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

Mexican chicken adobo

  • serves 4
  • Easy

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


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



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

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 311
  • Fat 16.4g
  • Saturates 4.4g
  • Carbs 18.1g
  • Sugars 16.3g
  • Fibre 3.9g
  • Protein 20.9g
  • Salt 1.5g