The unofficial “official” dish of the Philippines, meat stewed in an adobo sauce is tender and flavorful. This easy adobo chicken recipe uses chicken thighs and comes together quickly in an Instant Pot.
Looking for another great Instant Pot chicken recipe? Try this delicious Indian butter chicken!
To be clear, I am not Filipino. While I think this recipe is delicious (and easy!) I don’t claim that it’s a traditional chicken adobo recipe. If you’re like me and like to explore the flavors of different cultures, this is an easy recipe to get on the table and it’s full of flavor.
Instant Pot Chicken Adobo
This recipe calls for basic ingredients. Pick up some fresh chicken next time you shop, and the rest of the ingredients are likely in your pantry. It calls for a two-step cooking technique, utilizing the Instant Pot as well as the oven for giving the chicken a little crispiness. Even so, you’ll have dinner ready in under an hour!
Chicken: The recipe calls for chicken thighs. If you prefer to use a whole cut up chicken, that would work, too, as would budget-friendly chicken drumsticks. Chicken breasts will work, but remember that they just aren’t as juicy as the darker meats.
Soy sauce: Use your favorite brand, either regular or low salt. You can also opt for liquid aminos if you prefer those.
Garlic: Use fresh garlic cloves. Not dried. Trust me.
Seasonings: Lemon juice and vinegar help create the tangy sauce for this Filipino adobo dish. The recipe calls for apple cider vinegar, but you can substitute white vinegar and everything will be just fine. Chicken (or pork) cooked in an adobo sauce tends to be very tender after stewing in this flavorful sauce.
Using an Instant Pot
Authentic chicken adobo from the Philippines isn’t made in an Instant Pot, of course, but when modern-day shortcuts allow us to enjoy the flavors of the world from the comfort of our home, who can argue?? This Instant Pot recipe makes it easy and fast!
Making this Classic Filipino Dish
Ready in under an hour, this recipe is a perfect weeknight dinner option.
Start by searing the chicken in the pressure cooker set on saute mode. Deglaze the pan, scraping up the brown bits to get all the good flavor off the bottom, then cook under pressure in the Instant Pot with the flavorful glaze.
Once cooked, transfer to a baking sheet, skin side up, and broil to crisp and brown the skin. The browned skin provides a delicious crispiness to the dish; you won’t get that if you opt to use skinless chicken thighs.
Return the chicken to the Instant Pot, toss with the glaze, and serve over rice for the perfect combination of flavors.
★★★ Be sure to leave a starred review if you tried this recipe!
Easy Adobo Chicken in the Instant Pot
A tangy, tender, EASY version of the famous adobo chicken from the Philippines. I can't claim it's traditional Filipino chicken adobo, but the tender chicken and delicious sauce make for a meal everyone will love.
- 2 to 3 pounds chicken thighs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup chicken broth
- ½ cup soy sauce, or liquid aminos
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- Pepper, to taste
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- 1 onion, sliced
- 3 bay leaves
- Pepper all sides of the chicken thighs.
- Set electric pressure cooker to “saute.” When the hot signal is displayed, pour olive oil into the liner. Place chicken thighs into the pressure cooker and brown on each side. Do not crowd the chicken. Cook in batches if needed, keeping the chicken warm as the other cooks.
- Remove chicken from pressure cooker and deglaze the bottom of the pot with chicken broth, scraping the bottom to remove any stuck pieces. Turn the electric pressure cooker off.
- In a large mixing cup or medium bowl, mix together the liquid aminos, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, garlic, and cayenne.
- Arrange chicken thighs in the pressure cooker. Pour the soy sauce mixture over the chicken. Top with onion slices and bay leaves.
- Attach the lid and set the valve to sealing. Program the pressure cooker on “manual” or “pressure cook” for 10 minutes on high pressure. When the cooking cycle has completed, perform a quick release of the steam release valve.
- Preheat the oven to broil. Prepare a baking sheet with a sheet of lightly oiled parchment paper or tin foil.
- Transfer chicken from electric pressure cooker to baking sheet. Place under the broiler for 5 to 10 minutes or until the chicken skin has crisped, being careful not to burn.
- Set the pressure cooker to “saute” and allow remaining ingredients to boil while the chicken broils. Reduce the sauce by half or until desired consistency.
- Return chicken to pressure cooker, toss to coat, and serve with chicken adobo sauce.
- Top with sliced green onions if desired.
- Serve this chicken adobo recipe with white rice on the side.
The recipe calls for bone-in chicken thighs. If you prefer to use a whole cut up chicken, that would work, too, as would budget-friendly chicken legs. Chicken breasts will work, but remember that they just aren’t as juicy as the darker meats.
If you're sensitive to sodium, swap the regular soy sauce for a low sodium soy sauce. You can always add a bit of salt if necessary.
Remove bay leaf before serving.
Cutting carbs? Serve it over cauliflower rice!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 -2 thighs
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 400Saturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 148mgSodium: 1270mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 27g
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Originally published in September 2019; this post has been updated.