Slow Cooker Vietnamese Chicken Pho Ga

Bon Appétit and I are celebrating slow cookers this month — I’ve created three incredible slow cooker recipes for them, Slow Cooker Vietnamese Pho Ga Noodle Soup; Slow Cooker Cedar Planked Salmon and Slow Cooker Moroccan Lamb Stew. Oh, and if you don’t have a slow cooker, guess what? Bon Appétit is giving away a $150 KitchenAid Slow Cooker to one lucky duck.

For the full recipe for Slow Cooker Vietnamese Chicken Pho Ga Noodle Soup, head over to Bon Appetit. I’ll go into more detail about 3 of the secrets to the recipe.

Slow Cooker Vietnamese Chicken Pho Ga Noodle Soup

Vietnamese Slow Cooker Chicken Pho Ga Recipe

Secret #1: The Moist Chicken

See how moist and tender that chicken is? The secret is to separate your chicken. Chicken bones and parts for the broth; and 1 chicken breast reserved for slicing and eating with your Pho Ga.

The chicken bones and parts go into the slow cooker to make the soup.

The chicken breast is thinly sliced and poached just before serving – cooks in 3-4 minutes. If I had cooked the chicken-for-eating in the slow cooker, it would be flavorless and tough. All of the flavor would have transferred into the broth….and chicken cooked for hours on end in a slow cooker ends up chewy and tough.

Secret #2: Size Matters

Let’s talk about the Pho Ga soup for a bit. I add 2 pounds of chicken parts, whole coriander seeds, half an onion, ginger slices, whole cloves, star anise, and a bundle of cilantro.

Of the 2 pounds of chicken, 1/2 pound of that should be wing tips. Most slow cooker have capacity of 7 quarts. The chunkier the chicken, the less room you have left for broth.

Chicken wing TIPS (the section that really has no meat anyways) have maximum flavor, minimum size. That’s why I love using wing tips. Or chicken feet, if you can find them (did I hear someone squeal?! chicken feet is great for soup!) So remember, size matters. A 7-quart slow cooker will make enough Pho Ga soup for 4 big bowls.

After taking out the big chicken parts, I’ll strain through cheesecloth just to ensure that the broth is clean and clear. For cooking noobs, here’s something to remember. Anytime you are cooking raw chicken in simmering water, you’ll get quite a bit of “white stuff” in the water. Don’t be afraid of it, it’s just chicken protein. If you have time on your hands, you could parboil the bones first in a stock pot, discard water (and “white stuff”) and then proceed with the recipe. But if you have time on your hands, you could just make Pho Ga without the slow cooker.

Straining the broth gives you golden, richly colored, clean soup.

Secret # 3: The Noodles

Soak the dried noodles in COOL water first then DRAIN. This helps makes them pliable, soft and cook better.

To cook the noodles, bring a pot of water to boil and then put the cool drained noodles into the hot water and simmer for 1 minute. After 1 minute — the noodles are DONE!!! That’s it. Don’t overcook the rice noodles, they’ll get too soft and soggy.

Oh and a note on why I boil my noodles in water instead of the pho ga broth we made? Well, I always boil my noodles and pasta separately from my precious soup. That’s because dried noodles/pasta tend to have excess starch that boils out into the water (that’s why boiled pasta water is murky) and many times the dried noodles might have itty bitty weevils or dirt particles that I just don’t want in my soup.

Not so secret secret:

I love garnishing with shaved onions, fresh bean sprouts, cilantro and a squeeze of lime. No Sriracha or Hoisin for me, though many people do enjoy those condiments in their Pho Ga, I think it totally overpowers the beautiful broth.

For the full recipe for Slow Cooker Vietnamese Chicken Pho Ga Noodle Soup, head over to Bon Appetit.

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Comments 25

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  2. Deb in Indiana

    I agree that cooking the chicken breast just a little while sounds like a good idea. Why do you cook the breast and noodles in plain water, though, rather than in the broth? Seems like you could heat the broth up and use it instead of the big pot of water.

    1. SteamyKitchen

      I like to keep my broth clean — and always cook raw or dried noodles in water instead of the broth. Dried noodles sometimes has extra starch (esp wheat noodles) or possible little itty bitty bugs or dirt trapped.

  3. Deb in Indiana

    Well, when you put it that way … I have to agree.

    I’m wishing I had everything I need to come close to this recipe — given that it is snowy and icy and I really want hot soup without venturing out to the grocery. But I’m afraid that I come up short in several essentials.

    I may get my courage up, or I may just make split pea soup and a loaf of bread.

  4. zerrin

    What a flavorful chicken dish! Fantastic! I love the ingredients like coriander seed, cloves, ginger and cilantro when cooking and red onions and fresh bean sprouts when serving. Sounds so appealing!

  5. Murasaki Shikibu

    Sounds lovely, Jaden! I was just thinking of making some chicken noodles tomorrow with leftover Sichuan roast chicken – so this is timely.

  6. Alta

    You have been my go-to source for beef pho, and pho ga, and slow cooker beef pho…now it’s like I’ve come full circle! I love that you mentioned chicken feet – I always pick some up when I’m at the Asian grocery. They make great stock – and it gels when it’s chilled, with all that gelatin. So good for you and so tasty!

  7. [email protected]

    I make a lot of chicken broth, and I’m not afraid of those chicken feet, but just the other day, I thought, wings are cheap at Whole Foods, maybe they will make a good broth. You have confirmed it for me. I did use a few and then on a whim, threw into a hot oven. Guess what. They got crispy and were still good.

    Your soup is gorgeous and all the tips are wonderful.

    1. Pat

      Great idea for the chicken wings and drumsticks. I can never buy them when they are on sale because nobody at my house would eat them. Now I can buy them and make broth. So cool Thanks for the idea.

  8. Katrina

    I’ve always wanted a recipe for a soup just like this! I went to a restaurant not too long ago, and they made something similar. Thanks!

  9. Lisa @ The Cooking Bride

    I have never thought about making chicken broth in my slow cooker, but it’s a great idea. And I JUST made a TON of homemade chicken broth yesterday!! Oh well, I’ll have to remember that for next time!

  10. TuyetHoaTienTu

    Will try this one for my mom! I perfected the Pho and will try to add a new dish to my overall cooking skills. Can’t cook only Pho everyday, my family will lose interest in that dish. 🙂 Thanks. Cam on! Xi xi! 😀

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  12. Natasha @ Saved by the Egg Timer

    Wings tips is a wonderful idea for me to use them up! We make wings all the time and I end up throwing them (gasp!). They will now be frozen for Pho Ga!!! I like the slow cooker method for this too, I have a Pho Bo (long method) recipe and have needed a good chicken version. I get sick of the beef only version sometimes…
    My secret is no soggy noodles and baby mung bean sprouts, I also use a large metal tea ball for the spices. Thanks for the tip about the tips 😀

  13. Roderick Mitchell

    I basically came to your website by accident when I was looking for french bread recipes. Then I got to the bottom and started clicking on different links to your other articles out of curiosity. Now I’m on your website all the time, and I’m a better cook for it 😀

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  17. ailsa

    Recipe was easy and convenient….but can you tell me why soup did not turn out clear. It is a bit too dark for me and smells, not taste like cloves. I went wrong somewhere, disappointed with myself.

  18. Peggy

    why isn’t my Pho Ga turning out well? It tastes like water with anise in it, no flavor at all. I followed your recipe. Can you approximate the amount of water you added? I am thinking maybe I added too much.

  19. joanna

    made this tonight, so delicious! i completely agree that it doesn’t need the hoisin or sriracha, it’s a lovely, delicate broth. and it made more than expected so i now have some in the freezer. this is my new favorite soup.

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