5 Best adobo seasoning substitute you should try

Best adobo seasoning substitute
Best adobo seasoning substitute

Adobo is one of the multipurpose food items we have right now, so also you can make adobo seasoning substitute. It is sometimes termed as “ confusing” and here’s why.

Adobo has been referenced as a sauce, spice and even a technique, especially by the Philippines. Let’s learn more about this special spice then look at some of the best adobo seasoning substitute

Adobo is derived from the Spanish word “Adobar” meaning marinade.

It is a spice that originated in the Philippines and stands as an unofficial national dish there, it reflects Filipino pride.

It is also used in Caribbean and Mexican cooking.

What is adobo seasoning?

Because we talk about Best adobo seasoning substitute, let look at Adobo seasoning; this is a flavor packed savory spice mix used as a rub on meat before frying or grilling. It could also be used in raw meat, soups and steaks. As long as it needs seasoning, adobo is the perfect spice for it.

Adobo seasoning is prepared using pantry basics like white vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves to create a marinade. The meat is then simmered in the same marinade on the stovetop until the meat is thoroughly cooked.

A signature of the adobo technique (this is where it’s seen as a technique) is that after the chicken or pork is simmered to perfection in the sauce, it is usually browned in oil before serving.

The adobo cooking technique is said to have originated in an attempt to preserve meat by cooking it in vinegar and salt, although the salt has been replaced with soy sauce in recent times.

This said, the most popular version of adobo seasoning is the dry seasoning mix made from garlic powder, onion powder, oregano salt and pepper.

Uses of adobo seasoning

  1. Adobo is a popular seasoning suitable for beef, chicken, pork, fish, seafood or shellfish
  2. It is an excellent seasoning for most cooking methods such as grilling, roasting, frying or sauteing.
  3. Adobo can also be used as a base seasoning for stews, sauces, beans, baked potatoes, vegetables and soup stock.
adobo seasoning substitute
5 Best adobo seasoning substitute
  1. Prepare your own

The good thing about adobo seasoning is that you can make yours. Unlike other spices, adobo seasoning is made of ingredients you can easily find and you could even freestyle by adding other ingredients to create more beautiful flavors.

Another advantage of freshly made adobo seasoning is that it tastes better than the store bought version.

The recipe below is perfect for adobo seasoning.


  • 2 tablespoons of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of Paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of black pepper
  • 1½ teaspoons of onion powder
  • 1½ teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of Turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper


  • Turn all ingredients into a bowl and mix until well combined
  • Carefully turn the mixture into an airtight container or jar and store in a cool dry place until you are ready to use it.
  1. Chipotle in Adobo Sauce

Looking for a little more spice in your adobo seasoning? Chipotle is one of the best adobo seasoning substitute, it has you covered. It doesn’t just give that extra spice meal your meal needs, it also adds a smoky flavor to your food.

The seasoning is prepared using dried Jalapenos that have been smoked and rehydrated, canned alongside tomato, garlic, spices and vinegar.

This recipe is going to give you a flavor change and some extra hotness.

  1. Adobo paste

Adobo paste could also be referred to as adobo sauce. This paste uses adobo seasoning as the base but also includes other ingredients like vinegar and sugar.

The mixture doesn’t bring a significant change to the flavors as their flavor remains almost the same. The significant change is that the paste requires an additional liquid like water or oil.

As a result of this, you need to be careful of the amount of water you put in a meal when using adobo paste as the paste already contains water. This would prevent your food from being too moist.

  1. Cajun seasoning

Cajun blend also makes a good alternative for adobo seasoning substitute

They contain similar ingredients but have different flavors.

Cajun is a rustic seasoning blend that hails from Louisiana, the home of delicious Cajun cuisine. It is a spicy blend featuring lots of Paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, pepper and oregano.

You can easily purchase Cajun seasoning in supermarkets around you.

  1. Chili powder

The advantage chili powder has over other substitutes is that it is very accessible, available in almost any supermarket around the world.

It includes spices such as black pepper, garlic, oregano and cumin.

The major difference between adobo seasoning and chili powder is that the latter has a bright red color while adobo has a yellow shade.

You can use chili powder to marinade your meat, just ensure to be cautious of the amount you use as chili powder is very spicy.


Adobo serves as a spice and seasoning. It is made up of a combination of pleasant ingredients and spices that sums up to give your dish magnificent flavor, taste and color.

Adobo seasoning can be used in marinating meat. It is also a good spice for your soup and steaks.

In the absence of adobo seasoning, you can easily prepare an adobo seasoning substitute with a handful of everyday spices at your home or you could consider adobo paste, chipotle in adobo sauce, chili powder and Cajun seasoning.

They are all fantastic spices as they are made up of similar ingredients and give similar flavors as adobo seasoning.