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Adobong Pula - Chicken Adobo in Atsuete: Instant Pot + Stove-top

Adobong Pula – Chicken Adobo in Atsuete is the traditional Filipino adobo stew cooked in atsuete (annatto) with the classic ingredients of garlic, vinegar, peppercorns, bay leaves and seasonings. Each region in the Philippines has their bragging rights to their own special version of adobo, the unofficial national dish. Each one is as scrumptious as the next. I often see adobo with atsuete cooked in the Iloilo and Visayas region in the Philippines. This recipe was inspired by The Adobo Book by Nancy Reyes Lumen and Reynaldo Gamboa Alejandro (Anvil Publishing Manila).
*I offer two ways to cook this: On the stove-top or in the current favorite, the Instant Pot multi-cooker. Cooking time below is for the Instant Pot.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Asian, Filipino
Keyword: Chicken Red Adobo Pula Atsuete
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 407kcal
Author: Asian in America - Elizabeth Ann Quirino


  • Instant Pot or any brand of multi-cooker - 6 quart or 8 quart; silicone mitts for the Instant Pot
  • Large stock pot or Dutch oven: 8 quarts or 10 quarts (for stove-top cooking)


  • 2 Tablespoons atsuete (annatto seeds)
  • 1 cup warm water for soaking atsuete seeds
  • 1/2 cup Heinz cider vinegar or use white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 8 cloves garlic peeled, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 pounds chicken cutlets bone-in
  • 2 to 3 pieces bay leaves
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • boiled rice for serving


To cook stove-top

  • In a small bowl, soak the atsuete (annatto) seeds in warm water for at least 30 minutes.
    When water has turned red, set aside the cup of water for adding to the stew. Discard the seeds.
  • In a large bowl, combine the vinegar, soy sauce, black peppercorns, garlic, salt, black pepper. Marinate the chicken pieces in this liquid for at least 30 minutes.
  • In a large stockpot, over medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil. When oil is hot enough, saute the garlic. Add the atsuete (annatto) liquid.
    Add the marinated chicken and the marinade.
  • Add the bay leaves and chicken broth. Cover and let the stew boil. After it boils in about 8 to 10 minutes, lower heat to a simmer. Cover and continue cooking over medium heat for 55 to 60 minutes till chicken is completely cooked.
    Serve warm with boiled rice.

To cook Adobong Pula in the Instant Pot

  • Soak the atsuete seeds in warm water and follow instructions as above to set aside the liquid.
    Marinate the chicken in the following: Vinegar, soy sauce, black peppercorns, garlic, salt, black pepper for at least 30 minutes.
  • Click Saute. Add the vegetable oil to the inside pot. When oil is hot enough in 1 to 2 minutes, saute the garlic and the atsuete liquid.
    Add the marinated chicken, the marinade and bay leaves. Pour the chicken broth.
    Close and lock the lid of the Instant Pot. Set the steam release handle to a Sealing Position.
    Click Manual and cook on High Pressure/Poultry for 40 minutes.
  • When buzzer sounds to announce cook time is done, do a NPR (natural pressure release) for about 5 minutes, allowing the steam to come down on its own. When the float pin drops, it is safe to unlock the lid. Press Cancel to turn off. Open lid carefully.
    Serve the adobo warm with rice.

Notes on the Instant Pot

  • After the Saute function, it takes about 17 minutes for the Instant Pot to preheat before the High Pressure cooking time begins. For other multi-cooker pressure cooker brands, please consult the manual.
    Use accessories recommended for the Instant Pot like silicone or metal. Do not use glassware in the Instant Pot or similar multi-cookers. Consult the readers' manual for safety precautions.

Cook's comments:

  • If atsuete (annatto) seeds are not available, use Instant Annatto Powder which are sold in Asian markets, large supermarkets or online sources like Amazon. To use: Saute 2 Tablespoons of Annatto Powder with the garlic in the vegetable oil at the start of cooking. Follow the rest of the recipe procedure above.
    You can also add pork belly cubes to the chicken pieces and follow recipe directions above. This recipe is for 4 pounds of meat in a 6-quart Instant Pot multi-cooker. Be mindful of these measurements when adjusting the recipe if you add pork.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 407kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 66g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 194mg | Sodium: 1566mg | Potassium: 1240mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 120IU | Vitamin C: 10.5mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1.9mg