Phở is the national dish of Vietnam, my homeland. That’s why my blog branding is “Savour the Phở,” even though my ultimate love is for Bún Bò Huế 😂.

My recipe for Instant Pot Chicken Phở today is not the traditional way since I use an Instant Pot to cook, but I’m sure it still delivers an authentic Hanoi-style flavor.

a bowl of Pho Ga (Chicken Pho)

🇻🇳 Hanoi – the destination for dedicated foodies

Hanoi, the charming capital city of Vietnam, is a culinary paradise known for its local delicacies. TripAdvisor even crowned Hanoi as the World’s Best Food Destination in 2024.

A dedicated hawker selling fresh fruits on a busy street in Hanoii

As someone born and raised in the South of Vietnam, Hanoi’s cuisine holds a special place in my heart. I have curated a list of must-try dishes in Hanoi that I share with all my friends when they plan to visit Vietnam.

Phở in the North (Hanoi) and the South (Saigon) are just not the same. For me, chicken phở in Hanoi is the best. For the beef version, I prefer southern phở to northern phở since I’m a big fan of the rich broth, beef balls, and many accompanying herbs in the southern version.

Besides Phở, Bún Chả (grilled pork with rice noodles), Chả Cá Lã Vọng (turmeric fish with dill), and Cà Phê Trứng (egg coffee) are the delicacies you can’t miss when in Hanoi.

🐔 Ingredients

Phở Spices

Many people use Pho-spice packets to cook Phở (it’s totally fine). But since I cook Hanoi-style chicken pho , I prefer to make the spices myself.

  • If you travel to Vietnam and eat Phở (either beef or chicken), you’ll notice that the broth isn’t heavily saturated with robust aromas of cinnamon and star anises. Instead, the primary flavors arise from charred ginger, shallots, onions, and peppercorns.
Ingredients for Chicken Pho broth: onions, shallots, ginger, scallion roots.
  • Coriander seeds should take the lead in the spices for Chicken Phở. There’s a little-known trick from Hanoi Chicken Pho vendors where some people incorporate coriander roots (or stems) and green onion roots to create the broth with deeper flavors.
  • Lime leaves are must-have for Hanoi chicken phở for both flavor and garnish. Lime leaves and chicken are an iconic duo in Vietnamese cuisine (as seen in Gà Xào Sả Ớt). If you don’t have lime leaves in hands, kaffir leaves are a good substitute.
  • Other spices like star anises, fennel seeds, cinnamon, black cardamom, cloves are just optional for Hanoi-style Chicke Pho. They have a strong fragrance so if you choose to use them, remember that a little goes a long way.
Spices for Chicken Pho: coriander seeds, fennel seeds, star anise, cinnamon, peppercorns, keffir leaves, black cardamom.

Here’s my recommendation for cooking Chicken Phở with the Hanoi flavor, but feel free to play around with the spices to suit your taste. For 3.6 quarts (3.5 liters) of broth, you will need:

  • 3 onions (unpeeled)
  • 2 big shallots (unpeeled)
  • Chubby 4-inch (10 cm) section fresh ginger (unpeeled)
  • 1/4 cup coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp peppercorns
  • 3 lime/kaffir leaves
  • 3 scallion roots (optional)
  • A handful of cilantro roots/stems (optional)
  • 1 tsp fenned seeds (optional)
  • 1 small cinnamon stick (opional)
  • 1 black cardamom pod (optional)
  • 3 star anise pods (opional)

Chicken

Vietnamese people prefer their chicken to have a texture that’s not overly soft and tender , but rather with a bit of springiness to the skin.

In Vietnam, we often cook Phở with free-range Gà Ta (the indigenous chicken breeds of Vietnam). They are typically hens that have laid eggs 1-2 times.

a bowl of chicken pho

When I’m in Germany, I find that an old hen works best for my Phở. If you’re in an area with a sizable Vietnamese community, you might come across free-range walking chicken (Gà Đi Bộ) at an Asian market.

Sometimes, I prepare chicken phở with chicken leg quarters or thighs . This way requires less cooking time, and the flavor is still decent. My German boyfriend prefers this version as he isn’t a fan of the traditional Vietnamese-style chicken texture.

If you use chicken leg quarters or thighs, I recommend choosing organic or free-range chicken.

Pork bones

It may be a surprise to find pork bones in Chicken Phở , but they are actually a secret trick used by Hanoi Phở vendors to enrich the broth. You can substitute pork bones with chicken bones or even store-bought chicken stock if you’re pressed for time.

Although you can choose to skip the bone broth and use water instead, in my experience, water doesn’t deliver enough umami flavor.

Seasoning

  • Fish sauce: Opt for high-quality fish sauce. Using low-quality fish sauce to cook the broth for too long can result in an unpleasant sour aftertaste. Only add the fish sauce to taste at the end of cooking.
  • Rock sugar. Being from the South, I still prefer to season my Phở broth with a bit of rock sugar (granulated sugar is fine).
  • Salt, Chicken powder & MSG. I only use salt to season my Phở this time, but chicken powder & MSG could enhance the flavor, especially if you don’t have proper homemade broth.

Other ingredients

  • Bánh Phở (Phở rice noodles): choose flat rice noodles for Northern Phở (while thin rice noodles are for Southern Phở).
The rice noodles for pho
  • Phở ganish herbs: bean sprouts, chili (Thai chili or jalapeno chili), lime and some Vietnamese popular herbs like Thai basil, cilantro and culantro.
Pho herbs: beansprouts, cilantro, lime, chili.
  • Chili sauce like Sriracha.
  • Quẩy (Youtiao): In Hanoi, you will always find Chinese donut sticks served alongside a steaming bowl of Phở.

📝 Instructions

Cook the broth (skip this step if you use store-bought chicken stock)

  • Parboil the pork bones in water with some salt using the “Saute” mode on your Instant Pot. Wash and rinse the bones until the water runs clear.
  • Return the bones to the pot. Add enough water to reach the fill line in your pot (about 2.6 quarts/2.5 liters). Season with 1 tbsp salt. Pressure cook on High for 7 minutes (or 5 minutes for chicken bones), then allow for a natural release for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the bones, and you’ll have about 2.6 quarts (2.5 liters) of broth. This bone broth can be kept in the freezer for 2 months and also can be used to cook Bún Mọc, Súp Nui Sườn, and Bánh Canh.
  • If you’re using store-bought chicken stock, use the same amount of broth, or you could use just water.
Parboil the pork bones.
Cook the bone broth with Instant Pot.

Prepare the chicken

  • Rub and rinse the chicken with some salt, removing the chicken butt if it’s there.
  • Discard all leftover organs inside the chicken. Wash and rinse the chicken well.

Char and toast the spices

  • Cut the onions in half and slice the ginger.
  • Char the onions, shallots, and ginger using an air fryer, oven, or stainless steel pan. It’s okay if they get a little burnt. Remove the burnt parts.
Broil the onions, shallots and ginger with air fryer or oven.
with air fryer
char the ginger, onion with a stainless steel pot.
with a stainless-steel pot
  • For the smaller spices (which are more prone to burning) like coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cloves, and peppercorns, toast them together in a stainless steel pan.
  • For the other ingredients—star anise, cinnamon, black cardamom, kaffir leaves, coriander roots, and green onion roots—toast them together as well.
Toast peppercorns, coriander seeds and fennel seeds together.
Toast cinnamon, star anise, kaffir leaves, scallion roots together.
  • Let them cool down, then place all spices into the tea bags. You could dump all of them into the broth, but then you would have to strain the broth to remove them before serving.
Put all spices into tea bags.

Cook the Pho broth

  • Place the chicken, onions, shallots, ginger and all spices into the pot of broth. Add more water to reach the fill line if needed. Season with 1 tbsp of rock sugar.
  • Cook the chicken on high pressure:
    • For an old hen: cook for 15 minutes with a natural release for 15 minutes.
    • For chicken leg quarters/thighs: cook for 0 minutes with a natural release for 10-15 minutes.
A pot of Chicken pho broth with chicken, bone broth, pho spices, charred onions, shallots, ginger...
  • Remove the chicken, spice bags, onion, and shallot from the broth.
  • The broth is now rich and packed with umami flavor. If you like, you can dilute it with 1 quart (1 liter) of boiling water to make 3.6 quarts / 3.5 liters of broth.
  • Season the broth with salt/chicken powder, fish sauce and MSG. Keep in mind that the broth should be slightly saltier than your preference, as it will be diluted when served with the rice noodles and bean sprouts.

Assemble

  • Shred the chicken and slice the onion. Sometimes, I like to blanch the bean sprouts.
  • Cook the pho noodles according to the instructions. Wash and rinse them well until the water runs clear.
a bowl of pho noodles, shredded chicken and cilantro
  • Place the rice noodles in a bowl, top with the shredded chicken and onion. Ladle the broth over the top.
a bowl of chicken pho

🥢 How to eat Phở Gà

  • Start by sipping the broth first. Adjust the flavor with lime and fish sauce according to your taste, and add chili sauce for extra heat if desired.
  • Add bean sprouts, tear the herbs, and sink them into the broth.
  • You can enjoy the rice noodles, vegetables, and meat chunks by using chopsticks and a spoon to savor the broth. It’s important not to slurp the noodles in Vietnam, as it’s considered impolite etiquette (unlike when eating Japanese ramen).
  • In Hanoi, people don’t eat Phở with bean sprouts and herbs like in the South. They don’t serve Phở with hoisin sauce either. However, people like to dip Youtiao into the broth and enjoy it along with the rice noodles.

🌟 Some facts about Phở you may not know

Pho Hanoi
A pho peddler in Hanoi more than 70 years ago.
  1. Phở Gà was born during the French colonization era when, on certain days of the week, there is a shortage of beef. The owners of Phở Bò (Beef Phở) vendors attempted to use chicken as a substitute to cook Phở.
A delicious bowl of Pho Bo, Vietnamese beef noodle soup with tender beef, rice noodles, and flavorful broth, garnished with thinly sliced onion and chopped scallions.
Beef Phở – Phở Bò in Hanoi with an abundance of scallions
  1. Phở Gà takes less time to cook than Phở Bò; sometimes, I even use leftover rotisserie chicken (like from Costco) or leftover turkey from Easter to make Rotisserie Chicken Phở.
  2. In the North (where Phở originated), giấm tỏi (garlic vinegar) is for beef phở and lime is for chicken phở.
garlic vinegar
garlic vinegar
  1. The broth and spices for beef and chicken phở differ. In Hanoi, you will never find a phở vendor selling both types of phở with the same broth (if they did, their business would likely fail).
  2. Hanoi Phở’s broth tends to be delicate and lighter than Saigon Phở’s broth, and Chicken Phở is notably lighter and milder than Beef Phở.
  3. Phở and Bánh Cuốn are the popular choices for breakfast in the North. Southern people have less affection for Phở; we are more into Xôi Mặn, Hủ Tiếu Nam Vang, and Cơm Tấm in the morning.
  4. Besides Phở Bò (Beef Phở) and Phở Gà (Chicken Phở), in Vietnam, you can easily find many variations of Phở, all of which are worth trying:
A bowl of Pho Bo Sot Vang, Vietnamese beef stew infused with red wine and aromatic spices.
Phở Bò Sốt Vang (Red Wine Beef Stew Pho)
a plate of Pho Xao Gion, a Vietnamese dish featuring crispy fried Pho noodles topped with stir-fried beef and a medley of fresh herbs and vegetables
Phở Áp Chảo (Pan-fried Pho Noodles with Stir-fried Beef)
Steaming bowl of Pho Sa Tế with flat rice noodles, rich satay broth, and an assortment of fresh toppings
Phở Sa Tế (Spicy Beef Satay Phở)
Vietnamese Phở Trộn
Phở Trộn Gà (Pho Noodle Salad with Chicken)

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Bò Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew)

Bò Kho is a Chinese-Vietnamese dish popular in Southern cuisine. It’s hearty and comforting, with the infusion of lemongrass and coconut water.

It is often served with a Banh Mi Baguette (Bánh Mì Bò Kho) or with rice / tapioca / egg noodles (Phở Bò Kho / Hủ Tiếu Bò Kho / Mì Bò Kho).

🍜 More Vietnamese recipes with Chicken

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This lemongrass chicken is delicious and fragrant, yet quick and easy to make using an air fryer or oven.

You can enjoy it with sticky rice (such as my Instant Pot sticky rice), steamed Jasmine rice, rice noodles, or as a filling for Vietnamese Bánh Mì.

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Gà Roti is a Vietnamese dish inspired by French cuisine (similar to Vietnamese Iced Coffee and Pâté Chaud).

It features chicken marinated in soy sauce and five spices, then cooked with coconut water to create a delightful glaze.

Thank you for trying my recipe!! Don’t forget to stay in touch with me on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and YouTube 🥰.

a bowl of Pho Ga (Chicken Pho)

Instant Pot Chicken Phở – Phở Gà (Hanoi-style)

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This Instant Pot Chicken Phở is both quick and easy, yet still captures the authentic flavor of Hanoi-style chicken pho.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Breakfast, Main Course
Cuisine Vietnamese
Servings 4 people

Equipment

  • 1 Instant Pot (6-quart / 6 liter)

Ingredients
  

Pho Spices

  • 3 onions (unpeeled)
  • 2 shallots (unpeeled)
  • 4-inch (10 cm) section fresh ginger (unpeeled)
  • ¼ cup coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp peppercorns
  • 3 lime / kaffir leaves
  • 3 scallion roots (optional)
  • A handful cilantro roots / stems (optional)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds (optional)
  • 1 small cinnamon stick (optional)
  • 1 black cardamom pod (optional)
  • 3 star anise pods (optional)

Chicken

  • 1 whole free-walking chicken / old hen (or 4 chicken leg quarters)

Broth (optional but highly recommend, you could substitute with the same amount of store-bought chicken stock or water)

  • 2.5 lbs pork bones / chicken bones (1.1 kg)
  • 2 quarts water (2 liter)
  • 1 tbsp salt

Seasonings

  • 4 tbsp High-quality fish sauce (to your taste)
  • 1 tbsp rock sugar (or 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar)
  • 2 tbsp salt / chicken powder (to your taste)
  • ½ tbsp MSG (optional)

Other ingredients

  • Phở rice noodles (flat rice noodles for Northern Phở)
  • Bean sprouts
  • Chili (Thai Chili or Jalapeno)
  • Lime
  • Herbs (Thai basil, cilantro, culantro…)
  • Chili sauce (Sriracha)
  • Quẩy (Youtiao or Chinese donut sticks) (optional)

Instructions
 

Prepare the broth (skip this step if you use store-bought chicken broth or just water)

  • Parboil the pork bones in water with some salt with the "Saute" mode of your Instant Pot. Wash and rinse the bones until the water runs clear.
  • Place the bones back into the pot. Fill the pot with enough water to reach the fill line (should be about 2.6 quarts/2.5 liters). Season with 1 tablespoon of salt. Pressure cook on High for 7 minutes (or 5 minutes for chicken bones), then allow for a natural release for 5 minutes.
  • Discard the bones, and you'll have about 2.6 quarts (2.5 liters) of broth.

Prepare the chicken

  • Prepare the chicken by rubbing and rinsing it with some salt. Remove the chicken butt and any leftover organs inside the chicken (if present). Rinse the chicken thoroughly.

Toast and char the spices

  • Slice the ginger and cut the onions in half.
  • Char the onions, shallots, and ginger (you could use an air fryer, an oven, or a stainless steel pan). It's okay if they become slightly burnt. Remove any burnt parts.
  • For the smaller spices, such as coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cloves, and peppercorns, toast them together in a stainless steel pan.
  • Similarly, toast the other ingredients—star anise, cinnamon, black cardamom, kaffir leaves, coriander roots, and green onion roots—together.
  • Once cooled, place all spices into the tea bags. While you could add all of them directly into the broth, you would then need to strain the broth before serving to remove the spices.

Cook the Chicken Pho Broth

  • Add the chicken, ginger, onions, shallots, and all spices to the pot of broth. If necessary, add more water to reach the fill line. Season with 1 tablespoon of rock sugar.
  • On "High Pressure" mode:
    – For an old hen: Cook for 15 minutes, then allow for a natural release for 15 minutes.
    – For chicken leg quarters/thighs: Cook for 0 minutes, then allow for a natural release for 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken and set it aside. Discard the spice bags, onion, and shallot from the broth.
  • The broth is now rich and bursting with umami flavor. If desired, you can dilute it with 1 quart (1 liter) of boiling water (this yields 5-6 bowls of Pho).
  • Season the broth with salt/chicken powder, fish sauce and MSG (optional). Remember to make it slightly saltier than your preference, as it will be diluted when served with the rice noodles and bean sprouts.

Assemble

  • Shred the chicken and slice the onion. Blanch the bean sprouts.
  • Cook the pho noodles as per the instructions. Rinse them thoroughly to remove the starch.
  • Place the rice noodles in a bowl, then add the shredded chicken and sliced onion on top. Pour the broth over the ingredients.
  • Enjoy with a squeeze of lime, bean sprouts, herbs, and chili sauce.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
5/5 - (1 vote)

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Tammy
Tammy
11 days ago

There appears to be a typo? Says to cook for ZERO mins.

“– For chicken leg quarters/thighs: Cook for 0 minutes, then allow for a natural release for 10-15 minutes.”

How long should the leg quarters/thighs be cooked in the Instant Pot? Thanks!