, and coconut milk. The chicken is then braised in the sauce or removed from the sauce and grilled.
Mexican Adobo Chicken, as you see here, is cooked in a red chili-based sauce that does not contain soy sauce.
- 3 tablespoons butter (I used salted)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups Mexican Adobo: Prepare a double batch of this Mexican Adobo recipe
- Follow this Mexican Adobo Recipe to prepare a double batch (double the amount of all the ingredients) of adobo. You should have approximately 2 cups of adobo. (Preparing Mexican Adobo takes about 25 minutes; this time is not included in the recipe times listed above. Mexican Adobo can be prepared up to 2 weeks in advance and stored in the refrigerator.)
- Lay the chicken out on paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Using more paper towels or another clean kitchen towel, blot excess moisture from the chicken.
- Add butter and oil to a 12-inch non-stick skillet and set it over medium heat. When the butter has completely melted, add the chicken, arranging it into one layer without any overlapping pieces. If there is no way to arrange all the chicken without overlapping the pieces, do this in two batches.
- Sprinkle the chicken with a bit of salt and pepper and let it cook on one side for 3-4 minutes, until you can easily lift it from the pan without sticking and the bottom of the pieces are starting to brown. Turn the pieces over and allow them to cook on the other side just until you see a few brown spots beginning to form.
- Pour the adobo sauce into the pan, over the chicken. Turn the heat up slightly and bring the adobo to a boil.
- Cover the pan, turn the heat to medium-low, and cook for 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. To know when the chicken is cooked through: Remove the thickest piece from the pan and cut it into the thickest part. If there is no pink on the inside of the piece of chicken, it is done cooking. Alternatively, stick an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thickest piece of chicken. The chicken is done when it registers 165° F (73.8° C).
- Serve the chicken over rice, topped with sliced avocado and pickled onions, with crispy fried potatoes and tortillas on the side.
What is Mexican Adobo?
Mexican Adobo is a delicious red-chili based sauce that's thick, rich, spicy, and savory. This recipe for Mexican adobo only takes about 25 minutes to prepare but is a powerhouse of flavor that can be used to make as a marinade, sauce, or salsa for meat, poultry, seafood and vegetables.
How to Store Leftover Mexican Adobo Chicken
Store leftover Mexican adobo chicken in a non-reactive air-tight container or ziptop bag in the fefrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow frozen adobo chicken to thaw in the refrigerator overnight then reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop over low heat. Reheating this dish over low heat is important to prevent the sauce on the bottom of the pan to scorch.
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Serving Size:½ pound chicken and ½ cup sauce
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 743Total Fat: 49gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 31gCholesterol: 323mgSodium: 1786mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 65g
Food Safety Tips
- Cook chicken to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw poultry
- Wash hands after touching raw poultry
- Don't leave cooked or uncooked poultry sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove