Adobo Sauce Vs Adobo Seasoning

Adobo is a popular flavor that is either a sauce or a dry seasoning. It is often used in Mexican and Filipino dishes. Adobo flavor goes great in marinades, grilling, sautees, stews, soups, and it goes well with almost any vegetable. 

As mentioned above, adobo can either be in a paste form or a dry seasoning. While both versions have the same flavor, they can be used for some different things. Adobo sauce is better used in marinades or for grilling. It can also be used in a soup or stew base or can be used in certain curry types dishes. Adobo seasoning is better used to season vegetables and slight additions to soups and stews. Adobo seasoning can also be used in dry rubs on meat or poultry. 

Adobo Sauce 

Adobo sauce originated in the Philippines, however there are many adaptations of it today in many different cultures. Spanish colonists gave it the name adobo when they reached the Philippines. Adobo comes from the Spanish word Adobar which means to pickle meats in spices and vinegars. Today, when someone says adobo they typically are talking about the sauce as it’s more common to cook with than the seasoning. Adobo sauce as you see it in stores, are chipotle peppers soaked in vinegar and herbs. There are versions with chili peppers or even jalapenos being used instead of chipotle peppers. It gets its dark red color from all the paprika and the chili powder used to season the sauce. Adobo certainly has a kick to it, so beware when you’re using it for your next meal!

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Using Adobo Sauce

  • Meat or fish marinades
    • To use adobo sauce for marinade, simply cover your meat or fish with adobo sauce and leave until ready to cook.
  • Dips
    • Hot and spicy cream dips can be made with a wonderful kick using adobo sauce.
  • Chipotle Soups
    • Adobo brings a wonderful flavor to all kinds of different soups.
  • Grilling and glazing meat or fish
    • While your meat or fish is cooking on the grill, use adobo sauce as a glaze to keep that meat tender and juicy.
  • Chili
    • Making a bean chili? Add a can of adobo for an extra kick! 

Adobo Seasoning

Adobo seasoning is a staple seasoning in many Latin and Caribbean cuisines. While adobo seasoning tastes almost exactly like adobo sauce, it’s in its dry form. Adobo seasoning tends to be much less spicy than the sauce and it doesn’t have the strong vinegar, pepper flavor that the sauce has as well. This is why the adobo sauce is much more popular, because the flavor is much more intense. The classic adobo seasoning contains garlic powder, black pepper, cumin, onion powder and oregano. However many versions contain chili powder as well. 

Since adobo seasoning has a more mild flavor, it’s not the staple ingredient in meals like adobo sauce is. It’s usually just an addition.

Using Adobo Seasoning

  • Season soups or stews
    • While unlike adobo sauce, which can be used as almost a soup base, adobo seasoning will be just a good addition to whichever soup or stew you are making. 
  • Dry rubs for meat or fish
    • Instead of doing a wet marinade (like with the sauce) use adobo seasoning as a dry rub before grilling meats or fish, however the seasoning can be added to olive oil, vinegar, orange juice, or anything other liquid that you are using to create a tasty wet marinade. 
  • Sauteed or grilled vegetables
    • If you are looking to spice up any sauteed or grilled vegetables, adobo seasoning is the perfect way to go!
  • Tacos
    • Taco seasoning is usually what people use when they are making tacos, however if you don’t have any, adobo seasoning makes a great taco seasoning mix! 
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There is no right or wrong as to which is better: adobo sauce or seasoning. It really comes down to what dish you are making and what flavor you are going for. In comparison, adobo sauce is definitely more flavorful and great as a base for many dishes, while adobo seasoning is more mild, which is great for those who aren’t looking for something so spicy. Try it with your next meal!