Pork Adobo Recipe

Max Falkowitz

Adobo is more a cooking style than a recipe. Pork, chicken, fish, beef, or pretty much any protein you want can be adobo'd. Some cooks swear by coconut milk, others consider it verboten. You can add coriander, cumin, and chiles (smoked or fresh), or just stick to classic bay leaf, as I've done here. Even the inclusion of soy sauce is negotiable. There are few rules with adobo, and fewer agreements about what constitutes it.

The big non-negotiable is a hefty dose of vinegar. Coconut or palm vinegar is traditional in parts of the Philippines, but hard to find even in Asian groceries. Rice vinegar works just fine.

Adobo of course should be served with plenty of rice. Any leftover gravy and rice makes an amazing breakfast.

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 3 hrs
Serves: 4 to 6 servings

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  • 1 tablespoon oil

  • 3 pounds pork shoulder

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce

  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar, plus more to taste

  • 1 cup coconut milk

  • 4 bay leaves

  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed


  1. Heat oil in a large straight-sided sauté pan on very high heat until oil begins to smoke. Sear pork in batches, leaving plenty of open space in the pan, until a light crust forms, about 1 to 2 minutes per side.

  2. When last batch of pork is seared, return all pork to pan and add soy sauce, vinegar, coconut milk, bay leaves, and garlic. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a bare simmer and cook, covered, for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until pork is very tender but not completely falling apart.

  3. Remove pork from pan and set aside. Strain sauce into a fat separator or measuring cup and skim off fat, reserving for another use. Return sauce to pan, add about 1 tablespoon of vinegar, and cook on medium high heat until sauce reduces to less than 1 cup.

  4. Return pork to thickened sauce and add salt and vinegar to taste. Serve with rice and chopped scallions for garnish.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
612 Calories
47g Fat
4g Carbs
42g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 612
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 47g 60%
Saturated Fat 21g 103%
Cholesterol 153mg 51%
Sodium 1289mg 56%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 42g
Vitamin C 3mg 13%
Calcium 64mg 5%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 752mg 16%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)