I have a friend who absolutely loves Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup. She loves it so much, in fact, that when she visited the Pacific Northwest, she made it her mission to eat BNS for almost every meal, determined to find the best place. Eat Beef Noodle Soup for every meal? That’s dedication. But that’s how good (and addictive) this soup is!
Star anise, cinnamon and orange add notes of spice and citrus, with the satisfying soy salty flavor from beef, rice wine, and soy sauce. The flavor tickles the tongue and and the beef soup fills the belly. (Plus slurping those noodles make this a Fall/Winter comfort food.)
Unfortunately, going out to eat Beef Noodle Soup when you’ve got a craving is hard to do with three young kids and a restrictive diet, so I’m super excited I can make this at home when a Beef Noodle Soup hunger strikes.
Even more exciting is using the instant pot for this recipe. Gone are the days I used to simmer the beef banana shank for hours. I’m happy to report that the flavors are just as tasty in my pressure cooker, and now I’m not “slaving away” over a stove to satisfy my BNS craving.
Don’t have a pressure cooker? No problem! You can also make this over the stove.
Is it Kid Friendly?
I’ve realized that making any kind of meat super tender and soft is quite an appeal for the kids. It makes meat more accessible, and they like the soft texture. Because we cook the meat for a full 75 minutes with Natural Release in the Instant Pot, the beef is super tender and easy to eat.
This soup isn’t spicy at all. Jason and I will sprinkle red pepper flakes and chili sauce as toppings, rather than in the soup base. Add the fresh noodles? You’ve got a kid-winner every time.
Veggies pair super well with this soup. Napa cabbage, bok choy, even spinach can be lightly cooked/boiled, then added as a topping. In fact, if you’re going low-carb you can skip the noodles and use shirataki noodles or just eat the beef with lots of leafy greens.
Is it Food Allergy & IBS Friendly?
If you have problems with wheat (which I do), make it gluten free by cooking rice noodles (the rice stick noodles used in Vietnamese Pho), or shirataki noodles (Japanese noodles made from konjac yam). It tastes just as good. If soy is a problem, you can easily substitute with gluten-free coconut aminos from Trader Joes, or gluten-free tamari sauce (found everywhere).
A Note About Ingredients
To make this soup, you’ll need some key flavor ingredients. If you don’t have an Asian grocery store nearby, you might be able to find these in the spices section. (I’ve seen Star Anise sold in a western grocery store before. You might have to hunt!) The dried orange peel is harder to find, but it’s ok if you need to leave this out. It adds a nice warm spice to the soup, but isn’t crucial.
If you can’t find beef shank (without bone), I’ve read that chuck beef or oxtail beef can be a substitute. (I haven’t tried this myself, however, but I’d love to know if you try it out! Comment below.)
Beef Noodle Soup
Before the age of the Instant Pot, I relied on this great epicurious recipe to make this on the stove. After using the Instant Pot, I based this recipe off of Julie Wampler‘s recipe.
Her’s was a great starting point (especially in the spices department), but there wasn’t enough liquid in my opinion and the cook time wasn’t long enough to make the beef super tender. So I’ve adjusted the recipe for those changes.
Prep the Soup
Put the beef banana shank in the instant pot and add all the soup ingredients: star anise, half a cinnamon stick, peeled and sliced ginger, garlic clove, onion, cilantro, rice cooking wine, soy sauce, and water. Add the spices: allspice, fennel seeds, and cumin.
Cooking Michiu (rice cooking wine), and Soy sauce
Set your instant pot to sealing and select the Meat/Stew button, increasing cook time to 75 minutes.
I know other recipes will cut the time in half or pre-cut the beef into small cubes, but I find that the beef is still chewy and difficult for the kids to eat. At 75 minutes with natural release (mine takes 30 min before it depressurizes), the beef will turn out tender enough to cut with kitchen scissors, and closer to falling-apart. That’s my sweet spot.
Once the soup is finished and the Natural Release has finished, slide open the lid. Use a strainer and pour the soup to take out the solids. Discard everything but the cooked beef, and rinse off the beef of any debris.
This recipe makes about 2.5 cups of soup (20 ounces).
I cut the beef into bite-sized pieces.
Return the beef pieces back to the pot.
Nothing beats fresh noodles (in my opinion)! If you’re not gluten free, Wang Korean noodles is the brand I use (see photo below), but I’ve only found them at Asian grocery stores. I imagine thick egg noodles would be even tastier (drool).
As I mentioned earlier, the rice stick noodles (used in Vietnamese Pho) work well, and I’ve also used shirakiku noodles (Japanese noodles made from konjac yam).
Now you have a tasty soup, noodles and beef, but… that really doesn’t cut it. You have to add toppings. Toppings add tons of flavor and that extra kick. They make a great noodle bowl turn into a mouth-watering noodle bowl. They are essential! The hard boiled egg is a main component. Cilantro, green onions, red pepper flakes, and napa cabbage pair really well with this soup. Others like it with bok choy, cooked spinach or pickled mustard greens.
I throw chopped napa cabbage in the instant pot and press the “Sauté” setting, then I boil the cabbage 5 min or so until it’s soft/cooked.
I also hard boil eggs. It adds a great variety of flavor and texture with the noodles and beef. (You can also make soy sauce eggs ahead of time for even more yumminess).
Handful of cilantro, scallions, and napa cabbage
Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup Instant Pot
Beef banana shank and broth cooked in the instant pot to create a warm, satisfying soup. Asian spices and soy sauce add aromatic taste and flavor.
Course: Main Course, Soup
Keyword: beef, comfort food, noodles
Servings: 4 people, about 5oz of soup per person
Pressure cooker or Instant Pot
- 1½-2 lbs beef banana shank or chuck beef
- ½ large onion chunks
- 1 peeled garlic
- 1 inch peeled ginger in slices
- 1 handful cilantro (about 10 stems)
- 3 star anise
- 2 inch cinnamon stick or 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1 Asian dried orange peel found in Asian grocery stores
- ½ teaspoon fennel
- ½ teaspoon all spice
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ cup soy sauce (4 oz) low sodium
- 1/4 cup chinese cooking wine (2oz)
- 2 cups water (16 oz)
- 6 leaves napa cabbage or other leafy green bok choy or spinach work well
- 4 eggs hardboiled or soy sauce eggs
- 1 bunch scallions chopped
- 1 handful cilantro chopped
- red pepper flakes to taste optional
- pickled mustard greens optional
- 1 package wheat noodles (gluten-free rice noodles will work just as well)
Instant Pot Soup
Place all ingredients, spices, and liquids into the instant pot.
Set the Meat/Stew setting to 75 minutes and the lid to "seal" position.
After the Instant Pot has finished cooking the beef, wait for it to Natural Release depressurize. This should take another 20-30 minutes.
Remove the lid and use a colander to strain out the beef and discard the solids.
Rinse the beef off and use kitchen scissors to cut the beef into bite-sized pieces.
Cook your noodles according to the package directions in a separate pot of boiling water.
Taste your broth and adjust to your liking. You can add more water to dilute (if it's too salty for you); you can add canned beef broth (if you want more liquid).
Boil your vegetable in the Instant Pot (optional)
Press the sauté setting and cook the napa cabbage (or whatever vegetable you're using) until just tender (approximately 5 min).
Add the cooked noodles to each bowl, then pour the beef and soup broth on top with all your toppings: hard boiled eggs, cilantro, green onions, etc. There will be about 20 oz of liquid, so portion out about 5oz of soup per bowl for 4 people.
This makes about 20 oz of soup, which is 5 oz of beef soup for 4 people.