How to Make Spicy Chicken Adobo Like Chipotle

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Marinating overnight makes this Spicy Chicken Adobo so tender and tasty! Serve the chicken thighs as the main dish one night, then dice up the leftover chicken to make tacos, burritos, or rice bowls.

Spicy Chicken Adobo like Chipotle

You know that fiery, flavorful Spicy Adobo Chicken they serve up at Chipotle? The one that adds the perfect kick to your burrito bowl or salad? Well, get ready to bring that mouthwatering sensation right into your own kitchen, because today, we’re making our own Spicy Adobo Chicken just like Chipotle.

Whether you’re a die-hard Chipotle fan or just in the mood for a taste bud adventure, this recipe is your golden ticket to a spicy, tangy, and oh-so-satisfying dinner. And just like at the restaurant, you can serve it up so many ways. Enjoy it in tacos, burritos, salads, or rice bowls. Be sure to cook extra so you can turn the leftovers into an entirely different meal later in the week!

What is Adobo Chicken?

In Filipino cooking, Adobo refers to a style of cooking using vinegar, soy sauce and garlic as a marinade. However, this Mexican inspired recipe has Mexican uses actual adobo sauce. Both are delicious, but my Mexican Spicy Chicken Adobo will remind you of the chicken adobo served at Chipotle restaurants!

What you’ll love about this recipe:

  • TENDER & JUICY – Marinating the chicken overnight is the magic of this recipe. It will make the chicken juicy and delicious!
  • COOK ONCE EAT TWICE – Make some extra pieces and plan to have leftovers. Turn the leftovers into tacos, burritos, or rice bowls.
  • MAKE AHEAD – Since this chicken needs to marinade overnight, most of the work is done the day before cooking.

Ingredients for Spicy Chicken Adobo

  • Chicken Thighs: This recipe calls for 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Dark meat tends to be juicier and using boneless chicken makes it easier to cut up for tacos. You can substitute boneless, skinless chicken breasts if desired.
  • Adobo Sauce:  If you want to make Adobo Sauce from scratch, this is not your recipe! I’m using the cheater method by purchasing canned Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce. Simply remove the Chipotle peppers and use the adobo sauce in the can. If you want more heat, keep the chipotle peppers and blend them with the adobo sauce using a blender. The more chipotle peppers you include, the more heat it will add to your chicken.
  • Olive Oil: Just a bit for browning the chicken and a little more for the marinade is all you need.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Adds some acidity to the marinade along with flavor. You can also substitute white or regular vinegar.
  • Onion: You’ll need one small onion diced. Use any white or yellow onion.
  • Garlic: Peel and dice 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic.
  • Seasonings: Dry seasonings and spices will work perfectly fine for the chili powder, ground cumin, Mexican oregano, salt and pepper. If you can’t find Mexican oregano, regular oregano will work fine.
Spicy Chicken Adobo like Chipotle

How to Make Spicy Chicken Adobo like Chipotle

Prepare the Marinade

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the adobo sauce (use the Chipotle peppers for another recipe or discard), chili powder, ground cumin, Mexican oregano, salt, pepper, olive oil, vinegar and water. Whisk to combine well.
  2. Add diced onion and garlic and mix well.
  3. Place the chicken thighs into a gallon size plastic bag. Pour in the marinade and seal. Make sure the chicken is coated well, then place in the refrigerator overnight or at least 8 hours.

Cook the Chicken

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are not using an oven-proof frying pan, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy clean up. Spray with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan or iron skillet. Remove the chicken from the marinade and add to the hot pan. Sear on both sides for 3-5 minutes or until it starts to brown.
  3. Transfer the seared chicken to the baking sheet (or leave in the pan if using an oven-proof dish). Cook in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is pull-apart tender.
  4. Serve the chicken as whole pieces or dice to serve in tacos, burritos, salads, or rice bowls.

Storage

Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Spicy Chicken Adobo like Chipotle

Tips & Tricks

  • The same marinade used in this recipe is also delicious with pork and beef. 
  • Another way to cook Mexican Chicken Adobo is to use bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks. Prepare the marinade the same way and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. Heat olive oil in a dutch oven and brown the chicken pieces on both sides. You may need to do this in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan. Place all seared chicken pieces back into the Dutch oven. Pour in all of the marinade and add a bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer covered for about 45 minutes.
  • You can serve Spicy Chicken Adobo many ways! Serve the chicken thigh pieces whole with a side of Cilantro Lime Rice and Black Beans. Then on another night use the leftovers to make tacos, burritos, salads, or rice bowls.

What to serve with Spicy Chicken Adobo

Spicy Chicken Adobo served with Cilantro Lime Rice, Black Beans, Guacamole, and tortilla chips

FAQs about Adobo Chicken

The adobo sauce isn’t too spicy on its own, but if you add the chipotle peppers it will be much hotter. Omit the chipotle peppers and only use the adobo sauce for flavorful spice without intense heat

Mexican adobo sauce has the consistency of barbecue sauce and is made with ground ancho and guajillo chiles, vinegar, cumin, oregano, onions and garlic.

Both! In Spanish cuisine adobo refers to adobo sauce. In Filipino cuisine it refers to meats (typically chicken and pork) marinated in a combination of vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic.

Mexican Chicken Adobo
Spicy Chicken Adobo like Chipotle

How to Make Spicy Chicken Adobo Like Chipotle

Melisha Kreppein
Marinating overnight makes this Spicy Chicken Adobo so tender and tasty! Serve the chicken thighs as the main dish one night, then dice up the leftover chicken to make tacos, burritos, or rice bowls.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Marinating Time 8 hours
Course Chicken Recipes, Main Course, Main Dish, Mexican
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 12
Calories 243 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 6 chicken thighs boneless, skinless
  • ½ cup adobo sauce from a 7oz can of chipotle peppers in adobo (save the peppers for another use)
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil plus additional for browning the chicken
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic minced
  • ½ cup onion diced
  • ¼ cup water

Instructions
 

Prepare the Marinade

  • In a medium bowl, combine the adobo sauce (use the Chipotle peppers for another recipe or discard), chili powder, ground cumin, Mexican oregano, salt, pepper, olive oil, vinegar and water. Whisk to combine well.
  • Add diced onion and garlic and mix well.
  • Place the chicken thighs into a gallon size plastic bag. Pour in the marinade and seal. Make sure the chicken is coated well, then place in the refrigerator overnight or at least 8 hours.

Cook the Chicken

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are not using an oven-proof frying pan, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy clean up. Spray with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  • Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan or iron skillet. Remove the chicken from the marinade and add to the hot pan. Sear on both sides for 3-5 minutes or until it starts to brown.
  • Transfer the seared chicken to the baking sheet (or leave in the pan if using an oven-proof dish). Cook in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is pull-apart tender.
  • Serve the chicken as whole pieces or dice to serve in tacos, burritos, salads, or rice bowls.

Notes

Tips & Tricks

  • The same marinade used in this recipe is also delicious with pork and beef. 
  • Another way to cook Mexican Chicken Adobo is to use bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks. Prepare the marinade the same way and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. Heat olive oil in a dutch oven and brown the chicken pieces on both sides. You may need to do this in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan. Place all seared chicken pieces back into the Dutch oven. Pour in all of the marinade and add a bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer covered for about 45 minutes.
  • You can serve Spicy Chicken Adobo many ways! Serve the chicken thigh pieces whole with a side of Cilantro Lime Rice and Black Beans. Then on another night use the leftovers to make tacos, burritos, salads, or rice bowls.

Nutrition

Calories: 243kcalCarbohydrates: 1.9gProtein: 14.9gFat: 19.7gSaturated Fat: 3.2gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 6588mgPotassium: 147mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1.1gCalcium: 22mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Spicy Chicken Adobo like Chipotle
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