Instant Pot Adobo

Ay nako! Adobo in the Instant Pot? Whatever happened to tradition?

At least, that’s what I told myself before I made this recipe, because it’s already straightforward and simple. And who am I to mess with a classic?

But here we are. We’re finally unpacked in the new house (more on that at some point, I promise) and it’s time to fill our home with memories. And for me, there are few things that conjure up a good memory more than the smell of a familiar (and favorite) dish.

We’ve been working on all kinds of projects – from building furniture and decorating, to tearing up the backyard to build new retaining walls (this turned into a huge undertaking). So when we’re done with our 9-5’s and then done with our second job of fixing up our home, little time is left for dinner. Which, because the days are long in the PNW (fortunate) we’re typically starving (unfortunate) by quittin’ time.

Which brings us back to my trusty Instant Pot. I was hit with a craving for my Mom’s adobo, and so I copied her verbal recipe of “equal parts soy and vinegar, and a lot of garlic and peppercorns” and then crossed my fingers that I got the proportions and timing on the IP right. Kain tayo!

I know raw chicken isn’t exactly the most beautiful thing in the world, but we devoured the cooked chicken so quickly I didn’t get time for a photo!

Chicken Adobo

Serves 4-6
Active time: 20 min | Total time: 45 min


  • 2 lbs chicken thighs or drumsticks, bone-in, skin on
  • 1/2 C soy sauce (or tamari if you’re gluten-free)
  • 1/2 C white vinegar
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled (about 10-12 large cloves)
  • 2 t whole peppercorns (optional: lightly crush them)
  • 3-4 bay leaves


Place thighs (or drumsticks) skin side down in the Instant Pot. Add garlic, bay, peppercorns, and the drench everything in the vinegar, soy, and water.

Cover, turn the vent to sealing, and cook on manual, high pressure for 20 minutes.

Allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes, and then release the rest manually.

Optional: some adobo lovers like to crisp their adobo by broiling it or even tossing it on the grill. I’ve always had my adobo saucy, so like to serve it more like a stew, but feel free to try different finishing techniques to your own taste!


Serve hot with white rice and enjoy!

Depending on the consistency of your sauce, and if you’re choosing to grill or broil your chicken after cooking, you may want to reduce your sauce to thicken it.

Adobo tastes best when made for, and shared with people you really like. Not just because it’s delicious, but also because it’s super garlicky and if you’re not close before you eat together, you will be afterwards!

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