Chicken pho (pho ga in Vietnamese) is a staple in my house. It’s one of the easiest types of pho to make, doesn’t require the same amount of time required for beef pho, and it’s a hearty, delicious soup when you’re feeling under the weather.
Pho is one of my favorite foods. My mom used to cook it on the weekends for the entire family to enjoy, and whenever we go home to Vietnam, we eat pho at least once or twice a week. In Vietnam, it’s more of a traditional breakfast or lunch food. But you can also eat it anytime of the day. It’s rich, delicious.
When I am too busy to make beef pho, I resort to chicken pho. And now that my baby son is 8 months old and eating real foods (we did baby led weaning, so he’s been eating solids for months now), I want him to acquire the tastes of my culture. We loves eating chicken pho. We shred the chicken thinly for him and slice up his noodles, but he’s loving to learn to slurp the noodles and eat soup from a spoon. Chicken pho is currently his favorite.
If you’re on a time crunch, you can easily make Pho Ga in the Instant Pot. I have the 6Qt version that I bought on Amazon. This Instant Pot recipe easy and you can have lunch or dinner plated within 1 hour.
You’ll need to gather a few speciality items from the Asian grocery store. First, I use a bag of Pho Spices. The brand I use is Old Man Que Huong Pho Bac Spice Seasoning (which you can also buy in bulk on Amazon).
I toast the spices in a small pan over the stove for a few minutes (no oil needed) until they’re fragrant.
If you can’t find this spice seasoning package, you can use 1 cinnamon stick, 5 star anise, 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, 1 cardamom pod, and 6 whole cloves.
If you have time, you should also char the onion and ginger using the Instant Pot’s Saute function. (Peel the onion and ginger first. Don’t use any oil). If you’re short of time, you don’t have to do this, but it does create a more flavorful broth.
I also added a tablespoon of the Quoc Viet Foods Chicken Flavored Pho Soup Base for extra flavor. If you’re a chicken pho purist, you can skip this step. But I thought it added an extra rich flavor to the broth.
I used a 3lb whole free-range chicken, but you can also use chicken thighs, drumsticks, or whatever chicken you’d like (as long as it’s bone-in).
Serve and garnish with thinly sliced onions, bean sprouts, thai basil, and fresh cilantro. Enjoy.
This recipe seems like there are a lot of steps, but it’s really easy!
Instant Pot Chicken Pho (Pho Ga) Recipe
- Instant Pot
For the Broth
- 1 package Fresh Banh Pho or Pad Thai Noodles
- Thinly sliced onion
- Chopped green onions
- Chopped cilantro
- Thai Basil
- Hoisin Sauce
- Sriracha sauce
- Lime wedges
Parboil the Whole Chicken
- The secret to clear broth is you need to first parboil the whole chicken. Rinse the raw chicken and place it a pot and cover it with water. Over high heat, boil the chicken for 3-4 minutes until the impurities are released. There will be lots of gunk (less if you use an organic chicken).Dump the water and rinse the chicken with clean water.
Prepare the Pho Spices
- While the chicken is parboiling, you need to prepare the pho spices. You can either do this over the stovetop or use the Instant Pot's saute button. (I find this easier over the stovetop using a small saucepan.)Instant Pot method: Press the Saute button. Dump the pho spices and let it cook until it's fragrant. Turn off. Pour the heated spices into a small bowl and put it in the cloth bag. Over the stove: In a small saucepan over high heat, add the pho spices and cook until fragrant. Remove from heat and dump the spices into the cloth bag.
Prepare the Onion and Ginger
- Using the Instant Pot's Saute button, add the onion halves and peeled ginger. Saute until they are browned (1-2 minutes). Fill half of the Instant Pot with water.
Making the Broth
- Add the chicken to the Instant Pot on top of the charred onion and ginger. Add the Pho spice bag, fish sauce, and sugar. Add the Quoc Viet Foods Chicken Flavored Pho Soup Base (if desired, optional).
- Fill the Instant Pot with water to the max fill line.
- Cover and program the Instant Pot to "Manual" high pressure for 30 minutes. Then let it naturally release for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Using sturdy tongs, remove the chicken to a cutting board. (Be careful – the meat will be falling apart). When it's cool enough, shred the chicken.
- Remove the onion, ginger, and pho spice package. Taste and add more fish sauce, if desired.
- When you're ready to serve, press "Saute" on the Instant Pot.
Assembling the Bowls
- Prepare your noodles. If you're using dried noodles, soak them in water for 20 to 30 minutes. When they're soft enough, divide them among the bowls you're serving.If you're using fresh noodles (banh pho tuoi), divide them into the bowls. Over the stove, fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Fill a pho ladle or noodle strainer with the noodles, dunk it in the boiling water for 1 minute until the noodles are soft. Dump them into the bowl you're going to serve. Top the noodles with bean sprouts, shredded chicken, sliced thin onions, cilantro, green onions, and any other herbs you want to use. Ladle broth into each bowl. Garnish with a dash of ground pepper. Serve with Thai basil, Hoisin sauce, Sriracha sauce, and a Lime wedge. Enjoy!
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.