Paleo Chicken Adobo

You can also buy whole chicken legs and separate them yourself into drumsticks and thighs. You want 3 to 3 1/2 pounds of total meat.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings


  • 4 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin on (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 4 chicken drumsticks (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 3/4 cup tamari or coconut aminos (or low-sodium soy sauce, if you don't need this to be gluten-free!)
  • 3/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar, honey, or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
  • 2 bay leaves (dried, not fresh)
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine ground pepper
  • Coconut rice or plain steamed rice, to serve


1 Prepare the chicken: Pat chicken thighs and legs dry with paper towels and season very lightly with salt and pepper.

2 Prepare the sauce: Whisk together the tamari, vinegar, fish sauce, and sugar or honey in a measuring cup or bowl and set aside.

3 Sauté the ginger and other seasoning ingredients: In a heavy-bottom, high-sided skillet, melt coconut oil over medium heat. Add the ginger, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Sauté for 5 minutes until fragrant. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly so that garlic doesn’t burn. Scoop the solids from the pan with a slotted spoon and set them aside on a plate, leaving the flavor-infused oil behind.

Stovetop Chicken Adobo

4 Sear the chicken: Turn the heat up to medium high, and brown the chicken on all sides to crisp up the skin. Once skin is nice and golden, pour the sauce over the chicken. Add the ginger and other seasoning ingredients you sautéed in the last step. Bring the sauce to a rolling boil.

Chicken Adobo being made on stovetop

5 Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and cook for 25 minutes.

6 Pull the chicken from the pan and allow to rest at room temperature.

7 Reduce the sauce while the chicken rests. Raise heat to high and boil the sauce for about 10 minutes or until the volume is reduced by about half and the sauce looks nice and thick.

paleo chicken recipes - adjusting Adobo Chicken sauce

8 Serve the chicken over rice and cover with the adobo sauce.

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  • Jackie

    This recipe looks delicious, but would it matter if I used olive oil instead of the coconut oil? Do you think it would impair the flavour that much? Thanks for your recipes – they are all lovely.

  • Betty

    Hi – just wondering why you specify dried bay leaves instead of fresh. We happen to have a prolific bay tree in our yard. and I normally go out and cut a couple for any recipe.

    • Sabrina Modelle

      Hi Betty,
      Most bay trees in peoples’ yards in the US are the California bay. I specify the dried bay because it comes from the milder Turkish bay. I used fresh bay on my first test of this recipe and I found it to be too strong and menthol-ish for this particular recipe. If you’re using fresh bay, I might try just one bay leaf to start. Thanks for the great question!

  • Daniel

    Sounds good! I’m not sure I would call it “paleo” because of the rice, maybe “gluten free”?

    • Sabrina Modelle

      Hi Daniel,
      The recipe itself is paleo (with gluten free option). Of course, if you add the rice, it’s not paleo– though many folks on the paleo diet do eat some white rice.

  • Ger

    Can you tell me how many calories are in this dish? It looks amazing but I am trying to eat healthily as I am on a diet.

  • Blondie

    What types of veggies would this go well with? Thanks!

    • Sabrina Modelle

      I think almost any veggies go well with adobo. A quick broccoli or cauliflower stir fry would be amazing or even bok choy or kale would be delicious. For a root veggie option, perhaps try ginger glazed carrots.

  • Alida @My Little Italian Kitchen

    An interesting way of cooking chicken and it looks really delicious and super tender too!

  • Connie Veneracion

    Filipino adobo with soy sauce is a regional variant. White adobo (with salt and no soy sauce) is much older. White adobo variants are still cooked today.

  • sameer

    Hi Sabrina,
    Your site is absolutely great and inspiring for a starter like me. Though I came across your site just now and have already bookmarked it. Will like to connect with you sometimes soon.

    • Kathy

      Excuse my ignorance–what is ‘paleo’? Love your website!

      • Sabrina Modelle

        Hi Kathy,
        Paleo is a way of eating that involves staying away from processed foods, grains, and dairy. Thanks for your kind words!