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!
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.
Goya adobo used to be one of the most popular brands, but since a controversial statement made by Goya’s CEO led to a boycott of the brand, sales have fallen.
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.
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
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.
- 4 tbsp garlic powder
- 2 1/2 tbsp salt
- 2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tsp oregano (See Note 1)
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 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.
- 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.
- This makes about 1/2 cup total or 24 teaspoon servings.
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.