Tender and juicy Filipino Instant Pot chicken adobo, done in 20 minutes! The sauce is rich and flavorful made with classic adobo ingredients. This recipe is great for whole chicken legs (leg quarters) and even half chicken.
Why You’ll Love this Instant Pot Chicken Adobo
Using a pressure cooker or instant pot is one of the quickest ways to make chicken adobo. It’s not only time-saving but energy-saving too.
Here are more reasons why you’ll love this recipe:
- Easy and straightforward with no complicated steps. Perfect for busy home cooks and even beginners.
- No need to marinate–by simmering the chicken in vinegar, the meat easily absorbs the flavor of the other ingredients making a flavorful adobo.
- As good as chicken adobo cooked in a stove-top version. No difference in flavor at all!
- It makes a succulently tender chicken–not rubbery nor mushy or overcooked. By using the proper cooking time, you can make a tender and juicy chicken in an Instant Pot.
Chicken Adobo Ingredients
Here’s what you need to make instant pot chicken adobo:
Recommended Chicken Cut
Best cut of chicken for Instant Pot adobo is bone-in, skin-on chicken leg quarters. It doesn’t overcook easily and becomes tender and juicy with only a few minutes of high-pressure cooking. You can’t substitute with breast as fat is needed to make a delicious sauce.
What you need for the Adobo Sauce
- Soy Sauce – I recommend using Filipino soy sauce. You can find this in most Asian supermarkets like Seafood city, Filipino grocery stores, and online like Amazon. You can also use regular soy sauce like Kikkoman but you will need to increase the amount as it is usually less concentrated than Filipino soy sauce.
- Vinegar – white rice vinegar (not seasoned), white wine vinegar, and distilled vinegar or any white vinegar works well for dish adobo dish.
- Garlic, Onion, dried bay leaf, and black peppercorn – are essential ingredients when making adobo. These basically
- Sugar – I prefer using brown sugar but you can also use white. Sugar balances the overall flavor of the adobo sauce.
- Water – this recipe requires a lesser amount of water compared to the stove-stop version of adobo. Using too much water will dilute the seasoning, resulting in a bland sauce.
How to make Chicken Adobo in an Instant Pot
Three chicken leg quarters would fit in a 6-quart Instant Pot. If you want to make a big batch, you can cook up to a maximum of 6 leg quarters. Brown the chicken skin side down first in batches before stir-frying the spices.
Part 1: Set Instant Pot to Saute Mode
- Saute garlic first until lightly brown then add the onion to slow down the cooking process. This will give the chicken adobo sauce a delicious garlicky flavor.
- Sear the chicken skin side down – this will make it intact in high-pressure cooking of the Instant pot.
- Flip the chicken to the other side – no need to sear.
- Simmer in vinegar (don’t skip this step) – once the chicken is partially seared, pour the vinegar and simmer for a few minutes. This is my secret tip for making adobo taste like it’s on its second day.
Part 2: Pressure Cook and Thickening of Sauce
- Add the rest of the ingredients – soy sauce, sugar, bay leaf, black peppercorn, and water. Note: You don’t need much water when cooking chicken adobo in an Instant Pot, just enough to partially cover the ingredients and bring the cooker to pressure.
- Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes – close the lid and make sure the pressure valve is in the sealing position.
- Do a quick release once the timer is over. This is the key to ensuring that the chicken does not shred and become overcooked. Just tender, juicy, and delicious!
- To reduce the sauce, set Instant Pot back to SAUTE MODE and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes WITHOUT THE LID. If the sauce isn’t thick enough, transfer the chicken onto a plate and let the sauce simmer by itself.
Adobo is best served with warm rice or garlic-fried rice. I love pairing it with boiled eggs and steamed vegetables, especially pickled vegetables.
Shelf-life and Storage
Leftover can last in the fridge for up to 1 week, stored in an air-tight container. To further extend the shelf life, freeze in an airtight container or heavy-duty freezer bag. Thaw before reheating on the stove or microwave.
Frequently asked questions
The best part about cooking chicken adobo in an Instant Pot is you can use frozen chicken! It not only thoroughly cooks the meat and but tenderizes it too. So if you’re in a rush or you forgot to thaw the chicken, Instant Pot is the best kitchen gadget for you.
Here’s how to cook Instant Pot adobo using frozen chicken:
Saute garlic and onions in warm oil.
Add frozen chicken and the ingredients of the adobo sauce.
Lock the lid and set the valve to the sealing position. PRESSURE COOK and set the timer to 15 minutes.
15 minutes is enough cooking time to cook frozen chicken thighs or legs and chicken leg quarters. Add 10 more minutes if making a big batch e.g. 6 pcs of chicken leg quarters.
More chicken recipes for dinner
- Easy Black Pepper Chicken Stir Fry
- Cilantro Lime Chicken (Air fryer or Oven)
- Teriyaki Glazed Chicken Meatballs
- Creamy Chicken in Mushroom Soup Gravy
- Chicken Alfredo Pasta with Cream Cheese
Instant Pot Chicken Adobo
- 6 quart Instant Pot
- 5 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 med onion diced
- 3 pcs chicken leg quarters note 1
- 1/3 cup soy sauce note 2
- 1/3 cup vinegar note 3
- 3 teaspoon sugar brown or white
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorn
- 2 pcs bay leaf
- Set instant pot to SAUTE mode. Add oil. Once it's warm (not hot) add garlic. Cook until lightly brown. Add onion and saute until translucent.
- Move the garlic and onions to the side. Add more oil if needed. Place chicken, skin side down first, and sear until browned–about 2 minutes. Flip to the other side.
- Pour vinegar and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Do not stir or move the ingredients around.
- Add brown sugar, soy sauce, black peppercorn, bay leaves, and water. Give it a quick stir. Lock the lid and set the valve to the sealing position. Press CANCEL. Select PRESSURE COOK and set the timer to 9 minutes.
- When the timer is up, turn the knob to VENTING to quick-release (follow the manufacturer’s guide for safety).
- Open the lid carefully. Press CANCEL then select SAUTE mode. Simmer uncovered until sauce is reduced to desired consistency. If the sauce isn’t thick enough, transfer the chicken onto a plate and let the sauce simmer by itself. Taste the sauce. Add more sugar if preferred. Note that as the sauce becomes saltier as it reduces.
- Serve with rice and vegetables. Enjoy!
- Chicken – chicken breast is not recommended unless combined with chicken thighs. You need the fat to make a delicious sauce.
- Soy sauce – Use Filipino soy sauce to get that authentic adobo flavor. It can be substituted with regular soy sauce like Kikkoman but use 1/2 cup instead of 1/3 cup soy sauce. Don’t use light soy sauce or dark soy sauce.
- Vinegar – I use white rice vinegar (not seasoned). Cane vinegar, coconut vinegar, and white wine vinegar work well too.
- Remember the sauce gets saltier as the sauce reduces i.e. water evaporates. Do a taste test before adding more salt or soy sauce BEFORE your adobo finishes cooking.