Ultra-Rich Caramelized Pork Adobo: A Sweet Reinvention

Words: Dwight Co/Photography: Mylene Chung/Styling and Recipe Development: Katherine Jao/May 13, 2012

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Since we’ve been going overboard with our creative food projects, we thought that we’d use Sundays to give all of us a breather and mellow down a bit.

To start things off, we’ll have the Philippines’ record-holder for most overused home-cooked meal, Pork Adobo.

Like picking your online casino gambling nose, there’s an infinite number of ways to cook and prepare adobo. In our version, what’s special is the pre-cooking caramelization process that brings out that sweet, smoky flavor. We also take the time to simmer everything an extra few minutes until it reaches a beautiful, rich and syrup-like consistency.

Ultra Rich Caramelized Filipino Pork Adobo

Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 1 kg Pork cubes
  • 1/2 cup Soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup whole garlic cloves
  • 2 pcs bay leaf
  • 1/2 tbsp whole peppercorn
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 liter water


  1. Marinade pork in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, bay leaf and pepper for 30 minutes.
  2. Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat oil in pan on high flame.
  4. Saute pork and add the brown sugar.
  5. Brown pork, or wait until sugar caramelizes.
  6. Add in remaining marinade and water. Boil for 5 minutes.
  7. Lower the heat and simmer until tender (about 40-60 minutes).
  8. Sauce should have a syrup-like consistency.

Dwight Co

Managing Director/Founder

When he was nine, Dwight stormed the kitchen and proudly cooked himself his first dish, Spam and eggs. Realizing his immense talent for cooking canned food, he co-founded Pepper.ph in 2012. Aside from directing Pepper.ph's content and design, Dwight also makes websites and runs a tiny ramen house in Burgos Circle called Wrong Ramen. See More.

  • http://www.foodreviewsmanila.com/ Guia Obsum

    Yes it definitely looks better than your ordinary adobo, just look at that glaze! :)

    • http://twitter.com/mylenechung Mylene Chung

      Thanks Guia! It’s actually very much sweeter than the regular adobo! Perfect with Rice! haha!

  • Jullien

    Been looking for this recipe! I love my adobo sweet! Thanks for this! I’m a big fan of your blog!

    • http://twitter.com/mylenechung Mylene Chung

      It’s our pleasure Jullien! Glad you like the recipe! Do give us a feedback once you’ve tried it out!

    • http://twitter.com/katherinejao Katherine Jao

      Hi Jullien! I’m also a fan of sweet adobo that’s why the first adobo recipe we came up with is a sweet version. Hope you enjoy it! 

  • Dana Santiago

    Wow! I never thought adobo could look this beautiful! 

    • http://twitter.com/mylenechung Mylene Chung

      Thanks for the kind words Dana!:) Hope to see you here more often.

  • http://thesubjectivist.net/ Amrita

    “Like picking your nose, there’s an infinite number of ways…” Ha! Still chuckling at that one! I love pork adobo. Have never really made any, but yours is making me slober. Maybe I should put this on my “to make when in need of impressing” list.

    • http://twitter.com/mylenechung Mylene Chung

      Thanks so much Amrita! Do give us a feedback when you’ve tried it! hehe! Glad you liked the post! Hope to see more of you here!:D

  • Agentarcher

    Is this pork butt or loin? 

  • http://twitter.com/fourthfret Ramon Rocha IV

    I reckon this might taste close to a “humba” perhaps? In any case, I’m looking forward to trying it. :)

    • Del

      it wouldn’t because humba has more sabaw than this..

  • Cams

    I made this the other day for my guy and he loved it! He kept on raving about it and asking me to make some again! Haha! Twas my first time to cook adobo & from now on, this will be my go-to-recipe!! Thank you pepper.ph!

  • Derek

    This turned out soo good. Thanks for sharing the recipe, I’ll definitely be making it again.

    I used a Pork Shoulder roast for the meat, And 1/4 cup white, 1/4 cup red wine for Vinegar.

    Make sure to cook long enough for the pork to get tender, I had to turn up the heat at the end for the sauce to reduce and I think that helped to render some of the connective tissue making the meat delicious. I wish I had cooked more.

  • Diogenes Baena

    my wife introduced me to your blog and this recipe. The dish she made was so out of this world I just had to write about it on my blog: http://elementalview.blogspot.ca/2013/03/iphone-diaries-582-best-adobo-ive-ever.html
    (image on the blog)

  • jorgina

    Thanks for this recipe..tried it and my adobo is never been better..



  • Nick

    something’s wrong with the html. :(

  • Frantiq

    Love the hint of sweetness in this rendition. My entire family enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing:)

  • Maris

    this is a must-try! so rich!

  • johnny

    999,999,999,999% PERFECTO!!!!!!Whoever made a business on selling it would make a fortune!!!!!:)):)):)):))

  • Tim

    Will this recipe work with chicken as well?

  • Ed

    if i use 2kg of meat. should i double the other ingredients as well?

  • Fely

    Tried it and sarap!! Thanks for sharing this great recipe!!!

  • Reymond

    Thanks for sharing this must try ADOBO. It’s ADOBORIFIC!!!! =)

  • Carol

    Somehow like Estofado.. it’s good :)

  • Gloria

    Pretty tasty

  • Rolando Buhayo

    It’s so simple even I did it! Thanks for this. :)

  • Pat Rabena

    Love this recipe, totally different from my original recipe, very tender, mine didn’t cook down so there was more sauce than I expected. I substituted whey gold for the brown sugar.

  • Gerrine Santos

    I was craving and looking for an adobo taste that tastes different from my adobo. And I guess I’ve found the answer. :) Thanks for sharing this one. :) Excited to try it soon. :)

  • Gina

    I just returned from the Philippines where I ate pork adobo for the first time. I fell in love!!!! I am now going to make it for my family and this recipe looks like what I ate! I was there for 21 days and probably ate pork adobo about 6 times! I couldn’t get enough! Now I can make it in Kentucky!!! Thanks for the recipe!

  • rejix

    Yummy recipe! After simmering for an hour though, we opted to pop the meat into an air fryer to make it twice-cooked before returning it into the sauce. Will try to do an adobo flakes version next. :-)

  • Yep

    Marinade- noun. Marinate- verb. You can’t “marinade pork”

    • RV

      Verb…noun….whatever….still delicious!!! :-)

  • PTee

    Was this a tried and tested recipe ratio a la PBS’s America’s Test Kitchen method? Could somebody verify if that brown sugar to soy sauce to vinegar ratio is correct? Too sweet? too sour? Thanks very much

  • Emma Smith

    1 liter of water? Really?

  • adela_chong

    i’ve tried several versions of adobo and this one trumps them all! :)