Chicken adobo is a quintessential Filipino dish. Depending on which area of the Philippines you’re from, there are slight regional differences in how you cook this savory dish. It took me a long time to attempt this on my own, only because I usually only eat Filipino food if my parents are cooking. It’s hard to compete with good homemade Filipino food, but the Instant Pot really makes it easy!
I can be elitist with my Filipino food, especially with chicken adobo. It’s very rare that I eat Filipino food at restaurants because in my opinion, it never tastes as good as when my parents are cooking it. However, since I don’t live near family, it can get difficult when I’m craving Filipino food. Eventually, I had to just bite the bullet and make my own.
The easiest dish to start with if of course, chicken adobo. So much flavor with so little ingredients! The great thing about this particular recipe is that the Instant Pot saves me so much time! It only takes about 8 minutes in the Instant Pot. 8 minutes! But, if you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can still use the recipe for a regular pot. I’ll include the instructions for that as well.
- 4 chicken legs (thighs and drumsticks) separated (about 1.5-2lbs)
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup soy sauce
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 cup white distilled or rice vinegar
- 6 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 large yellow onion, sliced
- 1/4 cup cornstarch (optional)
- Season the chicken legs generously with salt and pepper. Turn the Instant Pot to the high sauté setting, or if you don’t have one, a regular pot will do. Add the oil and once it's simmering, but not smoking, add half the chicken pieces and brown on both sides, about 7 minutes. Remove with tongs to a plate and brown the remaining chicken pieces.
- Return all the chicken to the Instant Pot and add the soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, onion and 1/2 tsp pepper.
- Follow the Instant Pot guide for locking the lid and preparing to cook. Set to pressure cook, on high, for 8 minutes. After the pressure cook cycle is complete follow the Instant Pot guide for quick release and wait until the quick release cycle is complete. Careful of any remaining steam, unlock and remove the lid. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can simmer everything in a pot for 25-30 minutes (or until the internal temp of the chicken is 165 degrees). Remove the chicken from the sauce temporarily.
- Put some of the sauce in a small bowl and mix thoroughly with cornstarch. Make sure there are no lumps. Then put back in the pot and mix right away.
- Turn the Instant Pot back to the high sauté setting. Put the chicken back in. Let the sauce come to a boil and reduce it until fragrant and reaches a slightly thicker consistency. Remove the bay leaves. Serve with rice!
If you have not had adobo before, just know that you absolutely need to eat it with rice. Otherwise, you're not experiencing it fully.