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Instant Pot Pho

Instant Pot Pho

As much as I love ye ole artisan style cooking over an open flame, I equally love technology in cooking. My extra large Instant Pot is too convenient. I love being thoughtful and having endless amounts of time to be in the kitchen making something delicious, but it’s also night to create something that doesn’t dirty a bunch of dishes or take up hours of precious time. I am paradoxical in that I love slow moving recipes and thoughtful, time-consuming dishes as well as quick fixes to push out plates onto the table for two hungry kids. Life in balance.

Traditionalists will shudder at the title of this blog post. OUTRAGEOUS. You can not make authentic Vietnamese pho in an Instant pot! I agree. I’m a horrible human being. So I’m not going to claim this is authentic in any way, shape or form. So please don’t come after me with bitter diatribes about what a schmuck I am to quicken traditions of hundreds of years of simmering beef bones and oxtail because it is 2019 and I have an Instant Pot! Boom! Roasted! Or rather, Boom! Pressure-cooked!

The most important thing to latch onto here is my kids adore this recipe, eat it up after a cold day, and I feel like I am nourishing their growing bodies and immune systems with a marrow-rich bowl of soup. Food is medicine and this a recipe that also feeds the soul.

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Instant Pot Pho

Yield: 8
prep time: cook time: total time:
I have an 8 quart Instant Pot for this recipe. You could use a smaller one, but you may want to cut down the ingredients a little for less broth. Although using the same amount will not hurt either and will just create a rich, concentrated broth.


For the Broth
  • 6 beef bones
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/4 cup black peppercorns
  • 5 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 10 pieces star anise
  • 1/3 cup fish sauce
  • 1 whole onion, yellow or white
  • 3" piece of ginger, skinned and sliced
To assemble the bowls
  • 2 1/2 lbs of sliced sirloin
  • 2 packages of Thai Kitchen stir-fry rice noodles
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • Hoison sauce, to taste
  • Sriracha, to taste,
  • Lime wedges


How to cook Instant Pot Pho

  1. Slice the onion in half. Over an open flame or under a high broil, cook the onion and ginger until it is charred.  Set aside. Heat up the Instant Pot on the sauté function.  Put in the butter and once it is hot but not burning, add the beef bones.  Cook the bones until they are roasted on both sides. Add the peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, star anise, onion, ginger, and garlic.  Sauté until fragrant. Once the spices and bones are toasted, add water almost to the line on an 8 quart Instant Pot. Add the fish sauce and then change the Instant Pot function to Pressure Cook, High, for 1 hour.  
  2. Once the time is up, you can manually release the pressure or let it automatically release over 20 minutes.  Strain the bones and spices.  OPTIONAL: Remove bone marrow and add to broth.  Using an emulsion blender, combine the marrow and the broth for an even deeper flavor.  I always do this because who doesn't want a fatty beef broth on a cold night? Turn the Instant pot back to saute with broth inside or put inside a large pot and bring back to a boil.  When I am ready to serve, I soak the rice noodles in warm water and add them to the broth with the thinly sliced sirloin.  The noodles and beef will have about the same cook time.  I remove them back from the broth with a slotted ladle so they don't overcook.  
  3. To assemble the pho, add the desired amount of noodles and beef, pour over desired amount of broth, and top with cilantro and a lime wedge.  Add hoison sauce and sriracha until desired amount of spice and sweet is achieved.  I start by just trying the broth by itself and then I add a little. bit, stir, and keep doctoring and adding until I find the right flavor I want.  Of course, I feel like a veteran with this now so I can pour it over the top and know when enough is enough. 
  4. This makes enough for 8 hungry people.  Since we are a family of 4, I usually make the broth but only cook 1 package of rice noodles and half of the sirloin.  I save the rest and heat the broth back up for leftovers.  This gets even better the day after you make it, so by all means, make it two nights in a row and enjoy!
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