Extra (Ap)Petite: Easy 1-Pot Chicken Adobo Recipe (& InstantPot version)

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Express sweater xs (also see it here & here), knot headband On Nori: Etsy hair clips, silicone bib, H&M sweater, Nori’s bib & plate (tip: leave under direct sunlight to get rid of soap & food odors)

I first had Filipino chicken adobo when visiting Nick’s family and always thought it was good, but it wasn’t until I tried his own version that I truly fell in love with how flavorful AND simple this comfort dish is. Also, this is one of those dishes that gets even tastier as leftovers, so you might want to make more than what this recipe calls for!

If you’re new to Filipino food, adobo is a great first dish to try (along with this comforting arroz caldo). It’s savory, a little tangy, a little sweet, and will fill your kitchen with delicious aromas of garlic and onions. It’s also a crowd pleaser that’s super easy to make using staple pantry ingredients! Not to be confused with adobo seasoning used in some Spanish-speaking cultures, Filipino adobo typically uses chicken or pork, and every family seems to have their own recipe.

This version is based on my mother-in-law’s recipe but tweaked by Nick, and seeing how his parents scarfed down seconds the last time they visited, I’d say it earned their seal of approval! Using dark meat chicken, wings (our preference!), or a mix like drumsticks and wings adds a rich flavor, as does letting it simmer a little extra at the end to thicken the sauce. You’ll want some steamed rice to soak up this dish!

The best part is the ingredient ratios are easily adjustable to taste, whether you like it a little more peppery, tangy or sweet. Let me know in the comments if you’ve made adobo before, and if so, whether you add any special step or ingredient!

best easy filipino chicken adobo recipe

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Print Recipe
4.84 from 130 votes

Nick's Chicken Adobo Recipe (Stovetop or Instantpot)

See a short video of how we make it
Servings: 2 people

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs chicken chicken wing sections, thighs, drumsticks or a mix
  • 1/4 cup good soy sauce (see photo below)
  • 1/4 cup vinegar apple cider or white vinegar (see photo below)
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar more to taste (or use a few chopped dates!)
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground*
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 medium onion cut into slivers

Instructions

  • Optional marinade step: Put soy sauce, vinegar, chicken, and half the garlic in a large glass bowl to marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes up to a few hours.
  • Heat a little olive oil in a large pan, pot or dutch oven
  • Sauteé garlic and sliced onions until fragrant, then push to side of pan
  • Place the meat into the pan to lightly brown it, skin side down
  • Pour the rest of the marinade in over the browned meat. If you didnt marinade, this is where you add in the soy sauce and vinegar.
  • Add bay leaves, black pepper and sugar and stir gently
  • Bring it to a low simmer, cover and continue simmering on low heat 20-25 minutes. Longer cooking time on low heat = the key to tender chicken here.
  • Remove cover, then continue to simmer 10-15 minutes uncovered to let sauce reduce and thicken. We let it go a little longer on low heat to make them extra tender for our toddler.
  • Optional: We like to stir in a bag of baby spinach leaves right at the end to get some greens in! Goes great with the sauce.

Notes

* Adobo is traditionally made with whole peppercorns, but we prefer freshly ground black pepper which also makes it more kid-friendly. Since it IS a key ingredient, be sure to use good pepper and freshly ground when possible - we love the brand that's pictured!  
InstantPot instructions (no need to marinade):
1. Use the sauté function to heat up a little olive oil, sauté the garlic and onions, and then lightly brown the chicken.
2. Add in the remaining ingredients, seal the lid and pressure cook on high for 8 minutes if using chicken wings, 9 minutes for thighs or drumsticks. Note the pot will take some time to come up to pressure.
3. After venting (allow 10-15 minutes of natural release) and opening up the pot lid, press the sauté button and let it cook a little longer un-covered to reduce and thicken the sauce. 

 

Tip: if you buy chicken that comes in a tray like this one below, we usually marinate it right in that tray to avoid having to wash one extra bowl.

easy chicken adobo wing recipe

Our preferred brands of soy sauce and vinegar for this dish (the white one is more traditional). Chinese light soy sauce is often used interchangeably with all-purpose soy sauce.

chicken adobo datu puti vinegar

easy chicken adobo wing instantpot recipe

This girl LOVES her chicken adobo and doesn’t hesitate to help herself to more! I wasn’t sure how Nori would be with bone-in wings when I first introduced them, but since these are fall-off-the-bone tender they’ve been pretty easy for her to eat. She nibbles her wings clean while gleefully proclaiming that she’s a “pilipino baby” : )

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Recipe Rating




62 Comments

  1. hannah wrote:

    5 stars
    A++ for using Datu Puti!! My mom is ilocano so our home does apple cider vinegar (no sugar), but when i make for my tagalog stepdad, i use regular datu puti like in your recipe but finish with a lemon right before serving. Lookin good and keep on!!

    Posted 5.14.21 Reply
  2. Judy wrote:

    5 stars
    The recipe really was just as easy as it appeared to be! Made it for my 14 month old who is currently devouring it. Thank you!!

    Posted 4.28.21 Reply
  3. Connie wrote:

    This was phenomenal! My first time making adobo and I didn’t know what to expect. The house smelled delicious as the flavors simmered together and the result was tender, tangy/sweet/umami chicken. We used thighs and drums because that’s what we had. Will definitely make again, and will probably increase the receipe so we have leftovers!

    Posted 4.10.21 Reply
  4. Miranda wrote:

    5 stars
    Five star recipe! Easy and delicious for weeknight meals! Even my picky toddler will eat it. I’ve only made it in the Instant Pot and I added cornstarch slurry like another reviewer suggested to speed up the thickness of the sauce. I’m planning to double up the recipe this weekend for Easter.

    Posted 3.31.21 Reply
  5. Laticia Correa wrote:

    5 stars
    Finally getting around to trying this delicious recipe! I used chicken thighs (thank you WF for practically giving these away) but found the recipe to be a liiiitle salty. I’m blaming the brand of my soy sauce 🤷🏻‍♀️ Will try with a little less soy/a little more brown sugar next time. But 100% keeping this quick and tasty dish in rotation!

    Posted 3.26.21 Reply
  6. Carly Ellis wrote:

    5 stars
    Hi Jean,
    So excited I finally tried this recipe tonight, as your garlic noodles are on our weekly rotation. Quick question- my sauce didn’t thicken up like your pictures. It was fine, I spooned it over my rice but I worry I’m missing out on something even better. I also can’t do bones, so used boneless thighs, but besides that stuck to the recipe, do you think that is why?

    Posted 2.8.21 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi there! It’s harder to thicken up in the Instantpot and we’ve only really been able to thicken it up on stovetop to get a sticky thicker sauced coating.

      Posted 2.11.21 Reply
  7. Debbie wrote:

    5 stars
    Another Jean Wang special! Making this for the second time tonight, this time substituting peppercorn with black pepper 😁 next time I think I’ll give chopped dates a go! Love your easy to follow but tasty recipes! Look forward to more 👏🏽👏🏽

    Posted 1.22.21 Reply
  8. Sirlei wrote:

    5 stars
    Sooooo good. We all went back for seconds! Used my instapot for it and definitely recommend simmering a bit at the end.

    Posted 1.6.21 Reply
  9. Sarah wrote:

    Hi Jean! I’m so excited to give this a try in our instapot tonight! However, I completely forgot to buy bay leaves! Is it absolutely necessary? 😬

    Posted 1.4.21 Reply
  10. Yuanfang wrote:

    Hi Jean, thanks for sharing! I have a quick question – when did you introduce adult flavor-rich food to Nori? Currently our little one is 17 months old and we haven’t let her eaten the same dishes as ours as we use a lot of Asian source that are high in sodium. So I am curious how you started with Nori and if she is eating the same food as you and Nick for each meal now? Thanks!!

    Posted 12.29.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi there, apologies for the delayed reply! Near the bottom of this post I shared about which foods we introduced at certain ages but I typically set a small portion aside for Nori before adding in any sauces that are particularly high in sodium or spicy. For dishes like this adobo chicken where you can’t really separate out the soy sauce we waited until she was a bit older, around a year and a half to introduce it.

      Posted 1.20.21 Reply
  11. Hang wrote:

    5 stars
    My whole family and especially picky toddler loved this dish! Easy instructions to follow for a delicious recipe 🙂 thank you Jean

    Posted 12.29.20 Reply
  12. Jonathan Pivor wrote:

    Hi Jean,

    What is the dish on the side?

    Posted 12.23.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Jonathan, it’s a Filipino dish called Mongo beans!

      Posted 12.30.20 Reply
  13. Viri wrote:

    5 stars
    Superb recipe! I doubled the recipe and it was amazing. The chicken was full of flavor and very tender.

    Posted 12.19.20 Reply
  14. Lilly Goldberg wrote:

    5 stars
    We made this tonight and substituted the brown sugar with a date and soy with coconut aminos and rice with cauliflower rice. There were no leftovers! A fantastic, flavorful, and easy dish. Will make double next time. Thank you!

    Posted 12.18.20 Reply
  15. Joyce wrote:

    5 stars
    Tripled the recipe for three adults and a toddler who gobbled it down very quickly! There were only two pieces of chicken thigh leftover! Used apple cider vinegar instead of regular vinegar and we happen to have the same Pearl River soy sauce. Delicious and would make again.

    Posted 12.16.20 Reply
  16. Chyrelle wrote:

    Have you tried making it in the slow cooker?

    Posted 12.15.20 Reply
    • Leilani wrote:

      I always make my adobo in the slow cooker, but since the cooking method is not exactly the same as instant pot or stove top, the dish will come out a bit differently, mainly the sauce will be a bit more watery.

      Posted 1.2.21 Reply
  17. Lisa wrote:

    Yum adobo! So much good flavor for not much effort! I’m lucky enough to have a Filipina coworker who shared her very similar recipe (that bottle of vinegar looks familiar haha!) but we tend to be naughty and throw in some pork belly along with our chicken thighs 😉 Make extra everyone!-it just gets better each day and you’ll want more of this tasty dish! We will be trying the arroz caldo recipe you shared before which sounds perfect for these colder days ahead. Thank you Jean! Stay well!

    Posted 12.12.20 Reply
  18. Kim wrote:

    5 stars
    This Chicken Adobo Crazy good & easy to make. Nori knows what’s up 😋Thank you for sharing!

    Posted 12.12.20 Reply
  19. Ann wrote:

    We just got an Instant Pot and yours was the very first recipe we tried. It was so delicious and easy to make. If you have other Instant Pot recipes, I’d love if you could share them. Thank you!

    Posted 12.6.20 Reply
  20. Anonymous wrote:

    5 stars
    Made it last night and it was delicious!! I didn’t marinate the chicken ahead of time but they still came out soooo flavorful. I added a bit of cornstarch slurry at the end to help the sauce thicken.

    Posted 12.6.20 Reply
  21. Linna wrote:

    5 stars
    OMG, I made this for the first time last night, and it was delicious. Unfortunately, we have no leftovers so we will be doubling for next time. Thank you for sharing this recipe! We used low sodium soy sauce, and I don’t think it affected the flavor at all. DELISH!

    Posted 12.6.20 Reply
  22. Samantha wrote:

    5 stars
    I made this last night and this recipe is delicious!! It’s flavorful, easy and filling. I marinated the chicken thighs for an hour before making the rest of the recipe. My only mistake was not doubling the recipe. The meal was gone in minutes and no leftovers to save. Do yourself a favor, make double the recipe so you have extras! My family is already asking when we’re having this dish again!

    Posted 12.6.20 Reply
  23. Stephanie wrote:

    5 stars
    This was SO good! I tried it with dates since I didn’t have brown sugar and I’ll never make it any other way. Served it with coconut rice a recipe I found for mung beans with coconut milk, ginger, and garlic 🙌🏼 My 22 month old came around after she saw mama and daddy chowing down. Thanks for another great recipe and So easy.

    Posted 12.6.20 Reply
  24. Christine wrote:

    Hi Jean! This isn’t related to the recipe but I have a question on the express sweater you’re wearing! I bought it based on your recommendation but it pills like crazy on me after just a few hours of wearing it and I see similar reviews online as well! Did this happen for you and do you have any recs to help with pilling?

    Posted 12.6.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Christine – I wear my sweater a ton and have noticed pilling along the sleeves where I rest my arms on my desk. But the vast majority of my sweaters pill – I just use my sweater shaver ($10 on amazon or bed bath beyond) and run it over the surface after the first few instances and it usually holds off any additional pilling for a while! Also, I always wash my sweaters inside out in cold water in a mesh bag and usually never machine dry them.

      Posted 12.9.20 Reply
  25. Melody wrote:

    5 stars
    Easy and yummy recipe 🙂 please share more

    Posted 12.5.20 Reply
  26. Tina wrote:

    5 stars
    I’m on sort of a cleanse where I need to keep my sodium down, no fat for cooking and no sugar. So I sauté the onion and garlic in bone broth, replaced full strength soy sauce with reduced sodium, replaced brown sugar with monk fruit sweetener. It probably doesn’t taste as good as keeping true to the recipe, but it was still so good!

    Posted 12.5.20 Reply
  27. Irene wrote:

    5 stars
    This recipe is basically foolproof. My Korean babies love their Chicken Adobo bc of their amazing Filipina teachers at daycare – and this one did not disappoint. I did marinate for 30 min before cooking the chicken and used white vinegar. I think the minced garlic just gives it a ton of flavor and I prefer this recipe over the Bon Appetit version. Very family friendly and an easy, quick meal for the mama on the go! Thanks Jean!

    Posted 12.5.20 Reply
  28. Anonymous wrote:

    5 stars
    Amazing. My kids ate 4 wings each. That’s a record.

    Posted 12.5.20 Reply
  29. karen wrote:

    5 stars
    this recipe was so delicious! i definitely will make this again! the chicken wings came out so so tender; the meat was falling off the bone! since there was a bit of sauce in the pot, i mixed it into my rice and it was super flavorful! thank you jean for sharing this recipe!

    Posted 12.5.20 Reply
  30. Hena Tayeb wrote:

    Ooh this looks so good.

    Posted 12.5.20 Reply
  31. Demi wrote:

    This looks so good! I need to try this, thanks!

    Demi

    Posted 12.5.20 Reply
  32. Lysabu wrote:

    Pilipino baby! I totally get that. Lol.
    I should know how to make adobo by heart but I don’t. Thank you for the instant pot recipe. I’ll definitely be doing that. In my family, we serve adobo with a side of sliced bananas. Sounds strange but it’s a must for me!

    Posted 12.4.20 Reply
    • Joy wrote:

      True

      Posted 12.5.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Will have to try it with that side sometime!

      Posted 12.5.20 Reply
  33. lia wrote:

    Thanks for the recipe, Jean! I love chicken adobo!

    Might want to update the ingredient list to say “light soy sauce” – it’s pretty different from the Kikkoman’s I would have reached for without seeing your pictures!

    Posted 12.4.20 Reply
    • Tina wrote:

      Agree. There is a different between “Soy sauce” and “Light soy sauce”.

      Posted 12.5.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Lia! Thanksfor the feedback – I added some notes above for clarification. In a previous recipe I had noted Light soy sauce and some got it confused with low sodium soy sauce (which is different) so per someone’s suggestion I researched it and changed it to regular soy sauce. Per most articles I come across, Chinese light soy sauce is used interchangeably with “all purpose soy sauce” including Kikkomans! Nevertheless, every brand of soy sauce tastes very different and can affect the flavor of a dish quite a bit.

      Posted 12.5.20 Reply
  34. Abby wrote:

    The recipe looks great, I will definitely try! An aside: after years of buying peppercorns in a grinder like the one pictured, we recently invested in a pepper mill (the Peugeot model). Highly recommend for the cost savings and pure satisfaction of using a really nice pepper mill 🙂

    Posted 12.4.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Thanks for the tip, Abby!

      Posted 12.5.20 Reply
  35. Chloe wrote:

    5 stars
    Yummy! 🤤 my favorite is adobong pusit!! (Squid!)

    I got excited over your photo because the side looks like monggo!! 🧐 is it?? My other favorite Filipino dish! Well I do like most of them lol I kept scrolling to see if you ever mentioned the other dish in the photo. And if it’s monggo, I’m curious to see how your family makes it.’

    Posted 12.4.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Yes! My husband made his mother’s monggo beans with spinach and chicharron : ) I believe it’s just simmered with garlic, onions, ginger, bay leaf and broth (and sometimes bacon!).

      Posted 12.5.20 Reply
  36. Sohna wrote:

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! I see bay leaves pictured and listed in the ingredients section, but not mentioned in the directions. When should they be added?

    Posted 12.4.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Oops, just updated the recipe. It’s added with the pepper and sugar. Thanks for pointing that out!

      Posted 12.4.20 Reply
    • Anna wrote:

      Looks like it’s in step 6 with the pepper and sugar!

      Posted 12.4.20 Reply
  37. Pakou wrote:

    Do you have marble countertops? Building a house and love the look the look of marble but was warned that they are difficulty to maintain. Do stains set in fast? Is it difficult to seal the marble once a year?

    Posted 12.4.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Yes they definitely show stains like water marks and scratches more easily, but we love them nevertheless! We have not gotten it re-sealed.

      Posted 12.4.20 Reply
  38. Veronica wrote:

    Try it with pineapples. We usually use chunks in cans. Enjoooy 😊

    Posted 12.4.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      I’ve heard of either pineapples or coconut milk as different families’ variations! Will have to try sometime!

      Posted 12.4.20 Reply
  39. Dianne wrote:

    5 stars
    Love this so much! And yes, every family has their own version. A new one I’ve come across is crispy adobo flakes, It is regular adobo meat (usually from leftovers) shredded and panfried until, well, crispy.

    Posted 12.4.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Oh interesting! Sounds tasty

      Posted 12.4.20 Reply
  40. Sarah wrote:

    What kind of soy sauce did you use?

    Posted 12.3.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Pearl river bridge golden label superior light soy sauce!

      Posted 12.4.20 Reply
  41. Shay wrote:

    Does he have a recipe for pancit 🤤?!

    Posted 12.3.20 Reply
    • Jennie wrote:

      What brand soy sauce and vinegar do you use?

      Posted 12.3.20 Reply
      • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

        Pearl river bridge golden label superior light soy sauce, and Datu Puti brand vinegar : )

        Posted 12.4.20 Reply
        • Jenn wrote:

          I’ve made adobo before and was never that impressed. This time not only was I impressed but also my filipino hubby. First words out of my hard to please husband’s mouth was ‘mm!’ Will happily be making this again!

          Posted 1.11.21 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Shay – I don’t .. my mother in law makes a great one but it is a lot of prep work so I have never made it myself!

      Posted 12.4.20 Reply

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