This Instant Pot Chicken Adobo is a delicious take on the Filipino dish that comes together in half the time thanks to your pressure cooker!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Olive oil – or any other neutral cooking oil like avocado or grapeseed oil.
- Yellow onion – white onion or shallots would provide a similar flavour.
- Garlic cloves – make sure you don’t skimp out on the garlic! Freshly minced garlic is best but jarred minced garlic will work in a pinch.
- Chicken thighs – you can try making it with chicken breasts but it won’t taste as authentic.
- Vinegar – white vinegar is best but apple cider vinegar would also work.
- Soy sauce – coconut aminos or tamari are the best substitutes for soy sauce.
- Brown sugar – make your own brown sugar by mixing together white sugar and molasses.
- Bay leaves – if you don’t have any bay leaves, add in some dried oregano or thyme.
- Salt & pepper – to taste.
- Red pepper – use any colour bell pepper of your choice like yellow or green bell pepper.
- Green onions – scallions would also be good here.
- White rice – swap out for another kind of rice like brown rice or eat this dish on it’s own for a lower carb option.
How to make chicken adobo in the Instant Pot
- Add everything but the pepper, green onions and rice to the Instant Pot in order.
- Place the chicken thighs on top of the trivet.
- Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes.
- Make the rice.
- Do a quick release of the pressure.
- Remove the chicken and bay leaves.
- Simmer the sauce on sauté mode.
- Stir in the red pepper.
- Serve over rice, garnish with green onions and enjoy.
Is chicken adobo healthy?
This chicken adobo Instant Pot recipe uses boneless, skinless chicken thighs rather than breasts, so it’s not as lean as it could be, but the dark meat is a lot closer to traditional chicken adobo than breasts.
However, to make a healthier Instant Pot chicken adobo, you can lower the fat by substituting boneless skinless chicken breasts and adding one more minute to the cook time. To maximize the flavour using chicken breasts, you can cook the chicken whole in the marinade and then shred the chicken afterward to soak up the remaining sauce.
To reduce the sodium in the dish, choose a low-sodium soy sauce or opt for gluten-free tamari. As for the rice, choosing to use whole grain rice will make the dish healthier as well.
And of course I’ve added in some chopped red pepper and sliced green onions to finish the dish and add some healthy veggies but these are not traditionally included in chicken adobo. Go ahead and make substitutions that you feel would make the dish your own!
Frequently Asked Questions
Adobo is a popular Filipino dish, made with meat (often chicken thighs or drumsticks), vegetables or seafood. The process of making authentic adobo involves marinating the food in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and black pepper, then browning the ingredients in oil and braising them in the marinade. This Instant Pot chicken adobo offers a faster and easier take on the authentic recipe!
This chicken adobo Instant Pot recipe is a bit spicy thanks to the black pepper, but it’s a mostly savoury dish with balanced flavours that are similar to a stir fry.
Adobo chicken originated in the Philippines. In fact, it’s so popular that it’s sometimes called the national dish of the Philippines! That being said, there are also variations of adobo around the world including Puerto Rican adobo and Mexican adobo which offer their own spin on the delicious recipe.
Chicken adobo is traditionally served with rice. I like to use a rice cooker for this – you can cook the rice on the side as the Instant Pot chicken adobo pressure cooks to save time and dishes. If you do a lot of meal prep, you may already have some rice ready to reheat, which works just as well (I personally like leftover rice a lot better).
Storing and reheating
This fact may surprise you, but many Filipino cooks store adobo at room temperature for a few days. Seriously, without any refrigeration! Apparently, vinegar and soy sauce in the marinade act as preservatives. This allows the dish to keep well at room temperature for up to 4 days.
However, I would recommend you store this dish in the fridge. If refrigerated, Instant Pot chicken adobo will stay good for 5 to 6 days so it’s perfect for your weekly meal prep. When you’re ready to eat it, microwave it for 1-2 minutes until heated through.
Can you freeze chicken adobo?
Yes, this chicken adobo Instant Pot recipe freezes very well. After cooking, let it cool completely before transferring to freezer-safe glass meal prep containers or Ziploc bags and freeze for up to 3 months. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight then reheat as normal. If you’re serving your chicken adobo with rice, I suggest freezing the rice separately or even serving it with fresh rice.
More Instant Pot chicken recipes
Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on turning the Instant Pot chicken adobo into your weekly lunches.
- I get all my free-range chicken from Butcher Box, conveniently delivered to me frozen.
Instant Pot Chicken Adobo
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 12 garlic cloves, minced
- 10 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1/3 cup vinegar
- 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 4 green onions, sliced
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup white rice
- 1 tsp Butter `
- 1 pinch salt
- Add trivet to Instant Pot, then add olive oil, onion, garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, bay leaves, pepper and salt to Instant Pot in that order. Add chicken thighs on top of trivet.
- Press the pressure cook button and select the high setting, then set to cook for 4 minutes – Instant Pot will take about 10-15 minutes to preheat then the 4 minutes to pressure cook.
- Meanwhile, cook rice, water and butter in a rice cooker.
- Do a quick release of the pressure by flicking the switch at the top with a spoon, then open lid when safe to do so. Remove chicken thighs in trivet from pot and turn to saute mode. Remove bay leaves from sauce.
- Bring sauce to a boil and let simmer for 2-3 minutes until sauce thickens slightly. Add red pepper and chicken thighs back to pot, then gently stir and cook another 2 minutes.
- Top rice with chicken mixture and garnish with green onions. Serve and enjoy!