I absolutely love serving warm, comforting Chicken Pho to my family for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s delicious, healthy, and a wonderful way to keep Vietnamese culture alive in our household. In this recipe, I teach you the quickest and easiest way to make authentic Chicken Pho using the instant pot!
The ultimate Vietnamese comfort food
Growing up, I actually didn’t like pho all that much. But when I left home after college, I found myself having beef or chicken pho a few times per week because I was so homesick. During this period of time, I gained a newfound appreciation for the dish. Its complex flavors and aroma remind me so much of home. This recipe features those traditional Vietnamese flavors I grew up with. I highly recommend trying it for a taste of authentic Vietnamese home cooking on your own dining table.
Quick and healthy Vietnamese chicken pho in the Instant Pot
Normally, authentic Vietnamese chicken pho takes around five to six hours to make. This is to ensure that all the herbs, spices, and flavors from the meat really infuse into the broth. Luckily, by using an instant pot you can get the same results in under an hour. My instant pot Vietnamese Chicken Pho recipe is just as complex and flavorful as the original – and you can get it on the dinner table quicker! By the way, I use an 8-quart instant pot for this recipe. If you want to try more Vietnamese Instant Pot recipes, I suggest my easy Vietnamese beef stew recipe!
What I also love about serving chicken pho to my family is how nutritious it is. I consider this dish to be the Vietnamese version of chicken noodle soup. The broth contains all the vitamins and minerals from the aromatics and chicken while you get additional nutrients from the vegetables and herb toppings.
Chicken Pho Seasoning
Since most pho recipes use the same base seasonings, I highly recommend buying pho seasoning packets. Each one contains cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, and star anise. You can easily find them at most Vietnamese, Chinese, or Asian grocery stores. It just makes the whole process so much easier!
You can also make a batch of your own homemade pho seasoning by grinding and combining the spices I mentioned.
How to keep shredded chicken breast juicy
To complete the toppings for my chicken pho, I like to use shredded chicken breast. But the main problem most people have with chicken breast is how dry it can get when you overcook it. I think we can all agree that chalky, flavorless chicken breast definitely does not make for a satisfying bowl of pho. So how can you avoid overcooking chicken breast?
My secret to keeping chicken breast juicy for Vietnamese pho – or any other recipe that needs shredded chicken breasts – is poaching them. To do this, I add the chicken breasts to a pot of cold water and bring it to a gentle boil. After 5 minutes, I turn off the heat and let the chicken cook, covered, in the residual heat for 25 to 30 minutes depending on the thickness. Done this way, the chicken breast comes out perfect each time. It’s tender, juicy, and – most importantly – never overcooked!
Now that we’ve covered the flavors and cooking process, let’s get into the recipe!
Instant Pot Chicken Pho | Phở Gà
- 2 pieces Chicken Carcasses I buy 2 young whole chickens and remove breast and wings. The rest will be used for my Chicken Pho Broth. Chicken Breast will be poached and shredded. I save the wings for another dish.
- 2 large Onions
- large Gingers Approximately 5-6 inches in length.
- 1 small Daikon or ½ of a Large Daikon
- 1 pack Pho Seasoning I highly recommend getting these Pho seasoning packages as it makes your life so much easier. Each package contains gloves, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and star anise. You can buy these in most Chinese and Vietnamese grocery stores.
- 1 gallon Water
- 1/4 cup Rock Sugar
- 1/4 cup Fish Sauce
- 1 bunch Green onions White part only
- Chicken Meatballs Optional
- Shredded Chicken Breast
- Thinly sliced onions
- Green onions
- Thai Basil
- Bean Sprouts
- Jalapeno peppers or Thai Chili peppers if you like it extra hot
- Wedges of lime
- Flat Rice Noodles
- I purchase 2 small young chickens, each about 4 lbs. I remove the breast which will be poached and shredded later. I also remove the wings and save those for another dish.
- Rub all parts of the chicken with salt and vinegar, then rinse thoroughly.
- If possible, char the onion and ginger over open fire. That is the very best way to develop the amazing flavors and aromas of these two beautiful ingredients. But if that is not an option, char in a toaster oven under broil for 15-20 minutes.
- Set onions and ginger aside to cool. Once cooled, rinse under water and remove the charred skin.
- Toast all the ingredients in the Pho seasoning package over medium heat. Do not skip this step as it will bring out some amazing aroma and flavors that are quintessential Pho. Keep moving the aromatics around so they do not burn.
- Once toasted, put all the dry aromatics in a tea bag. If you buy a ready-made seasoning package, it usually comes with a draw string or tea bag.
- Add all ingredients to your Instant Pot – chicken, daikon, charred ginger and onion as well as the bag with all the toasted dry aromatics.
- Set Instant Pot to High Pressure for 45 minutes.
- Once 45 minutes is over, allow it to naturally release for 10 minutes and then released manually.
- While broth is cooking, we will poach the chicken breasts. This is the EASIEST method to poach chicken breast. It always comes our perfectly and never dry!
- Add chicken breasts to a pot of cold water. Bring I to a light boil. Once it is on a light boil, set the timer for 5 minutes.
- Make sure the water is not boiling heavily. You want it only on a light and small rolling boil.
- Once 5 minutes is over, turn OFF the heat, put on the lid and set the timer for 25 minutes. The chicken will cook perfectly in the residual heat. If your chicken breast is very thick, you may want to let it go for 30 minutes. By cooking it the “passive” way, there is almost no risk of overcooking and the meat will be nice and juicy.
- Now strain the chicken broth to remove excess fat and impurities.
- Season the broth with ¼ cup of rock sugar and ¼ of fish sauce.
- I highly recommend adding a bunch of green onions (white part only) to the broth. This will add a beautiful natural sweetness to the broth.
- In this vlog, I am adding some frozen homemade chicken meatballs Vo Vien but this is totally optional since we already have poached and shredded chicken as a topping.
- Bring the broth to a boil and 5 minutes and it is ready to be served.
- Vietnamese Cuisine relies heavily on fresh herbs and Pho is not an exception. Garnishes will include green onions, Cilantro, Sawtooth Coriander, Thai Basil, Jalapenos, sliced onion and lime wedges.
- Assembling your Pho bowl: Start with cooked rice noodles, add sliced onions, chopped cilantro, green onions, sawtooth coriander and jalapenos. Now add broth to the bowl and squeeze some lime into your Chicken Pho bowl.
- Optional: add Hoisin Sauce and Sciracha.