Vietnamese Pho Pressure Cooker – Paleo Friendly


It’s been a loooong time since I’ve made home made pho – much too long! Normally I make beef pho the long and slow way – either in the slow cooker or barely bubbling on the stovetop:

Slow Cooker Vietnamese Pho Recipe
Vietnamese Beef Pho Recipe
Chicken Pho Recipe (Pho Ga)

But a very persistent reader has been emailing me about creating a Pressure Cooker Vietnamese Pho recipe for the past 2 years. If you can make awesome Pho in the slow cooker, why not a pressure cooker?

Vietnamese Pho Pressure Cooker (Noodle Soup)

The only limitation of using a slow cooker or pressure cooker is space. Both appliances aren’t that big, and if I’m going to take the time to make Vietnamese Pho, I want to make a BIG BATCH of it! Well, enough to serve 4 people and some broth for the freezer too (freeze in quart containers or bags to make the best “instant noodle” broth ever.)

My solution for Pressure Cooker Pho is to treat the pressure cooker as a “pho broth concentrator” – the ingredients in the recipe are sufficient enough to create such a rich pho broth concentrate. You can add water to adjust after the broth is complete.

Vietnamese Pho Pressure Cooker (Noodle Soup)

Paleo Friendly Vietnamese Pho!

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Here’s a bonus. The recipe is Paleo friendly.

Big thanks to Nom Nom Paleo Food for Humans Cookbook by my friends Michelle Tam and Henry Fong for another stellar recipe. LOVE this cookbook, I can’t recommend it enough and have purchased copies for my friends.

If you’re non-Paleo, don’t worry. I’m creating notes for Paleo and non-Paleo recipe the Vietnamese Beef Pho using the pressure cooker.



20 Minute Sriracha Sauce Recipe

20 Minute Sriracha Sauce Recipe – Paleo Friendly –

Cauliflower Fried Rice Paleo Recipe

Cauliflower Fried Rice Recipe – > – Paleo Friendly

Non-Paleo Notes: Vietnamese Pho is generally Paleo friendly, as-is. The only ingredient substitution is the type of oil and noodles. Paleo grain-free “noodles” can be Shirotaki noodles (slippery little noodles made from Asian mountain potatoes – found in refrigerated section next to tofu at the store), Zucchini noodles (watch my video reviewing different gadgets to cut zucchini noodles), Kelp noodles made from seaweed.

Traditional Vietnamese Pho Ingredients

If you’re regular eatin’ folk, the traditional Vietnamese Pho noodles are rice noodles. You can find fresh rice noodles at Asian markets or you can get dried rice noodles at your grocery store. They come in different widths, just get one that you like. Generally, I can easily find the 1/4″ thick noodles very easily.

Dried rice noodles cook differently from the regular wheat-based Italian style pasta that you’re used to. The great news its that it’s faster! Dried rice noodles cook in as quickly as 1-3 minutes! If you overcook the noodles, they become mushy and pretty much inedible.

Here’s the best way to cook the dried rice noodles:

  1. Soak the dried noodles in hot water (not boiling water, just hot water from tap) for about 10 minutes. This will soften up the rice noodles. Drain.
  2. Bring a small pot of water to a simmer. You don’t really need a ton of water (like you do for pasta) – just enough so that all the noodles can be submerged in the hot water. Turn off heat.
  3. Add drained rice noodles to the hot water. Let it sit for 1 minute. Very thin noodles will be ready after 1 minute. Thicker rice noodles will need a couple of minutes. Drain.

Cooking noodles in the Pho broth?

I know you’re gonna ask me: why not cook the noodles directly in the Pho broth? I never do this. Here’s why:

  1. Because the rice noodles cook so darn quickly, it’s so easy to over cook them. I don’t want to ruin a batch of hard-earned broth with overcooked noodles!
  2. Cooking any type of noodles releases starch. For example, when you cook noodles, the water becomes cloudy from the extra flour. I don’t want that in my Pho broth!
  3. Related to #1 is that because the rice noodles can get mushy if submerged in boiling water too long, I add the noodles to each personal bowl first. When everyone is ready to eat (at the table, all staring at me, impatiently tapping their chopsticks on the table) – I will pour the Pho broth INTO the bowls one by one and serve immediately. Basically, I make the bowls to-serve.

No Pressure Cooker? No problem!

Just follow all instructions and simmer the broth for 4 hours on your stovetop. Put all ingredients into a large pot. Fill with 2-1/2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat so that the water is BARELY simmering – just tiny bubbles here and there. Simmer slightly covered for 3-4 hours. Skim surface of fats and stuff that floats frequently.

Vietnamese Pho Pressure Cooker (Noodle Soup) Recipe Video


Vietnamese Pho Pressure Cooker (Noodle Soup)

Servings: 6 Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 2 hours
vietnamese pho pressure cooker noodle soup recipe featured-0888

Adapted from Nom Nom Paleo Cookbook by Henry Fong and Michelle Tam. This recipe makes a Vietnamese Pho Soup concentrate.

A tip for the Beef Eye of Round. The key to this is to very thinly slice. These slices will be added to each person's bowl RAW. When you pour the simmering hot pho broth into each bowl, it will cook the beef perfectly! To slice very thin, space the Eye of Round roast into the freezer for 20 minutes. This will firm up the roast and make it easier to slice very thin.

OR - sometimes you can find already-sliced beef at your grocery store. My store sells pre-sliced beef that you use for cheesesteak sandwiches. Even if it's not eye-of-round roast, just use what they are selling pre-sliced!


3 whole star anise
2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
1 green cardamom pod
2 tablespoons butter, divided (Non-Paleo version: cooking oil)
8 slices fresh ginger, unpeeled, 1/2 inch thick
1/2 large yellow onion, peeled
2 pound beef cross shanks, 1-1/2 inches thick
1-1/2 pound oxtails
1-1/2 pound beef brisket
3-1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 pound beef eye of round roast, very thinly sliced (keep refrigerated until ready to serve)
8 cups shirotaki noodles (Non-Paleo version: dried rice noodles)
2 limes, cut into wedges
2 jalapeño peppers, sliced
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 bunch fresh Thai basil (or regular Italian basil)
1 bunch fresh mint
2 cups bean sprouts
Sriracha sauce (store bought or 20 Minute Sriracha Recipe)


1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add all spices and toast until they become fragrant. Take care not to burn them! Place them in a coffee filter or piece of cheesecloth and tie it up. Place the sachet into the pressure cooker pot.
2. In the same sauce pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon butter (or oil) and add onion and ginger pieces. Brown until there is a nice sear on them. Remove them from the pan and place them in the pressure cooker.
3. Sear the meat in batches: add the remaining tablespoon of butter to the pan and sear the shank, oxtail and brisket. You'll do this in batches, all in a single layer. Give everything plenty of space so that they SEAR and brown. Crowding the pan will not brown the meat. Sear each side, remove each meat from the pan and add them to the pressure cooker.

4. Cover the contents of the pressure cooker with water or up to the fill line. Set your pressure cooker to cook for 60 minutes. This means it will cook under pressure for 60 minutes. It will take time to build up pressure (usually 30 minutes) and additional time to release pressure after cooking (usually 30 minutes).
Approximately: 30 minutes to build up pressure + 60 minutes under pressure + 30 minutes to release pressure. Exact timing is really not that important - and also depends on your pressure cooker system. Follow manufacturer instructions.

5. Once finished cooking and safe to open, open the pressure cooker and using a fine mesh or ladle, remove the top layer of fatty liquid that has accumulated on the surface of the broth and discard (there will be lots of it.) Remove the onion, ginger and spice sachet and discard. Remove the meat to your cutting board. Shred the brisket using two forks. Remove any other meat from bone.

6. The resulting broth is a concentrate. Dilute the pho concentrate with 4-6 cups of water. Season the Pho broth with fish sauce. Taste and add additional fish sauce if needed. Bring to a simmer on stovetop right before you are ready to serve.

Assemble the Pho Bowls:
Serve to order. In a large bowl for each person, add shirotaki noodles and meat (including the sliced eye of round). Pour the just-simmering hot broth into each bowl. Hot broth will cook the sliced eye of round. Serve with the remaining sides a la carte so each person can add whatever they'd like to their soup.

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Comments 38

  1. Carrie Jones

    Yet another reason that I need a pressure cooker! I’ve been dying to get one for ages, and this is a fabulous reason. Do you have any recommendations on what brand to buy? I’ve heard that some break pretty easily, which is lame.

  2. Lauren

    I love your site for recipes that are completely different from what I normally cook! I’m going to have to give this a try–thanks!

  3. Tom @ Mastering the Flame

    I absolutely love Pho. I remember the first time I ever had it, it was at a Vietnamese restaurant and it was so good. After I had it there, I had to try making it at home. I’m pretty much positive it was your recipe for Beef Pho that I used when I made it the first time. It turned out great. This post makes me want to give it a try again, however I’ll have to skip the pressure cooker since I don’t have one right now.

  4. Cathy McCarthy

    I love this Pho recipe with the pressure cooker – must make soon! The bowl set is perfect for a lot of the Asian dishes that I make. You said you got it through Kickstarter, do you remember the name of the project? I would love to find them and buy some.

  5. Lynn

    I love Nom Nom Paleo! This looks like a fabulous recipe and another opportunity to use my Christmas gift to myself, my Instant Pot. Thanks!

  6. Fi Matthews

    Its been years since i have even thought of a pressure cooker.. too many childhood memories of that thing in the kitchen rattle away.. only to produce nuked vegtables which we had to endure.
    But now we are paleo.. i’m on the lookout for as many ways to cook to keep my kids enthralled.. and it looks as if the old pressure cooker may have come on in leaps and bounds in the interviening years

    got to get a pressure cooker and qive it a whirl


  7. Tracy

    how much water did you pour into the pressure cooker?
    how much broth did it yield?

    you said to add 4-6 cups of water to the yielded broth, but would like to know how much the broth yield was to understand ratio of concentrate to added water dilution.

    thank you.

    1. SteamyKitchen

      I’m now down to no pressure cooker – I’ve worn them all out!!! Fagor 3-in-1 Multicooker was my favorite, which I gave away a couple of years ago. Which one do you recommend? I like electric pressure cookers. Trying to find one that’s WIDE enough to fit a fat roast.

  8. Ellen Scott

    Oh! Your post is really great. I have eaten Pho some years ago while travelled to Hanoi Vietnam. It’s very good, and I never think that I can cook it myself. I’ll try it! Thanks!

  9. Diana

    Just bought an Instant Pot from Amazon, Gold Box deal, for bone broth. Found your recipe, and family declared this the best Pho they have had anywhere, ever! I agree, it was delicious, and there is more broth for later. The only variation I made was to sear the beef separately in tallow, then add it to the broth with fish sauce after it was pressure cooked. So just knuckle bones, oxtail, spices, and onions into the pot. Thanks for posting this.

  10. Rourt

    Wow, it must be tasty! I hav not ate any Vietnamese pho. I have already got a 5qt pressure cooker. I do not want to get another one until it doesn’t work.

    But thanks, that is a great recipe.

    1. Post

      You can use any type of “noodles” you want, or you can leave out the noodles. The basic recipe is Paleo friendly. Not everyone is strict paleo, so like to I create recipes that can be easily adapted.

    1. Post
  11. Sarah

    Greeting from Scotland! I’ve tried this recipe now and it was yummy! A firm favorite with the family. I’d love to know where to purchase the bowls you have used?

  12. Molly

    Thanks for developing the recipe. I was trying to figure out how long to cook my meat bones in the pressure cooker. I have a sick husband and was going to make this to eat tomorrow. I still need to head to the Vietnamese store for my spices. I think I will be able to make it for dinner tonight using the quicker method. My friend found a packet of Pho spices all put together with the coriander seeds already in a muslin packet. I think they threw in some other spice as well which I do not recognize but it works.

  13. J Mulvey

    Just made this and it came out fantastic! I’m a big fan of Nom Nom Paleo, too. Thank you for adapting the recipe for the pressure cooker. I’ve got 2 quarts in the fridge and 2 more in the freezer for next week. So delicious!

  14. johnnygh25

    Vietnamese beef noodle soup—may be more popular in the states, but its cousin pho ga, made with chicken, is easier to make, and in my book, just as tasty. What if I told you that you could make a superb bowl of Vietnamese chicken noodle soup with rich, aromatic broth and fall-off-the-bone tender chicken, all in under half an hour? The pressure cooker comes to the rescue.

  15. melia biyang

    Hello there, There’s no doubt that your blog may be having
    internet browser compatibility problems. When I look at your site in Safari, it looks fine however when opening in I.E., it’s got some overlapping issues.
    I simply wanted to give you a quick heads up! Aside from that, fantastic blog!

    1. Post

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