I love chicken adobo. I mean, LOVE. That delicious combo of vinegar and soy sauce with all the garlic you could stand, drizzled over some white rice and some tender, fall off the bone chicken makes my mouth water and the scale climb in number. However, my husband loves it more than I do. He will almost do a happy dance when he finds out that he’s going to have chicken adobo, he loves the dish so much. It’s almost comical how happy he gets, but I’ll take it as a compliment to my cooking.
Chicken adobo is a Filipino dish that is very simple to make, yet extremely satisfying. Growing up, adobo meant something else other than the dish I enjoy fairly frequently today. Check out this Chowhound article on the difference between Latin and Filipino adobo.
The word adobo may come from the Spanish word adovar which means to marinate. So, basically, this recipe is all about the marinade. Typically, the chicken is stepped in this delicious, vinegary, and tangy marinade and then braised in the same marinade. The yield is a tender, delicious meat, falling off the bone. Typically, this dish is done at a low temp and cooked over hours.
It’s easy to make this Filipino-inspired chicken adobo in the slow cooker, but it’s quicker and just as fantastic in the Instant Pot. In fact, as much as I love this dish, I don’t love how the house smells when I make it in the slow cooker. It’s still fragrant in the Instant Pot, but not quite as in-your-face. And besides, you can cook this and have dinner served within an hour or less. Have nothing planned for dinner tonight? Chicken adobo to the rescue. You have an excess amount of chicken? Put it together in a Ziploc bag and freeze it for dinner in a pinch. Read on for the recipe!
- 6-quart instant pot
- Tongs to flip the chicken
- Measuring cup and measuring spoons
- Serving ladle (I used the one that came with my pot)
- Plate to hold the reserved chicken (optional)
- Wooden spoon to saute the chicken (optional)
- 2 pounds chicken thighs – bone-in and skin-on
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 cup low sodium soy sauce (or aminos if going gluten free)
- 6-8 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon of canola or vegetable oil for browning (optional)
- Optional step: wash and pat dry the chicken pieces.
- Optional step: set the Instant Pot to “Saute” and adjust to medium heat. When the display states “HOT,” pour in and swirl around the oil. When the display reads “HOT” again, saute the chicken, skin side down, in batches. Brown the chicken for about two minutes and flip. Saute for two minutes. Set aside the chicken on a plate.
- Pour one cup of white vinegar together with one cup of low sodium soy sauce in the inner liner of the Instant Pot.
- Peel and smash the garlic cloves, as many as you would like to have. Add to the vinegar/soy sauce mix.
- Add peppercorns. They don’t make the dish spicy, but the peppercorns add a nice kick in each bite. You can omit them altogether, if you prefer.
- Add the chicken.
- Stir everything together. If you’re able to submerge the chicken, this is a good time to do that.
- Add the bay leaves on top.
- Cook under high pressure for about 10 minutes. If cooking from frozen, cook for 13 minutes.
- Allow the pot to rest for about 10 minutes after the cooking cycle is complete.
- Release any of the remaining pressure.
- Option step: Press the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside on a clean plate. Tent with aluminum foil to retain the heat. Press the saute button on the pot and boil the liquid for a couple of minutes to thicken slightly.
- Serve chicken adobo over Instant Pot Jasmine Rice!
What do you enjoy the most about this recipe? I think it’s the tanginess of the vinegar mixed in with the saltiness of the soy sauce. I also really like how tender this chicken becomes. It practically falls off the bone. Not to mention, the garlic takes on a smooth and slightly sweet taste, which is nice smeared over the chicken or on the rice. Delicious!
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Buen provecho! – Sami B.