Recombination has the potential to facilitate adaptation. In spite of the substantial body of theory on the impact of recombination on the evolutionary dynamics of adapting populations, empirical evidence to test these theories is still scarce. We examined the effect of recombination on adaptation on a large-scale empirical fitness landscape in HIV-1 based on in vitro fitness measurements. Our results indicate that recombination substantially increases the rate of adaptation under a wide range of parameter values for population size, mutation rate and recombination rate. The accelerating effect of recombination is stronger for intermediate mutation rates but increases in a monotonic way with the recombination rates and population sizes that we examined. We also found that both fitness effects of individual mutations and epistatic fitness interactions cause recombination to accelerate adaptation. The estimated epistasis in the adapting populations is significantly negative. Our results highlight the importance of recombination in the evolution of HIV-I.