Adobo Seasoning Substitute (Top 6+ Alternatives You Can Try)

What’s there not to love with adobo seasoning? This is a flavor-packed seasoning with a unique, savory taste, perfect for so many dishes.

It’s a very popular seasoning in Spain, Mexico, South America, and the Philippines, where they have their own dish of the same name, made of various types of meat! (*)

We can easily find the seasoning in many supermarkets today. But in some areas, they may run out or have no stock of it at all.

That’s where the best adobo seasoning substitute comes to the rescue.

Take a look at the best alternatives you can use if you have no adobo seasonings.

What Is a Good Substitute for Adobo Seasoning?

What is adobo seasoning made of? For those who don’t know what adobo seasoning is, this is one of the best spice blends consisting of salt, pepper, onion, and garlic powder. This ready-to-use powder also includes tellicherry, Mexican oregano, red pepper, cumin, and black pepper.

You’ll also find dried chilies, tomatoes, and vinegar in some brands!

While this seasoning has become more popular in different parts of the world, there are times we can’t find it in our local supermarket.

Or you forgot to stock up when you’re already in the middle of your recipe.

Whatever the reason is, here are the different substitutes you can try:

1. Adobo Paste or Sauce

Adobo paste or sauce is a good adobo seasoning substitute.

It already uses adobo seasoning as its base, though it also includes other ingredients like sugar and vinegar.

Using adobo paste will give your recipe a similar taste and feel, though take account of the extra liquid.

If your recipe requires adding liquid like water or oil, reduce the quantity to avoid overly moist dishes.

We recommend this ingredient for sauce, soup, and casserole recipes since more water won’t affect the dish.

It’s also great to lather your meats before grilling, enhancing the color and flavor.

Pro-Tip: Avoid using too much of this paste in your recipe. Add half the amount the recipe requires, then work your way up from there.

2. Chili Powder

image of chilli powder

Chili Powder is always readily available in most supermarkets worldwide. This spice mix consists of essential ingredients and spices such as garlic, black pepper, ground cumin, and oregano.

All of these are common ingredients you can find in adobo seasoning!

However, what makes chili powder and adobo seasoning different is the color. While the latter will give any dish a yellow shade, chili powder gives off a vibrant red hue.

Regardless of the color difference of the two spice blends, you can use chili powder as an adobo seasoning substitute or vice versa.

If you want to use chili powder, you can use the same amount required for your adobo sauce, chili con carne, sauce, or other dishes.

Note that chili powder has a kick, so this is best for those who love hot and spicy food. Being a spicier alternative, this red pepper is will add some heat!

Read: Chili Paste Substitute: Top 6 Alternatives You Should Know!

3. Garlic Powder

Garlic powder is a good adobo seasoning substitute, but only if you’re in a pinch since it’s most likely in your spice rack. As the name suggests, you will only get a more garlicky, savory flavor, but not much else.

What you can do is add this ingredient to your homemade adobo seasoning.

You’ll mix this with onion powder, ground black pepper, cumin, and other desired herbs and spices to create a wonderful spice mix!

You can also try multi-purpose seasoning or all-purpose seasoning, which you can find in grocery stores. But they may not capture what you want in adobo sauce or any other recipe.

4. Cajun Seasoning

image of Cajun Seasoning

Cajun seasoning is another excellent substitute for adobo seasoning as they contain the same ingredients.

Cajun seasoning has black pepper, garlic, and oregano!

However, don’t expect the exact same flavors with this substitute. That said, it’s a quick fix, and you still get a delicious meal for meat and even non-meat dishes and recipes.

Cajun seasoning may be more accessible than adobo seasoning, part of any spice section worldwide.

Fact: Is Cajun seasoning the same as adobo seasoning?

No, they are not the same. Adobo seasoning is a type of Mexican seasoning that is made from ground chiles, herbs, and spices. Cajun seasoning, on the other hand, is a type of Creole seasoning that is made from a combination of different spices, including cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and black pepper.

5. Greek Seasoning

Consider using Greek seasoning as a substitute for adobo seasoning for those who adore Mediterranean flavors!

Greek seasoning consists of almost the same ingredients. The only difference is that Greek seasoning contains marjoram and thyme.

We love how Greek seasoning offers a savory flavor with a warm, earthy flavor profile.

You’ll also have a hint of mint, pepper, and sweet undertones!

You can use this great substitute in any recipe that asks for the seasoning.

6. Chipotle

image of Chipotle

If you need a substitute for adobo sauce, then you’ll love chipotle, a much spicier alternative!

Chipotle also adds a smoky flavor to your recipes as it uses smoked and rehydrated dried jalapenos. This is then canned with garlic, vinegar, tomato, and other spices.

While you can use chipotle with any recipe asking for adobo seasoning, remember that it can change your recipe’s flavor profile! If you don’t enjoy hot and spicy food, we recommend going on another excellent adobo seasoning substitute.

7. Homemade Adobo Seasoning

Can’t find the store-bought version of the seasoning for your recipes?

The perfect substitute for adobo seasoning is making your own!

That’s right; it’s possible to make homemade adobo seasoning with spices you probably have in your spice rack.

Here’s a recipe you can follow for a homemade version of adobo seasoning:

  • Small bowl
  • 1/4 cup of garlic powder
  • Two tablespoons of salt
  • One tablespoon of black pepper
  • One tablespoon of oregano
  • One tablespoon of ground cumin
  • One teaspoon of turmeric
  • One teaspoon of onion powder
  • Oregano and other preferred spices (optional)

Mix all of your ingredients in a small mixing bowl, and you’ve got a lovely spice mix you can use anytime.

Store it in an airtight container to store in a cool, dark place.

Use this in soups, meat dishes, and other delicious recipes!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you still have pressing questions about this seasoning and its substitutes? Read on for the frequently asked questions!

1. What’s the best substitute for adobo sauce?

We believe that making your own seasoning is the best, as it almost nails the original flavor.

Adobo paste is also another good substitute for adobo seasoning for its yumminess.

That said, other ingredients work best for adobo sauce, such as Greek seasoning or Cajun seasoning mix.

2. What do you use adobo seasoning for?

You can do so many things with the seasoning, particularly in meats like chicken, beef, pork, fish, and even eggs. You can also use adobo seasoning in other dishes such as rice, beans, and soup.

Fun fact: Make your ground beef dishes taste so much better by giving them an adobo flavor!

3. Is Greek seasoning a good substitute?

Yes, it’s one of the best substitutes! But if you don’t have Greek seasoning, there are other things you can use, which may work for adobo seasoning, such as:

  • Italian seasoning
  • Za’atar
  • Herbes de Provence
  • Make your own Greek seasoning

Fun fact: Greek seasoning was initially used for Mediterranean cuisines, but it’s not a multi-purpose seasoning, thanks to its wonderful aroma. You can use it in salads, chicken, lamb, turkey, and even vegetables or a dip!


Wrapping It Up

If you run out of the seasoning you need, there are numerous other alternatives you can always try.

You won’t have to scramble to multiple grocery stores because many of these substitutes are probably in the kitchen, waiting for you!

From Greek seasoning to Chipotle, you can still achieve the best flavors in your dish.

Hopefully, you found the best adobo substitutes from our list.

Regardless of the recipe you’re cooking, use these ingredients to capture the delicious flavor you seek.

Good luck and happy cooking!

image of Adobo Seasoning Substitute (Top 6+ Alternatives You Can Try)

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