Super Easy Adobo Seasoning Recipe

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Made from simple ingredients you might already have in your pantry, this homemade Adobo Seasoning is sure to up the flavor of any dish you make. By following my easy recipe, you’ll have a seasoning blend that’s useful for a large variety of dishes, particularly when you dabble in Spanish or Latin American cuisine.  

A wooden bowl containing adobo seasoning with a small wooden spoon.
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If there’s one thing I learned in the kitchen, it’s that making homemade spice mixes always trumps the store-bought variety. The same can be said about this delicious adobo seasoning. While it’s mostly used as a base seasoning for different types of meat, I’m here to share how it can definitely elevate various vegan and vegetarian recipes, too!

What is Adobo Seasoning?

In a nutshell, an adobo seasoning refers to a dry blend of spices that can be used on practically anything. The word adobo is actually derived from the Spanish word “adobar,” meaning marinade. 

It’s typically made with a combination of spices like cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and salt. Other variations can include chili powder, cayenne pepper, turmeric, paprika, white pepper, black pepper, citrus (like lime juice and orange juice), and vinegar.

Why You’ll Love It

  • This recipe is super easy to make at home. 
  • Making this adobo seasoning recipe only takes 5 minutes!
  • You may have most (if not all) of these ingredients in your pantry.
  • You can easily adjust the ingredients or add your own unique twist to make the recipe perfect for you. 
  • The seasoning is a worthy addition to many types of dishes to boost their flavors.

Ingredient Notes

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  • Garlic powder: Adds a wonderfully garlicky flavor and aroma to the blend.
  • Onion powder: Lends a savory and somewhat sweet flavor. 
  • Salt: Acts as a preservative while also adding flavor. 
  • Black Pepper: Brings a sharp and spicy flavor to the mix. 
  • Oregano: Gives the seasoning blend a sweet, earthy aroma and a somewhat peppery bite. 
  • Bay Leaves: Adds a bit of a minty flavor to the spice blend. 
  • Turmeric: Adds an earthy essence and a beautifully yellowish color to dishes.

Variations by Region

Caribbean Adobo (Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Cuba)

  • Dry ingredients are used to create this seasoning. 
  • To make a wet version of adobo seasoning, add vinegar, citrus juice, and olive oil to create a paste.
  • Traditionally used for marinating many types of meat. It works equally well for vegan and vegetarian protein sources such as tempeh, tofu, and paneer cheese, for instance.
  • Can be used for eggs and roasting vegetables. 

Mexican Adobo

  • Uses dried chiles like ancho peppers and guajillo. These are rehydrated, combined with liquids like citrus juice or vinegar, then mixed with garlic, onions, oregano, and cumin.  
  • Used for marinating proteins; it can also be used as a stew base or as a condiment.
  • Can be used for making amazing vegetarian side dishes.  

Filipino Adobo

  • More than just a marinade, Filipino adobo is a dish by itself.
  • Made with soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, pepper, and bay leaves. 
  • Usually cooked with either pork or chicken, but can also be used with vegetables and proteins like tofu and tempeh.

Uruguay Adobo

  • Their version is very similar to the Caribbean spice blend.

How to Make Adobo Seasoning

  1. In a small bowl, combine the garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, salt, oregano, bay leaf, and turmeric.
  2. Mix all the ingredients until they are well combined. 
  3. Use immediately to boost the flavor of your dishes, or store in an airtight container or a sealed jar for later use. 

How to Use Adobo Seasoning

You can use this seasoning on practically anything!

  • Marinades: Works great with meat-based proteins and vegetarian proteins alike. My tip is to mix the adobo seasoning with citrus juice, vinegar, and oil for flavor-packed marinade!
  • Dry rub: You can also use this as a dry rub for meat, but I love using it on vegetables, rice, and even quinoa. Before I roast or grill vegetables, I rub some adobo seasoning on them, too.
  • Soups and stews: Want your soups and stews to have more flavor? Just add a teaspoon or a bit more of this adobo seasoning!
  • Sauces: For an extra kick of flavor, use adobo seasoning in sauces and dips like guacamole, aioli, or salsa.
  • Salt substitute: Sometimes I like replacing salt with adobo seasoning because it adds more flavor and depth to the dish. When I make vegetarian fajitas, I use this instead and it makes an awesome flavor booster!


Once blended, you can store this adobo seasoning in a sealed, airtight container. Make sure to keep it in a cool, dry place away from moisture, direct sunlight, and heat so you can enjoy its potent flavor for up to 6 months.

Past this period, you may want to carefully check your seasoning for any signs of spoilage such as faded colors and loss of potent smell. You may still use it, though note that it might not contain the same flavor potency as a freshly made batch. Good thing it’s so easy to remake!

More Delicious Spice Blend Recipes

Baharat Spice

Rosemary Salt

Walnut Dukkah

DIY Spice Blend Gifts

A wooden bowl containing adobo seasoning with a small wooden spoon.

Adobo Seasoning

Made from simple ingredients you might already have in your pantry, this homemade Adobo Seasoning is sure to up the flavor of any dish you make.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Seasoning
Cuisine: Latin American, Portuguese, Spanish
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 12
Author: Kristen Wood


  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon ground bay leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric


  • In a small bowl, combine the garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, oregano, bay leaf, and turmeric.
  • Mix until well combined.
  • Use right away or store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to one year.



Serving: 1teaspoon | Calories: 4kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 0.02g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.004g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.004g | Sodium: 194mg | Potassium: 14mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 0.04g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 0.1mg

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