When I look back at my time in the Navy, one food stands out more than any other: Filipino Pork Adobo. Tender, flavorful chunks of pork, simmered in a garlicky soy sauce and vinegar-based sauce. Pork Adobo is usually served over Vermicelli Rice.
I was stationed onboard the USS Acadia, where Filipino Pork Adobo and Chicken Adobo were both regulars on the menu.
Did you know a large majority of the cooks in the Navy are Filipino? At least they were when I was in the Navy in the 1980s.
Since “adobo” (“sauce” in Spanish) is the unofficial dish of the Philippines, it was served on a regular basis. The perfect balance of sour and salty flavors, make this recipe simply irresistible!
Why This Recipe Works
This Adobo recipe is easy to prepare and so tasty! I can’t stake my reputation on how “authentic,” it is, as I am only attempting to replicate the Filipino Pork Adobo I was served in the Navy. I know one thing, this recipe is DELICIOUS and comes quite close to the real deal!
I like to add a small amount of brown sugar, just to balance the flavors, and some ginger…. because I just LOVE ginger!
I've noticed that a lot of authentic Filipino Adobo recipes call for peppercorns. I prefer to use black pepper instead. Who wants to bite into a peppercorn, am I right?
How Do You Make Adobo In An Instant Pot?
Making Instant Pot Pork Adobo couldn’t be any simpler. In fact, the perfect pot of adobo can be ready from start to finish in around forty minutes.
STEP 1: Cut pork into large chunks and sprinkle with black pepper. If the chunks are too small, they'll completely fall apart in the Instant Pot.
STEP 2: Add oil to the Instant Pot, and choose the “saute” option. Once the oil is hot, add pork to Instant Pot. Sear in batches, and remove.
STEP 3: Saute onion and garlic, scraping the bottom of the pot. Mix the remaining ingredients together and pour them into the Instant Pot and deglaze the pot.
STEP 4: Return the meat to the pot, along with the onion and garlic. Seal Instant Pot and set the vent to “seal” position. Choose the “Pressure Cook” option: Adjust the time to 20 minutes.
STEP 5: After cooking for 20 minutes, allow an additional 10 minutes of resting time. Carefully adjust the vent to release the remaining pressure.
PRO TIP: To thicken the sauce further, choose “saute” and cook down the sauce.
Recipe FAQs and Expert Tips
"Adobo,” which means “marinade” or “sauce” in Spanish, is all about the sauce. The sauce in an exceptional Filipino Pork Adobo has to have the perfect combination of vinegar and soy sauce, mixed with a variety of other ingredients including garlic, onion, bay leaves, and peppercorn.
Some people also add potatoes, brown sugar or honey, and ginger.
The pork in pork adobo is very tender because it is simmered in vinegar and soy sauce. The sauce is salty and vinegary and has a strong garlic flavor.
Traditionally, Filipino Pork Adobo is served over plain white rice. The rice is drenched in the rich, adobo sauce.
Pork Adobo can last approximately one week in the refrigerator and for months in the freezer. Defrost frozen adobo in the microwave, or stove-top.
How do you make Pork Adobo on the stovetop?
- Cut pork into large chunks and sprinkle with black pepper.
- Prepare veggies, set aside.
- Add oil to a Dutch oven, and heat for a minute or two.
- Add pork in batches and sear, then remove.
- Saute onion and garlic, scraping the bottom of the pot. Return meat to the pot.
- Mix the remaining ingredients, and pour over the pot ingredients.
- Place the lid on the pot and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. To thicken the sauce further, remove the lid and continue to cook a few minutes longer. Serve the pork adobo over white rice.
How do you Make Chicken Adobo?
So you say you don’t eat pork? No problem! Let’s make some Chicken Adobo instead! Just follow the same recipe, except replace the pork with chicken.
You can use chicken breast, thighs, or drumsticks, or a combination of all of them. Although you can use boneless chicken, I recommend using chicken with bones to extract more flavor from the bones.
I also recommend removing the skin, so you don’t end up with a greasy adobo sauce.
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Filipino Pork Adobo (Instant Pot and Stove-Top Directions)
- 2 lbs. pork
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 medium yellow onion (sliced)
- 5 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ cup lite soy sauce
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- 2 bay leaf
- Cut pork into large chunks and sprinkle with black pepper. If the chunks are too small, they'll completely fall apart in the Instant Pot.
- Add oil to the Instant Pot, and choose the “saute” option. Once the oil is hot, add pork to Instant Pot. Sear in batches, and remove.
- Saute onion and garlic, scraping the bottom of the pot. Mix the remaining ingredients together and pour them into the Instant Pot and deglaze the pot.
- Return the meat to the pot, along with the onion and garlic. Seal Instant Pot and set the vent to “seal” position. Choose the “Pressure Cook” option: Adjust the time to 20 minutes.
- After cooking for 20 minutes, allow an additional 10 minutes of resting time. Carefully adjust the vent to release the remaining pressure.
- Note: To thicken the sauce further, choose “saute” and cook down the sauce.
- Serve the pork adobo over white rice, along with some chopped scallions.
A must make recipe, It is amazing and I can't wait to make it again. I did cook it in the oven and served it with some cilantro lime rice.
Hilda Sterner says
Thank you, JJ! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Serving the adobo with lime rice sounds just perfect!
Best adobo recipe I’ve made so far, especially using the instant pot
Hilda Sterner says
Wow, thank you so much for the review and the kind words, enjoy! ❤️
Jenn P says
Best recipe I have used by far!
Hilda Sterner says
Wow, thank you so much, Jenn. I really appreciate that. ❤️
"Allow to rest for ten additional minutes" -- this is after the twenty minute timer finishes?
Hilda Sterner says
Yes, after it cooks for 20 minutes, leave it in for an additional 10 minutes (natural release). If the pin doesn't drop after the 10 minutes, do a manual release.
This sounds delicious! Can't wait to try!
Thanks, Karly. I hope you try it and let me know what you think. I'm definitely addicted!