Pressure Cooker Chicken Adobo

A Pressure Cooker Take On The Philippine Classic, Chicken Adobo


Often called the “unofficial” national dish of the Philippines, Chicken Adobo can be a quick and easy meal when prepared in the pressure cooker.

I was a little hesitant to post this recipe, seeing as how there are probably hundreds, if not thousands of adobo recipes online (such as here, here and here), some even using the pressure cooker. And what do I know about Philippine food? Well, the answer to that would be absolutely nothing. In fact, I have never even had Chicken Adobo in an actual Philippine restaurant (something I should remedy, since there are plenty of Philippine restaurants in Los Angeles) but now that I have made Chicken Adobo so many times that it has become one of my go-to weekday recipes, I think I have dang near perfected it.

Authentic? Who knows. Tasty? Heck yeah!


Like my sauerbraten recipe in my last post (I swear I am not going for a theme here, but I was out of town for a week due to a family emergency and these two recipes were already on deck), Chicken Adobo is also something that is typically marinated first (but usually only for a few hours as opposed to three to ten days for the sauerbraten). The first time I made it, I did soak the chicken in the marinade for a couple hours, but the second time I made it I skipped the marinating part as an experiment, and I could detect no discernible difference to make it worth adding a few hours to the preparation time.

Also, the first time I made it, I put the chicken in the broiler after pressure cooking, which was good, but didn’t make a big enough difference to make me want to do it every time. If you think you might like it broiled or grilled after the pressure cooking, it is certainly an option.

After much tweaking, I think I have finally hit on the perfect recipe (said every person that ever made an Adobo recipe ever), but no, really, mine is the best.

Most of the time I use whole chicken legs cut into drumsticks and thighs, but this time I happened to have a whole chicken so I cut it into ten pieces. If you buy pieces, I strongly suggest you stick to the legs and thighs. It just turns out a whole lot tastier than the white meat. If you use a whole chicken, it’s fine since you have a mix of white and dark, but I think just white meat would be a little bland.

I like to brown my chicken first, and even though once pressure cooked, the skin is no longer crisp, the pre-browning does give it a nice color and texture.


It is also important to use a good soy sauce, so make sure you use real fermented soy sauce. If you have a local Filipino market, I am guessing that soy sauce from the Philipines would be great, but I haven’t been able to track any down yet. My favorites that I have tried so far are Lee Kum Kee which is made in Hong Kong and Aloha Shoyu from Hawaii. If you have nothing available to you besides the usual suspects such as Kikkoman, it should be fine. I would be a little hesitant to use low sodium soy sauce, since I understand it is just watered down regular soy sauce, according to this article (I see that the article is no longer there) at It also mentions some other brands that would be worth a try.

I also use onions, which is not unheard of, but is not a common ingredient.

As for the vinegar, after trying various vinegars and combinations thereof, I have found that I prefer a half and half mixture of rice vinegar and apple cider vinegar.


I serve it with turmeric rice (which seems to be becoming my “house rice”), and a vegetable, which seems to usually be green beans with this particular dish.

Easy, quick and not a ton of ingredients. Perfect for a weekday night. Give it a try  and let me know how you like it.

Pressure Cooker Chicken Adobo
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Filipino
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2-4
A pressure cooker version of the unofficial national dish of the Philippines.
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 10 pieces, or 8-10 pieces legs and thighs
  • 2 tbs. coconut oil (or any cooking oil)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 5-10 cloves garlic, chopped (I usually use 10, but you can adjust to taste)
  • 4-5 bay leaves
  • Black Pepper (Don't be shy! I usually use 15-20 twists of the pepper mill)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat
  2. When oil is hot, brown the chicken pieces on both sides then remove to plate
  3. If there is a lot of chicken fat, you can drain some of it (but I usually leave it all)
  4. Add onions and saute until they start to soften
  5. Add in garlic and continue to saute for another minute or so
  6. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer
  7. Add the chicken back into the pan
  8. Put on the lid and bring to high pressure
  9. When high pressure is reached, reduce heat to maintain high pressure and set timer for 12 minutes
  10. When time is up, let pressure release on its own
  11. When pressure is released, remove chicken to plate once more
  12. Put pan with sauce over medium high heat, and let sauce reduce, stirring often until thickened (about 10-15 minutes)
  13. Serve chicken, and cover with sauce (Put some on the rice, too. It's yummy!)



Leave a Reply

    • Hi, Grace. Thanks for visiting the site. For the rice, before covering I stir in a little butter and salt, plus the turmeric. I don’t really measure, but it is probably a heaping teaspoon per 1 cup uncooked rice.


  1. Delicious!! Thank you for this version of a Filipino tradition in my family. Next time I will definitely add ginger and maybe paprika.

    • You’re welcome! It’s nice to hear that someone who grew up with with Adobo liked my recipe.


  2. I left a comment on Pintrest but thought I’d add the nitty gritty here :) I used frozen tenderloins and added a can of chicken broth and a can of stewed tomatoes. My kids didn’t like the sweet taste that the coconut oil added but they are very picky adobo eaters. They ate the chicken but didn’t want me to add the “sauce”. I however, loved the flavor and saved the “sauce” and I’m literally eating it NOW! I pureed it and added a bit of coconut milk then made a pasta and drizzled it over the top – yummy! I hope I can figure out the right combo to make this again. I’m savoring the flavor and will definitely crave this in the future!

  3. came across your site while looking up recipes to use with our new instant pot. i’m 2nd generation filipino, born and raised in hawaii. you might be glad to know there hasn’t been an adobo made in my family’s house that didn’t include aloha shoyu and onions. however, we don’t add sugar (though i understand other families do). have you considered trying to make pork adobo?

    • nai, thanks for your comments. I haven’t tried pork adobo yet, though I do have it on my list of things to make in the future. How do you like the Instant Pot? I have heard good things about them, but I am still using only stovetop pressure cookers.


  4. LOVE my instant pot I’ve had for 6 months, hardly use anything else to cook in anymore. Get the 7/1 on Amazon. Trying your PC Adobo tonight! Lyn

  5. Pingback: Feb 2: Quesadilla; Chicken adobo with rice and steamed bok choi – The semiSerious Foodies

  6. Michael, Thanks so much for the providing the pressure cooker recipe for Adobo. I actually used beef instead of chicken. It came out well. I am of Filipino descent (first generation) and cooking it reminded reminded me of my childhood. My husband liked the recipe as well.

    • You’re welcome. I wouldn’t have thought of using beef. I usually just hear of using chicken or pork. It’s good to hear that you and your husband liked the recipe.

  7. This is a keeper. The best recipe I’ve tried so far in the Insta pot. The chicken is so tender and there is so much flavor. Will definitely be making again. :)

  8. I’m trying it right now. Did everything exactly and now waiting for it to pressurize. I’m going to serve it with Jasmine Rice (The only rice I use ever since living in Japan) and some steamed vegetables. I can’t wait to try it!