Recipe: Instant Pot Chicken Adobo

Recipe: Instant Pot Chicken Adobo

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Marvin Gapultos
Apr 9, 2018
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Chances are, if you've had Filipino food at one time or another, you've probably had adobo: a dish common in the Philippines that usually features some sort of meat, poultry, seafood, fruit, or vegetable cooked in a mixture of vinegar, bay leaves, garlic, black pepper, and a combination of salt and/or soy sauce. Although simple in nature, these braises are always complex and robust, yet remain nuanced and balanced.

For my adobo, I like to start with a two-to-one ratio of vinegar to soy, knowing that the vinegar will mellow and become less potent as it cooks, and that the salt and umami in the soy will balance any remaining tartness. Black pepper adds a bit of spice, a couple bay leaves add earthiness, and the garlic just plain tastes good! I also like to use skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs in my adobo because they are easy to find, hard to overcook, and give off a good amount of fat that fortifies and thickens the final sauce.

While a traditional braise can take over an hour of cook time, the Instant Pot can get this chicken adobo dinner to the table in well under an hour – the chicken cooks at high pressure for only 15 minutes, then it takes just another 10 minutes to reduce the sauce while the chicken broils until crisp.

Marvin is a blogger, cookbook author, and Certified Cicerone®. His first cookbook, The Adobo Road, was published in 2013 and his second cookbook, Pulutan!, is due out in the fall of 2018 and focuses on the bar snacks and drinking food of the Philippines.

Instant Pot Chicken Adobo

Serves 4 to 6

  • 2 pounds

    skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs

  • 2/3 cup

    apple cider vinegar

  • 1/3 cup

    tamari or soy sauce

  • 10 to 12 cloves

    garlic, peeled and smashed

  • 2

    bay leaves

  • 1 teaspoon

    coarsely ground black pepper, plus more as needed

  • Salt

  • Steamed white rice, for serving (optional)

Place the chicken thighs, skin-side down, in a 6-quart or larger Instant Pot. Add the vinegar, tamari or soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, and black pepper.

Secure the lid on the Instant Pot, then make sure the valve is in the "Sealing" position. Set the Instant Pot to Pressure Cook on High for 15 minutes. Allow the Instant Pot to release its pressure naturally. Meanwhile, line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to broil.

Open the Instant Pot. Using tongs, transfer the chicken skin-side up to the baking sheet, and set aside. Press the "Sauté" button on the Instant Pot and set the timer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and mashing the garlic in the sauce with a wooden spoon if desired, so that the sauce can reduce. Meanwhile, broil the chicken.

Broil the chicken until nicely browned, rotating the baking sheet as needed, 3 to 5 minutes. When the sauce is ready, taste and season with salt and additional pepper as needed. Discard the bay leaves. Serve the chicken thighs with steamed white rice if desired, and ladle the sauce over the chicken and rice.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftover chicken and sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

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