Adobo seasoning is a savory spice mix that is commonly used in Spain, Mexico, the Philippines, and South America.
It adds a delicious, earthy flavor to a variety of dishes, but is especially popular for using as a rub on different kinds of meats and fish.
Depending on where you are located, you may find it hard to find this seasoning on the shelves of your local grocery store. Therefore, we’re going to provide you with a few alternatives you can use if you struggle to find any!
What Is Adobo Seasoning?
Originating in the Caribbean, adobo seasoning was first used to rub on meats before cooking or grilling them.
While there was a wet version, the dry variety became more popular and consists of garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt, and pepper.
It is a very versatile spice mix, and other herbs and spices can be added to it such as chili powder, for an extra kick.
Adobo Seasoning Substitutes
Now that you’re familiar with what exactly goes into this particular spice mix, we can now provide you with a list of some great alternatives you can use.
1. Chili Powder
Chili powder can work as a good substitute for adobo seasoning as it contains many of the same ingredients.
These are black pepper, cumin, garlic, and oregano, making them both have a relatively similar taste.
However, chili powder does contain some spice, and adobo seasoning doesn’t, so this is something to be wary of when using it as a replacement.
It is also a spice that is very widely accessible in all kinds of supermarkets, and you’re probably likely to already have some lying around in your pantry.
2. Cajun Seasoning
Like chili powder, Cajun seasoning contains many of the same ingredients as adobo seasoning.
Ingredients such as garlic, oregano, and black pepper are present in both spice mixes, giving them a similar flavor profile.
While using Cajun seasoning as a replacement will provide your dish with a slightly different flavor, you are guaranteed to create a flavorsome, delicious dish, as Cajun seasoning has a lot of lovely flavor within its mix.
3. Greek Seasoning
If you’re a fan of Mediterranean cuisine and Mediterranean flavors, then Greek seasoning can work as a wonderful substitute for adobo seasoning.
Both spices contain most of the same ingredients, the only difference is that Greek seasoning has some marjoram and thyme added to it.
However, these additions make this spice delicious and full of flavor, and it will really add a delicious flair to any dish you are making.
4. Adobo Paste Or Sauce
As mentioned earlier, there is a wet variety of adobo seasoning. It uses all of the same spices, so the taste is practically the same as the ground powder version.
This wet variety is often used in soups, but it can’t be used as a replacement for the powder for all dishes. This is because there is added water in this variety, and it may disrupt the texture you are trying to create with a particular dish.
However, if the adobo powder is to be used on meat, then using the wet variety may be even better, as the extra liquid and oil will help tenderize the meat.
5. Caribbean Curry
Caribbean curry can come in powder form, or as a cube that gets dissolved in water. If you just need it as a rub for some meat, then the powder form is the best option.
This mix consists of spices such as turmeric, coriander, and ginger, and some will include cayenne pepper.
Using this as an alternative to adobo seasoning will provide your meal with a lovely blend of different flavors, although it may be milder than adobo.
6. Caribbean Jerk Seasoning
While this option may not be as widely available as others on this list, it works as a great substitute for adobo seasoning.
It consists of thyme, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and black pepper. This combination of spices makes for a delicious, intense flavor, with a hint of spice.
Aside from this, it also has a smokey quality, but this is far from a bad thing. If your recipe involves marinating some meats, then the heat and smokey flavors will really add a nice touch to your meal!
7. Chipotle In Adobo Sauce
While this is a different product altogether, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are often available in supermarkets and can be used as an adobo seasoning substitute (see also ‘The 5 Best Mace Seasoning Substitutes‘).
Similar to the adobo paste substitute, this will only work if the dish you are making can handle some extra moisture. Aside from this, this alternative does carry some spice along with it due to the addition of chipotle peppers.
While this adds a nice flair to some meals, it is something you need to consider before using it as a substitute.
8. Make Your Own
The most simple alternative to adobo seasoning would be to re-create it yourself. Unlike other spice mixes, it is relatively easy to put together, and it may even taste better than the store-bought versions.
You’ll need 2 tablespoons of paprika and black pepper and salt. 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, ground cumin, chili powder, ground black pepper, and turmeric, and 1 ½ teaspoons of onion powder, and oregano.
Simply mix all of the above ingredients together in a bowl, and place it in an airtight container for use whenever you need it!
If you enjoy spicy food, then feel free to add more chili powder, or sprinkle some cayenne pepper in the mix!
To conclude, adobo seasoning is a simple, savory spice mix that is made from onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, salt, pepper, and sometimes added spices such as paprika and chili powder.
Depending on your location, it may be hard to find adobo seasoning in your local supermarkets, so this article has compiled a list of some wonderful alternatives you can use instead.
However, adobo seasoning is a very simple spice mix you can create yourself at home, as all the spices used to make it are probably already hiding in your pantry.
By making it yourself from scratch, you may find that you enjoy it even more than the store-bought version! This also enables you to add whatever other spices you enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Goya Adobo Seasoning Made Of?
Goya adobo seasoning is a pre-made adobo spice mix. It contains salt, garlic, tricalcium phosphate, black pepper, oregano, and turmeric.
What Is Adobo Seasoning Used For?
Adobo seasoning is a very versatile spice mix and can be used in a variety of dishes. It can be used for a number of cooking methods too, such as roasting, grilling, frying, and sautéing.
It is also commonly used as a base for stews, sauces, and soups, as well as for seasoning meats, potatoes, and other vegetables.
What Does Adobo Seasoning Taste Like?
This seasnoning tastes salty, and earthy, with a hint of spice and garlic. However, not all of these mixes have the spice element included, as some variations don’t include paprika or chili powder.
What Can You Use As A Substitute For Chipotle In Adobo Sauce?
If you would like to use chipotle in adobo sauce but can’t find any, then your best bet is finding some peppers or seasonings that have a hint of spice in them.
Some of these include cayenne pepper, smoked peppers, dried chipotles, chipotle mexican seasoning, and smoked paprika.
What Does Chipotle In Adobo Taste Like?
This condiment consists of chipotle peppers in an adobo sauce. It has a smokey, spicy, and sweet flavor.
The chipotle peppers are what bring in the heat, and the adobo sauce is made with several spices such as garlic, paprika, oregano, vinegar, onion, and tomato.
These ingredients all work together to enhance the flavor of the peppers.