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4.83 from 153 votes

Nick's Chicken Adobo Recipe (Stovetop or Instantpot)

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


  • 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


  • 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.


* 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.