12 Best Adobo Sauce Substitutes – Best

We all want gravy on our roast meat or dip our fries in juicy gravy. My favorite sauce in almost every dish I make is adobo sauce.

Adobo dish, spice mix and sauce have different variations depending on the region where they are used. Variations include coconut milk, rice vinegar, coconut vinegar, olive oil, and other liquids. Other variations include adding onion, cumin, brown sugar, parsley, and lemon or orange juice.

Let’s take a look at these substitutes and how to use them correctly to save your dish and enjoy a delicious meal without that particular sauce.

Best Adobo Sauce Substitutes

Adobo, also known as adobe (in Spanish marinade), was a traditional way of cooking that originated in the Philippines. This expression is used in Mexican and Caribbean cuisine with a different meaning.

In the Philippines, adobo is a cooking method for dishes prepared with meat, vegetables or seafood marinated in a mixture of garlic, vinegar, bay leaf, black pepper and soy sauce.

Dishes prepared in this way are also called adobo. Soy sauce and vinegar are the essential ingredients of Filipino adobo. Adobo dishes can also be made with other meats, such as beef, fish, and seafood.

In Caribbean cuisine, adobo is a mixture of spices such as oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. This dry spice blend is used on meat before cooking. But it can also be used as a wet marinade for marinating meat or vegetables.

The Mexican version of adobo is a sauce made with tomatoes, garlic, oregano, salt, vinegar and chili peppers. The most common hot peppers used in the Mexican version of adobo sauce are chipotle and poblano, but other cold peppers are also used.

If you don’t have adobo sauce on hand, you can use some ingredients from your pantry or purchase other seasonings similar to adobo. It is one of the best adobo sauce substitutes that you can use in your dishes. Let’s discuss each in detail.

1. Adobe Seasoning

The essential ingredients of this seasoning are garlic powder, onion powder, oregano and ground black pepper. It is mainly used in sauces, rice, stews, beans, vegetables, soups or as a base for marinades and dry marinades for meats.

It has the same content as adobo sauce without the liquid. However, you can add vinegar and lemon juice. Or any other drink you like. You can also add some spices for better taste.

2. Chipotle in Adobo Sauce

Chipotle is a Mexican jalapeno pepper that is great for sauces, vegetables, beans, stews, soups, and marinades. When added to adobo sauce, they are dried and smoked for a nice smoky flavor.

Chipotle in adobo sauce is a hot sauce. So if you don’t like it hot or cooking for your kids, don’t use it as a substitute for adobo sauce.

3. Chili Garlic Sauce

This sauce contains vinegar, peppers, garlic and salt. It has a slightly sour garlic flavor and works well in sauces, stir-fries and soups.

You can use this sauce as a substitute for adobo sauce. However, if you are not a fan of the strong garlic flavor, add tomato paste and oregano. Or any other spices you like.

Also Check: 10 Best Chili Garlic Sauce Substitutes

4. Ranchero Sauce

Ranchera sauce is perfect for chicken, pork, beef and vegetables. Or added to tacos and nachos as a topping. He mixes tomatoes, oregano, peppers, garlic, onion, salt and oil. It has a good smoky and spicy taste.

You can add soy sauce, vinegar, or other spices to resemble adobo sauce. But don’t add too much salt, because the ranchero sauce is already salty.

5. Achiote Paste

Achiote pasta is a staple of Caribbean, Mexican and Central American cuisine. It combines annatto seeds, garlic, oregano, black pepper, coriander, cloves and cumin. Annatto seeds have a sweet, peppery and nutty flavor. They act both as a food coloring and as a spice.

Reduce this pasta with broth or water before cooking. It adds a sweet, spicy and smoky flavor. You can use this paste to rub meat and fish. Or as a marinade and sauce. If there are no chili peppers, you can add some for a spicy taste.

6. Hoisin sauce

Hoisin sauce

This thick, dark-colored sauce consists of chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, fermented soybeans, five-spice powder, fennel, and sugar.

It has a hearty salty and sweet umami taste. Hoisin sauce is a great dipping sauce, but you can also use it for marinades, stir-fries, or as a glaze for meats.

This sauce is very salty, so you can add water, vinegar, lemon juice or oil to reduce the salty taste. You can also add onion, tomatoes or garlic to enhance the flavor as per your taste.

7. Cajun seasoning

The Cajun spice blend contains garlic powder, oregano, chili, black pepper and smoked paprika. It has a spicy, smoky flavor with a hint of garlic.

Cajun seasoning is great for meats, seafood, soups, vegetables, stir-fries and as a dip. This seasoning is spicy, so don’t add too much to your dish. You can use it as a dry marinade or add olive oil, lemon juice or vinegar and marinate the meat.

8. Homemade Adobo Sauce

The best substitute for store-bought adobo sauce is homemade adobo sauce.

Recipe contains 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tbsp vinegar, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika or chili sauce, 1/2 tsp 2 teaspoon of soy sauce, oregano and cumin, and a tablespoon of tomato paste.

Mix all the ingredients and strain the mixture. Store it in a jar in the refrigerator. You can also freeze this sauce and use it for your future recipes.

Also Check: 8 Best Plum Sauce Substitutes

9. Ancho Chilli Paste

Ancho chili paste is made from rehydrated and pureed dry poblano peppers. It has a reddish-brown color, is earthy, slightly fruity and has a slightly spicy taste.

Ancho Chili Paste adds heat to sauces, enchiladas, salsa, marinades, dips and dressings. It doesn’t taste like adobo sauce, but you can use it as a substitute to give your dishes a nice spicy taste.

10. Tabasco Chipotle Hot Sauce

Tabasco chipotle hot sauce is another good alternative to adobo sauce. It has a slightly different taste and texture than adobo sauce and gives your dishes a nice smoky and spicy taste.

Tabasco chipotle hot sauce is ideal for grilled meats, marinades and dips. But it also improves the taste of sandwiches, pastas, salads, fries and tacos.

11. Greek seasoning

Greek herbs are a mixture of dried herbs and spices such as oregano, dill, thyme, basil, marjoram, pepper, salt, onion flakes and garlic powder .

This versatile condiment has a salty, earthy, minty, slightly sweet, and slightly spicy taste and is used in many different dishes.

It is commonly added to marinades, salads, dips, dressings, roasted vegetables, meats, fish and shrimp.

You can buy Greek spices or make them at home and adjust the ingredients to your liking. Greek herbs don’t taste like adobo sauce, but they do add a nice flavor to your dishes.

12. Italian seasoning

This is another spice blend that you can use as a substitute for adobo sauce. Italian seasoning is usually made with basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram, and rosemary. But variations are also made with red pepper flakes, fennel seeds, dried sage, parsley and garlic powder.

Italian herbs taste earthy, salty, sweet and spicy. It is used in many dishes such as soups, salad dressings, marinades, sauces, meat, fish and vegetables. Replace the adobo sauce with Italian herbs and enjoy its delicious taste.

frequently asked Questions

What can I substitute for chipotle in adobo?

You can substitute smoked paprika, chipotle powder, or chili with chipotle in the adobo.

Is adobo sauce the same as chipotle sauce?

No, it’s not the same sauce. But chipotle sauce is made with chipotle peppers in an adobo sauce, yogurt, garlic, and lime juice. This way you have two sauces in one.

How do you prepare Adobo sauce from Adobo seasoning?

Add water, vinegar or lemon juice; you can make adobo sauce from adobo seasoning. Mix all the ingredients until you get the desired consistency and use it in your dishes. Your dishes will taste very similar to adobo sauce.

What grass is similar to Adobo?

The spice that resembles adobo is oregano. Oregano is one of the main ingredients in adobo, along with black pepper, ground cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, chilies, and salt.

Can I substitute chili powder for Adobo sauce?

Chili powder does not have the same taste and texture as adobo sauce. It is usually made from ground dried chili peppers and spices such as oregano, cumin, and paprika.

Therefore, you can replace adobo sauce with chili powder, but you won’t get the same taste as adobo sauce.

What is a substitute for chipotle in adobo sauce?

Dried chipotle powder, cayenne pepper, or smoked paprika are some of the substitutes you can use for chipotle in adobo sauce.

final verdict

Adobo sauce is a mixture of different things from different regions. But all adobo sauces have one thing in common. And that’s the wonderful taste they give to the dishes.

Maybe some of these substitutes will add a different flavor to your dishes. However, they are all tasty and have their unique content. Try some of these substitutes and share your favorite in the comments. We are happy to read your comments.


  • 6 cups of water

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar

  • 4 dried guajillo peppers

  • 4 dried ancho peppers

  • 1/2 cup oil

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 1 cup broth

  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 onion in cubes

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tablespoon of oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/8 cup lemon juice


    1. Clean the peppers from the seeds and fry them in hot oil.
    2. Add the water and half the vinegar to a saucepan and cook the peppers. Let them soak for a few hours.
    3. Mix the peppers with the tomato purée, the other half of the vinegar and a little broth until a paste forms.
    4. Sauté the garlic and onion and add the rest of the broth, lemon juice, chilli paste and spices.
    5. Cook until thickened.
    6. Store the sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


You can adjust the amount of salt and spices to your liking, or use lime or orange juice instead of lemon juice.