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Easy Filipino Chicken Adobo with Coconut Milk

Chicken adobo is a classic Filipino dish, recipes with coconut milk as well as the traditional vinegar & soy come from the southern islands.

This dish is obscenely easy to cook, relatively frugal and it only takes a shade of 30 minutes too, which makes this a firm favourite with me!

Filipino coconut milk chicken thigh adobo served with white rice featuring a title overlay.

Filipino Chicken Adobo

Adobo is a food name that appears around the world as a result of Spanish colonisation. The name has spread as far and wide as Southeast Asia to South America.

This version of chicken adobo comes from the Philippines and adds coconut milk to the traditional soy sauce and vinegar mix. This singles it out as coming from the south of the archipelago where coconuts are common.

I adore coconut milk and cook with it a lot, it tempers dishes but also gives them a luxurious smooth texture. I use it in recipes as diverse as squid and tamarind curry to mushroom rendang and of course, a host of Southeast Asian curries.

The sauce is flavoured with whole black peppercorns and bay leaves which are essential and garlic and a little brown sugar.

The latter of the two are optional, but certainly not particularly controversial in Filipino adobo recipes.

As a Brit, this recipe that uses vinegar and soy sauce triggers flavour memories that are very familiar.

That is because it is essentially salt & vinegar chicken. And the flavours of salt & vinegar are hard-baked into the British DNA.

This dish is gloriously simple and outrageously good and I think it needs to grace dinner tables way more often than it does, mine included!

Overhead Filipino coconut milk chicken thigh adobo served with white rice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use different cuts of chicken?

Yes, this is typically made with a whole jointed chicken, so you can take your choice. I cook for two so would ordinarily serve a couple of chicken thighs or a whole chicken leg.

But a chicken breast each would work perfectly well.

Can I remove the chicken skin?

Yes, if you wish, however, the dish will lose a lot of flaovur if you do that!

What sort of vinegar should I use?

I usually use plain white distilled vinegar, but it works well with everything from coconut vinegar all the way through to malt vinegar. The latter gives the dish a delicious and unusual spin.

Can I scale this recipe up and down?

Yes, so long as your pan is large/small enough you can increase or decrease the size of this dish linearly.

The cooking time is not really impacted by scaling this recipe, however, you will need longer to brown the chicken in the initial stages.

Can I make this in advance?

Yes allowing the chicken to sit (skin side up) in the cooking liquid gives it a wonderful flavour. The sauce seems to grow in complexity too.

To reheat place it in a covered shallow pan and gently heat on the stovetop or oven until the chicken is piping hot.

Do I have to add the coconut milk?

No, adobo with coconut milk is not unheard of but it is not the most common way of making this dish. If you want to skip the coconut milk, take a look at my pork chop adobo recipe for some hints.

Coconut milk adobo sauce being poured over braised chicken thighs.

Serving Suggestions

I usually serve chicken adobo with coconut milk on some plain jasmine rice, the sauce packs a big punch of flavour and is more than enough to carry the dish.

Egg fried rice also works particularly well with the delicious sauce and I usually garnish the dish with loads of spring onions or coriander.

Pancit bihon is an awesome Filipino dish that combines rice noodles and a load of vegetables and meat. I love it as a side dish if I am spending a little more time cooking.

Something sweet like this delicious carrot salad also makes for a wonderful addition.

Close-up Filipino coconut milk chicken adobo served with white rice.

Equipment Used

I only name-check brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Stovetop.
  • 30cm or 12″ frying pan with a lid. You can improvise a lid with some tin foil if required.
  • Kitchen tongs.
  • Stirring and serving spoons.
  • Chopping board.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • A combination of a measuring jug, cups and spoons.
  • Meat thermometer (Optional).
Easy Filipino chicken adobo with coconut milk served with jasmine rice and spring onions.
Yield: 2 Servings

Chicken Adobo With Coconut Milk Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

A classic Filipino chicken adobo recipe with the addition of coconut milk is not as unusual as you might think and it is pure genius!


  • 4 Small-Medium Chicken Thighs
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 75ml (⅓ Cup) White Vinegar
  • 75ml (⅓ Cup) Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Dark Brown Sugar
  • 200ml (¾ Cup + 1 Tbsp) Tin Coconut Milk
  • 12-18 Black Peppercorns
  • 4 Bay Leaves
  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil


  1. Peel and finely dice the garlic cloves.
  2. Mix together the white vinegar, soy sauce and brown sugar.
  3. Heat a 30cm or 12" frying pan or skillet with a lid over a medium-high heat and when it is hot add the cooking oil (use something neutral in flavour).
  4. Sear the chicken thighs on both sides for 2-3 minutes to get a nice colour then transfer them to a plate.
  5. Add the garlic and cook for 30-60 seconds, stirring constantly as soon as the garlic begins to go golden at the edges pour in the soy sauce, vinegar and brown sugar mix and bring it to a boil.
  6. Throw in the bay leaves and black pepper and add the chicken thighs skin side down, add a lid, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove the lid and chicken stir in the coconut milk, return the chicken, skin side up this time and cook for a final 15 minutes.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 751Total Fat: 52gSaturated Fat: 25gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 26gCholesterol: 333mgSodium: 2153mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 3gSugar: 0gProtein: 65g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

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