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Chicken Afritada

Chicken Afritada is Filipino chicken stew in tomato sauce with carrots, potatoes and bell peppers. It is one of my Mama’s specialty dishes and she shared with me her secret which I am now sharing with you. There is this slogan in Tagalog, “Sarsa pa lang ulam na!”.  And this dish 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 Afritad RecipeAs you know, Filipinos eat everything with rice. You do not eat a dish without rice! It is always ‘kanin at ulam’ ( rice and viand). OK, viand is actually not a direct translation for ‘ulam’ and I think there is no exact English word for it so we use the word viand.

‘Ulam’ simply refers to a dish (or anything) that you eat with the rice. I know some people would eat spaghetti with rice, so in this case, the spaghetti becomes ‘ulam’. Sometimes I also like eating pancit (bihon or canton)  with rice. My Mama (and now my nephews too) sometimes eat banana or mango (and nothing else) with rice. It’s a normal Filipino thing.        

Chicken Afritad

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 gives it a touch of creaminess.

 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 abroad, it melts but does not fully integrate into the sauce.  

The Best Chicken Afritada Recipe

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.  

Additional Tips for cooking Chicken 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.

Easy Afritada Recipe

Other Filipino Stew Dishes to try

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Easy Chicken Afritada Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Chicken Afritada

My Mama's secret Chicken Afritada recipe is out! With fall-off-the-bone tender chicken and rich savory sauce. Cooked long and slow until the oil separates out from the sauce and the meat becomes fork tender. 
Print Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian,Filipino
Keyword: 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 (8 pieces) chicken drumsticks
  • salt to taste
  • about 1/4 cup potted meat - (optional)
  • about 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*
Total Fat 34g 52%
Saturated Fat 9g 45%
Cholesterol 223mg 74%
Sodium 623mg 26%
Potassium 860mg 25%
Total Carbohydrates 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 5g
Protein 41g 82%
Vitamin A 80.5%
Vitamin C 55.4%
Calcium 4.5%
Iron 12.7%
* 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.
Try this Chicken Afritada recipe. A Filipino chicken stew in tomato sauce with carrots, potatoes and bell peppers. Simply delicious! |
Try this Chicken Afritada recipe. A Filipino chicken stew in tomato sauce with carrots, potatoes and bell peppers. Simply delicious! | #chicken #stew #tomatosauce #filipinofood


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 12 Comments

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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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