Coconut Chicken Adobo


The addition of coconut milk, while not part of every adobo recipe, softens the bright vinegar in this version, inspired by sommelier June Rodil, who adds just enough to make the dish super wine-friendly. “I was born in the Philippines, and this is the staple there. Like, if you can’t make it, we’re talking disinheritance," Rodil says. After braising chicken thighs in creamy coconut milk, soy sauce, and vinegar, the braising liquid gets cooked down into a rich sauce. Pat down the chicken thighs before they finish cooking under the broiler to ensure deliciously crispy skin.

Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 45 mins


  • 1 (13 1/2-ounces) can coconut milk, well shaken and stirred

  • 1/2 cup lower-sodium soy sauce

  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

  • 8 fresh bay leaves

  • 5 dried chiles de árbol or other dried small hot red chiles

  • 1 garlic head, halved crosswise

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken leg quarters (about 2 pounds)

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • Steamed rice and thinly sliced scallions, for serving


  1. Whisk together coconut milk, soy sauce, and vinegar in a high-sided non-reactive Dutch oven. Stir in bay leaves, chiles, garlic, and black pepper. Nestle chicken leg quarters in mixture; add a splash of water, if needed, to submerge chicken. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium. Cover and reduce heat to low to maintain a gentle simmer; cook until chicken is very tender, about 1 hour. Remove from heat; let stand 15 minutes.

  2. Remove chicken from Dutch oven; arrange chicken, skin side up, on a broiler-safe rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Pour sauce through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl. Reserve bay leaves and chiles; discard solids, and return sauce, bay leaves, and chiles to Dutch oven. Bring sauce to a simmer over medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened and coats the back of a spoon, 12 to 15 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Remove from heat.

  3. Preheat oven to broil with oven rack 6 inches from heat source. Pat chicken dry with paper towels; sprinkle all over with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Broil in preheated oven until chicken skin is sizzling and dark brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Serve with steamed rice, sliced scallions, and sauce.

    Coconut Chicken Adobo
    Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Make Ahead

Chicken can be braised 1 day ahead and broiled just before serving.


Chiles de árbol can be purchased at Mexican groceries or online.

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