10 Good adobo sauce substitute (Satisfying Alternatives)

Adobo paste is a key ingredient in Filipino, Spanish, Portuguese cuisine. It’s a mixture of garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, salt, oregano, and black pepper. 

However, if you don’t have adobo paste on hand or can’t find it in stores? Don’t worry; there are a bunch of substitutes for adobo sauce that will work just as well in your recipes and give your dish the same flavor.

I encountered 10 good adobo paste substitute that can be used in various recipes. From beef to chicken, we’ve got you covered!

What is Adobo sauce? What is adobo sauce made of?

Adobo sauce is used in Filipino, Spanish, Portuguese cuisine. It’s a combination of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, salt, oregano, and black pepper. The sauce is often used to marinate chicken or pork before cooking.

There are many different variations of adobo sauce, each containing its own unique set of spices. Some recipes call brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, or pineapple juice.

It is frequently used to flavor rice dishes or as a dipping sauce.

Ingredients: paprika, oregano, salt, garlic, and vinegar 

Some Adobo makes vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, pepper, and other spices such as a bay leaf.

Is adobo sauce spicy?

The answer totally depends on the recipe. Some adobo sauces are spicy, while others are not.

If you want a spicy adobo sauce, you can add red pepper flakes or other hot spices to the recipe. 

However, if you prefer a milder sauce, you can leave the spicy ingredients. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide how spicy you want your adobo sauce to be.

10 Good adobo sauce substitutes

I always experiment with my dishes. I sub-place them with similar ingredients and the ultimately perfect one to bring for you here. 

For, me some are really decent alternative sauces; seasoning ingredients go with Adobo paste. Include Ancho chile, chipotle, adobo seasoning, chili-garlic sauce, ranchero sauce, achiote paste, many more, so keep reading.

At the final, I disclose what is my favorites and use them all time.


Ancho chile paste is a thick, concentrated sauce made from ground ancho chiles. It’s often used in Mexican and Latin American cuisine to add a deep, smoky flavor to dishes.

ancho chile paste is a popular substitute for  adobo sauce

Ancho chile paste is a decent replacement for a recipe called Adobo sauce. Anchos are intensely flavorful, with fruity raisin, prune, and tobacco notes.

Ancho chile paste is also a great addition to dishes for its smoky depth of flavor, used as marinades for meats. 

2. RANCHERO SAUCE -Mild substitute for adobo sauce

Do you want to try a mild recourse to adobo paste! Give a shot of Ranchero Sauce.

Ranchero sauce is a spicy, flavorful sauce made with tomatoes, chilies, and other seasonings. It’s perfect for topping enchiladas, tacos, and other Mexican dishes. 

You can start making your own ranchero sauce or buy it ready-made at the supermarket.

Ranchero sauce is typically made with tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeno or serrano chili peppers, chilies, cilantro, lime juice, and salt. The mixture is puréed until smooth and heated until bubbling.

Ranchero sauce can be made using almost any chili pepper you have on hand or enjoy eating. The spicier the chilies, the more hot sauce or jalapeno you’ll want to add.

3. CHIPOTLE in Adobo Sauce Substitute 

This one is my all-time 1st preference. When I run out of Chipotle powder, I use Chipotle alternative instead.

chipotle is a evergreen allternative for adobo sauce.

Chipotle powder is made from ground, smoked chipotle peppers. It has a smoky, slightly sweet flavor and a moderate heat level.

Chipotle powder can be used in many different ways. It can be added to sauces, marinades, or rubs. 

You can use it as a seasoning for grilled meats, vegetables, soups, sauces, and more.

4. GARLIC & CHILI SAUCE for a replacement for Adobo sauce in Dip 

While you have nothing to marinate for your meat, fish just do one thing.

Take 5-6 fresh garlic cloves and add 1-2 chilis, olive oil. Simple blend the spices. It becomes a thick paste. Then add salt( as per your taste); you can add sugar or its natural substitute (optional); add vinegar or lemon juice for a tangy flavor.

The whole process only takes 2 to 3 minutes to make a homemade adobo sauce substitute for your next marinade, dipping sauce, etc.

5. ADOBO SEASONING – Alternative to Adobo Sauce in Marinade

Adobo seasoning is a spice combination used to enhance flavor in Latin cooking. It works particularly well with chicken, pork, and beef dishes, giving the meat a flavorful kick. 

The phrase “adobo” is derived from the Spanish word for a marinade or sauce that has taken on pickled qualities due to the addition of vinegar or citrus juice.

Use adobo seasoning similar to adobo sauce in marinating, dipping sauce, or making a dish.

6. Use ACHIOTE PASTE instead of Adobo sauce in Marinade, sauce

Achiote Paste is a beautiful brick red paste that adds a slight heat, sweetness, and earthiness. Both heats come from black pepper, which can be omitted if you have sensitive skin.

Adobo sauce has soy sauce in it while Achiote Paste does not, so you have a bit more control over the saltiness by using Achiote Paste.

To replace adobo sauce with achiote paste, start mixing 1/2 teaspoon of achiote paste with 2 tablespoons of water. 

If the recipe says for more than 1/2 teaspoon of achiote paste, add additional teaspoons of water until the appropriate consistency is obtained. Then proceed as usual with the recipe.

Achiote paste can also be used to replace recaito or cilantro.

7. CAJUN SEASONING -A decent substitution for Adobo Sauce for seasoning 

Cajun seasoning is a popular spice blend that is used in Cajun cuisine. It combines spices like paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper, which give it a spicy flavor. 

Black pepper and salt are also common ingredients in Cajun seasoning blends. If you are looking for a substitute for adobo sauce, cajun seasoning is a good option.

To make cajun spice in place of the adobo sauce, combine 1 tablespoon paprika, of below mentioned things

  • garlic powder, 
  • onion powder,
  • cayenne pepper, 
  • black pepper, 
  • and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Use this mixture in place of the adobo sauce in any recipe. See some Cajun Seasoning Alternative.


A most pleasing way to add flavor to your food is to give Greek seasoning a try. It’s easy to use, and it tastes great.

Greek seasoning is a mix of herbs like oregano, thyme, and basil. It can also include salt, pepper, and garlic. 

Some people make their own mixes, while others buy premade blends.

One of the great things about Greek seasoning is that it can be used on meat and vegetables. 

Whether you’re grilling a steak or roasting some Brussels sprouts, Greek seasoning will add a delicious flavor to your dish. 

It’s also a fabulous way to spice up your food. If you like things a little bit spicy, then Greek seasoning is definitely for you.

9. SEASONED SALT similar to Adobo Sauce Use in flavoring agent

Seasoned salt comes in a variety of brands and varieties. Most brands contain only salt as the main ingredient. Still, some might include additional ingredients such as pepper or other spices. 

Some seasoned salts may be more refined than regular table salt, while others have coarse grains. However, is that they are meant to add flavor to food. (Source)

Some seasoned salts might even claim to be made from sea salt or kosher salt.

10. Simple Adobo Sauce Alternative- MIX SPICE

Mix the spices include curry powder, seasoned salts, chili powder, garlic salt, herbs de Provence, etc. blend into hot liquid to form a paste. Saute in oil. Add sugar and vinegar to taste. Simmer until the liked consistency is reached for your dish. Mix spice similar taste like adobo sauce.

Read More- Absolute Amba Sauce alternatives

How to make adobo sauce at Home ( Most Easiest Way)

It’s more effortless than you think to make your own adobo sauce at home! All you need are a few simple materials and some patience.

Here’s how to do it:


  • · 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • · 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • · 1/4 cup water
  • · 1 tablespoon sugar
  • · 3-5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • · 2 bay leaves
  • · 1 piece onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)


Mix all of the ingredients in a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat for 5 minutes. Refrigerate in an airtight jar after cooling. 

Enjoy your homemade adobo sauce! Stay tuned for more homemade sauces in the next few weeks.

To store homemade adobo sauce: You can keep your adobo sauce in the fridge for up to 2-3 days.

You should store homemade adobo sauce in an airtight container, preferably glass. 

If you are using a plastic container, it’s best to transfer the sauce into the glass jar once the first jar has been opened. 

How do you make adobo sauce thicker?

There are several methods for thickening adobo sauce.

1. You can add more flour to the mixture.

2. Cook the sauce for a longer period to allow it to thicken. 

3. If you’re looking for a quick and easy solution, you can also use cornstarch to thicken the sauce. 

4. Simply mix about two tablespoons of cornstarch with an equal amount of cold water, then add it to your sauce while it’s simmering. Stir the mixture constantly until the sauce reaches your desired thickness.

Read More- Potato Flour Substitutes

What can I replace adobo sauce with?

· Cajun Seasoning

· Garlic & Chili sauce

· Chipotle powder

· Ancho chile paste

Adobo sauce VS Adobo seasoning

Adobo sauce is basically soy sauce, vinegar, and spices. Adobo seasoning, however, is a powdered spice mix with salt as the main ingredient. 

They can be interchanged similarly to taco/fajita seasoning because adobo seasoning will most likely contain other ingredients that will change the final flavor of your dish (i.e., sugar, garlic, salt, MSG, etc.).

Adobo sauce is most often used in Filipino cuisine to stew meats and poultry. 

It’s famous for chicken adobo, pork adobo, prawns in adobo, and beef/pork adobong manok/ liempo. 

Adobo seasoning comes in a small packet or bottle usually found in the ethnic section of your grocery.

The Ultimate Word on Substitute for Adobo Sauce

So if you are looking for an excellent adobo sauce substitute, give those alternatives a try! 

They will enhance the flavor of your dishes and make them taste just as delicious as the traditional sauce.

Plus, they are all easy to make and use ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen. 

So must try the next time when you need an adobo sauce substitute!

FAQs Related to Adobo Sauce & Its Alternatives

Q1. Is adobo sauce the same as chipotle sauce?

Chipotle sauce is made from chipotles, which are smoked jalapeños. 

On the other hand, Adobo sauce is a type of sauce made with vinegar and garlic. It can be made with different meat, such as pork or chicken.

However, there is a brand of chipotle sauce that contains adobo sauce. The best option is to just try the sauces and see what you like!

Q2. What spice is similar to adobo?

Different spices can have similar flavors depending on their ingredients and preparation methods. 

However, some possible spices that share similarities with adobo include garlic, black pepper, cumin, and chili powder.

Each of these spices has a slightly different flavor profile than adobo. Still, they all share certain commonalities, such as a peppery or spicy taste. 

If you’re looking for a spice that will add flavor to your dish without overpowering other ingredients, one of these options may be a good choice.

Q3. Is adobo sauce the same as enchilada sauce?

Enchilada sauce and adobo sauce are not precisely the same. 

However, they have a lot in common. They both use chili peppers as the main ingredient.

Although, enchilada sauce is a bit spicier than adobo sauce. They also both use vinegar which adds a zesty flavor to the taste buds, making them irresistible.

Q4. Is adobo sauce the same as taco sauce?

The answer is not really. Yes, they are similar, but adobo sauce is way different from taco sauce. 

Adobo sauce is a red sauce that is made from paprika and spices. 

On the other hand, Taco sauce contains lots of veggies and fruits, among other things, so it gives it a different flavor. It also provides a more orange color. 

If you’re searching for a spicier sauce, go with the adobo sauce. 

However, taco sauce is perfect if you look for something flavorful and mild taste. 

No matter your preference, both sauces are great condiments to add to any dish.

Q5. Is adobo sauce the same as a mole?

No, adobo sauce is not a mole. Both are sauces originating from Mexico, but they are entirely different in taste and ingredients.

Adobo comes from dried chilies, garlic, spices, and herbs; the Spanish developed this cooking process for preserving meats like chicken or beef. The resulting flavor is smoky and earthy with a vinegary tang.

On the other hand, a mole sauce recipe requires countless ingredients that are painstakingly ground into a paste before being simmered. 

Moles get their deep complexity of flavors from chocolate, chilies, nuts, and spices like cinnamon and anise.
Moles are sometimes called “Mexican chocolate.”

Q6. What’s the Difference Between Mexican Adobo and Filipino Adobo

The first difference is that Filipino adobo has a richer, more complex flavor profile than Mexican adobolesso if you’re looking for a flavorful dish, Filipino adobo is the way to go. 

Secondly, Filipino adobo is often made with pork or chicken poached in vinegar, soy sauce, crushed garlic, bay leaves, black pepper, and other spices. 

Thirdly, Filipino adobo can be served either dry or wet steamed rice, whereas Mexican adobolesso with tortillas.

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