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    List of 10 Substitutes for Adobo Sauce – Best Alternatives!

    To enjoy Mexican, Filipino or Caribbean food, you must be aware of adobo sauce. Today, we will discuss the substitutes for adobo sauce that are similar in taste.

    Adobo sauce is not easy to find, but its ingredients are available in your kitchen; you can make it homemade quickly. Besides that, there are other best options like chili garlic sauce, cajun seasoning, hot chipotle sauce, ancho chili paste, greek seasoning, and many more. 

    Sauces are always the main part of snacks or a proper meal. When this sauce is out of stock, you may start thinking, what can I substitute for adobo sauce? 

    This post will tell you about the best adobo sauce substitutes to help you find one that suits your recipe well. Let’s dive in!

    Interesting Facts about Adobo Sauce 

    Adobo is a Spanish word, and this term is used in different cuisines as a method of cooking in various recipes, which means “seasoning.”

    Adobo sauce was first derived in the Philippines and slowly became popular in other countries. But still, it is not that famous; people who are fans of Mexican, Filipino and Caribbean food know well about it. 

    This sauce is a mixture of vinegar, garlic, salt, black pepper, soy sauce, paprika, and bay leaf and delivers a rich, spicy, and slightly sweet flavor to any dish. 

    Although, you may not find this sauce everywhere because not all companies create it. 

    Moreover, it is best for marinating meats or fish because it is thick in texture and provides a delicious peppery flavor even when you use it as a dipping sauce with fries or other appetizers. It is often compared to a barbeque sauce. 

    Substitutes for Adobo Sauce

    If adobo sauce is unavailable, then there is no need to worry. Here are some alternatives that will provide a similar spicery and savory taste. 

    Flick through the given alternatives to find out which will fill out your recipe that requires adobo sauce. 

    1. Chili Garlic Sauce 

    Garlic chili sauce substitute

    Chili garlic sauce combines vinegar, garlic, chili peppers, and salt. It has a slightly garlicky and a little hot flavor compared to adobo sauce.

    Still, chili garlic sauce can be a good substitute for adobo sauce. It will deliver the same spicy taste. People often use it in marination, dipping as well as stir-fries.

    Important: Since this sauce is a bit hot and tangy, you have to reduce the quantity to replace adobo sauce. Use one tablespoon of chili garlic sauce for three tablespoons of adobo sauce. 

    2. Hot Chipotle Sauce

    Hot Chipotle Sauce

    If you are cooking Mexican food, hot chipotle sauce is one of the best substitutes for adobo sauce. It is a red sauce made with roasted chipotle peppers that is a bit spicier than adobo sauce.

    Though, this hot sauce can replace adobo sauce. The taste it provides is similar to adobo sauce, and it is also thick enough in texture. 

    The hot chipotle sauce also has a flavor of a bit of sweetness but is still spicier than adobo sauce, so it might not be a good option if you cook for kids or older people.

    Instruction: Use one tablespoon of hot chipotle sauce to replace adobo sauce.

    3. Cajun Seasoning

    Cajun seasoning substitute for adobo sauce

    Cajun seasoning is a spice mix that contains black pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, oregano, onion powder, and paprika. It provides a rich and smoky flavor to your dish.

    You can use it in various recipes like marinating meats or stews, stir-fries, or even grilling and barbeque. Cajun seasoning is the best alternative when you are cooking seafood and do not have adobo sauce available. 

    Although this spice blend does not match the taste of adobo sauce, it works well in some recipes. 

    Also, this is a dry spice containing salt; try not to add too much soy sauce while mixing it. 

    4. Greek Seasoning

    Greek seasoning substitute for adobo sauce

    Greek seasoning contains similar ingredients to adobo sauce, but the only difference is that it includes thyme and marjoram. If you love Latin flavors, this one is the perfect replacement for adobo sauce.

    You can make it at home by mixing spices or buy it readymade at any store. It provides a peppery, savory, and rich taste to your dish. 

    Since it is a seasoning blend, you can add any liquid like vinegar, water, or soy sauce if marinating meat or fish. People also use this seasoning in the firecracker meatballs recipe.  

    5. Italian Seasoning

    Italian seasoning is somewhat similar to Greek seasoning because of the basic herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil, and marjoram) used in them, even though adobo sauce does not include these ingredients. 

    This seasoning creates a fragrance that will boost your dish. You can use it as a replacement for adobo sauce because Italian seasoning offers a tangy, earthy, and slightly sweet taste.

    Instruction: You must add two tablespoons of soy sauce and vinegar and one tablespoon of lemon juice (optional). Once you know it is ready, you can use it for marinating or a sauce. 

    6. Ancho Chili Paste

    Ancho chili paste may not be the best adobo alternative because of the difference in flavor, but it is a great option if you want a sweet and smoky taste in your recipe. 

    One thing about this chili paste is that you can add more spice blends if you want. It will become perfect if you mix vinegar, water, soy sauce, and other spices like cayenne pepper, garlic powder, or paprika in ancho chili paste. 

    7. Ranchero Sauce

    Ranchero sauce substitute for adobo sauce

    Ranchero sauce is a tomato-flavored sauce popular in Mexican foods, specifically as a topping for tacos and other dishes. This sauce contains garlic, tomatoes, onions, jalapeno, cilantro, salt, and other spices.  

    The rich and spicy flavor of ranchero sauce created with the sweet-sour taste of tomato makes it a good replacement. You can use one tablespoon of ranchero sauce for three spoons of adobo sauce.

    8. Hoisin Sauce

    Hoisin Sauce substitute for adobo sauce

    Hoisin sauce is a thick and gloomy-looking sauce. It is made with boiled soybeans, garlic, chili pepper, sesame oil, vinegar, five-spice powder, and sugar. It is a mixture of both salty and sweet tastes. 

    If you do not like too much salt, you may reduce it by mixing water, vinegar, or lemon juice. Additionally, you can add tomatoes or onions to enhance their flavor more.

    This sauce is best used for marinades, stir-fries, and rubs rather than as a dipping sauce. You can add this sauce as a substitute for adobo sauce easily. 

    9. Achiote Paste

    achiote paste substitute for adobo sauce

    Achiote paste is popular in Latin American and Mexican recipes, also famous in Mexican thanksgiving food. If you love these, you should go for achiote paste.

    This paste mainly consists of annatto seeds, clove, coriander, black pepper, and other spices. It has a sweet, savory, and slightly hot flavor. For a substitute for adobo sauce, you can mix water or vinegar, so it reduces the thickness and is easy to use in marinades or rubs. 

    10. Homemade Adobo Sauce

    Last but not least, homemade adobo sauce is one of the perfect substitutes for adobo sauce. It includes basic spices and is easy to make. 

    The making process takes time and effort, but it is worth the wait. The taste turns out the same, and you can add spices according to your preference and use them for marinades, rubs, or a dipping sauce. 


    As mentioned above, you can use any of the alternatives for adobo sauce. The difference in flavor will alter according to the recipes you are making, but it will do its job right.

    Some amazing spicy sauces are available at any store and easily at home. There are wide varieties; you can go through each to determine the best choice for your dish.

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