Adobo sauce is an incredibly versatile condiment and it’s one of the staples in many dishes.
It adds a complex umami flavor that can’t be substituted easily, but what happens when you run out?
There are plenty of acceptable Adobo sauce substitutes, some even better than the original version!
We understand it can be daunting to try something new if you’re used to the traditional flavors- so we compiled this list of 7 amazing Adobo sauce substitutes for you.
Explore unique recipes with these different ingredients and take advantage of their crowd pleasing flavors!
What’s Adobo Sauce?
Adobo sauce is a thick, dark sauce used in Mexican and Filipino cuisine.
It is made from a combination of vinegar, chili peppers, garlic, and other spices.
The sauce is used as a marinade or cooking sauce for meats, fish, and vegetables.
The sauce originated in the Philippines, where it was used as a way to preserve food.
The vinegar and spices in the sauce act as a natural preservative, keeping the food from spoilage.
Over time, the sauce became a popular cooking ingredient due to its unique flavor.
Adobo sauce has a tangy taste with a slightly spicy kick.
The texture of the sauce is thick and sticky.
It is typically used as a marinade or cooking sauce but can also be used as a dipping sauce or condiment.
To use adobo sauce, simply add it to your dish while cooking.
It can also be used as a marinade for meats or vegetables that will be grilled or roasted.
For best results, allow the food to sit in the adobo sauce for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
This will allow the flavors of the sauce to penetrate the food.
7 Best Adobo Sauce Substitutes You Should Try
1. Adobo Seasoning
Adobo seasoning is a blend of chili pepper, garlic, and other herbs and spices.
It is commonly used in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine.
The taste of adobo seasoning is savory, earthy, slightly sweet, and mildly spicy.
If you don’t have any adobo sauce on hand, you can substitute it with adobo seasoning.
To do this, simply add the desired amount of adobo seasoning to your dish in place of the adobo sauce.
You may need to add a little extra water or oil to compensate for the lack of moisture in the adobo sauce.
2. Chipotle In Adobo Sauce
Chipotle in Adobo Sauce is a popular Mexican dish that is made with smoked jalapeno peppers.
The peppers are then stewed in a sauce made of vinegar, tomato sauce, and spices.
This dish is typically served with rice and beans.
The taste of Chipotle in Adobo Sauce is smoky and slightly spicy.
The sauce itself is not too spicy, but the peppers can be quite hot.
If you are looking for a milder version of this dish, you can remove the seeds from the peppers before cooking them.
If you want to substitute Chipotle in Adobo Sauce for adobo sauce, you can use it in any recipe that calls for adobo sauce.
It will add a smoky flavor to your dish.
3. Chili-Garlic Sauce
If you’re looking for a sauce with a little bit of a kick, then the chili-garlic sauce is the perfect substitute for adobo sauce.
This sauce is made from a blend of chili peppers and garlic, giving it a unique flavor that is perfect for those who enjoy spicy food.
While the taste of this sauce may be different from traditional adobo sauce, it will still provide the same level of heat and spice to your dish.
To substitute chili-garlic sauce for adobo sauce, simply replace the amount of adobo sauce called for in your recipe with an equal amount of chili-garlic sauce.
This substitution will work well in any dish that calls for adobo sauce, so feel free to experiment and see what you like best.
4. Ranchero Sauce
Ranchero sauce is a type of Mexican table sauce made with tomatoes, chili peppers, and onions.
It is typically used as a condiment for huevos rancheros but can also be used as a flavorful addition to tacos, burritos, and other Tex-Mex dishes.
Ranchero sauce has a fresh, slightly acidic taste with a moderate amount of heat from the chili peppers.
The sweetness of the tomatoes helps to balance out the spice from the peppers.
If you are looking for an adobo sauce substitute that will add a similar level of heat and acidity to your dish, ranchero sauce is a good option.
To substitute ranchero sauce for adobo sauce, simply use it in place of the adobo sauce called for in your recipe.
You may need to adjust the amount of chili pepper used to get the desired level of heat.
5. Achiote Paste
Achiote paste is a popular ingredient in Latin American cuisine.
It has an earthy, slightly sweet flavor and a red color that can add vibrancy to dishes.
Achiote paste is often used as a substitute for adobo sauce.
If you’re looking for a substitute for adobo sauce that will give your dish a similar flavor, try using achiote paste.
The taste of achiote paste is earthy and slightly sweet, with a vibrant red color that can really brighten up a dish.
To use it as a substitute for adobo sauce, simply mix it with some water to create a thin paste.
Then, use this paste to marinate your meat or vegetables before cooking.
6. Hoisin Sauce
Hoisin sauce is a thick, sweet, and salty sauce that is commonly used in Chinese cuisine.
It is made from soybeans, garlic, sugar, and spices.
Hoisin sauce has a strong flavor that can be overpowering, so it should be used sparingly.
If you are looking for a hoisin sauce substitute for adobo sauce, you can try using an oyster sauce or teriyaki sauce.
Both of these sauces are similar in taste and texture to hoisin sauce.
However, they are not as sweet or as salty.
You may need to add a little bit of sugar or salt to your dish if you use either of these substitutes.
7. Cajun Seasoning
Cajun seasoning is a blend of spices that originates from Louisiana.
It typically includes paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and oregano.
The taste of Cajun seasoning is spicy and savory with a hint of sweetness.
To substitute Cajun seasoning for adobo sauce, simply add the desired amount of Cajun seasoning to your dish in place of the adobo sauce.
You may need to adjust the other seasonings in your dish to balance out the spiciness of the Cajun seasoning.
Adobo sauce is a delicious and versatile sauce that can be used in a variety of dishes.
If you’re out of adobo sauce or simply don’t have any on hand, there are a number of substitutes that can be used in its place.
Chili-garlic sauce, ranchero sauce, hoisin sauce, and cajun seasoning are all great substitutes for adobo sauce.
Each of these sauces has its own unique flavor that can add a new dimension to your dish.
Carrie is a food writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience. She has worked for some of the biggest names in the food industry, including Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Martha Stewart Living.
As the Editor in Chief of IntroChicago.com, Carrie oversees all of the content on the site. She also manages the team of contributing writers and editors, who help to create delicious recipes, helpful tips, and informative articles that you’ll find on the site.
A native of the Chicago area, Carrie is passionate about all things food. She loves trying new restaurants and experimenting with new recipes in her kitchen. She’s also a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, so she knows a thing or two about food!