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Primal InstaPot Pho

This recipe is from Diana, who teaches yoga at Spira Issaquah as well as West Seattle

A brilliant friend shared this Serious Eats recipe with me for Pressure Cooker Pho and after making it almost weekly for six months I have adapted and perfected the art, making some changes so that it’s primal friendly and easy on the tummy (no sugar or noodles). I make it whenever I have cilantro about to go bad, and keep the spices and chicken legs stocked in my kitchen at all times. You get the benefits of bone-in cooking with this super aromatic broth, with much less cook time.

For the Broth and Chicken Legs:

Set your Instapot on "sauté high"

Add oil of choice, I like sesame oil.

Cut one onion in half and 1-2 large thumbs of ginger in half, then place the cut-side down in the oil. No need to chop thoroughly, keep the pieces big since they will be tossed later.

Once the onion and ginger are browned on the cut-side...

Add to the InstaPot:

1/4 cup fish sauce

8 cups water

4-6 chicken legs

1 small bunch cilantro

3 star anise pods

4 cloves

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 cinnamon stick

Pressure cook on high 20 minutes

One 20 minutes is up, manually release the pressure

Strain broth, toss onion, ginger, and cilantro, and carefully save the meat by removing it from the chicken legs. The meat will be falling off the bone, try to avoid the skin and cartilage, it’s not pleasant to come across when you’re eating.

Recommended Veg:



Cabbage or bok choy


Anything in your fridge!

While removing the meat from the chicken legs, put the strained broth back in the instapot and turn on "sauté" function, then add thinly sliced carrots.

Once chicken meat is in the pot and carrots are barely soft, add any other veggies. Things like bok choy should be just barely warmed so they don’t get mushy, and harder vegetables like green beans can stay in the broth 5-10 minutes before serving so they soften to your preference. I usually just hang by the pot and taste pieces to see if they’re ready, then add the next round!

For Serving:

Fresh basil

Lime wedges

Sriracha or hoison sauce

Any other favorite Pho topping.


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