This Instant Pot Chao Ga is perfect for a weeknight dinner or for when you're feeling under the weather. White rice, chicken, and ginger are simmered to make a fragrant porridge that's both healthy and healing. It's quick, comforting, and oh so delicious!
What Is Chao Ga?
Cháo is Vietnamese for "porridge" while gà means "chicken". Chao Ga simply means "chicken porridge" and is traditionally made with rice, ginger, and homemade chicken stock. Also known as congee, Chao is prepared by cooking rice in plenty of liquid to create a very soft and creamy texture. Although the chicken version is very popular, this dish is extremely versatile and can be made with duck, pork, clams, and more.
Chao is traditionally served with lots of fresh herbs, ground black pepper, and bean sprouts. Heartier accompaniments include soft or hard-boiled eggs, Chinese donuts, chiles, or fried shallots. The simple flavor profile of the porridge makes it a great pairing with virtually any ingredient.
Chao Ga is simple, comforting, and aromatic - perfect for cold winter days or when you start to feel a cold coming on. It was my mom's remedy whenever I was sick in bed and I'd always lick the bowl clean, even if I'd lost my sense of taste. Because of its humble ingredients, congee is budget-friendly and perfect for weeknight dinners as well.
The Best Rice Porridge
I like to keep it classic with my Vietnamese Congee. Onion, garlic, and ginger forms the flavor base. Traditionally, you'd use a whole chicken to make broth from scratch but to keep things easier, I use chicken breast and pre-made broth. Tip: use bone broth for more nutrients and health benefits.
The Instant Pot is perfect for making this porridge! You don't have to stand by the pot to stir every few minutes. And it cooks perfect rice every time.
My toppings are pretty traditional too. Green onion and cilantro are must-haves. I love soft-boiled eggs for extra creaminess but I tend to alternate between soft and hard boiled eggs. And if you dare, swirl some chili oil on top for extra heat. These are my favorite toppings but like I said, it's a very versatile dish so use whatever you have on hand!
This recipe requires less than 10 ingredients with lot of pantry staples. Minimal ingredients for maximum flavor!
- Oil: Avocado oil is my favorite oil to cook, fry, and sauté with because of its high smoke point (500°F).
- Onion and garlic: My two favorites but feel free to substitute with shallots, red onion, etc.
- Ginger: I don't like a strong ginger flavor so I'm usually very light-handed with it. Feel free to add more if you love the flavor!
- White jasmine rice: Long grain white rice is what I usually have on hand. But any type of rice would work in this dish - short or medium grain, brown rice, sticky rice. Adjust the cooking time and liquids as needed.
- Chicken bone broth: I cook exclusively with bone broth. It's rich in collagen, supports digestion, and has anti-inflammatory components. You can find it in the refrigerated or frozen section. If using regular chicken broth, I recommend the low-sodium one.
- Water: To stretch out the bone broth, I also use water. Feel free to use all broth if you'd like, just be careful with the saltiness.
- Fish sauce: The main seasoning ingredient.
- Uncooked chicken breast: Cook the chicken breast with the rice for maximum flavor. Chicken thighs would work great here too.
For the Toppings
- Soft-boiled egg
- Green onion
- Freshly ground black pepper
How To Make Chao Ga
Instant Pot Chao Ga is seriously so easy to make! Perfect for a quick and healthy meal or a big batch prep on Sunday's.
- Sauté the veggies. Toast the onion, garlic, and ginger to coax out all the flavor.
- Cook the rice and chicken. Add the remaining ingredients and let the Instant Pot do its thang!
- Shred the chicken. Once it's done cooking and resting, shred the chicken and mix it in with the porridge.
- Adjust the consistency and seasoning. Depending on your preferences, you may want it thicker (sauté it for a couple minutes) or runnier (add more broth or water).
- Serve with your favorite toppings. Voila! Could not be easier!
- If you want a nuttier flavor, toast the rice first. Sauté the veggies, and then add the rice. Let it toast until lightly golden-brown, about 3-4 minutes. Then continue with the recipe.
- Let the pressure release naturally. This is sooo important for when you're cooking meat in the Instant Pot. A natural release is like letting meat rest after it's been cooked. It results in a more tender and flavorful meat.
- For the best soft-boiled eggs, cook it in the Instant Pot first. Add 1 cup water and place the eggs on top of a trivet or steamer. Cook on Manual (High Pressure) for 7 minutes, then straight into an ice water bath.
Let any leftover Chao Ga come to room temperature. Then store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally. I recommend adding some more chicken broth to loosen the porridge and seasoning to taste.
Make It In Advance
Chao Ga freezes very well. Follow the recipe as instructed but don't add any toppings. Let it cool completely, then store in a freezer-safe container, removing as much air as possible. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To reheat, let it thaw in the fridge overnight. Warm in a pot on the stove over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add more chicken broth if needed to loosen it up. Then add toppings of your choice.
- Use whatever rice you have on hand and feel free to mix and match! Brown rice would need more liquid and a longer cooking time. I'd recommend adding 4 cups broth and cooking it for 15 minutes, with a natural release of 10 minutes. Sticky rice is very common as well since it helps create a thicker, creamier texture.
- Make the Chao without chicken and add a different protein. Top it with pork chops, tofu, or cod to keep it interesting.
- Instead of chicken broth, try anchovy broth, clam juice, beef broth, or veggie broth for a different flavor.
Looking For More?
I love Chao Ga for its simplicity and ease. If you're looking for more great recipes that come together quickly, try these:
- PB&J French Toast Casserole
- One-Pot Creamy Chicken Gnocchi
- Kimchi Deviled Eggs
- Pasta Salad
- Vietnamese Turmeric Fish with Dill (Cha Ca Thang Long)
Instant Pot Chao Ga (Vietnamese Rice Porridge)
- Instant Pot pressure cooker
- On the Instant Pot, turn the Saute mode on and add oil. When hot, add the onion. Cook until lightly softened and translucent on the edges, about 2-3 minutes. Then add the garlic and ginger, stirring for 30 seconds until fragrant. Turn off Saute mode.
- Add the rice, 3 cups chicken broth, water, fish sauce, and a generous amount of salt and pepper, about 1 tsp each. Stir to combine. Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper and place inside.
- Seal the Instant Pot. Cook on Manual-High Pressure for 10 minutes, then let release naturally for 10 minutes.
- Carefully take off the lid and remove the chicken breast. Shred, add back into the pot, and stir into the porridge. Depending on how thick or runny you prefer your porridge, you can leave it as-is or add more chicken broth. I usually add an additional 1 cup. Season to taste with fish sauce and/or salt and pepper.
- Serve with soft-boiled egg, if using. Top with freshly cracked black pepper, green onion, and cilantro.
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