Chicken Tinola Recipe

Chicken and chayote ginger soup

Watch How To Make It:

Filipino chicken tinola is a super-simple, flavorful, chicken-ginger soup. In the Philippines, a tinola soup typically has chicken, chayote, and malunggay (moringa).

One of the coolest memories I have with tinola was with my grandfather on my mom's side. One day as we were walking along the streets (probably in Manila), he brought me along a crowded row of "homes".

One of these was supposedly a "restaurant", yet it looked like a tiny house sliced in half, covered by a corrugated metal roof.

There they had one small plastic table covered with a red and white checkered tablecloth, and two plastic chairs. The server/person who lived in the half-house brought out a bowl of steaming hot chicken tinola and set it on the table.

My grandpa motioned for me to sit and eat the tinola. I was hesitant to eat it because I had no idea where I was and who served me.

My grandpa looked impatient, so I took a bite. I remember my eyes lighting up because that tinola was surprisingly good.

That memory closes with my grandpa saying, "masarap, 'no?" which translates to "delicious, right?"

Okay let's bring it back. This recipe uses an Instant Pot, but you can cook tinola in a regular pot.


1 medium onion
4-5 cloves garlic
½ inches of ginger
2 chayote
3 baby bok choy
2 tbsp oil
1 ½ lbs chicken (drumsticks recommended)
4 cups chicken stock
5-8 whole black peppercorns
2 tbsp fish sauce (can be adjusted)


Chop the onion into roughly bite-sized pieces.

Smash the garlic, and then peel off the skins.

Peel the ginger and slice it thinly.

Peel the chayote, and then cut each in half starting at the ridge at their bottoms. Remove the soft seed in their centers. Slice off any remaining skin on the ridges of each chayote, and then slice them into small enough chunks that will allow them to cook fast.

Take the bok choy, cut off their end stems, and then wash them thoroughly. Set aside.

On the Instant Pot, click the “Sauté” button once, or until it defaults to the “Normal” mode. Heat up the couple tablespoons of oil, then sauté the garlic, ginger, and onions until the onions are translucent.

Throw in the chicken and brown on all sides. Pour in a little bit of the chicken stock and deglaze the bottom of the pot. Once every bit has been scraped off, pour in the rest of the chicken stock.

Add in the peppercorns and the chayote. Mix well, and make sure all the ingredients are submerged in the liquid.

Secure the lid onto the pot, and then cook for 12-15 minutes with the vent open. After letting it cook, press “Cancel” and then wait for all the pressure to release from the vent before opening the lid. (**Be quick on the next step so that your soup is still hot enough to soften the bok choy!)

Take one of the chayote and poke it with a fork to see if it is soft enough to eat. Then, season with the fish sauce (adjust to your liking). If needed, add some salt to enhance the saltiness of the soup.

Add and fully submerge all the bok choy leaves. Wait a few minutes for them to cook and soften, then you're ready to serve the tinola!

Special Notes:

We typically add malunggay (moringa leaves), but you can substitute bok choy, spinach, or other neutral-tasting leafy greens in its place.


Post on social media and tag @jeanelleats! I get so happy when I see people making these recipes at home!

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