Chicken Adobo (Cook's Illustrated)

Total Time
1hr 40mins
Prep 45 mins
Cook 55 mins

This is a classic Filipino dish that Cook's Illustrated researched and revised. Chicken thighs are braised in soy sauce, vinegar and coconut milk. I served with coconut rice and a salad. The pre-cooking of the thighs releases a lot of fat that is discarded.


  1. Toss the chicken with the soy sauce in a large bowl. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  2. Remove chicken from the soy sauce allowing excess to drip back into the bowl. Transfer the chicken, skin-side down, to a 12 inch non-stick skillet; set aside the soy sauce.
  3. Place the skillet over medium-high heat and cook until the chicken skin is browned 7 to 10 minutes.
  4. While the chicken is browning, whisk coconut milk, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves and pepper into the soy sauce. (I chopped the garlic).
  5. Transfer the chicken to a plate and discard the fat in the skillet. Return the chicken to the skillet skin-side down, add the coconut milk mixture, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Flip chicken skin side up and continue to cook, uncovered, until chicken is done, about 15 minutes (175 deg F internal temp).
  6. Transfer chicken to platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil.
  7. Remove bay leaves and skim any fat off surface of sauce. Return skillet to medium-high heat and cook until sauce is thickened, 5 to 7 minutes.
  8. Pour sauce over chicken, sprinkle with scallion and serve.
  9. Note: I made half the recipe and found that the sauce reduced very quickly. I covered the skillet after turning the chicken, but still had very little sauce left - more fat. I will try stirring in some cream to make more sauce, but did not do so this time - the chicken was very moist and flavorful. In any event, if you do make just half the recipe, keep your eye on it!
Most Helpful

I have made this recipe several times and found several modifications to be helpful. 1. I use chicken quarters instead of chicken thighs. 2. I buy air chilled chicken, only. (Harris Teeter has it for cheap!) 3. I use HALF the amount of chicken called for. There simply isn't enough sauce, otherwise. 4. Use light coconut milk. I find the full fat masks the flavor of good quality chicken. 5. Serve over coconut rice (just 1 cup of rice cooked with half water half full-fat coconut milk)

Anna H. February 28, 2015

Prior cooking I washed the tights and cut of the big parts of skin with fat! In this way I did not have so much fat in the skillet.
I prepared 4 tights for us 4, I don't think that somebody needs more (or I hope :lol:).
I used light soy sauce bat I added I teaspoon of the dark one. The sauce was really delicious and the chicken tasty.
I'm used to diescard the chicken skin (if not grilled), but here I didn't because I believe that's necessary for the taste.
Thanks a lot for this posting.

awalde March 14, 2012

Flavors were really nice and chicken was tender. Sauce still had a slightly oily feel to it...maybe next time I'll see how the Light coconut milk works. I did drain the fat before making the sauce, and tried skimming off any excess chicken fat at the end, but it was difficult.

On the skin--I followed the process but it still came out pretty soggy. I thought I had crisped it up pretty nicely, but it wilted in the sauce. Anybody else have this issue? Any suggestions?

Even with the soggy skin, I'd probably make this again.

daveroperti March 13, 2012