Best Adobo Seasoning Substitutes For Your Food

Adobo Seasoning Substitute

Need an adobo seasoning substitute? The savory spice mix is quite popular in Latin America and Mexico, with some love in Spain and the Philippines as well. Popular and versatile as it is, the seasoning isn’t easily available everywhere. It’s readily available in these countries and regions, though it can get tough to find elsewhere.

The versatile spice mix is great for meat rubs, tacos, steaks, and more. So, the substitute should be something that goes well with these recipes, while also maintaining a touch of the authentic taste of adobo seasoning. 

So, let’s see what works as the best replacement.

The Adobo Seasoning Substitute To Try

1. Cajun Seasoning

Cajun seasoning shares several ingredients with adobo seasoning. This can allow it to stand as a substitute, though there will be some changes in the flavor. In most instances, if you are looking for a substitute, cajun seasoning will be an appropriate choice.

While not identical in flavor, it still brings savory goodness that matches the offering of adobo. The presence of garlic, black pepper, and oregano allow cajun seasoning to be a savory, flavorful, and exciting choice.

2. Greek Seasoning

This is a worthwhile option that’s very similar to cajun seasoning when replacing adobo seasoning. Greek seasoning includes several of the ingredients found in adobo seasoning. Its flavor is somewhat different since Greek seasoning is more about Mediterranean flavors.

You can use this seasoning for the savory and flavorful goodness it brings. While these seasonings have very similar ingredients, their taste and flavor profile are different. For most recipes and seasoning, this will work without a hitch.

3. Adobo Paste

Need a quick substitute and don’t mind the additional liquid in a recipe? Adobo paste is the right choice for you. Adobo paste is a product made using adobo seasoning. In this paste, the seasoning is mixed with vinegar and sugar to give it a different look with a slight change in flavor.

Recipes that use liquids will be more receptive to this replacement. In these cases, the result will be very similar to adding the seasoning, with slight changes in flavor. For some recipes, you may want to reduce the amount of water, so as to account for the liquid added with the paste.

4. Chipotle In Adobo Sauce

Chipotle In Adobo Sauce is often available on store shelves and finds a fair share of takers. This is pretty similar to adobo paste, with the exception of chipotle chili peppers being added to the mix. The savory sauce just got hot and spicy! This also includes tomato and a few spices to get the sauce going.

When using chipotles in adobo sauce as a substitute, remember to adjust the quantity of water in the recipe to make up for the extra liquid. More importantly, watch out for the chili being added! Jalapeno peppers can get very hot and spicy and usually have a Scoville heat score around 5000.

Of course, this substitute will change the flavor profile of the dish. It’s hot and spicy and has many more ingredients than conventional adobo seasoning. 

Learn more: Best 11 Adobo Sauce Substitutes to Make Savory Dishes

5. Chili Powder

When in doubt, spice it out! Well, using chili powder isn’t an ideal substitute, but it will have to work in a pinch. You can go with your choice of chili powder to add heat to the recipe, though it will miss some of the more complex flavors.

Sometimes, your store-bought chili powder can be a blend. Something like chili con carne may contain a few spices like oregano, garlic, and cumin. 

Whether it’s a blend or just chili powder, it will always be red. The exact shade of red may depend on the chili and other ingredients but the color will be decidedly different from the yellow tinge of adobo seasoning.

With these specifics in mind, it’s best to use chili powder only when you are all out of options. 

Goya Adobo Seasoning Recipe (Copycat Recipe)

Here’s another way you can substitute adobo seasoning – make your own at home! The ingredients it needs are fairly common and the recipe isn’t time consuming. Besides, the homemade option will fare better than most of the substitutes mentioned here.

The goal of this recipe is to replicate the famous adobo seasoning from Goya. To be honest, I can’t quite nail the flavors from Goya’s seasoning, but this recipe gets pretty close.

The ingredients are:

  • Dried oregano – 1.5 teaspoons
  • Onion powder – 1.5 teaspoons
  • Garlic powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Ground cumin – 1 teaspoon
  • Black pepper – 2 teaspoons
  • Paprika powder – 2 tablespoons
  • Salt – 1-2 teaspoons (to taste)
  • Chili powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric – 1 teaspoon

Put all these ingredients in a bowl and mix them thoroughly. If you prefer, you can use a food processor or blender to help with the mixing. Using a processor also comes in handy if you need to grind any of the above-mentioned ingredients.

And just like that, you’ve got a delicious mix for adobo seasoning ready.

Quick FAQs

Is Sazon The Same As Adobo?

Sazon includes all the ingredients in adobo. But it also includes a few extras that dramatically change the taste of this sazon seasoning. The presence of additional ingredients like annatto and achiote (plus a few more), gives sazon a different flavor and color from adobo.

To put it simply, sazon is not the same as adobo. In most cases, you can’t even use sazon as a substitute for adobo seasoning.

What Are The Uses Of Adobo Seasoning?

Adobo seasoning is a versatile mix that’s popular with several recipes. Its smoky and garlicky flavor goes well with several recipes, including those for pork, beef, and fish. Use it as a meat rub, or for grilling and smoking. This versatile seasoning can handle it all. It also works well with vegetarian recipes. Beans and soups get a whole new dimension with this recipe.

Getting The Right Replacement

Adobo seasoning is fairly unique and presents a classic taste of several recipes. It’s very popular as a seasoning and as a recipe ingredient in several parts of the world. Given that it can be somewhat rare Stateside, there are a few adobo seasoning substitutes that you can use for your recipes. There might be some changes in flavor, but the options listed here get the closest to replacing this versatile seasoning.

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