Best Substitute For Adobo Seasoning (Top 3 Choices)

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What is Adobo Seasoning



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What isn’t to love about adobo seasoning? The seasoning is flavor-packed with a savory taste. Adobo seasoning used to be quite popular in Mexico, Spain, the Philippines, and South America. It is used as a rub on meats before frying or grilling.

Nowadays, adobo seasoning is versatile and can be used in taco meat, soups, steaks, and much more. Adobo seasoning is a common commodity in the spice section of most stores and supermarkets.

But in some parts of the world, it is an arduous task to find stores with adobo seasoning in stock. In such situations, you will need a good substitute for adobo seasoning.

Some popular adobo seasoning substitutes includes the chili powder, Cajun and Greek seasoning.

What is Adobo Seasoning?

Substitute For Adobo Seasoning

The adobo seasoning as we know it today has a Caribbean origin and was usually used as a meat rub before cooking or grilling.

The seasoning used to have both the wet and dry version, although the dry version gradually became more popular.

The essential ingredients in the seasoning are garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt, pepper, and sometimes dried citrus.

Big brands like McCormick and Goya have adapted and developed the adobo flavor and sell the adobo seasoning blend. For instance, Goya carries 8 varieties of spice mix.

What Is a Good Substitute for Adobo Seasoning?

If adobo seasoning is not accessible to you, the good news is that you can make the seasoning from scratch using ingredients in your kitchen.

But assuming you don’t have the time to fix up your homemade adobo seasoning, you can easily reach out for some seasoning similar to adobo seasoning in taste and flavor. Some of these seasonings are:

1. Chili powder

Chili powder is quite accessible and can be found in almost all stores in most countries.

Chili powder contains basic ingredients like black pepper, garlic, cumin, and oregano which are common ingredients found in adobo seasoning.

The major difference between adobo seasoning and chili powder is the color. Adobo seasoning will give your dish a yellow shade, while chili powder gives dishes a vibrant red hue.

Irrespective of both seasoning colors, they can both be used interchangeably for the same purpose and in the same amount.

2. Cajun seasoning

Cajun seasoning can also step in as a good substitute for adobo seasoning. Both seasonings contain similar ingredients, such as garlic, black paper, and oregano.

Admittedly, using Cajun seasoning in place of adobo seasoning will not produce an identical flavor. Still, you are sure of a tasty, delicious, and savory meal when you use Cajun seasoning.

3. Greek seasoning

If you are in love with Mediterranean flavors, then you can comfortably use Greek seasoning in place of adobo seasoning.

Greek seasoning contains almost the same ingredients as adobo seasoning, with only the primary difference being the use of marjoram and thyme in Greek seasoning.

What Can I Substitute for Adobo Seasoning?

If you want the same flavor with the adobo seasoning, you can easily make use of adobo paste or sauce in place of adobo seasoning.

It is worthy to note that the adobo sauce contains precisely the same ingredients as the adobo seasoning. The only difference is that the adobo sauce has more liquid and oil due to its pasty form.

When using adobo sauce as a substitute for adobo seasoning, have it in mind that the sauce version is naturally waterier, thus use it with caution.

Adobo sauce is perfect for soup or casseroles as the extra water content won’t affect your dish. The paste is also excellent for lathering onto meat before grilling, enhancing its color and flavor.

How To Make Homemade Adobo Seasoning

When searching for the perfect substitute for adobo seasoning, we recommend you make your homemade adobo seasoning with some basic ingredients in your pantry.

Furthermore, freshly made adobo seasoning tastes better than the store-bought version and gives room for more flexibility.

For instance, if you enjoy hot and spicy food, you can easily double the chili powder or cayenne pepper in your adobo mixture.


  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon
  • ground black pepper


Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix until well combined. For a smoother blend, you can use a food processor until you get your most preferred


Store in an airtight container or jar  in a cool, dry place until required.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Adobo Seasoning Made of?

The primary ingredients in adobo seasoning are garlic powder, ground peppercorns, and oregano. It is worthwhile to note that the ingredients in the seasoning differ from one region to another.

How Do You Make Adobo Seasoning from Scratch?

All you need in making adobo seasoning are some basic ingredients from your pantry and a mixing bowl or a food processor.

With a tablespoon of salt, oregano, paprika, onion powder, black pepper, garlic powder, ground cumin, chili powder, ground black pepper, and turmeric, you are good to go.

Which Adobo Seasoning Is the Best?

Goya Adobo All-Purpose Seasoning, Chef Merito Adobo Carne Al Pastor, and Badia Adobo seasoning seem to be some of the best adobo seasonings in the market.

What Is Adobo Seasoning Used for?

Adobo seasoning is a versatile seasoning used for everything from chicken to beef, pork, fish, and even non-meat dishes like soups, beans, rice, and even eggs!


The versatility of adobo seasoning has made it popular among chefs and cooks. The availability of the spicy seasoning in most stores has also made it quite popular.

In situations when you run out of adobo seasoning, we want to believe that this article will come in handy in giving you a suitable substitute for adobo seasoning.

Remember, nothing stops you from making your homemade adobo seasoning with just a few ingredients from your pantry.

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