Chicken Adobo is a popular Filipino dish that combines soy sauce, peppercorns and white vinegar to create huge flavor.
I’ve made Chicken Adobo in many different ways and have found that it really doesn’t matter how you make it – in the Instant Pot, the slow cooker, or on the stovetop – it turns out amazing every time.
It’s the marinade that makes this dish so delicious. The flavors are bold and intense, just what the chicken needs to boost it up to amazing. I love using chicken thighs because they’re so juicy and tender. I make this similarly awesome meat marinade for grilled chicken thighs quite often and it’s always a crowd pleaser.
Once you try it, you’ll be making it every chance you get, like I do. It’s so incredibly easy to make, you won’t even believe that these few ingredients can produce such a great dish.
What is Chicken Adobo?
If you’ve never heard of Chicken Adobo, you’re in for a real treat! It’s a very popular Filipino chicken dish that combines soy sauce and Filipino white cane sugar vinegar, plus black peppercorns as a marinade.
You can use any cut of chicken you want in this recipe. Chicken thighs are the best, however, because of their soft texture and ability to soak up the flavors of the sauce.
You can use both boneless, skinless chicken thigh and with skin and bone. I go back and forth between the two, depending on what I have on hand.
▶ If you like this recipe, you’ll also love these Marinated Grilled Chicken Thighs.
How to Make Chicken Adobo in the Instant Pot
The method for making this dish is the same for the skillet or the Instant Pot. The key element of the dish is that the chicken be allowed to stew in the marinade until it become very tender. In the skillet this process takes about 30 minutes. You’ll need only half that time in the Instant Pot.
Here is the simplest way to cook Chicken Adobo:
- Mix up the marinade and add it to the Instant Pot.
- Add the chicken to the marinade. Seal the lid and make sure the valve is set to sealing.
- Set the machine to Pressure Cook for 8 minutes (for boneless skinless) and 10 minutes (for skin-on, bone-in). Remember: It will take about 10 minutes to come up to pressure.
- When the chicken is done, allow the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes, then do a quick release.
- Serve the chicken with the sauce.
If I’m in a hurry, I use the method above. It produces a flavorful, tender chicken in just 23 minutes. However, if I have a little extra time, I like to add in a few steps.
Extra Steps (if desired):
- I like to marinate the chicken in the sauce for at least a few hours, or a full day, if I can. This gives the meat a much more juicy, flavorful outcome. It’s definitely worth it, if you have the time.
- If I’m using skin-on chicken pieces, I turn on the Saute mode and sear the chicken in a bit of olive oil before adding the sauce and continuing with the process. Searing the skin makes for a firmer skin once cooked.
- You can serve the chicken pieces whole or chop them up. And thicken the sauce with a corn starch slurry, if you want. If you’re cooking the chicken adobo in a skillet, the sauce naturally dissipates during cooking and forms a thick sauce for serving.
- You can add onions, if you want. They add a little more flavor to this already flavor-packed dish.
Pro Cooking Tip
Did you know that you can cook the rice at the same time as the chicken in the Instant Pot, using the Pot in Pot method? Place your rice in a bowl on top of a trivet that’s tall enough to not touch the chicken in the base.
If you cook the rice at the same time, be sure to naturally release all of the pressure, instead of allowing a 5 minute cooling period, or your rice will be soggy.
Other Recipes to Try:
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Instant Pot Chicken Adobo Recipe
- 4 chicken thighs with or without skin/bones
- 1 clove garlic finely minced
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 1/2 cup Filipino cane sugar vinegar or white vinegar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp sugar optional
- Combine the garlic, soy sauce, and peppercorns in a non-reactive bowl or large freezer bag. Add the chicken pieces. Marinate for 3 hours or up to one day. Note: This step is optional. If you don't have the time, you can combine the marinade and add directly to the Instant Pot.
- When ready to cook, add the marinade plus the vinegar and bay leaves to the Instant Pot. Nestle the chicken thighs into the pan. Bring the liquid to a boil on Saute mode, then turn off the machine and set it to Pressure Cook for 8 minutes.
- After the cook time is over, allow the machine to naturally release pressure for 5 minutes, then finish with a quick manual release. Remove the chicken from the pot.
- Press the Saute setting again and return the sauce to a boil. Add the sugar and stir to combine. While occasionally turning and basting the chicken, continue boiling the sauce, uncovered, until it is reduced by half and slightly thickened, 5–7 minutes.
- Serve with steamed white rice.
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