Instant Pot Chicken Adobo

Chicken Adobo is a traditional Filipino dish that’s full of salty, tangy and spicy flavor. Get a delicious homemade chicken dinner on the table in just 30 minutes with this easy Instant Pot recipe.

If you’re bored making the same old chicken recipes over and over, today’s Instant Pot Chicken Adobo is the perfect way to add some excitement to your menu! You’ll love this Slow Cooker Bourbon Chicken too.

Chicken adobo cooked in the Instant Pot.


What is Chicken Adobo

Chicken Adobo is a staple of Filipino cuisine. Chicken thighs are pan seared then cooked in a glaze that’s equal parts vinegary, salty and spicy with a hint of sweetness.

The unique combination of flavors in Chicken Adobo—including plenty of garlic and pepper—make it a memorable main course that will keep you coming back for more.

Whether you’re trying to recreate a forgotten family recipe, recreating a restaurant version you love or trying Chicken Adobo for the first time, you’re going to love this Instant Pot Chicken Adobo recipe!

Why this Recipe Works

Traditionally, Chicken Adobo is made on the stove top. After pan-searing the chicken, it’s simmered in the delicious adobo sauce until cooked through.

The Instant Pot method works essentially the same way but with a few added benefits.

  • Pressure cooking Chicken Adobo gives the sauce an even brighter, more robust flavor. To get the same results from stove top cooking, you’d need to let the chicken rest overnight in the fridge to allow the flavors to mingle and blend.
  • Instant Pot Chicken Adobo is a perfect way to get a hot meal on the table without having to heat up your entire kitchen. The Instant Pot releases far less heat than the stove or oven—that’s a huge win in those steamy summer months!
  • I also love that the Instant Pot is so easy to clean up. This whole recipe is made right in the pot with no extra dishes to wash. I hate doing dishes, so I’m a big fan of one pot recipes like this one.

For more delicious Instant Pot recipes, try our Instant Pot Chicken Pasta or give our easy Instant Pot Chicken Alfredo a try instead.

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed to make Instant Pot Chicken Adobo.
  • Chicken thighs. All Chicken Adobo recipes start with bone-in chicken thighs. That said, boneless thighs are just as tasty in this recipe.
  • White vinegar provides the acidity that’s key for good adobo sauce. Any kind of white vinegar will do, but I recommend Filipino style cane vinegar for a more authentic flavor.
  • Soy sauce balances the acid in the sauce with salty, savory flavor.
  • Cayenne pepper adds a little extra heat. This recipe calls for just a teaspoon, but you can always add less if you’re looking for a more mild adobo sauce.
  • Black peppercorns. Adding whole peppercorns to the sauce imbibes the chicken with a robust peppery kick that you just can’t match with ground pepper!
  • Bay leaves round out the Chicken Adobo with a layer of subtle aromatic flavor. We use dried leaves.

How to Make Chicken Adobo

Step by step photos showing how to make instant pot chicken adobo.
  1. Saute Chicken. The first step is to season and sear the chicken thighs in the Instant Pot using the “SAUTE” function.
  2. Make Sauce. Using the SAUTE function, cook vegetables and make sauce.
  3. Pressure Cook. Use high pressure and cook the chicken for 9 minutes.
  4. Thicken Glaze. Remove the bay leaves and thicken the glaze using SAUTE function again.

Tips and Tricks

  • Garnish this Chicken Adobo with some freshly chopped scallions for an added zip of freshness and color.
  • Serve the chicken on a bed of white steamed rice or fried rice.
  • For a full Filipino meal, make some lumpia (Filipino spring rolls) to go with your adobo chicken.
Chicken adobo plated on a white serving plate.

Recipe FAQs

What else can I serve with Chicken Adobo?

Chicken adobo tastes wonderful with egg noodles or cauliflower rice as an alternative to regular rice. You could also serve it with a vegetable side dish, like Cucumber Tomato Salad or any kind of steamed veggies.

Can I make it ahead of time?

Yes, Chicken Adobo tastes even better a day or two after it’s been made, as the acidity in the vinegar mellows and mingles with the other ingredients. This acidity also helps keep the chicken from spoiling too quickly.
You can make this ahead of time and store it tightly covered in the fridge for up to one week.

How do you reheat leftovers?

Leftover chicken adobo is easy to reheat on the stovetop. Add the leftover thighs and sauce to a sauce pan and heat at a low to medium temperature until warmed through.
You can also reheat the leftovers in the microwave or the oven, if preferred.

Do I need to adjust the cooking time if I make it with boneless chicken thighs?

We tested the recipe both with bone-in chicken and boneless thighs. The cooking time was the same with both. No adjustments are needed!

Can I make chicken adobo with chicken breasts?

I don’t recommend using chicken breasts for chicken adobo. They are a lower fat cut of meat than chicken thighs and can dry out quickly with less juicy flavor.

Piece of chicken adobo on a plate with rice.

More Easy Dinner Recipes

See all Main Dish recipes

Instant Pot Chicken Adobo

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By: Aimee
Chicken Adobo is a traditional Filipino dish that’s full of salty, tangy and spicy flavor. Get a delicious homemade chicken dinner on the table in just 30 minutes with this easy Instant Pot recipe.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound bone-in chicken thighs
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 yellow onion sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • cup white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 green onion sliced, for garnish

Instructions 

  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper.   
  • Turn on the Instant Pot and select the SAUTE function, let it heat up for a few seconds. Add 1 tablespoon of oil.    
  • Add the chicken pieces and brown the chicken for several minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer the chicken to a plate.    
  • In the same pot add the remaining oil and add onion and garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes until the onion is soft. Add soy sauce, brown sugar, white vinegar, ground cayenne, and water. Stir well and scrape up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. (this is called deglazing, and will help prevent the burn notice from appearing). Turn saute off.
  • Return all the chicken to the pot in a single layer. Top with bay leaves and whole black peppercorns.    
  • Close the lid and turn the valve on top to SEALING. Select the PRESSURE COOK button on HIGH PRESSURE and cook for 9 minutes.    
  • Once the pressure-cooking cycle is over, allow to naturally release for 5 minutes, then release the pressure by moving the valve to VENTING.
  • Open the lid and select the CANCEL button. Remove the bay leaves.
  • Select the SAUTE button. Simmer the chicken Adobo for 5-8 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Select the CANCEL button.
  • Serve chicken adobo hot with chopped scallions and rice.

Notes

  • Boneless chicken thighs can be substituted with no change in cooking time.
  • Serve the chicken on a bed of white steamed rice or fried rice.
  • Garnish this Chicken Adobo with some freshly chopped scallions for an added zip of freshness and color.
  • For a full Filipino meal, make some lumpia (Filipino spring rolls) to go with your adobo chicken.
  • Recipe tested in 6 quart pressure cooker.
  • See blog post for more recipe tips and tricks and cooking details.

Nutrition

Calories: 325kcal, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 20g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 94mg, Sodium: 1990mg, Potassium: 375mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 335IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 47mg, Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Filipino
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!

This 30 minute Instant Pot Chicken Adobo deserves a place on your dinner menu this week! Perfect for a weeknight or any time you need an easy chicken recipe to impress everyone at the table.



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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

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Posted on June 29, 2023

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