Those who love Hispanic or Mexican-inspired food unmistakably know how much joy adobo would bring on to their dinner table. So, this episode is dedicated to discussing adobo seasoning vs adobo sauce/paste.

The primary difference between adobo seasoning and ado sauce/paste is their consistency and ingredients. Adobo seasoning is a pulverized powder made with dried spices and herbs, while adobo sauce/paste is a much smoother, runnier sauce made mainly with ground chilies and added spices. Thus, their flavors, colors, and cooking usage differ correlatively.

Continue reading to dig deeper into the differences between these two mixtures.

Adobo Seasoning vs Adobo Sauce/Paste

Adobo SeasoningAdobo Sauce/Paste
Main ingredients– Turmeric
– Ground cumin
Garlic powder
Black pepper/ white pepper
– Dried oregano
– Onion powder

Some recipes might also include:

– Paprika
– Dried lemon/lime peel
– Sunflower oil
Chili powder
– Anti-caking agents (tricalcium phosphate/ silicon dioxide)
– Salt
– Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
The authentic Mexican adobo sauce/paste typically contains:

– Chili peppers (Guajillo/ chipotle/ ancho)
– Garlic
– Cinnamon
– Cumin
Black pepper
– Oregano

It may also include:

– Paprika
– Allspice
– Cloves
– Dried basil
– Onion
– Salt
– Sugar
– Honey
– Lime/lemon juice
– Vinegar (regular vinegar/ apple cider vinegar)
– Oil (olive oil/ sunflower oil)
– Tomatoes/ tomato puree/ tomato – – – paste
– Water
Base FlavorSpicy and savoryHot and spicy
Flavor profileLess piquant and profound than adobo sauce/paste. Yet, it has an earthy, savory, warm, subtly smoky flavor with the right amount of saltiness.More pungent, intense, and richer in taste than adobo seasoning. It has a more profound spiciness with tangy-sweet, earthy and smokey notes.
Heat levelLess hot than adobo sauce/pasteHotter than adobo seasoning, and the heat level may vary depending on the type and amount of chili peppers used.
TextureA dry powdery mixtureIt is typically a rich, velvety smooth sauce/paste.
Mode of usage in cookingAs a cooking ingredientAs a cooking ingredient and a condiment

Did you know that adobo sauce/paste can be used in place of adobo seasoning whenever you run short of it despite the fact that they differ from each other? So, if you need more information and more substitutes for adobo seasoning, click here and read this post.

ColorUsually has a pale yellow color based on the amount of turmeric used and if no paprika or chili powder is added.Typically has a striking brick-red/ dark brownish color.
Usages in cooking– It is mainly used to season any type of meat and most vegetables.
– It can be sprinkled on top of warm potato chips and fries to enhance the flavor.
– To be integrated into ground meat mixtures when making burger patties, sausages, or meatballs.
– It adds a great flavor to many kinds of savory fritters.
– To make Hispanic-inspired kidney bean dishes.
– Used commonly with Mexican-inspired dishes.
– Primarily used to marinate meat and seafood
– It can be added to stews and soups.
– As an excellent addition to Tex Mex rice dishes.
– It can be served as a side dip or a condiment.
– It can be incorporated into greens or potatoes when sauteing them.
OriginSpanish/ Caribbean/ Latin American cuisinesMexican/ Southwest/ Tex Mex/ Western cuisines
Mode of productionCommercial varieties and homemade recipes exist.Commercial varieties and homemade recipes exist.
Availability– Comes in different sizes and packings under many reputed brand names.
– It can be bought from leading online shopping sites, supermarkets, and most grocery stores.
– Mostly available in glass containers, tins, and plastic bottles under several brand names.
– Can be bought from supermarkets, online sellers, and grocery stores.
Storage– It is best to be stored in a tight-fitting glass container/ spice shaker/bottle to have an extended shelf life.
– Can be preserved with other spices/herbs/blends inside the spice cupboard/rack in a dry, dark, cool place.
– Sore-bought and homemade options should be refrigerated in an air-tight container once opened.
– If you make adobo sauce/paste at home, you can freeze it in freezer bags.
Adobo Seasoning vs Adobo Sauce/Paste – SpiceRally

The Difference Between Adobo Seasoning And Adobo Sauce/Paste In A Nutshell…

Both adobo seasoning and adobo sauce/paste have their own unique way of adding taste and elegance to our dishes. In fact, they both are rich in flavor but work differently due to their diverse ingredients and textures.

Typically there is only one primary adobo seasoning version, while adobo sauce comes with a few different varieties. However, we have compared the basic Mexican adobo sauce/paste type with the adobo seasoning on top, even though Texas and Filipino ado sauce versions do exist.

Guacamole and chunky avocado salsa are two condiments with their rooting in Mexican cuisine. They are different from each other, and you need to know how they differ if you are a real avocado lover. So, click here and refer to this article for information.

Another significant difference between these two is that adobo seasoning functions only as a cooking ingredient. In contrast, adobo sauce/paste could work in dual ways as an ingredient or a condiment. Consequently, it seems that adobo sauce has more uses when compared to adobo seasoning.

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