Chicken adobo is a Filipino chicken dish that's simple yet has amazing depth of flavor. Traditionally made with caramelized onions and garlic, this easy low FODMAP, Instant Pot chicken adobo version uses the green parts of the leek instead of onion and garlic-infused olive oil to make it an IBS-friendly dish. This low FODMAP chicken adobo recipe also includes gluten-free, low carb, and Keto options as well as instructions for making rice, at the same time, pot-in-pot!
What is chicken adobo?
As mentioned, chicken adobo is a dish hailing from the Philippines. Flavor-wise, it is very tangy from the combination of soy sauce and vinegar in the sauce, peppery, and a little bit spicy. Some chicken adobo recipes are also a little bit sweet from the addition of some sort of sweetener, typically sugar; however, I much prefer my low FODMAP chicken adobo it without any sweetener, despite its heavy acidity.
A variety of different chicken parts can be used to make chicken adobo - legs, bone-in thighs, or a combination. I find boneless, skinless chicken thighs to be the yummiest choice for chicken adobo.
Making Chicken Adobo Low FODMAP
One of the things that makes traditional chicken adobo so delicious are its caramelized onions. So, when I first approached making this dish low FODMAP, I was like: is it even possible? I was a bit pessimistic but decided to try it out using leeks.
Honestly, while the leeks are not as delicious as the onions, this low FODMAP chicken adobo still turns out incredibly yummy. I wouldn't put it out into the universe if I didn't think so. The deliciousness from the sauce overcomes the deficit of having an onion-free chicken adobo, in my opinion. The leeks also bring some amazing flavor.
Gluten-Free, Low Carb, and Keto Options
As written, this chicken adobo recipe is simply low FODMAP; however, it can be easily made gluten-free, low carb, and keto, by doing the following:
- Gluten-free - use tamari sauce instead of soy sauce.
- Low carb / Keto - this recipe is already fairly low carb and might even be considered Keto by some, but can be made even lower in carbs by omitting some of the leeks after cooking. This allows the leeks to infuse the sauce in flavor but then gets rid of much of the carb content. I typically remove about half of the leeks after cooking.
Optional Pot-in-Pot Rice
If you're interested in making white long grain or basmati rice in your Instant Pot at the same time as your chicken adobo, I have included instructions for how to make rice, pot-in-pot. Making pot-in-pot rice is one of the many things that makes Instant Pot cooking magical! White rice is low FODMAP and gluten-free but does not comply with the low carb or Keto diets.
- 6-quart Instant Pot, 8-quart Instant Pot, or comparable electric pressure cooker
- Medium glass storage container or bowl, covered with a lid or plastic wrap
- Measuring spoons and cups
- Chopping board and knife
- Small bowl
- Small plate
- 2 sets of tongs
- Instant read thermometer
- Fat separator (optional) or dinner spoon
- Gravy boat or measuring cup
- For optional pot-in-pot rice:
Low FODMAP Instant Pot Chicken Adobo: Ingredients & Success Tips
As mentioned, chicken adobo recipes can vary in terms of what types of chicken parts they call for. I find boneless, skinless chicken thighs to work very well and they're super easy to eat.
However, chicken thighs do not sear well in the Instant Pot. In order to pack in as much flavor as possible, I marinate the thighs first.
Low FODMAP Chicken Adobo Marinade
A minimum of 2 hours prior to cooking but up to overnight, I marinate the chicken thighs. The ingredients I use for the low FODMAP chicken adobo marinade include:
- Garlic-infused olive oil - adds garlicy flavor without the garlic. Garlicy flavor is a must for chicken adobo.
- Low sodium soy sauce or low sodium tamari (for gluten-free) - Monash University’s Low FODMAP Diet App lists soy sauce as low FODMAP in quantities of up to 2 tablespoons or 42 grams per serving and notes to check the ingredient labels of whatever sauce you chose for any added high FODMAP ingredients (like garlic or onion).
- Distilled white vinegar - Low FODMAP in servings of up to 2 tablespoons or 42 grams per serving.
- Dried chives - adds garlicy and oniony flavor. One of my favorite low FODMAP ingredients, which can be found in the spice aisle of most grocery stores.
- Cayenne (optional) - while low FODMAP, the spiciness added by cayenne may not sit well with some people with IBS. Lessen or omit if your body doesn't do well with spicy food.
- Ground black pepper - I use ground black pepper instead of the traditional peppercorns as I find biting into a whole peppercorn a bit unpalatable. Feel free to use whole peppercorns if that's your thing.
- Bay leaves
I use a medium-sized rectangular glass container to marinate my chicken, but if you don't have one in that size, they can be marinated in a medium-sized glass bowl. Using a zip top bag will not work for this particular recipe as we are going to use the marinade to cook the chicken as well, and we want to be able to get all of it into the Instant Pot, scraping the container with a spatula. You can't easily do that using a zip top bag.
To save on dishes, I add my marinade ingredients directly to the container- leaving out the bay leaves - and whisk them to combine. This is a bit awkward to do in a rectangular container, but oh well. That's one less dish for the dishwasher!
I add the chicken thighs to the marinade, ensuring they're placed so that they're mostly submerged in marinade. I add the bay leaves to the top, submerging them in liquid as well.
Lastly, I put the lid on the container and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Leeks, Dark Green Leaves Only
Once ready to cook, I slice and clean the leeks. I use the dark green leaves only as they are low FODMAP. See my Low FODMAP Leek and Potato Soup recipe for step-by-step instructions and photos on how to chop and clean a leek for low FODMAP cooking.
As mentioned, I use leeks instead of onions to make this recipe low FODMAP. A caramelized leek is yummy, but not as yummy as a caramelized onion, so keep that in mind when eating this. It will be close to tasting like chicken adobo with onions, but not exactly like it. I put the sliced leeks at the bottom of the Instant Pot.
Then, using tongs, I remove the bay leaves to a small plate, saving them for later, and place the marinated chicken on top of the leeks. The leeks provide a barrier between the chicken and the bottom of the pot, which is ideal for cooking boneless, skinless chicken in the Instant Pot.
Then, I pour the marinade into the Instant Pot, ensuring most of it bypasses the chicken and goes to the bottom of the pot. You might have to move your chicken around a bit to ensure this happens. Using a spatula, I scrape the sides of the container clean to ensure every bit of marinade goes into the pot (leave no flavor behind!). Lastly, I place the reserved bay leaves among the chicken, ensuring they will at least partially touch the marinade at the bottom of the pot.
Pot-in-Pot Rice (Optional)
If you'd like to cook rice at the same time as the chicken cooks in the Instant Pot - this is how! These instructions will work for white basmati rice as well as long grain white rice (which are low FODMAP and gluten-free but not low carb or Keto - see below for low FODMAP rice alternatives fitting those diets).
The size of the pot-in-pot bowl matters as it needs to fit in the Instant Pot while being big enough to give the rice and water space to cook. I use an oven-safe stainless steel bowl that's 1.5-quarts and 7.25 x 7.25 x 3.75 inches in size.
To prepare the rice, I pour 1 cup of rice into a fine mesh sieve and rinse with cold water. Then, I pour the rice and 1 cup of cold water into the oven safe bowl and gently stir. I place the Instant Pot's trivet on top of the chicken thighs, handles up, like so:
Lastly, I place the bowl containing the rice on top of the trivet, like so:
That's it. I find making pot-in-pot rice way simpler than having to monitor an extra pot on the stovetop. It doesn't work for all recipes that you might want to cook rice for, but when it does work, it's kind of magical.
Other Low FODMAP Recipes with Pot-in-Pot Rice
If you like making pot-in-pot rice in the Instant Pot, try my Low FODMAP Instant Pot Butter Chicken and Low FODMAP Air Fryer + Instant Pot Orange Chicken recipes, which also include instructions for pot-in-pot rice.
Then, I close the lid of the Instant Pot and set the pressure release valve to sealing if the model requires it. I hit the "Pressure Cook" or "Manual" button and set the timer to 5 minutes. I turn the "Keep Warm" function off.
Once the cooking cycle completes, I allow the Instant Pot to naturally release for 10 minutes and then manually release the remaining pressure. I set an external timer to keep track as I don't want the chicken overcooking.
Remove Chicken (and Pot-in-Pot Rice, if using)
I open the lid, and using hot pads, carefully remove the bowl of rice from the pot using the trivet, place it on a plate, and fluff it with a fork. Using a fresh set of tongs, I remove chicken to a platter. I check the internal temperature of the thickest chicken thigh with an instant read thermometer. Chicken must reach an internal temperature of 165°F to be safely consumed.
Reduce Sauce & Remove Leeks
To reduce the sauce, I hit the “Sauté” button on the Instant Pot and reduce sauce until my desired thickness, about 5-7 minutes. The timing of this depends on how much fat the chicken thighs have on them. Accordingly, if the thighs had a lot of fat on them, it can make the sauce a bit oily. In that case, I pour the sauce through a fat separator to remove most of the oil. If you don't have a fat separator, you can scrape the oil off the top of the sauce with a dinner spoon. If the thighs aren't too fatty, this may not be necessary at all.
Additionally, I remove and discard about half of the amount of leeks from the sauce. If putting the sauce through a fat separator, it will strain them out). I like initially using 2 cups of leeks to infuse the sauce with oniony flavor but eating this quantity gets a bit excessive. You can eat as many or as few as you like with your chicken - totally up to you.
Once the sauce is ready, I pour it into a gravy boat or measuring cup.
I serve this low FODMAP chicken adobo over the rice, with the sauce poured on top. Lastly, I garnish the chicken adobo with chopped scallions (optional).
Low FODMAP Rice Alternatives
If you're not making pot-in-pot rice or don't eat white rice, your rice of choice can be prepared externally from the Instant Pot. Some low FODMAP rice alternatives include:
- Low FODMAP and Keto / Low Carb: hearts of palm rice or shirataki rice (a.k.a. konjac rice or "Miracle" rice)
I've started eating low FODMAP and Keto lately to regulate my blood sugar and enjoy both hearts of palm rice and shirataki rice. Shirataki rice tends to be less expensive and more widely available. Hearts of palm and shirataki noodles are also available in various forms, which I have yet to seriously experiment with but am eager to do so.
Low FODMAP Instant Pot Chicken Adobo
- 1.75 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, about 7-8 thighs
Low FODMAP Chicken Adobo Marinade:
- 2 cups leek, dark green leaves only, sliced
- 2 tablespoons scallions, green tops only, chopped, for garnish (optional)
For Pot-in-Pot Rice (Optional):
- 1 cup white basmati or white long grain white rice
- 1 cup cold water
- Marinate chicken: A minimum of 2 hours prior to cooking, in a medium glass storage container or bowl, whisk together marinade ingredients except for the bay leaves. Add chicken thighs to marinade, ensuring they’re completely covered, and place bay leaves on top, ensuring they’re submerged in liquid. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours.
- Add leeks and chicken to the Instant Pot: When ready to cook, slice leek leaves, clean, and place in an even layer at the bottom of your 6-quart Instant Pot, 8-quart Instant Pot, or comparable electric pressure cooker. Retrieve container containing the chicken from the refrigerator. Using tongs, remove bay leaves to a plate, and remove chicken thighs, placing them in the Instant Pot on top of the leeks in a single layer. Pour marinade into the Instant Pot, most of it reaches the bottom of the pot, scraping every bit of marinade out of the container with a spatula (leave no flavor behind!). Place reserved bay leaves among the chicken, submerging them at least partially in marinade.
- If making pot-in-pot rice (not Keto or low carb): to cook long grain white rice or white basmati rice at the same time as the chicken, pour 1 cup of rice in a fine mesh sieve and rinse with cold water. Then, pour the rice into an oven-safe stainless steel or glass bowl (I use this one. It's stainless steel, 1.5-quarts and 7.25 x 7.25 x 3.75 inches in size. You will need one around this size for the rice to turn out properly). Pour 1 cup of cold water into the bowl with the rice and gently stir. Place the trivet (that comes with the Instant Pot) on top of the chicken thighs, handles up, and place the bowl on top of the trivet. Skip this step entirely if not making pot-in-pot rice.
- Pressure cook:Close the Instant Pot lid and set the pressure release valve to sealing (if your model requires it). Hit the “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” button and set the timer for 5 minutes. Turn the "Keep Warm" function off.Once the cooking cycle has completed, allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes (set an external timer to keep track) and then manually release the remaining pressure.
- Remove chicken (and rice, if using):Open the lid. If you made pot-in-pot rice, using hot pads, carefully remove the bowl of rice from the pot using the trivet, place on a plate, and fluff with a fork. Using a fresh set of tongs, remove chicken to a platter. Check the internal temperature of the thickest chicken thigh with an instant read thermometer. Chicken must reach an internal temperature of 165°F to be safely consumed.
- Reduce Sauce: Hit the “Sauté” button on the Instant Pot and reduce sauce until your desired thickness, 5-7 minutes. Hit “Cancel” on the Instant Pot. Remove or keep as many leeks as desired (I usually remove about half).* If too oily, pour sauce through a fat separator (optional – this will also strain the leeks) or scrape the oil off the top using a dinner spoon. Pour sauce into a gravy boat or measuring cup.
- Serve: Serve chicken over rice* with sauce poured over top. Garnish with chopped scallions (optional).
- Update 7/30/23: Removed Paleo/Whole30 option of coconut aminos instead of soy sauce or tamari as it has been retested for FODMAPs by Monash University. Their low FODMAP diet app lists it as containing fructans and low FODMAP in quantities of up to 1 teaspoon or 5 grams per serving. If you had no problems with fructans or coconut aminos in the past, this may not be an issue for you.
- Soy sauce: Monash University’s Low FODMAP Diet App lists soy sauce as low FODMAP in quantities of up to 2 tablespoons per serving and notes to check the ingredient labels of whatever sauce you chose for any added high FODMAP ingredients (like garlic or onion).
- Cayenne: Spices like cayenne, while being low in FODMAPs, can be an additional symptom trigger for some people with IBS.
- Leeks: The leeks serve to infuse flavor into the sauce and provide a barrier between the chicken and the bottom of the pot. Eating that same quantity in the dish is too much for my taste, but some add some great bites of flavor. Also, omitting some of the leeks makes this recipe lower in carbs and may be considered Keto for some people when eaten with a low carb rice alternative.
- Rice: If not making pot-in-pot rice, your rice of choice can be prepared externally from the Instant Pot. Some low FODMAP rice and rice alternatives include:
- Information in the nutrition card below does not include pot-in-pot rice.