13 Adobo Sauce Substitutes


Adobo sauce is a popular sauce in Filipino cuisine. It is made with soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and pepper.

However, there are some substitutes that can be used in a pinch.

Here are the 13 best substitutes for adobo sauce.

Let’s find out right away what they are!

13 Adobo Sauce Substitutes

Here are my top picks for substituting Adobo Sauce.

1. Chili Garlic Sauce

Great for all purposes

Chili Garlic Sauce has the same tangy spice as Adobo Sauce. It is made from a combination of garlic, chili peppers, oil, vinegar, and salt and is best when used in stir-fries, soups, stews, and other sauces.

A small thing to consider is that Chili Garlic has strong spicy garlic, which may sometimes overpower the dish.

It is recommended to use it along with oregano and tomato paste to balance the intensity.

How to substitute

Chili Garlic Sauce can be used in the same or slightly lesser amount as Adobo sauce, two tablespoons for every two or fewer tablespoons.

Try these delicious Chili Garlic noodles.

2. Tabasco Chipotle Hot Sauce

Easiest to find

Tabasco Chipotle Hot Sauce is made of the same ingredients: chipotle peppers, distilled vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, sugar, and salt as Adobo Sauce and can undoubtedly be used to substitute each other.

The texture of this processed sauce is smoother than that of Adobo sauce, and since it is a ‘hot’ condiment, the level of spice may vary.

How to substitute

The same amount of Tabasco Chipotle Hot Sauce can be used to substitute Adobo Sauce.

Here’s how Tabasco Chipotle Hot Sauce Salsa is made.

3. Ranchero Sauce

Ranchero Sauce is the best substitute for Adobo Sauce as a side dish and topping.

It is prepared using similar ingredients as Adobo sauce such as tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, chilies, and salt.

It can be store-bought and made at home, but the texture of both would differ. Its taste is slightly milder compared to that of the spicier Adobo sauce. 

How to substitute

Ranchero sauce can be used in the same quantity as Adobo sauce in most Mexican dishes like tacos and enchiladas.

Try this traditional Mexican breakfast with Ranchero Sauce.

4. Achiote Paste

Great as marinade

Achiote Paste is a vibrant brick red paste made by combining black pepper, cloves, garlic, cumin, oregano, annatto seeds, and coriander.

It can be used to marinate meat and fish as a diluted sauce or rub. 

It is important to keep in mind that the taste will vary from its earthy, sweet, and mildly spicy flavor to the deep spicy flavor of Adobo sauce. 

How to substitute

½ teaspoon of Achiote Sauce should be diluted with tablespoons of water to reach the same consistency as the same amount of Adobo sauce.

Mexican-style pork tacos with Achiote Paste!

5. Cajun Seasoning

Great for seasoning

Cajun Seasoning is a sophisticated spicy combination of paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper.

All of these ingredients give it the same level of heat as Adobe sauce. 

When using Cajun seasoning to replace adobo sauce, one tablespoon of paprika is to be combined with powdered onion and garlic, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and half a teaspoon of salt to achieve the desired flavor. 

How to substitute

Once the required diluted consistency similar to that of Adobo sauce is achieved, they can be used in the same quantity to replace each other.

Luscious Cajun chicken pasta!

6. Ancho Chile Paste 

Ancho Chile Paste has a distinct sweet and smoky taste that differs from the deep and pleasant spicy flavor of Adobo sauce but can be used in dishes that call for a close adobo sauce substitute.

Please note that since Ancho Chile paste is simply a mix of pureed ancho chilies, salt, and water, to get a taste similar to adobo sauce, other ingredients can be added.

How to substitute

The same amount of Ancho Chile Paste added with other ingredients can be used to replace the same quantity of Adobo sauce.

Try these chicken thighs with Ancho Chile Paste!

7. Adobo Seasoning

The only difference between Adobo sauce and Adobo seasoning is in their form, the latter has a thick liquid consistency while the latter is the same in its powdered form.

It used the same ingredients: smoked paprika, powdered onion, garlic, and tomato paste.

Caution: The seasoning has a prominent flavor of cumin and oregano. To reach the same consistency as adobe sauce, vinegar, lemon juice, or any desired liquid can be added to the dry mix. 

How to substitute

Adobo seasoning, when dry should be used in more amounts than the liquid adobo sauce. 2 teaspoons of adobo seasoning should be replaced for every teaspoon of adobo sauce.

Authentic chicken Adobo at home.

8. Homemade Adobo Sauce

The easiest and most convenient way to substitute Adobo sauce is to make it in your own kitchen with the same ingredients as in the store-bought sauce.

Tomato paste, soy sauce, smoked paprika, vinegar, garlic powder, and onion powder are all you would need.

These ingredients, when combined and strained, should produce the same taste of Adobo sauce as the store-bought pack.

The difference in taste resulting from the processed taste of the pre-packed form is to be considered.  

How to substitute

It is safe to use the same amount of homemade Adobo sauce to substitute the same quantity of store-bought Adobo sauce.

Mexican chicken with Homemade Adobo Sauce.

9. Greek Seasoning

Greek Seasoning is a heated and flavorful substitute for Adobo sauce with ingredients such as garlic, pepper, parsley, dill, basil, oregano, onion flakes, cinnamon, thyme, salt, and marjoram.

It is suggested to keep in mind that Greek Seasoning is most often used to replace Adobo sauce when used to grill meat and vegetables and gives a spicier flavor than Adobo sauce. 

How to substitute

3/4th amount of Greek Seasoning is used to replace a whole measured quantity of Adobo sauce when used for grilling meat due to its high heat.

Garlic grilled chicken with Greek seasoning.

10. Hoisin Sauce 

Hoisin Sauce is a suitable substitute for Adobo sauce with its spicy, salty, and slightly sweet taste.

This sauce is a combination of fermented soybeans, chilly pepper, vinegar, sesame oil, fennel, five-spice powder, garlic, and sugar. 

Hoisin Sauce can be used as a marinade, dipping sauce, and even for stir-fries and soups.

The salty taste can be balanced by adding tomatoes, onions, water, lemon juice, or additional vinegar. 

How to substitute

The same quantity of Hoisin Sauce can be used to substitute the same amount of Aobo sauce in most recipes.

Here are some of the best ways to use Hoisin Sauce.

11. Chipotle Peppers

Chipotle Peppers have a spicy, smoky, and somewhat sweet undertone that substitutes perfectly for Adobo sauce. The textures of both Adobo sauce and Chipotle peppers are vastly different. 

However, Chipotle Peppers are known for being one of the most heated peppers around the globe and it is recommended to be mindful when adding large amounts of it to your dish. 

How to substitute

½ tablespoon of ground Chipotle peppers should replace one tablespoon of Adoo sauce for stews, marinades, soups, and grilled meat.

Smoky and heated beef with Chipotle peppers.

12. Italian Seasoning 

Although Greek Seasoning is not often used to substitute Adobo sauce, the ingredients basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and marjoram are potent enough to give your dish an aromatic and delicious kick. 

Do consider that Italian seasoning should ideally be mixed with vinegar, soy sauce, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to get a taste similar to that of Adobo sauce. 

How to substitute

Italian Seasoning mixed with the necessary liquids can be used to substitute for the same quantity of Adobo sauce.

Italian Seasoned creamy Chicken recipe!

13. Adobo Spice Mix

Adobe spice mix, like homemade adobo sauce, can be prepared right in your kitchen with the same ingredients as are found in the store-bought sauce. Th

e most important ingredients are oregano, ground pepper, powdered garlic, and onion. 

Note that this mix of dry ingredients can ideally be used as a rub on meat or fish marinade and should produce a taste similar to that of Adobo sauce.

How to substitute

About 2 teaspoons of Adobe Spice Mix should be used to replace one teaspoon of the store-bought Adobo sauce.

Spicy Adobo chicken with Adobo spice mix.


How To Make Homemade Adobo Sauce?

Making Homemade Adobo Sauce is easier than you could have imagined with simple ingredients like chili powder, chopped tomatoes, cider vinegar, cloves, brown sugar, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, black pepper, olive oil, and salt. 

The above-mentioned ingredients have to be combined to make a dry paste and reduced with olive oil till the desired consistency is achieved. This homemade Adobo sauce would taste much like the store-bought pack.

Is Adobo Sauce The Same As Chipotle Sauce?

No, Adobo is a smoky-sweet and spic saice made from a combination of tomatoes, vinegar, chili powder, brown sugar, fresh lemon juice, powdered onion and garlic, oregano, cumin, and cinnamon.

Chipotle sauce, on the other hand, is simply a liquefied form of crushed chipotle peppers which are considered one of the spiciest peppers in the world.

What Is The Difference Between Adobo Sauce And Taco Sauce?

Both Adobo Sauce and Taco Sauce share common ingredients of cumin, garlic, smoked paprika, oregano, powdered onion, and salt. Adobo sauce has additional ingredients like cinnamon and soy sauce to have a smoky yet sweet flavor.
Taco Sauce, however, is not known to be sweet as they are meant specifically for Tacos that have other ingredients to give the extra sweetness.

Is Adobo Sauce The Same As Enchilada Sauce?

No, Enchilada Sauce uses Adobo Sauce as one of its ingredients while Adobo sauce is a condiment and marinade by itself. Adobo Sauce uses vinegar, tomatoes, vinegar, lemon juice, cinnamon, powdered garlic and onion, and other ingredients.

Enchilada Sauce uses Adobo sauce, chipotle pepper, olive oil, all-purpose flour, powdered onion and garlic, oregano, cumin, chili powder, and salt to taste.

Bottom Line

I hope this elaborate journey to the fields of various vegetables and condiments helped you learn about the many ways to efficiently substitute Adobo Sauce.

There are a lot of great adobo sauce substitutes out there.

So if you’re looking for a delicious and easy way to add flavor to your food, be sure to try one of these substitutes.

And don’t forget to share this post with your friends and family.

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About Maria Brown

Maria loves movies and is a bit of a movie buff. She especially enjoys romantic comedies and comic flicks. Her sweet tooth gets the best of her often, so she loves baking and cooking a variety of dishes. She loves exploring drinks, especially wines.