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Instant Pot Chicken Adobo

Instant Pot Chicken Adobo is a quick way to make this classic Filipino comfort food. Tender chicken thighs are coated in a sweet and savory glaze with a kick of heat from black peppercorns. The Instant Pot makes it quick and practically effortless to make this Filipino chicken adobo recipe.

Low angle shot of the cooked chicken adobo in a serving bowl with rice and scallions on the side.

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What Is Chicken Adobo?

Chicken Adobo is the national dish of the Philippines. It is one of those standout dishes where the whole is far more than the sum of its parts. With just a few common pantry ingredients, you can make deeply flavored, tender, juicy chicken thighs in an irresistible glaze that perfectly balances sweet, tart, and spicy flavors. The key ingredients in Filipino chicken adobo are soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and pepper.

If you’re looking for a new chicken recipe to make in your instant pot, look no further! This chicken adobo recipe is easy to make and uses basic ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry.

Low angle shot of the finished dish sitting in front of the Instant Pot.

Why this Instant Pot Chicken Adobo Recipe Works So Well

Classic Filipino Chicken Adobo is made by braising chicken thighs in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and pepper, along with other seasonings. To make Chicken Adobo in the Instant Pot, you’ll brown the chicken thighs and onions using saute mode. Add the seasonings and then you’ll pressure cook to perfection. It’s so easy!

The Filipino adobo chicken turns out super juicy and infused with intense flavor. Serve it with rice and make sure to spoon the delicious sauce over the top. If you want to make it a low-carb meal, serve it over cauliflower rice.

By cooking chicken adobo in an Instant Pot or another pressure cooker, you intensify the flavors while cutting the cooking time in half.

Filipino chicken adobo has to braise for at least 45 to 50 minutes. Instant Pot chicken adobo takes just 25 minutes to cook. Plus, most of the cooking time is hands-off and completely effortless.

Overhead shot of the ingredients needed to make the dish.

Ingredients for Instant Pot Chicken Adobo

Detailed ingredient measurements and step-by-step instructions are included on the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page.

The ingredients for this Instant Pot Filipino Adobo are mostly pantry staples that you probably already have in your kitchen. Here’s what you need:

  • Bone-in chicken thighs
  • Salt
  • Black pepper (both ground and whole peppercorns)
  • Oil
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Soy sauce (you can use regular soy sauce or light soy sauce, or substitute dark soy sauce but reduce the quantity)
  • Brown sugar
  • White vinegar
  • Cayenne
  • Bay leaves
  • Green onions (optional)

What cut of chicken is best for Filipino chicken adobo?

Bone-in thighs are the best cut to use for this Instant Pot Chicken Adobo, but chicken drumsticks or leg quarters will work, too. You can leave the skin on or remove it before cooking if you prefer. I don’t recommend using chicken breasts as the meat is not as tender or flavorful.

What kind of vinegar should I use?

Authentic Filipino chicken adobo usually uses sugarcane vinegar, which is widely available in the Philippines. You can find it in Asian markets, or you can substitute white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. You can use milder, sweeter vinegars like rice vinegar, rice wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, or red wine vinegar, but choose one that is on the acidic side.

How do you make chicken adobo?

Detailed ingredient measurements and step-by-step instructions are included on the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page.

This Filipino Chicken Adobo is so easy to make in the Instant Pot. Here’s how:

  1. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Set the Instant Pot to saute and let it het up for a few minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil.
  3. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the the chicken thighs and cook until the chicken changes color to light brown.
  4. Transfer the chicken pieces to a plate.
  5. In the same pot add the remaining oil and add onion and garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes until the onion is soft.
  6. Add soy sauce, brown sugar, white vinegar, cayenne, and water. Cook, stirring and scraping up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  7. Return all the chicken pieces to the pot in a single layer. Add the bay leaves and whole peppercorns.
  8. Close the lid and seal the pressure valve. Pressure cook for 10 minutes. 
  9. Once the cooking cycle ends, quick release the pressure.
  10. Open the pot and press the cancel button.
  11. Select the saute function again and let the chicken simmer for 6 to 8 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
  12. Serve the chicken pieces over rice, garnished with sliced green onions and the adobo sauce spooned over the top.
Close up shot of cooked chicken adobo ready to serve.

How do you serve this?

I like to serve Instant Pot Chicken Adobo over steamed white rice with the delicious sauce spooned over the top. It’s not traditional, but you could serve chicken adobo with Instant Pot Coconut Rice or cauliflower rice.

Pancit Bihon and Lumpia are other popular Filipino dishes. For more authentic Filipino recipes, check out The Skinny Pot!

More great chicken recipes you’ll love

Yield: Serves 4

Instant Pot Chicken Adobo

Close up low angle shot of cooked chicken adobo on serving plate.

Chicken Adobo is Filipino comfort food, tender chicken thighs coated in a sweet and savory glaze with a kick of heat from black peppercorns. This Instant Pot Chicken Adobo recipe makes it quick and practically effortless.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 1 minute
Total Time 31 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds bone-in chicken thighs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup soy sauce (use light soy sauce or regular soy sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced (optional)

Instructions

  1. Season the chicken generously with salt and ground black pepper.
  2. Set the Instant Pot to saute and let it het up for a few minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil.
  3. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the chicken thighs and cook until the chicken changes color to light brown.
  4. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  5. Add the remaining oil to the pot, along with the onion and garlic. Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, until the onion is soft.
  6. Add the soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, cayenne, and water. Cook, stirring and scraping up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the Instant Pot. 
  7. Return all the chicken to the pot in a single layer. Add the bay leaves and whole black peppercorns.
  8. Close the lid and seal the pressure valve. Pressure cook for 10 minutes. 
  9. Once the cooking cycle ends, quick release the pressure.
  10. Open the pot and press the cancel button.
  11. Select the saute function again and let the chicken adobo simmer for 6 to 8 minutes, until the sauce thickens.
  12. Serve the chicken adobo immediately over rice with some of the delicious adobo sauce spooned over the top, and garnished with sliced green onions, if using.

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 476Total Fat 31gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 23gCholesterol 218mgSodium 2317mgCarbohydrates 9gFiber 2gSugar 3gProtein 44g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

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By on January 23rd, 2022

About Robin Donovan


Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 40 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners, 5 Ingredient Cooking for Two, Sushi at Home, The Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and other popular publications.

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