Chicken Afritada Instant Pot is a tomato-based Filipino stew dish with chicken, potato, carrots, and bell pepper.
What is Afritada
Afritada is derived from Spanish fritada which translates to fried – referring to the first step of the cooking preparation in which the meat is pan-fried before simmering in the tomato sauce. It can also be spelled as apritada.
In cooking this Chicken Afritada Instant Pot Recipe, we start by giving the chicken a quick sear to brown the skin as the name suggests before eventually pressure cooking it.
Difference between Afritada, Menudo, Mechado and Kaldereta
Afritada is similar to other Filipino tomato stew recipes like Kalderata, Mechado, and Menudo but with a slight variation in ingredients, one may confuse it with the other. I’ve detailed the difference between all 4 tomato-based Filipino dishes:
Afritada may contain chicken or pork, potatoes, carrots, and bell peppers. Its sauce isn’t as thick as the others and is on the sweeter side.
Menudo is a tomato stew that has small cuts of pork, chopped liver, potatoes, garbanzo, raisins, and hotdog. Pork Menudo Instant Pot Recipe to follow.
Mechado is a beef stew that has thick tomato sauce with potatoes and carrots. Beef Mechado Instant Pot Recipe to follow.
Kaldereta usually uses beef or goat meat. It also has potatoes, carrots. Kaldereta sauce has liver spread and cheese in them. I also used green peas and green olives in my kaldereta recipe. Try our Beef Kaldereta Instant Pot Recipe.
So which one is my favorite among the 4 Filipino tomato-based stews? Well, if I want something on the sweet side, I would cook chicken afritada for its sweet tomato sauce. Sometimes, it would be Pork Menudo because I like raisins. If I want something really rich, I cook Beef Kaldereta. I hardly make Beef Mechado though. Which one is your favorite?
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Chicken Afritada Ingredients:
The ingredients for Chicken Afritada comprised of chicken, tomato sauce, potato, carrots, and bell pepper.
Some afritada recipes may include red Filipino hotdog like the ones you add to Pork Menudo and also green peas like the ones you would add to Beef Kaldereta.
I keep my Instant Pot Chicken Afritada simple but if you feel like adding hotdog and green peas, add it to the Instant Pot to cook with the vegetables towards the end. Here are the ingredients for my Chicken Afritada Instant Pot Recipe:
- Cooking Oil – To sear the chicken pieces.
- Chicken Thighs – I like using chicken thighs for my afritada recipe but you can also use a combination of thigh and drumstick. The same applies if you’re cooking Tinolang Manok Instant Pot Recipe and Filipino Chicken Curry Instant Pot Recipe.
- Garlic – Make sure to use fresh garlic. It does a lot to flavor the afritada sauce. The garlic in jars just doesn’t taste like garlic to me.
- Onion – You can use yellow, sweet onion, or even white onion. The onion I get is really big (see photo), so I only use 1/4 of it.
- Chicken Broth – I used a reduced-sodium fat-free (see photo) for this recipe. If you end up buying a not reduced-sodium one, you may need to lower the salt you add to cooking chicken afritada. Maybe start at 1/2 tsp. salt then taste and adjust accordingly.
- Tomato Sauce – An 8oz. tomato sauce can was just right for this afritada recipe.
- Fish Sauce or Patis (in Tagalog) – If you’ve never used fish sauce before, this is a staple in any Filipino kitchen as a lot of Filipino recipes used fish sauce. You can also find this in Vietnamese and Thai cooking. They are made of anchovies and may be called anchovy sauce but to be precise they have the consistency of soy sauce but the color is translucent golden brown. You will need it for Filipino recipes like Pinakbet Instant Pot Recipe, Kare Kare Instant Pot Recipe, and Bulalo Instant Pot Recipe.
- Sugar – I added sugar to counter the tartness of the tomato sauce. You can omit or lower it. The sweetness of the bell pepper and carrots can help sweeten your afritada dish.
- Ground Black Pepper
- Salt – Add less if you didn’t use a reduced-sodium chicken broth.
- Dried Bay Leaves – Bay Leaves can be found in jars or bags at the spice section of the supermarket. It it also used to cook Filipino Adobo.
- Red Bell Pepper – you can also use green but I like red better – color and taste wise.
- Potato – I used 1 large one. If you end up buying small ones, used 2 to 3.
How to Cook Chicken Afritada in an Instant Pot
Cooking chicken afritada in a pressure cooker cuts down cooking time and all the cooking can be done in the Instant Pot. To cook Chicken Afritada in an Instant Pot, start by giving the chicken a quick sear followed by sauteing the aromatics. Toss the chicken with the afritada sauce to cook for 9 minutes then cook the vegetables for another minute and you’ll have dinner ready in no time. Just make sure you cooked enough steamed rice to go with it. Yum! Below is a step by step guide to cooking chicken afritada.
Chicken Afritada Instant Pot Recipe
1. Prepare the Aromatics.
To cook chicken afritada, start by peeling and mincing the garlic and peel and chop the onion.
2. Sear the Chicken.
The first step to cooking chicken afritada in the Instant Pot is to give the chicken a quick sear to brown both sides. To do this, plug the Instant Pot, press SAUTE, wait until HOT shows on the screen then add cooking oil & sear the chicken pieces 2 to 3 minutes per side then transfer to a plate. Set aside.
3. Saute the Aromatics
Now, we will start to build the flavors for the afritada sauce by sauteeing onions and garlic before putting all the ingredients in.
With the Instant Pot still in SAUTE mode, add the onion and garlic to sauté for about a minute in the oil released by the chicken pieces. There will be some small chicken pieces/skin left on the bottom on the Instant Pot from searing the chicken. Use a wooden spoon or any non-abrasive spoon to scrape it and blend it with the onion and garlic. After you’re done sauteeing, press CANCEL to stop SAUTE mode.
4. Add the Afritada Sauce Ingredients
To make the afritada sauce, add the chicken broth, tomato sauce, fish sauce, sugar, salt, and pepper to the onion & garlic already in the Instant Pot. Stir until well blended.
5. Cook the Chicken Afritada
All we need now is to add back the chicken and we can start pressure cooking our chicken afritada in the Instant Pot.
With the afritada sauce already in the Instant Pot, add back and arrange the seared chicken pieces in a single layer on the Instant Pot with skin-side up. The 6 pieces of chicken will fit tightly but once it is cooked, it will shrink a little bit.
Also, add the dried bay leaves into the sauce at this point. Try to squeeze it in the sauce between the chicken pieces. I didn’t add it with the sauce before putting the chicken as it may lay on the bottom and end up burning.
After putting the chicken and dried bay leaves, close the lid, turn the steam release handle located on top of the Instant Pot lid to “Sealing” then press MEAT/STEW and set the cooking time to 10 minutes. You can now leave to do something else or go to step 6 if you haven’t prepared your vegetables yet.
Note for those using the Instant Pot for the first time: Before the Instant Pot starts the 10-minute cooking countdown, it will first build pressure which would be around 10 minutes for this Instant Pot Chicken Afritada. After the 9 minute cooking time, it would take about 3 to minutes to release steam before you can open the lid. So total cooking time equals building pressure + cooking + releasing steam.
6. Cut the Vegetables
While the Instant Pot is building pressure to cook the Instant Pot Chicken Afritada, prepare the vegetables if you haven’t done so yet.
With a vegetable peeler, peel and cut the potato to cubes, peel and cut the carrots to 1/2″ long, and cut the red bell pepper to squares & discarding the seeds.
After I did this step, there were still a few minutes left for the Chicken Afritada Instant Pot to finish cooking so I went ahead and did other chores around the house.
7. Release Instant Pot Steam before Opening
After the Chicken Afritada is done cooking (you’ll hear a beep), release the pressure of the Instant Pot by moving the steam release handle slowly to “Venting” – a little at a time.
I used an oven mitt and turn the handle a little at a time so the stew won’t spew out. I also don’t like the steam reaching the ceiling or going full blast on the kitchen cabinet so I release the steam a little at a time. I don’t do a natural release though as that takes longer unless I’m not in a rush and is out doing something else, then that would be fine too.
Make sure not to put your face near the valve. The initial steam will have water splatting all over so I just do it halfway using an oven mitt to adjust the valve to “VENTING”. This is especially important when cooking our Arroz Caldo Instant Pot Recipe. When I’m sure it’s just steam coming out, I turn the valve all the way. Other people use a long-handled wooden spoon to do a quick release.
When the valve pin has dropped (located behind the steam release handle), you can open the Instant Pot lid.
8. Transfer the chicken & remove excess oil
Transfer the chicken afritada pieces and bay leaf to a serving dish and leave the chicken afritada sauce in the Instant Pot.
Note: You may need something bigger than a 3-quart serving dish as after everything was cooked, my 3-quart serving dish won’t fit the chicken afritada.
Once all you have on the Instant Pot is the Afritada Sauce, you’ll see the oil from the chicken floating on the sauce. You can remove the excess oil at this point by skimming the top with a spoon or a cup. I did take out about a 1/2 cup of it but if you love your Chicken Afritada a little oilier, leave it. You may need to add more salt and pepper though than what I’ve listed to adjust the taste if you don’t get rid of the extra oil.
9. Cook the Vegetables for Chicken Afritada
We now proceed to pressure cooking the remaining afritada ingredients which are the vegetables for our Chicken Afritada. They just take a minute to soften in the Instant Pot. More than that and the potato and carrots will easily break apart.
To do this, add the potato, carrots, and bell pepper, and blend it with the Afritada Sauce in the Instant Pot. If you wish to add sliced red hotdog and frozen green peas, add it with the vegetables at this point.
To start cooking, close the lid, turn the steam release handle to “Sealing”. Press MANUAL and set the cooking time to 1 minute.
10. Vegetables are Ready. Time to eat!
Once the vegetables are done cooking (you’ll hear a beep), release the pressure of the Instant Pot by moving the steam release handle to “Venting, open the lid once the valve pin has dropped. Move the vegetables and sauce to the serving bowl with the cooked chicken afritada and serve. Filipino Chicken Afritada is great with steamed rice!
- Beef Caldereta Instant Pot Recipe
- Filipino Chicken Curry Instant Pot Recipe
- Chicken Tinola Instant Pot Recipe
- Kare-Kare Instant Pot Recipe
- Pinakbet Instant Pot Recipe
- Arroz Caldo Instant Pot Recipe
- Pork Sinigang Instant Pot Recipe
- Chicken Adobo Instant Pot Recipe
- Bulalo Instant Pot Recipe
Instant Pot Chicken Afritada Recipe Card
- 2 tbsp Cooking Oil
- 6 pieces Chicken Thighs
- 4 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1/4 Yellow or Sweet Onion, chopped (if using a small onion, use half or whole)
- 1 1/2 cup Chicken Broth (I used a reduced-sodium fat-free)
- 1 can Tomato Sauce (8oz.)
- 1 tablespoon Fish Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 3 Dried Bay Leaves
- 2 Carrots, peeled & sliced
- 1 Red Bell Pepper, cut to squares & discard seeds
- 1 Large Potato, peeled and cubed
- Prepare the Aromatics. Peel and mince the garlic and peel and chop the onion.
- Sear the Chicken. Press SAUTE. Wait until HOT shows on the screen then add cooking oil & sear the chicken pieces 2 to 3 minutes per side then transfer to a plate.
- Saute the Aromatics. With the instant Pot still in SAUTE mode, add the onion and garlic to sauté for about a minute in the oil released by the chicken pieces. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom off any small chicken pieces/skin left from searing the chicken and blend it with the onion and garlic. Press CANCEL to stop SAUTE mode.
- Add the Afritda Sauce Ingredients. Add the chicken broth, tomato sauce, fish sauce, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir.
- Cook the Chicken Afritada. Add and arrange the seared chicken pieces in a single layer on the Instant Pot with skin-side up. Also, add the dried bay leaves into the sauce at this point. Close the lid, turn the steam release handle to "Sealing". Press MEAT/STEW and set the cooking time to 10 minutes.
- Cut the Vegetables. While the Instant Pot is building pressure and cooking the chicken, prepare the vegetables if you haven't done so by peeling and cutting the potato to cubes, peeling and cutting the carrots to 1/2" long, and cutting the red bell pepper to squares & discarding the seeds.
- Release Instant Pot Steam. After the Chicken Afritada is done cooking (you'll hear a beep), release the pressure of the Instant Pot by moving the steam release handle slowly to "Venting" - a little at a time. I used an oven mitt and turn it a little at a time so the stew won't spew out.
- Transfer the chicken. Transfer the chicken pieces and bay leaf to a serving bowl. Leave the Afritada sauce in the Instant Pot.
- Remove Extra Oil. Once all you have on the Instant Pot is the Afritada Sauce, you'll see the oil from the chicken floating on the sauce. You can remove the excess oil by skimming the top with a spoon or a cup. I did take out about a 1/2 cup of it but if you love your Chicken Afritada a little oilier, leave it. You may need to add more salt and pepper though that what I've listed to adjust the taste if you don't get rid of the extra oil.
- Cook the Vegetables. Add the potato, carrots, and bell pepper, and blend it with the Afritada Sauce in the Instant Pot. To start cooking it so the vegetables can soften, close the lid, turn the steam release handle to "Sealing". Press MANUAL and set the cooking time to 1 minute.
- Vegetables are Ready. Once the vegetables are done cooking, release the pressure of the Instant Pot by moving the steam release handle to "Venting, open the lid once the valve pin has dropped. Move the vegetables and sauce to the serving bowl with the cooked chicken and serve. Great with steamed rice!
Note: It takes the Instant Pot about 10 minutes to build pressure before it starts cooking and about 3 mins to release steam depending on the contents inside. This recipe will yield a lot of sauce, you would need a big serving bowl.
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