Adobo Chicken with Bacon and Bay Leaves


In this very traditional Filipino dish, chicken stews in vinegar and soy sauce. If you can find coconut vinegar—made from the sap of the coconut tree—it's delicious here.

Adobo Chicken with Bacon and Bay Leaves
Photo: © Jody Horton
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs


  • 3 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/4-inch matchsticks

  • 6 large chicken thighs (about 8 ounces each)

  • Salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 6 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut vinegar or cider vinegar (see Note)

  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons shiro shoyu (white soy sauce; see Note)

  • 6 bay leaves

  • Pinch of cayenne


  1. In a large, deep skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat until browned, 3 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a plate, leaving the fat in the skillet. Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper and add it to the skillet, skin side up. Cook over moderately low heat, turning once, until browned all over, 12 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

  2. Spoon off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the skillet. Add the garlic and shallot and cook over low heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the vinegar and cook until reduced by half, scraping up any bits stuck to the pan, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, fish sauce, shiro shoyu, bay leaves and cayenne and bring to a simmer.

  3. Return the chicken and bacon to the skillet and cook over moderately low heat, turning once or twice, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaves, spoon off the excess fat and serve.

Make Ahead

The adobo chicken can be refrigerated overnight or frozen for 2 weeks.


Shiro shoyu and coconut vinegar can be found at Asian markets or ordered from

Serve With

Ginger Rice

Suggested Pairing

Earthy, brambly California Pinot Noir.

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