Instant Pot (IP) Pho

Trang Nguyen

First time making oxtail pho in the Instant Pot! If you don’t know what an IP is, you’re missing out! It’s an electric pressure cooker with many different functions! Do my cook time is anywhere between 45 min-1 hour total cooking time if you do quick release and remember to take out the oxtail or it will be too mushy to eat. I left mine to so slow release so it took a little longer.

If you make with just bones, you can cook it for 2-3 hours. You’ll notice the longer you cook, the darker the broth and the better it tastes.

Or if you do a mixture of oxtail, bones, brisket, do 45 min first and remove your oxtail and brisket so it’s not mushy. Keep in mind, you want to check status of brisket as it might take longer depending on size it I know for a fact oxtail cooks pretty quick. Then cook the remaining bones for another 1-2 hours. This is still 3 times faster than the original way of making it! This is totally great for days when I am too lazy to wait all day to eat it! Only thing is this yeilds about 6-8 bowls for a 6 quarts so much less than if you got a bigger pot. But you can do the traditional way too in a huge stock pot over the stove. Cook time will be 120 minutes on oxtail and about 180 min for brisket. Bones can cook on low for 8-9 hours.


2 pounds oxtail (if you do beef bones, get the one with the marrow, then I buy 4 to 5 pounds). Or you can mix up, keep in mind not too much or it won’t fit in your pot.
Sometimes I put a 2 pound piece of beef brisket into the pot (do not cook too long - I say 45 minutes but depends on size). If you cook it too long, the meat falls apart and is too mushy so I do test of 36-45 minutes first on manual pressure in the in the IP. Remove oxtail and brisket and set aside. You’ll use oxtail as your meat. And you’ll slice up brisket once it’s cooled down.

In a pod or wrap in a cheese cloth put all the seasoning into it. If you don’t have just throw everything in the pot. You can also toast up all the seasoning first. Sometimes if uou can’t find my mesh pod, I just throw all ingredient in the pot, you’ll just have to strain the broth at the end!


2-3 tablespoon of coriander seeds (if you don’t have this, you can use an entire bunch or cilantro)
6 star of anis,
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds,
4-6 pieces of cloves
Fish sauce
Rock sugar
Chicken flavor seasoning

You can throw this directly into pot:
2 large roasted shallot or 1 whole roasted yellow onion


1-2 cinnamon sticks,
3-4 oz of ginger (5-6 slices)



First par-boil the bones/meat: Fill water right above oxtail (or bones) and brisket and cook on manual pressure for 1 minutes to basicaly bring to a par boil and turn off and do quick release. If you have time, you can also do on sautée mode and it will boil in about 15 minutes or so. I do this while preparing the seasoning, onions and ginger. In the parboil, throw out all broth and then rinse out all oxtail, meat and bones. Then clean the pot.

Put all oxtail,meat and bones back in the clean pot and add all of the seasoning and aromatic. Fill with water to max fill line. Cook on manual high pressure mode for 40-45 minutes. Note of you use beef bones, you can cook for 2-3 hours total but cook 35-45 minutes first and take out the oxtail (and brisket) and then cook the bones the remaining time 1-2 more hours. When it's done, take out all bones and use mesh strainer to clean the pho broth and put it into another pot. Feel free to add more water if you are feeding more people but only to the max full line. Keep in mind because my instant pot is so small (6 qt) the broth is concentrated do diluting with water is ok. When cooking just bones, I cook it two times but taking the broth out after the first 2-3 hours and then add more water and do a second boil and repeat the 3 hour cook on high pressure. When you’re done, strain all broth into a clean pot and discard all bones and seasoning!


Final steps for seasoning the broth:
For about 10-12 cups of broth (if you have less, just add little water to fill to 10 cups), I add about 1 tbsp salt, 2 pieces of rock sugar (substitute: 3 tbsp organic sugar, Brown sugar or regular sugar), 2 tablespoon of chicken flavor seasoning and 2 tbsp fish sauce to taste. You can season to your liking by salt, sugar or fish sauce. On saute mode, you can bring to a boil.

Assemble in a Bowl:
Ready to eat rice noodles (if you use something else make sure it's ready to eat which might require boiling), rare steak, sliced Brisket (let cool by putting in fridge for easy slicing), sliced brown or red onions, chopped green onions and chopped cilantro. Pour boiling broth to the top of the bowl. Add 1 large piece of oxtail to each bowl.


Additional toppings are Thai basil, culantro, bean sprouts, lime, siracha and hoisen sauce.

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