Adobo seasoning is a savory seasoning blend made from various spices and peppers. It has an intense smoky and spicy flavor and is a popular ingredient in Caribbean, Mexican, and Spanish cuisine.
Adobo seasoning adds a delicious earthy sizzle to everything from rubs to marinades, although it can also be added to other dishes to give them a burst of Mexican flavor. However, if you can’t find it in your supermarket, you can use these adobo seasoning substitutes to recreate a similar effect in your dish.
1. Make Your Own Adobo Seasoning
Finding the perfect adobo seasoning substitute can be a challenge. Luckily, you can DIY your way through it with simple ingredients like paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, sea salt, and ground white pepper. Follow this recipe to make this all-purpose blend.
You can use this spice mix in any recipe that calls for adobo seasoning. It works wonderfully as a meat rub but can also be used to add a boost of spice to other dishes. You can also customize the ingredients according to your taste to add more or less heat.
1 teaspoon adobo seasoning = 1 teaspoon homemade adobo seasoning.
2. Adobo Paste or Adobo Sauce
Adobo paste or adobo sauce is made with adobo seasoning as a base, although it also includes a few additional ingredients like vinegar and sugar. These alternatives are easy to use and store and can give your dishes a similar taste as adobo seasoning.
Adobo paste works well to enhance the flavor of casseroles and grilled meats and adds some color to your dishes. On the other hand, the mild-flavored, somewhat-smoky adobo sauce has a thick consistency that will elevate the appeal of soups and stews. However, because you’re switching from powder to paste or sauce, you may need to use less liquid than what your recipe calls for to maintain the consistency of your dish.
1 teaspoon adobo seasoning = 1 teaspoon adobo paste or sauce.
3. Cajun Seasoning
Cajun seasoning is a popular spice mixture made using ingredients like black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and salt. Some brands may even use celery seed or red pepper flakes. It has a spicy, smoky, and slightly sweet taste that can replace adobo seasoning in most dishes.
Cajun seasoning will taste delicious in just about every savory meal. You can use it to season chicken, fish, meat, or pork, or marinate meats to tenderize and infuse them with rich flavors. Granted, Cajun seasoning will differ in flavor from adobo seasoning, but the slight change in flavor profiles won’t make your dish taste unpleasant.
1 teaspoon adobo seasoning = 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning.
4. Caribbean Curry
Caribbean curry is made with various spices like cayenne pepper, coriander, ginger, and turmeric. Other herbs and spices may also be included to add more flavor, but this will depend on which part of the country it’s produced.
Caribbean curry will give your dishes a slightly hot, slightly sweet flavor profile and is perfect to use as a mild-flavored substitute to adobo seasoning. It is available in different forms, so you will need to consider which variation will be best for your dish. You can use it as a dry rub or a marinade for meats, and if you can’t find it in your grocery store, you can simply make your own!
1 teaspoon adobo seasoning = 1 teaspoon Caribbean curry.
5. Chili Powder
Chili powder contains staple ingredients like black pepper, cumin, garlic, and oregano. As most of these ingredients are commonly found in adobo seasoning, chili powder can act as a wonderful stand-in for adobo seasoning. It is easily available, and because it’s so commonly used, you probably already have some chili powder in your kitchen.
Chili powder can be used in dry rubs and marinades or in stews, curries, and sauces. However, keep in mind that it has a vibrant red color, which stands in stark contrast to the bright yellow hue of adobo seasoning. So, chili powder will give your dish a different color. Additionally, the spice levels of chili powder vary across brands, so you may have to taste test as you go to avoid making your dish too spicy.
1 teaspoon adobo seasoning = 1 teaspoon chili powder. (Start with a small amount and adjust to taste.)
6. Chipotle in Adobo Sauce
Chipotle in adobo sauce is made with smoked and dried jalapenos that are rehydrated in a sauce including garlic, spices, tomato, and vinegar. It has a smoky and spicy flavor profile that is much spicier than adobo sauce, but it’s a great way to flavor your dish without much prep time. A can of chipotle in adobo sauce can be your savior when you run out of adobo seasoning.
Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce can be used to replace adobo seasoning in any dish that calls for it. You can use it to season meat or make sauces or soups, but keep in mind that it tends to pack more heat and flavor than the original ingredient. So, consider using less chipotle in adobo sauce to avoid overpowering the dish or you can simply explore less-spicy alternatives.
1 teaspoon adobo seasoning = 1/2 teaspoon chipotle in adobo sauce. (Adjust to taste.)
7. Greek Seasoning
Greek seasoning is a Mediterranean spice blend that has the same base flavors as adobo seasoning, although it may also contain additional ingredients like marjoram and thyme. Despite the minor change in taste profiles, Greek seasoning works as a good alternative to adobo seasoning.
You can use Greek seasoning to add warm, earthy, and delicious Mediterranean flavors to your recipes. Although the additional ingredients in Greek seasoning give your dish a slightly different flavor than adobo seasoning, so you may have to alter the amount used and adjust it according to the other ingredients in your recipe.
1 teaspoon adobo seasoning = 1 teaspoon Greek seasoning.