This Instant Pot Beef Pho is a quick, nutritious meal that’s perfect for a chilly evening. The authentic and quintessential Vietnamese soup usually takes hours to make, but you can make this shortcut version with an electric pressure cooker in about 30 minutes.
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What Is Pho (pronounced “fuh”)?
Beef pho is one of those foods that I reach for when I’m feeling blue or under the weather. A bowl of rich beef broth seasoned with warm spices like clove, star anise, and cinnamon is a serious booster.
A tangle of rice noodles, slices of rare beef, a shower of bright fresh herbs, a squeeze of tart lime juice, spicy sliced chile, and crunchy bean sprouts give it punch.
Traditionally, to make authentic Vietnamese pho you would simmer soup bones (usually beef bones) for hours along with vegetables and aromatic spices like cinnamon stick, star anise, peppercorns, and cloves.
The result is absolutely heavenly and totally worth the time and effort if you have it (or if you have a Vietnamese restaurant near you that serves it!)
But sometimes I crave these warm, heady flavors but don’t have time to make the real deal or the inclination to order out.
This quick version of a beef pho recipe uses the Instant Pot (or any electric pressure cooker) and starts with prepared beef broth. That means you can skip the long simmer—just pressure cook the broth and seasonings for 20 minutes!
It’s a far cry from an authentic Vietnamese soup, but it really hits the spot on a cold weeknight.
What are the ingredients for Instant Pot pho?
- Cooking oil
- Beef (I used sirloin tips)
- Dried shiitake mushrooms
- Star anise, cinnamon, bay leaf, salt, and pepper
- Beef broth
- Noodles (I use Vietnamese rice stick noodles like these)
- Optional garnishes: sliced chiles, bean sprouts, cilantro, basil, red cabbage, lime wedges, hoisin sauce, sriracha sauce
Instant Pot Beef Pho Can Be on the Table in 30 Minutes
Start with store-bought beef broth and cook it with dried mushrooms, spices, garlic, and onion. Cook them in an electric pressure cooker and you can make a soul-tingling bowl of beef pho in just 30 minutes.
If you don’t have an Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker, you can use a stovetop pressure cooker. Or you can simmer the same ingredients on the stovetop for a couple of hours or cook them in slow cooker on high for about 6 hours.
However you cook the broth, once it’s ready to eat, it’s time to combine it with the add-ins that make pho so appealing.
Ladle the hot broth over barely cooked or raw sliced beef and tender rice noodles. Diners garnish their own bowls with basil, cilantro, sliced chile peppers, beans sprouts, lime juice, hoisin sauce, and/or sriracha.
This recipe comes from a fantastic new book, The Big Book of Instant Pot Recipes, by Kristy Bernardo, Emily Sunwell-Vidaurri, Amy Rains, and Stefanie Bundalo.
The book is full of other great recipes. There’s Lemon Alfredo Pasta, Mushroom Bourgignon, Sweet & Spicy Baby Back Ribs, Corn & Green Chile Casserole, Chai Spiced Rice Pudding, and Chocolate Flourless Cake.
Should you get an Instant Pot?
If you ask me, the answer is absolutely.
I love my Instant Pot and use it all the time. It is great for making simple things like hard-boiled eggs, rice, and beans. And it also comes in handy for quick-cooking dishes like beef stew, chili, and all sorts of soups.
More Instant Pot Recipes You’ll Love
- Instant Pot Mulligatawny Soup
- Instant Pot Duck Confit
- Instant Pot Congee with Brown Rice and Turmeric
- Pumpkin Black Bean Chili
- How to Cook a Whole Chicken in the Instant Pot
- 1 pound (455 g) boneless beef eye round
- 1 tablespoon (18 g) salt, plus more to season the beef
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) canola oil (or any neutral-flavored cooking oil)
- 2 small yellow onions, cut in half, skin on
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 peppercorns
- 2 star anise
- 1 ounce (28 g) dried shiitake mushrooms
- 5 cups (1.2 L) water
- 3 cups (710 ml) beef stock
- 9.5 ounces (270 g) ramen or udon noodles (see note)
- Toppings: shredded red cabbage, bean sprouts, thinly sliced red onion, hot sauce (sriracha), fresh cilantro, lime wedges, sliced jalapeño and hoisin sauce
- Season all sides of the beef with salt and pepper.
Place the oil in the Instant Pot. Press sauté.
- Once the oil is shimmering, add the beef. Sear each side of the beef for about 5 minutes.
- Add the onions, garlic, cinnamon stick, cloves, bay leaf, peppercorns, star anise, and dried mushrooms to the pot as well. Continue to sear the beef for 5 more minutes while stirring the vegetables and herbs around.
Press cancel and then remove the beef, transferring it to a nearby plate. Tent with foil and let rest.
- Pour the water and stock into the pot and add the salt. Stir to combine.
- Secure the lid with the steam vent in the sealed position. Press pressure cook until the display light is beneath high pressure. Use the plus and minus buttons to adjust the time until the display reads “20 minutes.”
When the timer sounds, quick release the pressure.
- Remove the lid. Use a fine-mesh strainer with a handle to remove the onions, garlic, mushrooms, and spices from the broth.
- Discard the onions, garlic, and spices, reserving the mushrooms. Add the mushrooms back to the pot.
- Press sauté and wait a minute or two until the stock starts to bubble. Add the noodles and cook for 5 minutes, or until tender.
- Ladle the broth into bowls. Use tongs to transfer the noodles to the bowls. Top with slices of beef, red cabbage, bean sprouts, sliced red onion, hot sauce, fresh cilantro, lime wedges, and sliced jalapeño.
For the noodles, I used Vietnamese rice stick noodles, which is what you'll usually find in authentic pho. They also happen to be gluten free (for my husband). They don't need to cook long—the package said just 10 seconds in boiling water! So to avoid overcooking them, I just cooked them separately. I put the noodles and meat in serving bowls and ladled the hot broth over the top.
Amount Per Serving Calories 563Total Fat 19gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 42mgSodium 345mgCarbohydrates 72gFiber 7gSugar 9gProtein 28g
Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.