This recipe for Air Fryer Adobo Chicken cooks up a beautifully seasoned main in 18-20 minutes! Just whip up a batch up homemade Spicy Adobo Seasoning using ingredients you likely already have in your cupboard.
Air fryer chicken has quickly become one of my go-to air fryer meals. Chicken thighs (my cut of choice, thick thighs save lives!) only take 18-20 minutes and come out cooked to perfection without having to use any type of cooking oil or butter. And Spicy Adobo Seasoning is a great way to quickly flavor chicken without the hassle of marinating.
Adobo seasoning is one of those all-purpose seasonings that you can easily make from seasoning staples like garlic powder, salt, pepper, and oregano. Mine strays from traditional adobo seasonings because I wanted to bring the heat with cayenne pepper and chili powder. One of the best things about homemade adobo seasoning is that it's endlessly customizable and can be used in many applications, even if your meal doesn't slant Latin American.
How do you make Spicy Adobo Seasoning?
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano (or regular oregano)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Pinch of granulated sugar
Add all ingredients to a spice grinder and grind for 10-15 seconds.
*Makes enough to coat 8-9 boneless chicken thighs, aggressively seasoned.
How do you make Air Fryer Adobo Chicken?
Making Air Fryer Adobo Chicken is as easy as sprinkling on your homemade adobo seasoning, then air frying your chicken for 18-20 minutes. You will need:
- 8-9 boneless chicken thighs (I used thighs without skin)
- Spicy Adobo seasoning (see recipe above)
Aggressively season each nook and cranny of your chicken thighs with homemade adobo seasoning. You can of course go lighter on the seasoning if you aren't a salt-lover like I am; you will likely have some leftover seasoning if you opt for a lighter application.
Put the chicken thighs in your air fryer at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 18-20 minutes, flipping once halfway through. You may need to air fry in batches, depending on the size of your air fryer.
Remove chicken and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting or serving.
A Note on Air Frying
Not wanting to purchase another Instant Pot, I went on the hunt for a compatible lid for my 8-quart Instant Pot. After reading rave reviews, I purchased this Air Fryer Lid. I highly recommend it (AND there's a $25 off coupon available!). This lid fits both 6- and 8-quart Instant Pots. It also comes with a deep basket, steam rack, tongs, and silicone pad (aka countertop saver).
Air Fryer Adobo Chicken Serving Suggestions
Use in tacos, quesadillas, sandwich melts, pasta dishes, or as a standalone main served with everything from a fresh Romaine salad to roasted vegetables. Since homemade adobo seasoning is first and foremost a seasoning salt, its flavor is flexible enough to be used in a variety of applications, even if your meal doesn't necessarily lean Latin American.
What is Adobo Seasoning?
Adobo seasoning is an all-purpose seasoning like seasoned salt. It typically contains salt, garlic powder, oregano, turmeric, black pepper, and other Latin spices. It’s great for quickly flavoring everything from meat proteins to seafood to vegetables. You’ve likely seen premade versions from brands like GOYA in the spice aisle at the grocery store, but you can easily make your own at home. And tweak it in fun and interesting ways, as I did in this recipe to make it spicy by adding chili powder, cayenne pepper, and a pinch of sugar.
Other Suggested Spicy Adobo Seasoning Additions
You could also try mixing it up with these herbs and spices. Add some dried citrus zest to the mix for seafood applications, or accentuate smoky flavors with paprika when grilling.
- Bay leaf (ground)
- Chipotle chili powder
- Paprika (including smoked or hot Hungarian)
- Dried citrus zest (lemon or lime)
What does Adobo Seasoning taste like on chicken?
Chicken is the perfect canvas for Spicy Adobo Seasoning. Adobo seasoning is first and foremost salty and savory since it’s a seasoning salt. But it’s also herbaceous, warm, and earthy, bold and robust without being overpowering. Make it Spicy Adobo Seasoning by adding chili powder and cayenne pepper. It brings mild-flavored proteins like chicken to life instantly.
What can you use homemade adobo seasoning for besides chicken?
Pork, beef, shrimp, fish, potatoes, corn, well you get the idea. Adobo seasoning is fantastic on pretty much everything protein or vegetable. It’s a good all-purpose seasoning that you can simply sprinkle on, use as a rub, or as a base for a marinade. When using keep in mind that it is salt-forward.
What should I serve with Air Fryer Adobo Chicken?
You should definitely pair air fried adobo chicken thighs with these slammin' sides:
What else can I make in my air fryer?
Try these other tasty air fried recipes:
Adobo Chicken Tacos with Ranch Coleslaw
- Boneless skinless chicken thighs (I recommend making 2 per person)
- Spicy Adobo Seasoning (see recipe above)
- Hidden Valley Ranch Coleslaw (see recipe above, enough for around 8 tacos)
- Street style tortillas (corn or flour)
- Crumbly cheese (optional) (optional)
- Hot sauce (optional)
- Aggressively season each nook and cranny of your chicken thighs with homemade adobo seasoning. You can of course go lighter on the seasoning if you aren't a salt-lover like I am; you will likely have some leftover seasoning if you opt for a lighter application.
- Cook your chicken using your cooking method of choice. Check out these instructions for the perfect Air Fryer Adobo Chicken.
- Let chicken rest for 5 minutes before cutting or serving. Cut chicken into slices.
- Put a tortilla on a plate. Add a few slices of chicken, then top with Ranch Coleslaw. Sprinkle on some crumbly cheese and add a few dashes of hot sauce (optional).
- Dig in!