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Adobo Mojado

5 from 1 vote

If you love garlic, this is for you! It's a punchy, garlicky wet marinade from Puerto Rico that works well with chicken, beef, lamb and pork.

Written By Brad Archer


This is my recipe for the excessively garlicky Latin American wet marinade adobo mojado. It can be knocked together in a matter of minutes with some basic kitchen ingredients but that doesn’t make it lacklustre. It’s absoloutly loaded with punchy garlic and subtle spicing!

Bowl of adobo mojado

It is one of the best, wet meat marinades you’ll ever come across – especially if you’re a lover of garlic, like myself. It’s particularly decent with fatty cuts of meat like pork shoulder or pork chops. I’ve even used it on turkey cutlets and fish fillets. It’s that versatile!

What’s In Adobo Mojado?

It might sound exotic but the ingredients you need to make your own adobo mojado couldn’t be simpler. You’ve probably got them sitting in your kitchen right now.

Ingredients for making adobo mojado
  • 12 Garlic Cloves: If your adobo mojado isn’t loaded with garlic that you can smell a mile off then you’re not making it right. It should be and needs to be garlicky. Please avoid garlic powder. Fresh ingredients will give you a much punchier flavour.
  • 1 tbsp Salt: Salt isn’t just used as a seasoning here but it also helps to break the garlic down in a pestle and mortar.
  • 1 tbsp Black Peppercorns: Peppercorns add a subtle heat to the background of the marinade.
  • 2 tbsp Dried Oregano: Although you could use fresh herbs, dried oregano tends to break down easily into the marinade.
  • 1 tbsp Paprika: Paprika adds a smokiness to the flavour but also a red hue to the appearance of the marinade.
  • 2 tbsp White Wine Vinegar: With all that garlic, you need a little vinegar to balance things out. This will also help to tenderise the meat you marinate. You could use red wine vinegar or even lime juice.
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil: This is supposed to be a wet rub, and that’s where olive oil comes in.

Substitutes and Tweaks

Instead of using raw garlic cloves, try using roasted garlic instead. It has a sweeter, more subtle flavour.

Add some sweetness to your wet rub by including a squeeze of honey or maple syrup.

You can balance out the strong garlic flavour by including some citrus juice or zest to brighten the marinade up. Both lemon and lime works well.

Tweak the herbs and spices by coming up with your own variation. You could use celery salt, bay leaves, cayenne pepper or dried thyme.

It is far from traditional in Puerto Rico but adding a splash of soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce can give the marinade a subtle umami flavour.

The prominent flavour of adobo mojado is garlic. But, if you want to bring more heat to your marinade then add a pinch of chilli powder.

How to Make Adobo Mojado

Step 1: This is quite a laborious task but it’s essential for any decent adobo mojado. You need to peel 12 garlic cloves and then chop them up into 3 or 4 chunks. Please don’t buy the ready-prepared stuff. It’s both overpriced and bland!

Preparing garlic cloves by peeling with knife

Step 2: Add the 12 prepared garlic cloves to a large pestle and mortar and then pound to a paste with the salt. The salt will give the mortar a rougher texture which will help to break the garlic down. You’re looking for a coarse paste.

Yes, you can use a food processor if you want but I find this gives you too much of a puree texture. I like my adobo mojado to have some texture to it.

Pounding garlic in a pestle and mortar

Step 3: Add the remaining dry ingredients to the mortar and pound away with the pestle until it is all completely broken down into a paste.

Pounding other ingredients in a mortar

Step 4: Pour the vinegar and oil into the mortar and then stir it and grind until has come together into a thick yet wet paste. You want it to be loose enough that you can spread it but thick enough that it will stick to the meat you’re marinating.

Adding oil to a pestle and mortar

Puerto Rican


5 from 1 vote
Adobo Mojado

Adobo Mojado

5 from 1 vote
Course: SidesCuisine: Puerto RicanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time



Give your meat a Puerto Rican twist with this staple wet rub marinade


  • 12 12 Garlic Cloves

  • 1 tbsp 1 Salt

  • 1 tbsp 1 Black Peppercorns

  • 2 tbsp 2 Dried Oregano

  • 1 tbsp 1 Paprika

  • 2 tbsp 2 White Wine Vinegar

  • 2 tbsp 2 Olive Oil


  • First, you’ll need to spend time preparing your garlic. You’ll want to peel each clove and then cut them up into 3 or 4 chunks to make it easier and quicker to break them down.
  • Add the garlic and salt to a pestle and mortar then pound until you have created a garlic paste.
  • Add the remaining dry ingredients to the pestle and mortar and continue to pound until you have a rough paste.
  • Add the vinegar and oil and stir and pound until you have a fully incorporated paste. It should be fairly thick in texture so that it sticks to meat to marinade.

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