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Instant Pot Filipino Chicken Adobo

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Chicken Adobo is a Filipino chicken stew that is both sweet and savory, and made in an Instant Pot for a flavorful weeknight meal that the whole family will love!

For even more delicious pressure cooker recipes, check out the Instant Pot Recipes page.

A plate full of chicken thighs covered with a dark brown onion sauce and chopped green onions.

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Philippine adobo 

From Spanish adobar which translates to “marinade,” “sauce” or “seasoning” 

This is a popular, unofficial national dish in the Philippines would normally involve marinating meat, seafood, or vegetables in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, and black peppercorns, which is then browned in oil, and simmered in the marinade.

I decided to simplify things and cook mine in a pressure cooker. To avoid turning on the oven, or dirtying an extra pan, the chicken breasts are sautéd in an Instant Pot.

Note – it is much easier to brown the chicken thighs in a large skillet!

What you will need:

Ingredients to make instant pot filipino chicken adobo in white bowls.
  • bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • olive oil
  • low sodium soy sauce – or tamari
  • apple cider vinegar
  • minced garlic
  • brown sugar
  • cayenne and black pepper
  • sliced yellow onion
  • bay leaves
  • green onions to garnish

How to make Filipino Chicken Adobo in an Instant Pot:

Press the Sauté button until “Normal” appears on the display. This is the medium heat temperature.

Instant Pot set to Saute - Normal with red arrows pointing to the buttons.

When the display reads “HOT” add the oil and allow it to get hot. Pat the chicken thighs with a paper towel until dry.

Add the chicken thighs, skin side down to the hot oil. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until skin is browned.

Three bone-in skin-on chicken thighs skin side down in hot oil.

Flip the chicken over and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove the chicken and place on a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken thighs.

Mix the soy sauce, vinegar, cayenne, black pepper, brown sugar, and garlic in a small bowl.

Adobo sauce mixed in a small bowl with a fork.

Clean out the pot/liner or replace with a clean one. Any stuck on pieces will cause a “Burn” notice.

Return the chicken to the pot and pour the sauce over the chicken. Add the split bay leaves and sliced onions.

Chicken thighs, adobo sauce, sliced onions, and split bay leaves in a pressure cooker.

Secure the lid and make sure the steam knob is in the “Sealing” position. Set the timer to Pressure Cook or Manual and adjust the time to 10 minutes on High pressure.

Instant Pot display set to 10 minutes on HIGH pressure.

When the pot beeps, manually release the pressure. Be careful, the steam is very hot!!

Cooked chicken thighs, adobo sauce, sliced onions, and split bay leaves in a pressure cooker.

Press the Cancel button, then the Sauté button. Continue to cook uncovered for 10 minutes then remove the chicken and allow the sauce to cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes until dark brown and thickened.

Adobo sauce cooked down until thick and dark brown.

Serve the chicken thighs topped with adobo sauce and garnished with green onions.

Two chicken thighs covered with a brown onion sauce and diced green onions on a bed of rice with chopsticks in the upper left corner of the plate.

So much flavor!! I served my chicken adobo with garlic rice (recipe coming soon) and the flavors were insane together. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

Recipe Notes & Tips

  • Using low sodium soy sauce keeps the sauce from being too salty. If you only have regular, dilute it a bit with water.
  • Cooking time will remain the same if using more or less chicken thighs, or if using boneless, skinless thighs.
  • Do not skimp on thickening the sauce! It intensifies the flavors and makes the dish absolutely amazing.
  • For keto – substitute Swerve brown for the brown sugar and serve with cauliflower rice.
  • For Whole 30 – omit the sugar.

Have leftovers?

Allow chicken to cool and place in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in an air fryer at 280 degrees for about 10 minutes, or in the microwave.

Tools used to create this recipe:

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More delicious instant pot chicken recipes:

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Enjoy!!

A plate full of chicken thighs topped with a brown onion sauce and chopped green onions.

Instant Pot Filipino Chicken Adobo

Chicken Adobo is a Filipino chicken stew that is both sweet and savory, and made in an Instant Pot for a flavorful weeknight meal that the whole family will love!
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: crispy chicken thighs recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories: 412kcal
Author: Lisa Johnson

Equipment

  • Pressure Cooker

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken thighs 6 thighs
  • 8 cloves garlic minced – about 2 tablespoons
  • 0.5 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • .25 cup apple cider vinegar or white distilled
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • .25 teaspoon cayenne pepper use more or less depending on personal tastes
  • 1 large yellow onion thinly sliced
  • 3 bay leaves split in half
  • 3 green onions chopped

Instructions

  • Press the Sauté button until "Normal" appears on the display. This is the medium heat temperature.
  • When the display reads "HOT" add the oil and allow it to get hot. Pat the chicken thighs with a paper towel until dry.
  • Add the chicken thighs, skin side down to the hot oil. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until skin is browned. Flip the chicken over and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove the chicken and place on a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken thighs. The chicken thighs can be browned in a large skillet if you prefer.
  • Mix the soy sauce, vinegar, cayenne, black pepper, brown sugar, and garlic in a small bowl.
  • Clean out the pot/liner or replace with a clean one. Any stuck on pieces will cause a Burn notice.
  • Return the chicken to the pot and pour the sauce over the chicken. Add the split bay leaves and sliced onions.
  • Secure the lid and make sure the steam knob is in the "Sealing" position. Set the timer to Pressure Cook or Manual and adjust the time to 10 minutes on High pressure.
  • When the pot beeps, manually release the pressure. Be careful, the steam is very hot!!
  • Press the Cancel button, then the Sauté button. Continue to cook uncovered for 10 minutes then remove the chicken and allow the sauce to cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes until dark brown and thickened.
  • Serve the chicken thighs topped with adobo sauce and garnished with green onions.

Notes

  • Using low sodium soy sauce keeps the sauce from being too salty. If you only have regular, dilute it a bit with water.
  • Cooking time will remain the same if using more or less chicken thighs, or if using boneless, skinless thighs.
  • Do not skimp on thickening the sauce! It intensifies the flavors and makes the dish absolutely amazing.
  • For keto – substitute Swerve brown for the brown sugar and serve with cauliflower rice.
  • For Whole 30 – omit the sugar.
  • Leftovers: Allow chicken to cool and place in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in an air fryer at 280 degrees for about 10 minutes, or in the microwave.

Nutrition

Calories: 412kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 148mg | Sodium: 829mg | Potassium: 432mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 184IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 2mg

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