8 Best Adobo Sauce Substitutes With Images

adobo sauce substitute

Adobo sauce generally tastes like a blend of those classic appetizing flavors. Basically, Adobo sauce is a vinegar-based  smothering sauce. Adobo sauce is an essential ingredient to have at home but when you don’t have Adobo sauce on hand, there are different substitute for adobo sauce that you can try. In this post, we will talk about some of the best Adobo sauce substitute and how to use each adobo sauce substitute and enjoy your meal.

Best Adobo Sauce Substitutes

Adobo sauce is made using different ingredients such as garlic, soy sauce and ginger. You can either combine the ingredients with water or for some they would combine it with wine. You can find different kinds of adobo sauce in the grocery stores or supermarkets readily available, however, the taste slightly differs as homemade adobo sauce. If run out of adobo sauce at home or does not have access to adobo sauce, listed below are the best adobo sauce substitutes. Read on below to know more.

Chili-Garlic sauce

Chili garlic sauce is one of the most common adobo sauce substitutes used. Chili garlic sauce is made with vinegar, garlic, chili peppers and salt. Since Chili garlic sauce has garlic flavor, you can add oregano or tomato paste if you are not a fan of garlic flavors.

Tabasco Chipotle Hot Sauce

Tabasco Chipotle Hot sauce is another great alternative for adobo sauce, simply because the contents of the bottle contains all of the same ingredients as that of Adobo.

The ingredients use for making Tabasco Chipotle hot sauce are chipotle peppers, salt, sugar, distilled vinegar, onion and garlic powder and some spices.

Adobo Seasoning

Another great substitute for adobo sauce is the Adobo seasoning. The main ingredients of Adobo seasonings are garlic powder, oregano, onion powder and black pepper (ground). Basically, mixing vinegar with the seasoning ingredients mentioned beforehand.

Since soy sauce is considered to be an alternative to adobo sauce, perhaps both has similar flavor, you can instead use apple cider vinegar.

Adobo Seasoning is best used for in stews, veggies, soups, sauces, rice and can also be used as a marinade base.

Ranchero sauce

Ranchero sauce is another ingredients that you can use as an alternative to adobo sauce. A Mexican seasoning made from fresh chilies, tomatoes , onion powder and or salt and oil. Although make sure not to add too much salt.

You do not have to mix the ingredients with water, as the ingredients has already been diluted before it was bottled and packed.

Ranchero sauce flavor is a little bit spicy, and if you want some spiciness on your soups, stews and dips this sauce is the perfect sauce for you.

Achiote Paste

Another great substitute is the Achiote paste. It is made from a mixture of garlic, oregano, annatto seeds, Black pepper, Cumin, Cloves and Coriander. If you are wondering, Annatto seeds basically has a sweet yet pepper as well as nutty flavor. Therefore it can be used either as food coloring and or as a spice.

Hoisin sauce

Hoisin sauce is a dark colored sauce that is made from mixture of ingredients such as garlic, red chili peppers, sugar, five-spice powder, vinegar, sesame oil and fermented soybeans.

The taste of Hoisin sauce is likely similar as that of adobo sauce taste making it as another substitute.

Hoisin sauce also tends to have a salty yet sweet flavor. To remove the saltiness of Hoisin sauce, you can add either vinegar, water, lemon juice and or oil. Moreover, in order to intensify its flavor you can also add some onions, or tomatoes to the mixture.

Cajun Seasoning

Cajun Seasoning is made of mixing ingredients such as salt, garlic powder, black pepper, smoked paprika, chili pepper, onion powder, oregano, thyme and red pepper flakes.

It has a Smokey flavor, a little bit of spiciness and a hint of garlic flavor.

This alternative is best use for soups, seafoods, meats, vegetables and stir-fries. It can also be used as a dipping sauce. Since Cajun is a little spicy, make sure not to put too much (more than you can handle) on your meal.

If you want to use Cajun seasoning as a marinade, you can either add lemon juice and olive oil along with adding vinegar to marinade the meat or you can always use it as a dry rub to the meat.

Homemade Spice Blends

Last but not the least on the list of the best adobo sauce substitute are the homemade spice blends. It is made using ingredients such as salt, black pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, oregano, chili powder, cumin and a touch of Cayenne pepper.


What does Adobo sauce tastes like?

Adobo sauce has an blend of savory flavor, this means that it has a salty or spicy flavor but does not usually taste sweeet. Often, you can also taste a hint of garlic to the adobo sauce.

What is Adobo Sauce made of?

Adobo sauce is generally made of tomatoes, salt, vinegar, sugar, chili peppers (dried), and other ingredients of herbs and spices such as cumin, oregano and cinnamon.

What is the difference between Mexican Adobo and Filipino Adobo?

Mexican Adobo and Filipino Adobo should not be compared as both are not the same or similar. In fact, both does not similar. Simply because Mexican adobo is not a dish but a sauce, whereas Filipino Adobo is a Filipino recipe that basically stews the meat, vegetables and fish. The only thing that makes them similar is that both uses vinegar.

What is Adobo sauce shelf life?

When Adobo sauce is not exposed to air, you can place the adobo sauce in the refrigerator and can stay for at least a month.

When opening a bottle of adobo sauce, always make sure that the bottle is properly stored by placing it in an air-tight container.

What is Adobo marinade?

Adobo marinade is made by mixing ingredients such soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves and pepper.

What can you substitute chipotle with?

You can substitute chipotle in adobo sauce with smoked paprika, chipotle powder and other chili pepper of your choice.

Are Chipotle sauce and Adobo sauce the same?

Simple answer that is No. Chipotle sauce and Adobo sauce are not the same. Though Chipotle sauce typically contains Chipotle pepper in the adobo sauce.


Adobo sauce is a widely popular condiment. However there are instances where Adobo sauce is not accessible and or available for you to use, that is where adobo sauce alternatives comes in. Some of these adobo sauce substitutes may give your dish a different taste, but nevertheless, the sauce alternatives are all delicious.

We hope that this guide has helped you choose which type of adobo sauce substitute you can try and see which one suits you best.

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