Adobo Seasoning

5 from 8 votes

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Adobo seasoning is an all purpose Latin and Mexican seasoning blend. Use this recipe to make it lower in sodium and without MSG; it’s better than Goya adobo!

overhead closeup of adobe seasoning in bowl with small spice spoon

Homemade Spice Blends

If you enjoy cooking, chances are good that you have a sizeable collection of dry spices and spice blends in your kitchen. The problem is, it can be difficult to tell how long ground spices have been sitting on the store shelves before you buy them. Expiration dates are just a guideline for when the spices should be used by; there is rarely any information about when the spices were bottled.

Even worse, store bought spices can be expensive. It can be an awful feeling to learn that you spent several dollars on a bottle of chili powder or taco seasoning that was bottled 3 years earlier. For this reason (and plenty of others), I recommend making spice blends yourself.

Not only is making homemade spice blends less expensive, but it also allows you to know exactly what is (and isn’t) in the bottle. Many store bought spice blends have excessive amounts of salt, artificial flavorings, chemicals like MSG (monosodium glutamate) and other fillers in them.

What is adobo seasoning?

Adobo is a blend of Latin or Spanish spices that is used to add flavor to food and it makes a great dry rub or marinade too. Think of it as an American equivalent of all purpose seasoning salt or a basic Cajun spice blend.

After Goya’s CEO made a political splash with comments recently, many have boycotted buying their products. Now, for those who need or would like to make their own, I’m here to help!

My recipe is better than Goya adobo anyway, because Goya’s version includes an anti-caking preservative that sometimes gives their seasoning an unpleasant texture and aroma.

overhead image: bowl of homemade adobo seasoning

How it’s used

Adobo seasoning can be used as either a dry rub or a wet marinade. Many people combine it with olive oil, citrus juice (usually orange or lime juice), and vinegar to use as a flavor paste for meat, poultry and fish.

The blend has a smoky, somewhat spicy flavor that’s fantastic with vegetables, soups and stews, and dishes like black beans and rice and Crispy Beef Flautas.


Although the ingredients can vary by region, there are typically 5 primary spices that you’ll find in most adobo blends.

  • Garlic powder
  • Oregano – When I make Mexican or other Latin recipes, I prefer to use Mexican oregano. It is a relative of lemon verbena, so it has a brighter citrus flavor than Mediterranean oregano. Feel free to use regular oregano if you can’t find it.
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Turmeric

Recipes Using Adobo Seasoning

If you need a little inspiration, here are a few great ways to use the Mexican spice blend!

I use it in my recipe for Cuban Ropa Vieja, a delicious Latin dish featuring slow cooked braised flank steak.

It adds a nice smoky flavor to Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice, and I think you’ll love it in Cubano chicken too!

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overhead closeup of adobe seasoning in bowl with small spice spoon

Adobo Seasoning

5 from 8 votes
Adobo seasoning is an all purpose Latin and Mexican seasoning blend. Use this recipe to make it lower in sodium and without MSG; it's better than Goya adobo!
Servings: 24
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes



  • In a spice grinder or food processor add the garlic powder, salt, black pepper, oregano, and turmeric. Pulse several times. Store in an airtight container.


  1. For Latin cooking I prefer to use Mexican oregano, but feel free to use regular oregano. Mexican oregano is a relative of Lemon Verbena and is native to Mexico. Similar in that it’s pungent like Mediterranean oregano, Mexican oregano has notes of mild licorice and citrus. Mediterranean oregano is a member of the mint family and most often is used in Greek and Italian recipes. Mediterranean oregano is the one most found in spice racks and supermarkets.
  2. This makes about 1/2 cup total or 24 teaspoon servings.


Calories: 5kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 728mg | Potassium: 21mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 4IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Spice Blend
Cuisine: Latin American
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image (and shown on spoon): Better Than Goya Adobo


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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  1. 5 stars
    Definitely trying this recipe. I just tried Goya Adobo seasoning. All I tasted was salt, alt and more salt. They did not have what I usually buy. But this just looks better all around

  2. 5 stars
    I needed some adobo seasoning last-minute and landed on this recipe. I’d never cooked with adobo seasoning (honestly, when I think of adobo, I think of the canned pepper in that thick, dark sauce), so I had no expectations. This seasoning was perfect in the chicken enchiladas I made tonight. Will definitely be keeping this recipe on hand. Thank you!

  3. 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe! I made your Cuban Ropa Vieja & put this seasoning. It was very good. Definitely a keeper. We have been told by our Cuban & Caribbean friends Aji Dulce Peppers in Ropa Vieja & culantro in the sofrito greatly enhance the flavors. We will try to locate locally. We have cilantro.

  4. I use Adobo in a lot of my cooking. I will not use Goya products so this recipe is a blessing.

  5. 5 stars
    This adobo seasoning worked great in my dish! I made one adjustment to the amount of salt. I used 2 tablespoons instead of 2 1/2 tablesppons.