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Friday, August 27, 2010

Homemade Adobo Chicken Recipe

I am finally writing about the spice from this week’s menu post. As some of you guessed, it is annatto seed, also called achiote seed. And I made a homemade adobo chicken recipe with it. And the chicken was good.

Final view of homemade adobe chicken, a simple dish that tastes and looks gourmet

Nate came home one day saying how good the adobo chicken at work is, so I started searching for recipes. Oh my, there are so many recipes and they are all so different from one another…so I just picked one that sounded good and went for it. And the result was awesome. Different than what Nate gets at work, but delicious just the same!

Homemade adobo chicken tacos

Before I get to the recipe, I have to talk about the tortillas we used with our chicken. Tortilla Land sent me some of their uncooked corn tortillas to try out. I’m a tough corn tortilla critic and, I have to say, I’m so glad Tortilla Land sent me their corn tortillas. They are wonderful! They are not dry at all and don’t fall apart or break, which is what you normally get with store bought corn tortillas. I saw Tortilla Land at Costco just this week, so keep an eye out next time you go! (Seriously, keep an eye out and stock up if you see them…I have a hard time finding them, which makes me said because I love them so.)

How to make the rub for homemade adobo chicken

Okay, back to annatto seed and adobo chicken. I used a recipe from, but I’ve changed it up and written it out for you below. I know the recipe looks long, but honestly, this was an easy recipe, so don’t be scared!

Delicious homemade adobe chicken

The sweet but spicy sauce is oh so yummy, and grilled chicken is always the best. We served the chicken with tortillas, tomatoes and avocado. You could serve over rice if you like (which I think is how it’s generally served), or just eat the chicken straight up!

Homemade Adobo Chicken
Sweet and Spicy!
Recipe type: Main Dishes
  • 4 chicken breasts (I actually used 3 drumsticks and 3 boneless thighs b/c that’s what I had on hand!)
  • Salt (pref. kosher)
  • Rub:
  • ½ Tbsp. annatto (achiote) seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. orange juice
  • 4 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Sauce:
  • ⅓ of the rub above
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • a splash or two of white vinegar
  • a few shakes of cayenne pepper
  • a few shakes of black pepper
  • about 1 tsp cornstarch, whisked with some cool water
  1. Cover annatto seeds with boiling water. Cover and let sit overnight.
  2. Drain seeds. Place seeds along with the rest of the “Rub” ingredients in a food processor. Grind until you have a coarse paste, without too many large pieces of seed left.
  3. Place chicken in a casserole dish and sprinkle all over with kosher salt (or regular salt if that’s what you have). Cover pieces with about two-thirds of the achiote rub. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerator for a few hours.
  4. Preheat grill. Grill chicken about 10 minutes on each side over a medium flame or until done. (Click here with even better directions for grilling chicken pieces – this follows closely to what Nate did over a charcoal grill, he’s smart like that.)
  5. To make the sauce, mix all the sauce ingredients (except the cornstarch) and bring to a boil, then simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add the cornstarch mixture during the simmer.
  6. Pour sauce over grilled chicken and enjoy!



By the way, if anyone out there does have an adobo chicken recipe they love, please share! Would love to try it out!


  1. I love Adobo Chicken, never had it quite like this though, will definately have to try it though!!!

  2. Ooh…that looks delicious! I may have to include that on next week’s menu!


  3. 3

    This sounds so good. I have never tried Adobo but I’m going to try this weekend!

  4. Hi Jane! “Adobo” in the Philippines is completely different from the recipe you featured above! It refers to chicken, pork or fish that is stewed in a sauce of vinegar, soy sauce, black peppercorns and bay leaves. I can send you a recipe if you want, just let me know.


  5. 5
    Jane Maynard

    yes, of course send me the recipe!

    as I was researching it, I did find a lot of filipino recipes, but I want one from YOU! 🙂

    the one nate had was mexican, so I went with a mexican recipe…but I am wanting to experiment! 🙂

  6. 6

    Oh my that looks and sounds delicious! My mouth was watering just looking at the corn tortillas. I will definitely have to try this.

  7. 7

    That does look good!

    We are huge Tortilla Land fans–although I’ve never seen the corn tortillas before. And now that we’re out east, we can’t find the flour anymore (probably better for me anyway since I used to eat three or four for lunch each day, with avocado or butter–not exactly low-cal, but they are just SO GOOD!)

  8. Looks delicious…I love recipes like that that pack in lot of flavor!

  9. 9

    So where do you get the annatto/achiote seeds?

  10. 10

    I’m lucky enough to have a Penzey’s Spice store right here in Menlo Park…so I just went there! You can order from their catalog…but I would also check out your local stores (spice stores, Whole Foods maybe, etc).

    • Jennifer

      Penzey’s is life changing, isn’t it?! Menlo Park is the only one I’ve been to, but it’s still over an hour away. I order from their catalog all the time. 🙂

  11. 11

    good to meet you – love your site – i am a bay area native – love it! now live in sac – but i will be back bay area! love your food suggestions and Menlo Park week! will be a regular follower! Cheers! gina!

  12. Yummy Jane!

    I love adobo chicken, well.. I just love adobo anything 😉
    Can’t wait to try this yummy recipe!

  13. 13
    Katie hauck

    CreAm of broccoli soup is my soft food fave!

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  15. 15

    What a great recipe! I love your idea of listening to your readers and even incorporating their recipes into your posts. It’s always great to see bloggers interacting with other people who share the same passion for cooking. Your blog is very well done and your recipes looks fantastic. Would you be interested in working with Chicory and becoming a recipe partner?

  16. 16

    Tortilla Land tortillas are the BOMB!!

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