Instant Pot Chicken Pho

4 servings



total time


1 (4 lb) whole chicken

1 rounded tablespoon coriander seeds

3 whole cloves

Chubby 2-inch section ginger, peeled, thickly sliced, and bruised

1 large (10 oz) yellow onion, halved and thickly sliced

7 to 7 ½ cups just-boiled water

1 small (4 oz) Fuji apple, peeled, cored, and cut into thumbnail-size chunks

3⁄4 cup (.7 oz) coarsely chopped cilantro sprigs

2 1⁄4 teaspoons fine sea salt

About 1 1⁄2 tablespoons fish sauce

About 1 teaspoon organic sugar, or 2 teaspoons maple syrup (optional)

10 ounces dried narrow flat rice noodles (banh pho or pad Thai noodles)

About half the cooked chicken from the broth

1⁄2 small (2 oz) yellow or red onion, thinly sliced against the grain and soaked in water for 10 minutes

2 thinly sliced green onions, green parts only

1⁄4 cup (.2 oz) chopped fresh cilantro, leafy tops only

Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

2 or 3 tender lime leaves, cut into fine threads (omit spines)

4 handfuls beansprouts

4 to 6 sprigs mint

4 to 6 sprigs Thai basil

2 limes, cut into wedges

2 Thai chiles or 1 jalapeno, Fresno, or serrano chile, thinly sliced (keep seeds intact)

Sriracha and/or hoisin sauce


Rinse the chicken and set aside to drain. Put the coriander seeds and cloves in a 6-quart Instant Pot. Use the Saute and More functions to toast the spices several minutes, stirring, until fragrant. Add the ginger and onion. Stir until aromatic, 45 to 60 seconds, to coax out a bit of flavor. A little browning is okay.

Add 4 cups of the water to arrest the cooking process. Put the chicken in the cooker, breast side up. Add the apple, cilantro, salt, and 3 to 3 ½ cups water to barely cover the top of the breast (it will cook by the steam in the IP). Lock the lid in place.

Program the IP to pressure cook (Manual) on low pressure for 15 minutes. When done, unplug the cooker and let the pressure decrease naturally, about 20 minutes. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to avoid the hot steam.

Let settle for 5 minutes before using tongs to transfer the chicken to a bowl; if parts fall off in transit, don’t worry. Add water to cover the chicken and soak for 10 minutes to cool and prevent drying. Pour off the water, partially cover, and set the chicken aside to cool.

Skim some fat from the broth before straining it through a muslin-lined mesh strainer positioned over a medium pot. Discard the solids. You should have about 8 cups. Season the broth with the fish sauce, extra salt, and perhaps the sugar (or maple syrup.

Use a knife to remove the breast halves and legs from the chicken. Set aside half of the chicken for another use (a Viet cabbage slaw or chicken sandwiches!). Reserve the remaining chicken for pho bowl assembly.

While the broth cooks, or about 30 minutes before serving, ready the ingredients for the bowls. Soak the noodles in hot tap water until pliable and opaque. Drain, rinse, and drain well. Divide among 4 soup bowls.

Cut or tear the chicken breast and leg into pieces about 1⁄4 inch thick. Place the onion, green onion, and cilantro in separate bowls and line them up with the noodles, chicken, and pepper for a pho assembly line.

Bring the broth to a simmer over medium heat as you are assembling the bowls. At the same time, fill a pot with water and bring to a rolling boil for the noodles.

For each bowl, use a noodle strainer or mesh sieve to dunk a portion of the noodles in the boiling water. When the noodles are soft, 5 to 60 seconds, pull the strainer from the water, shaking it to drain excess water back into the pot. Empty the noodles into a bowl. Top with chicken, then garnish with onion, green onion, cilantro, and pepper.

Check the broth flavor once more, raise the heat, and bring it to a boil. Ladle about 2 cups broth into each bowl. Enjoy immediately with any extras, if you like.

4 servings



total time
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