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Chicken Afritada

One of my Mama’s specialty dishes and her secret is now out. There is this slogan in Tagalog, “Sarsa pa lang ulam na!”.  And this Afritada perfectly fits this phrase. It translates to something like the sauce itself is good enough to be a viand. Does that make sense? Well, it would once you try this recipe.

Chicken stewed in tomato sauce with carrots, potatoes, and bell pepper.

What is Afritada?

It is a popular Filipino dish that normally uses chicken for the meat. Beef, pork, and seafood are also sometimes used. The meat is stewed in tomato sauce together with carrots, potatoes, and bell pepper.

A delicious dish that fits any special occasion. But because it is very easy to prepare it is also commonly served for everyday meals. Because of its richness, it is usually served with plain steamed rice.

Afritada Vs. Menudo

When I look at other Afritada recipes, I understand why people get it confused with Menudo only cooked with chicken. That is because some cook them almost the same way. Growing up, the difference is very apparent to me as my Mama’s Afritada is nothing like Menudo.

Aside from my Mama’s (now not so) secret ingredients, below are the main comparisons between the two dishes.

  • Afritada typically uses chicken while Menudo uses pork meat and liver with additions of hotdogs.
  • Both can use tomato sauce or tomato paste for the sauce.
  • Carrots, potatoes, and bell peppers are found on both dishes. Green peas and raisins are sometimes added to Menudo.
  • Afritada is creamier from the added butter.


Chicken stewed in tomato sauce with carrots, potatoes, and bell pepper.

The secret to best-tasting Chicken Afritada

My Mama’s Chicken Afritada is one of her most-requested dishes and it is definitely my Afritada goal. The problem is she does not use exact measurements and just go with her guts and follow what her taste buds say.

She did tell me her secret ingredients though. Margarine or butter, potted meat, and cheese. She adds these at the end and it makes the dish richer and creamier.

 You may use either butter or margarine. But my Mama’s recipe requires the use of margarine, like Dari Creme. As for the cheese, I am pretty sure she uses the processed cheese we have in the Philippines like Kraft cheese (Eden). The difference with processed cheese, when used in cooking, is that it melts or more like dissolves into the sauce. Unlike the (real) cheeses I used to use when I was in Germany, it melts but does not fully integrate into the sauce.  

Patience makes perfect

Another thing that makes this recipe great is patience. The longer you cook this dish the better it gets. 

Notice the sauce? I promise I didn’t use a lot of oil nor added a tub of margarine. That is from the chicken and the tomato sauce after long simmering and that is the goal. No, not to have a greasy dish but that the oil would separate from the thickened tomato sauce. Then you know you can turn off the heat.

If you find it too greasy for your liking, just skim off some of the oil with a spoon. But what is a little fat from time to time? It’s what makes the dishes tasty.  

Apritadang Manok

Additional Tips for the Best Afritada

  • Cut your potatoes and carrots in uniform sizes so they cook evenly and at the same time.
  • The best parts or cuts for this kind of dish are the legs and thighs or wings. Never use breast parts because they lack the collagen for long and slow stew and they will become dry and chewy.
  • Do not skip the searing of the meat part. This adds a depth of flavor to the dish.

Other Filipino Stew Dishes to try

Chicken Afritada served on a plate

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Chicken Afritada
5 from 5 votes

Chicken Afritada

Afritada is a Filipino favorite with tender chicken cooked in a rich savory tomato-based sauce. Cooked low and slow until the oil separates from the sauce and the meat becomes fork-tender. 
Print Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian,Filipino
Keyword: afritada,apritadang manok,chicken afritada
Servings: 4
Calories: 516kcal
Author: Bebs
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 big carrot - - cubed
  • 1 big potato - - cubed
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion - - chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic - - minced
  • 1 medium red/green bell pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 2 pounds chicken - - drumstick or wings
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup potted meat - (optional)
  • 1/4 cup Kraft cheese - (grated processed cheese) or Velveeta (optional)


  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  • Fry carrots and potatoes until edges are lightly browned. Set aside.
  • Sear chicken for 2-3 minutes each side. Remove from oil and set aside.
  • In the same skillet with oil. Saute garlic and onion until aromatic and limp.
  • Pour in the tomato sauce and 1 cup water. Turn heat to low and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes until the tomato sauce loses some of its sourness.
  • Add the chicken and 1/4 - 1/2 cup water or as needed. Season with salt. Cover and simmer for another 30-40 minutes or until the chicken are cooked through and the sauce is reduced with the oil floating on the surface.
  • Add the potatoes, carrots and bell pepper, butter, potted meat and grated cheese. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Transfer to a serving dish and serve with hot rice.


Nutrition Facts
Chicken Afritada
Amount Per Serving
Calories 516 Calories from Fat 306
% Daily Value*
Fat 34g52%
Saturated Fat 9g45%
Cholesterol 223mg74%
Sodium 623mg26%
Potassium 860mg25%
Carbohydrates 9g3%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 41g82%
Vitamin A 4025IU81%
Vitamin C 45.7mg55%
Calcium 45mg5%
Iron 2.3mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe? Tell us how it went. Tag us at @foxyfolksy or leave a comment and rating below.

The recipe was originally published in February 2018. Updated on March 2020to include new photos and a recipe video. The recipe remains the same.

Try this Chicken Afritada recipe. A Filipino chicken stew in tomato sauce with carrots, potatoes and bell peppers. Simply delicious! |


Bebs here! I love to cook and try new things and DIY projects! And although I think of myself as a homebody, I like seeing other places from time to time.
If you are looking for a recipe and it ain't here, make a request and I will try my best to make it for you!

This Post Has 23 Comments

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  1. I just found this recipe and because I want my 82 year old grandfather(No teeth) to fully appreciate it, I’m finishing it off in a pressure/multi-cooker. The potted meat totally elevates this chicken Afritada

  2. 5 stars
    I googled “easy ulam”. This was the first result that popped up. This was indeed easy but not quick with all the initial veggie and meat pan frying that has to be done. I subbed liverwurst for potted meat then added 4 slices of American cheese. The optional ingredients added so much richness to the sauce. When the chicken was all gone, I poured the veggies and sauce over rice and chopped salami 🙂

    1. Yes, optional ingredients normally are what bring the dish to another level. I like your idea for the leftover sauce, but it rarely happens that there is anything left, Armin would lick it from the pot, if you let him, lol!

  3. 5 stars
    this is the best afritada recipe for me! i tried this with my 2 kids and definitely loved it! keep creating this wonderful content! thanks a lot!

  4. This is a staple in our house (my mother in law is from the Philippines) A fun twist my wife learned from a coworker (also Filipino) is to use sweet potatoes instead of regular white and a generous amount of madras curry powder. It won’t make it spicy or even taste like curry, but it brings out some of the richness of the dish.

    1. Yes, you can Fergy. Tomato puree and tomato sauce are very similar, only the first is thicker. The water in the recipe is actually added for boiling the chicken to cook and tenderize. So just adjust the water as needed.

  5. What exactly is potted meat? I am not Phillipino but my husband is so some of the things I don”t know Thank you

    1. Hi Catherine, liver spread tastes different from potted meat so it will also give a different result. But if you would use it as an alternative then just add half of the amount stated in the ingredients. Or just skip the potted meat and liver spread altogether.

  6. 5 stars
    Hi Bebs, Thank you for posting this recipe. I made it tonight for our supper and it was so delicious. The only thing I changed up was adding Rufina Patis instead of the salt. Other than that, I followed the recipe as is. The taste is very close to how my Mom used to make this. This is a keeper recipe for sure.

    1. Hi Liza, I also usually use Patis or fish sauce in cooking and also in marinating instead of salt. It adds Umami flavor and it makes food taste better. But most of my readers (abroad) do not have fish sauce or does not even know about it so I try to adapt the recipes to what most people have. But I will add a note from now on about using it if possible ????! Thanks for the comment!

    1. Hi Eden, you should have gotten a welcome Email with the links to download the free eRecipe book when you signed up for our newsletter. Check your emails (all forlders). Tell us if you haven’t received it and I will send the links to you.

  7. 5 stars
    Thanks for the recipe! I’m planning to make this for dinner tomorrow. How do I get the sauce to thicken a little bit?

    1. Sorry for the late reply Lyn…currently in vacation. You may want to just cook it longer until the sauce thickens which is what I usually so…or add about a tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in some water some minutes before you turn off the heat.

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