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Healthier chicken adobo (recipe)

By Erica Carlson | October 29, 2021
Healthier chicken adobo (recipe)

By Erica Carlson, a contributing writer for Sharp Health News and a senior public relations specialist for Sharp HealthCare.

Growing up in a Filipino household, I can still remember the smell of chicken adobo coming from the kitchen. The scent of soy sauce and vinegar, punctuated by cloves of garlic, brings back memories of my favorite comfort food.

Chicken adobo is a very popular main dish in the Philippines. Authentic chicken adobo is usually made with chicken thighs and legs, or a cut-up whole chicken served over white rice. With a few easy substitutions, my family enjoys a healthier version of the traditional dish — keeping in mind the amount of sodium and fat.

And if you don’t know yet, adobo tastes even better the next day — if you can prevent yourself from eating it all the first day. For a Filipino feast, pair it with this popular air-fryer lumpia.

Healthier Chicken Adobo

Substituting light meat for dark, and brown rice for white puts a healthy twist on traditional comfort food.

Healthier chicken adobo (recipe)

Prep time:
15 minutes
Total time:
1 hour, 40 minutes
4 servings


  • 2 cups water

  • 1 cup brown rice

  • 2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, or skinless drumsticks or thighs

  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce

  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed with the side of a knife

  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns



Step 1: Cook the Rice

In a small pot, add brown rice and 2 cups water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once water is boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and cover, allowing the rice to simmer until liquid is completely absorbed, about 40 minutes; keep covered so the steam doesn’t escape.


Step 2: Cook the Chicken

While the rice cooks, combine the chicken, soy sauce, vinegar, water, bay leaves, garlic and peppercorns in a large pot. (As an option, you can cover and marinate the chicken overnight.) Bring the chicken to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and simmer until the sauce is reduced and thickened, and the chicken is tender, about 20 minutes.


Step 3: Serve and Enjoy

Once the rice has absorbed all liquid, turn off the heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Uncover and fluff the rice with a fork.
Serve chicken over brown rice.

Nutrition facts per serving: Calories = 344; Fat = 6.5 grams; Sugar = 0 grams

Erica Carlson


Erica Carlson is a senior specialist in the public relations department at Sharp HealthCare.

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