Filipino Pork Adobo Recipe

Filipino Pork Adobo Recipe

Filipino Pork Adobo is a classic dish that has been enjoyed by many generations of Filipinos. This savory and tangy dish is made with simple ingredients that are readily available in most kitchens. The dish is a staple in Filipino households and is often served during special occasions and family gatherings.

The recipe for Filipino Pork Adobo varies from region to region in the Philippines, but the basic ingredients remain the same. The dish is made with pork, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and bay leaves. The pork is first marinated in the vinegar and soy sauce mixture, then simmered with garlic and bay leaves until tender and flavorful. The result is a delicious, savory, and slightly tangy dish that is perfect with steamed rice.

In this article, we will explore the history and variations of the Filipino Pork Adobo recipe. We will also provide step-by-step instructions on how to make this classic dish, along with tips and tricks to make it even more delicious. Whether you are a seasoned cook or a beginner in the kitchen, this article will guide you in making the perfect Filipino Pork Adobo.

History of Filipino Pork Adobo

Pork Adobo is a popular Filipino dish that has been enjoyed by generations. The dish is believed to have originated during the Spanish colonization of the Philippines in the 16th century. The name “adobo” comes from the Spanish word “adobar,” which means to marinate or pickle in a sauce.

The traditional recipe for Pork Adobo involves marinating pork in a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and black pepper before cooking it in the same marinade. This method of cooking was originally used as a way to preserve meat without refrigeration.

Over time, the recipe has evolved and different regions in the Philippines have their own variations of the dish. Some regions add coconut milk or sugar to the marinade, while others use chicken or beef instead of pork.

Despite the variations, Pork Adobo remains a staple in Filipino cuisine and is often served with rice or as a filling for sandwiches. Its popularity has even spread beyond the Philippines, with many restaurants around the world including it on their menus.

Overall, the history of Filipino Pork Adobo is a testament to the country’s rich culinary heritage and the influence of different cultures on its cuisine.

Essential Ingredients

Filipino pork adobo is a classic dish that is easy to make and bursting with flavor. The recipe requires a few essential ingredients that are readily available in most grocery stores.


The star of the dish is the pork. Traditionally, pork belly is used, but you can also use pork shoulder or pork loin. The meat should be cut into bite-sized pieces and should have a good balance of fat and meat.

Soy Sauce and Vinegar

The two key ingredients in the adobo sauce are soy sauce and vinegar. The soy sauce provides a salty and savory flavor, while the vinegar adds a tangy and acidic taste. It is important to use a good quality soy sauce and vinegar to get the best flavor.


Garlic is a staple ingredient in Filipino cuisine, and it is no surprise that it is a key ingredient in adobo. It adds a pungent and slightly sweet flavor to the dish.

Bay Leaves

Bay leaves are commonly used in Filipino cooking, and they add a subtle earthy flavor to the adobo. They are usually added to the dish during the cooking process and are removed before serving.


Whole peppercorns are added to the adobo to give it a subtle spicy kick. They are usually added to the dish during the cooking process and are removed before serving.

Overall, the essential ingredients in Filipino pork adobo are simple and easy to find. The combination of soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorns creates a unique and delicious flavor that is sure to please.

Ingredient Substitutions

Soy Sauce Alternatives

Soy sauce is a key ingredient in Filipino pork adobo, but for those who are allergic to soy or prefer not to use it, there are a few soy sauce alternatives that can be used instead. One option is coconut aminos, which is made from coconut sap and has a similar salty flavor to soy sauce. Another option is tamari, which is a gluten-free soy sauce alternative made from fermented soybeans.

Vinegar Varieties

Vinegar is another important component of pork adobo, but there are several different varieties to choose from. The most commonly used vinegar in Filipino cuisine is cane vinegar, which has a slightly sweet and sour taste. However, other types of vinegar can be used as well, such as rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar. Each variety will impart a slightly different flavor to the dish.

Meat Options

While pork is the traditional meat used in adobo, there are other meat options that can be used as well. Chicken is a popular alternative and can be cooked in the same way as pork. Beef can also be used, but it may require longer cooking times to become tender. For those who prefer a vegetarian option, tofu or mushrooms can be substituted for the meat.

Making substitutions in a recipe can be a great way to personalize a dish to one’s own tastes or dietary restrictions. With these ingredient alternatives, anyone can enjoy the delicious flavors of Filipino pork adobo.

Preparation Steps

To make a delicious Filipino pork adobo, follow these simple steps:

  1. Cut the pork into bite-sized pieces and set them aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, and black pepper.
  3. Add the pork to the bowl and mix until the meat is fully coated in the marinade.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight.
  5. When ready to cook, heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  6. Add the marinated pork to the pot and cook until browned on all sides, about 5-7 minutes.
  7. Pour in the remaining marinade and bring to a boil.
  8. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until the pork is tender and fully cooked.
  9. Serve hot with steamed rice and garnish with chopped green onions, if desired.

Note: Some variations of pork adobo may include additional ingredients such as sugar, potatoes, or coconut milk. Adjust the recipe to your liking and taste preferences.

Cooking Techniques


Marinating is one of the most important steps in making a great Filipino pork adobo. The marinade is typically made with soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and other seasonings. The pork should be marinated for at least 30 minutes, but preferably overnight, to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.

To ensure that the pork is evenly coated with the marinade, it is recommended to mix the pork and marinade in a large ziplock bag and massage the meat to distribute the marinade evenly. This also makes it easier to store the pork in the refrigerator while it marinates.


Simmering is the cooking technique used to cook the marinated pork. The pork should be cooked in the same marinade that it was marinated in. The pork should be cooked over low heat for at least an hour to ensure that it becomes tender and absorbs the flavors of the marinade.

It is important to stir the pork occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. The lid should be left slightly ajar to allow some of the liquid to evaporate and to thicken the sauce.

Reducing the Sauce

Once the pork is cooked, the sauce should be reduced to a thick and flavorful consistency. To do this, the heat should be turned up to high and the pork should be cooked uncovered for an additional 10-15 minutes. This will allow the sauce to thicken and intensify in flavor.

It is important to keep an eye on the sauce during this stage to prevent it from burning. The sauce should be stirred frequently to ensure that it reduces evenly. Once the sauce has reached the desired consistency, the pork can be served with rice or noodles.

Serving Suggestions

Filipino pork adobo is a versatile dish that can be served in many ways. Here are some serving suggestions to help you enjoy this delicious meal:

  • Serve it with steamed rice and a side of vegetables such as steamed broccoli, stir-fried bok choy, or sautéed green beans. The sauce of the adobo can be poured over the rice to add flavor.
  • Adobo can also be used as a filling for sandwiches or wraps. Simply shred the pork and place it in a bun or wrap with some fresh vegetables and a dollop of mayonnaise.
  • For a more traditional Filipino meal, adobo can be served with pancit (Filipino noodles) or lumpia (Filipino spring rolls).
  • Adobo can also be served as a topping for pizza. Simply spread the adobo on top of a pizza crust and add your favorite toppings such as cheese, bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms.
  • For a healthier option, adobo can be served with quinoa or brown rice instead of white rice.
  • Adobo can also be used as a marinade for other meats such as chicken or beef. Simply marinate the meat in the adobo sauce for a few hours before grilling or baking.

In summary, Filipino pork adobo is a versatile dish that can be served in many ways. Whether you prefer it with rice, noodles, or as a topping for pizza, adobo is sure to delight your taste buds.

Storage and Reheating

After cooking, Filipino pork adobo can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. It is important to transfer the adobo to an airtight container to prevent contamination and spoilage.

When reheating, it is recommended to use a microwave or stovetop to ensure that the pork is heated evenly. To prevent the adobo from drying out, add a tablespoon of water or broth before reheating.

It is not recommended to reheat adobo multiple times as this can increase the risk of foodborne illness. Leftover adobo can also be frozen for up to three months. When freezing, it is important to use a freezer-safe container and label it with the date to keep track of its freshness.

To thaw frozen adobo, transfer it to the refrigerator and let it thaw overnight. Once thawed, it can be reheated using the same methods as fresh adobo.

Overall, proper storage and reheating techniques can help maintain the quality and safety of Filipino pork adobo.

Common Mistakes

When it comes to cooking Filipino pork adobo, there are a few common mistakes that home cooks often make that can affect the taste and texture of the dish. Here are some of the most common mistakes to avoid:

1. Using the wrong cut of pork

One of the most important aspects of a good pork adobo recipe is using the right cut of pork. While some recipes may call for pork belly or shoulder, it’s important to choose a cut of meat that has a good balance of fat and lean meat. Using a cut that is too fatty can result in a greasy, heavy dish, while using a cut that is too lean can result in a dry, tough dish.

2. Not marinating the pork long enough

Marinating the pork is a crucial step in making a flavorful pork adobo. However, many home cooks don’t marinate the pork for long enough, which can result in a bland, under-seasoned dish. It’s important to marinate the pork for at least 30 minutes, but ideally, it should be marinated overnight to allow the flavors to fully develop.

3. Adding too much soy sauce

Soy sauce is a key ingredient in pork adobo, but it’s important to use it in moderation. Adding too much soy sauce can result in a dish that is overly salty and unbalanced. It’s best to start with a small amount of soy sauce and add more as needed, tasting as you go to ensure that the flavors are well-balanced.

4. Overcooking the pork

Overcooking the pork can result in a tough, dry dish that is difficult to eat. It’s important to cook the pork until it is just tender, but not so long that it becomes dry and tough. It’s best to cook the pork over low heat for a longer period of time, rather than cooking it over high heat for a shorter period of time.

By avoiding these common mistakes, home cooks can ensure that their Filipino pork adobo recipe turns out delicious and flavorful every time.

Variations of Pork Adobo

Regional Twists

Pork Adobo is a popular dish in the Philippines, and each region has its own unique twist on the classic recipe. In the Southern Tagalog region, they add coconut milk to make it creamier, while in the Bicol region, they use gata or coconut cream to give it a richer flavor. In the Visayas region, they add achuete or annatto seeds to give it a reddish color.

In the Northern Luzon region, they add boiled eggs, potatoes, and green peas to make it heartier. In the Ilocos region, they use sukang Iloko or cane vinegar, which has a stronger flavor than regular vinegar. In the Mindanao region, they add pineapple chunks to give it a sweet and sour taste.

Modern Interpretations

As the years go by, more and more chefs and home cooks are experimenting with the classic Pork Adobo recipe. Some add different spices such as cinnamon, star anise, and bay leaves to give it a more complex flavor. Others substitute pork with chicken, beef, or even tofu to make it vegetarian.

Some modern interpretations also use different cooking methods such as slow-cooking or pressure cooking to make the meat more tender. Others add vegetables such as carrots, bell peppers, and onions to make it more nutritious.

Despite the different variations, the essence of Pork Adobo remains the same: a savory and tangy dish that Filipinos love to eat with rice.

Nutritional Information

Filipino pork adobo is a flavorful and satisfying dish that is also nutritious. It is a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Here is a breakdown of the nutritional information for a serving size of 100 grams of pork adobo:

  • Calories: 260
  • Total fat: 19g
  • Saturated fat: 6g
  • Cholesterol: 75mg
  • Sodium: 650mg
  • Total carbohydrates: 1g
  • Dietary fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 22g

As shown in the table, pork adobo is relatively high in calories and fat, but it is also a good source of protein. The dish contains moderate amounts of sodium, so it should be consumed in moderation by those who are watching their sodium intake.

Pork adobo also contains several vitamins and minerals that are important for overall health. It is a good source of vitamin B12, which is essential for healthy nerve function and the production of red blood cells. It also contains iron, which is important for healthy blood and oxygen transport throughout the body.

Overall, pork adobo can be a healthy and satisfying addition to a balanced diet. It is important to consume it in moderation and to pair it with other nutrient-rich foods to ensure a well-rounded meal.

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