Adobo seasoning is a delicious spice mix that provides a little earthy sizzle to everything from soups to steaks. But it may not be something you have readily stocked in your pantry, so where do you turn when your recipe calls for it? What’s a good adobo seasoning substitute that you can use immediately, or what’s an option to pick up if you happen to be heading to the store? Let’s review your best options.
Your best option: Make your own (it’s easy)
Sure “DIY” doesn’t sound easy, but in this case it really is. If you have a well-stocked spice rack, you likely have all of the ingredients you need to make homemade adobo seasoning. These are common spices: paprika, chili powder, black pepper, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, and ground cumin. See our homemade adobo seasoning recipe here for the portions you should use to create your seasoning mix from scratch. Ours calls for chipotle powder, but regular chili powder will work just fine as well.
A good second choice, depending on the recipe: Adobo paste or adobo sauce
A spicier alternative: Chipotle in adobo sauce
Many supermarkets carry chipotle in adobo sauce, even if they don’t carry the plain seasoning or sauce. This can be an adobo seasoning substitute, but be very careful. Not only do you have the sauce issue as outlined above, you have the additional heat (and smoke) of chipotle peppers in the mix. If your use case won’t stand for extra spicy and slightly smoky, you may want to look elsewhere.