Chicken Pho (Pho Ga) Calories and the Best Easy Recipe

a collage showing bowls of chicken pho to illustrate pho ga calories

Chicken pho, or pho ga, is a delicious soup that will fill you up and keep you satisfied. Chicken pho is so much better than ramen, especially if you have an excellent recipe to follow. Today, we are going to share the chicken pho recipe we use. It was simple to make since we do it in our Instant Pot. We will also discuss pho ga calories and all the nutritional benefits your body receives from eating this dish. 

What is Chicken Pho?

Chicken pho is a Vietnamese soup. In Vietnamese, this soup is actually called pho ga. You pronounce pho like “fuh” and not “faux”. 

Pho is made from some very yummy ingredients. Those ingredients include broth and noodles. You can add different meats to your pho. You may find that pho ga calories are lower than other types of pho based on which recipe you use. Depending on the type of pho you are making, you will also add in different types of toppings. Those toppings can include herbs, lime wedges, hot sauce, and bean sprouts. 

The result is a savory, rich dish that is full of flavor. This dish was first made in Vietnam during the 20th century. It gained popularity quickly, despite being a new dish. It is common to see pho sold from street carts in Vietnam. 

a bowl of chicken pho

Chicken pho is only one of the types of pho you can make. There are also beef pho and vegetarian pho recipes available. 

In our opinion, pho is so much better than all the other noodle soups you can eat. 

Chicken Pho (Pho Ga) Calories

The standard bowl, including rice noodles, chicken, and broth, is around 780 calories.

The amount of calories in chicken pho can vary slightly, depending on the ingredients you use. The pho ga calories, of course, are also dependent on how you are measuring your serving size. 

The standard chicken pho calorie count is 390 calories for a one cup serving.

This serving includes the chicken, broth, noodles, and any toppings. If you use something other than a standard measuring cup, you may be getting more calories or fewer calories. Keep in mind, most pho bowls, whether chicken or another version, are more than one serving. When following chicken pho recipes, including the one below, you will notice there are two cups of broth added on top of the ingredients. Therefore, most chicken pho bowls will be around 780 calories.

This is something to keep in mind if you are counting calories to reach your goals. 

chopsticks pulling noodles out of a bowl of chicken pho

Chicken Pho Nutritional Values

Of course, you should always keep in mind all the other nutritional values of what you are eating. Sometimes, those values mean much more than the pho ga calories count. 

In a single one cup serving of chicken pho, you will find the following:

  • Carbohydrates: 58g
  • Dietary FIber: 4g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Fat: 6g
  • Protein: 25g
  • Sodium: 500mg
  • Potassium: 841mg
  • Vitamin A: 20% of the recommended daily allowance (based on 2,000 calories per day)
  • Vitamin C: 20% of the recommended daily allowance (based on 2,000 calories per day)
  • Calcium: 10% of the recommended daily allowance (based on 2,000 calories per day)
  • Iron: 10% of the recommended daily allowance (based on 2,000 calories per day)

Please keep in mind that the nutritional value will change if you have more than one cup of chicken pho. Just like the calories, these amounts will change with a regular three serving bowl of this delicious soup. 

top view of a bowl of noodles, checken, and cilantro with a ladle full of chicken broth

Our Favorite Chicken Pho Recipe

As we mentioned above, we make this recipe in our Instant Pot. This means our hands-on time is only 30 minutes, while the total time is 90 minutes. This recipe makes enough to serve 4 people. 

Start by gathering all the ingredients you will need to make your very own delicious chicken pho. 

Ingredients for the Broth:

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 3 whole cloves of garlic
  • 2 inch section of ginger – peel and cut into thick slices
  • 1 large yellow onion – cut into thick slices
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 whole chicken – no larger than 4 pounds
  • 1 small apple (we love Fuji but any type will work) – peel, core, and cut into small chunks
  • ¾ cup cilantro sprigs – coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt – can substitute 1 ½ teaspoons of fine sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup – optional

Ingredients for the Bowls:

  • 4 medium zucchini – spiral cut these and blot dry with towels
  • ½ of the cooked chicken from the broth
  • ½ small red or yellow onion – cut in thin slices and soaked in water for 10 minutes
  • 2 green onions – thinly slice the green parts only
  • ¼ cup cilantro – chopped
  • Thai basil leaves – optional
  • Pepper – optional 
  • Sriracha – optional
  • Lime wedges – optional

Necessary Equipment:

  • Instant Pot
  • Cutting Board
  • Chef’s Knife
  • Measuring Cups
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Ladle
  • Silicone Spatula
  • Tongs
  • Large Bowl
  • Large Pot
  • Fine Mesh Strainer
  • Spiralizer

Preparing the Broth: 

Place your 6 quart Instant Pot on the counter. Add the coriander seeds and garlic to the bottom of the pot. Turn on the saute button and toast the seeds and garlic for a few minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent them from getting too brown. 

Add in the ginger and onion. Stir for 1 minute. 

Pour in 4 cups of water. 

Add the chicken to the Instant Pot with the breast side facing up. Add the apple, cilantro, and salt on top. Pour in the remaining 3 cups of water. 

top view of instant cooker full of chicken and pho ga ingredients

Press the cancel button to turn off the saute feature. Put the lid on and lock it into place. Check the valve to make sure it is in the sealed position. 

Cook on high pressure for 14 minutes. The goal is to only poach the chicken, so do not set the timer for longer than this! 

an instant pot set to the pressure cooker setting

When the timer goes off, turn off the Instant Pot. Let the pressure go down naturally for 20 minutes. If the pressure hasn’t decreased all the way in 20 minutes, continue with a quick release. 

Remove the chicken from the Instant Pot using tongs. Put the chicken in an ice bath to prevent further cooking.

top view of cooked chicken in a pot with water and ice cubes

To reduce pho ga calories, skim the fat from the broth before straining it over a large pot. Discard any of the solids that remain in the strainer. 

Only season the broth with fish sauce if you are serving it immediately. If you are serving it later, let it cool. Then place in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months, and season it when ready to serve.

Cutting the Chicken

Gently shred the chicken into bite size pieces with two forks. Remember we’re not making pulled chicken here, so don’t completely shred the chicken – bite sized pieces are perfect!

top view of a bowl of cooked noodles topped with cooked, shredded chicken

Assembling the Chicken Pho Bowls

Bring the broth to a boil and immediately take off the heat.

Cook rice noodles according to package instructions. Top the noodles with chicken. Add 2 cups of the broth to each bowl (just enough to cover your noodle and chicken).

a hand holding a package of oriental style noodles

Garnish the bowls with the onions, cilantro, basil, pepper, or sriracha if using. Don’t forget to squeeze the limes for the juice too! Your chicken pho is now ready to serve! 

How to Eat Pho

Pho is always served in a large bowl. This ensures there is enough room for the broth to be poured over the noodles and meat. And enough room for the toppings after that! If you have a plate that fits it nicely, put one underneath – it will catch soup dripping and keep the mess off your table.

This dish is always eaten with chopsticks and a soup spoon. The chopsticks are used to pick up the meat, noodles, and toppings. The soup spoon is used to make sure you don’t miss a drop of the delicious broth. Although, you may prefer to drink every delicious last drop from the bowl. 

The most important thing on how to eat pho, is to first assemble the bowl before putting any broth into the bowl. At this stage the chicken, or other meats you choose to serve with your bowl of pho, does not need to be hot since the broth will do that for you. The noodle can be cooked ahead of time (see recipe tips on the best way to do this). It can be at room temperature when you assemble your bowl.

Add toppings of choice – a few slices of yellow onion, a handful of cilantro and scallion greens and optional basil. No sauces yet – no sriracha or hoisin sauce at this step!

Now you’re ready to pour your piping hot pho into the bowl. Pour in just enough to cover the noodles and meat.

Taste it first, and then you can decide to add sriracha and or hoisin sauce. Start with a little – they get salty and spicy fast! You can always add more, but you can take it back out!

Optional – add cracked pepper instead of sriracha or hoisin. My American boyfriend, Brian, who is French and American, loves cracked pepper in anything chowder, broth, soup, or stew. He loves enjoying a bowl of pho with cracked pepper instead of hoisin sauce. I have to admit, it was pretty yummy!

top view of a bowl of chicken pho (pho ga)
Brian loves eating soup – any soup – with cracked pepper. Not the “Vietnamese” way to eat this, since I prefer Hoisin sauce and sriracha, but it was pretty good!

As you can see, chicken pho is simple to make. Although there are plenty of pho options to explore, we guarantee this chicken pho will be the most delicious bowl of soup you have ever eaten! Don’t worry about the pho ga calories, because this recipe ensures you are getting all the proper nutrients your body needs to stay healthy.