Olive Magazine
A baking tray topped with chicken legs coated in a brown sauce

Mexican chicken adobo

Published: September 17, 2021 at 11:49 am
  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Total time
    • + soaking + marinating
  • Easy
  • Serves 4

Adobo sauce is deep and smoky, with a gentle warmth from chipotle chillies. Rub over chicken legs, then BBQ and serve with salad for a healthy yet hearty lunch

  • Gluten free
low inkcal311

Try this recipe for grilled chicken with adobo sauce, then check out our chicken tinga, chicken fajitas, chicken enchiladas, chicken tacos and more Mexican-style recipes.


  • 4 dried chipotle chillies
  • 8-10 tomatoes
  • 75ml apple cider vinegar
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp soft light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 chicken legs
  • salad, to serve


  • STEP 1

    Put the chipotle chillies in a bowl, cover with enough just-boiled water to cover, and leave for 30 minutes to rehydrate. Remove, reserving the soaking water, and remove the seeds. Put all of the ingredients, except the chicken, plus 1 tsp of salt, into a blender or food processor, and add the soaking water and blend until completely smooth. Pour into a pan and bring to a boil. Let it reduce for 15-20 minutes, until it is the consistency of ketchup – stir every 5 minutes to stop it sticking. Take off the heat and leave to cool, then pour into a sterilised jar. It will keep for a month in the fridge.

  • STEP 2

    This is the perfect marinade for meat before putting it on the BBQ or cooking in the oven. Put the chicken legs in a bowl with enough adobo to coat them, then massage well and chill for at least an hour but preferably overnight.

  • STEP 3

    Grill the chicken on the BBQ until cooked through, brushing with plenty of adobo as it cooks, or heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/ gas 6 and roast the chicken for 40-45 minutes until caramelised and cooked through, brushing with sauce every 10-15 minutes. Serve with a salad.

  • STEP 4

    Alternatively, for a vegan take on tacos al pastor, thinly slice some celeriac and brush some adobo on each slice. Layer the slices on a skewer, lay flat on a roasting tin and cook at 200C/ fan 180C/gas 6 for 1 hour until caramelised and the celeriac is meltingly tender. Remove, slice and serve on corn tortillas.


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