This is a superb Chicken Adobo with onions and garlic — Filipino comfort food conveniently made in a pressure cooker. The chicken comes out tender and flavorful, and the adobo sauce is simultaneously tangy, sweet, and savory. Don’t have a pressure cooker? Check out Baked Chicken Adobo.

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Prep Time15minutes minutes
Cook Time35minutes minutes
Servings4 servings
Total Time: 50minutes minutes


  • 2 to 2.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, patted dry and trimmed
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • salt and black pepper

For Serving:

  • 2 scallions (green onions), sliced

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1-Sear Chicken: Select saute mode on pressure cooker for medium heat. Season chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper. When display reads HOT, add olive oil to coat bottom of pot. Add half of chicken thighs and cook for a few minutes on each side before transferring to plate. Repeat for remaining chicken thighs. Turn off saute mode.

2-Pressure Cook: Add soy sauce, vinegar, onion, garlic, and cayenne to pot, stirring well and scraping up any brown bits stuck to bottom of pot. Return all chicken thighs to pot in single layer, snugly on top of onions. Top with bay leaves. Secure and seal lid. Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes, followed by quick pressure release.

3-Thicken Sauce: Uncover and select saute mode. Keeping chicken in pot, boil for about 15 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Remove bay leaves. Serve chicken and sauce, topped with sliced scallions.


(1) Chicken. I use fresh chicken; if yours is frozen, defrost in the refrigerator overnight before using in this recipe. Patting chicken dry helps it develop a better sear, and trimming it removes excess fat (kitchen shears are useful). I use boneless and skinless chicken thighs and haven’t tested with other cuts. I don’t recommend skin-on chicken because the seasoning will end up on the skin, not in the chicken. Bone-in chicken should be fine; keep the pressure cooking time the same.

(2) Soy Sauce. I use low sodium soy sauce by brands like Kikkoman or Trader Joe’s. Avoid regular soy sauce, which will be too salty (reducing the liquid in Step 3 increases its saltiness). Light soy sauce refers to color and is not the same as low sodium soy sauce. If you follow a paleo, whole30, or gluten-free diet, substitute with coconut aminos.

(3) Onion. This is a must and shouldn’t be skipped; otherwise, the sauce will have a substantially different taste and texture.

(4) Pressure Cooker Equipment. I use a 6-quart Instant Pot. Other sizes of electric pressure cookers will work as long as all ingredients fit within the maximum capacity. If you’re using a 3-quart pressure cooker, you’ll need to halve this recipe.

(5) Pressure Cooking. Depending on your pressure cooker model, the setting I use is called “manual” or “pressure cook.” Make sure it’s set to high pressure. If you scale the ingredients up or down for a different number of servings, the pressure cooking time remains the same.

(6) Thickening Sauce. The adobo sauce is the highlight of this dish; it’s worth the extra effort to get right. If you boil for 15 minutes, you’ll get a decent amount of remaining sauce to spoon over the chicken, but it won’t be very thick. At 20 minutes, you’ll end up with a thick glaze that easily sticks to the chicken, but you won’t have much liquid to spoon over the chicken. You’ll also have to be careful that the sauce doesn’t burn on the bottom of your pressure cooker pot. Personally, I like the consistency of the sauce when boiled about 17 minutes. I recommend 15 minutes for most people because it’s easy to burn the sauce when it starts becoming glaze-like.

(7) Serving / Leftovers. Chicken adobo can be served with fried cauliflower rice, roasted vegetable medley, or a fresh salsa. This is a very flavorful dish, so a plainer side dish would be best. Leftovers keep well — store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days and reheat in the microwave.

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Makes 4 ServingsAmount Per Serving:
Calories 370(52% from fat)
Total Fat 21g33%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Cholesterol 182mg61%
Sodium 1540mg64%
Net Carb 6.5g
Total Carb 7g2%
Dietary Fiber 0.5g2%
Sugars 3g
Protein 37g
Vitamin A 2% · Vitamin C 3% · Calcium 1% · Iron 17%

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