vietnamese food pho soup

How to Make Perfect Homemade Pho Soup

5/5 (2)
2 hrs 20 mins
Vadim Rachok
20.11.2023
27.03.2024
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8 / 10
Health score
Dairy FreeEgg free dishGluten free dishNut Free Dish

Are you in the mood for some warm, comforting pho? Look no further, because we have the tastiest pho recipe on the internet. The secret to this authentic Vietnamese soup lies in its flavorful broth, which simmers for two hours with vegetables and herbs before being served over rice noodles. Trust us, the wait will be worth it – this soup is simply delicious.

Ah, the art of crafting a perfect bowl of pho—a symphony of flavors that dance together in every steaming spoonful. This recipe captures the essence of this Vietnamese classic, showcasing the meticulous balance of rich broth, tender meat, and aromatic spices. The patience in simmering the broth for hours is the secret to unlocking the depth of flavor that makes pho an unparalleled culinary experience. A journey to Vietnam in a bowl!

What is Pho?

Pho is a Vietnamese soup consisting of broth, rice noodles, and meat, usually beef or chicken, with various herbs and condiments. While “pho” is the most commonly used term, especially in English, there are some regional and colloquial variations.

Pho soup is known for having a complex and comforting flavor profile. The broth, typically made by simmering chicken frame or beef bones, aromatic spices such as cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and ginger, and onions and ginger for several hours, has a rich and deeply satisfying flavor. Pho soup offers a harmonious blend of textures and flavors when combined with tender rice noodles, fresh herbs such as coriander, cilantro, and cloves, Shiitake mushrooms, and thinly sliced meat such as beef or chicken.

Where is Pho From?

The exact origins of pho are unknown, much like many foods. However, it is thought to have been created in northern Vietnam during the early 20th century. After the Vietnam War, it became popular in many countries. If you’re interested in learning more about pho and how to make it, check out our guide “What Is Pho and How Do You Make It?”

Pho Ingredients

Pho broth:

  • Chicken: Provides the base flavor for the broth and adds richness to the dish.
  • Onion: Enhances broth’s savory profile and adds sweetness.
  • Green Apple: Complements the savory flavors and adds a subtle sweetness and tang to the broth.
  • Carrot: Adds sweetness and depth of taste to the broth.
  • Celery Root: Adds mild, earthy flavor and complexity to the broth.
  • Ginger: Provides warmth and depth of taste, with a slightly spicy and aromatic quality.
  • Anise, Cloves, Coriander, and Cinnamon: These spices create the distinctive aroma and taste profile of pho broth, with notes of sweetness, warmth, and spice.
  • Fish Sauce: Adds umami richness and depth of flavor to the broth.
  • Coriander: Provides freshness and a vibrant herbal note to the finished soup.
  • Brown Sugar: Balances broth flavors by adding a hint of sweetness.

Pho Toppings:

  • Rice Noodles (Banh Pho): Serve as the base of the soup, absorbing the flavorful broth and adding texture.
  • Shiitake mushrooms: Add depth of flavor and an earthy richness to the soup.

How to Make Pho

Homemade Pho Recipe Step By Step 1-4

Homemade Pho Recipe Step By Step 5-8

Homemade Pho Recipe Step By Step 9-10

Pho is a Vietnamese soup that consists of broth, rice noodles, vegetables, herbs, and meat. Although it may seem complicated to make, it’s actually quite simple, but it does require some time and effort. Here’s what you can expect when making pho:

  1. First, cut the chicken into fillets, legs, and wings. Dice the fillet and set aside.
  2. Dice the onion, carrot, and celery. Then, peel and dice the ginger and apple.
  3. Heat a saucepan and add oil, then add the chicken wings, legs, and frame. Fry for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. 
  4. Next, add all the vegetables except the apples and fry for 5-8 minutes until golden brown.
  5. Place another saucepan on the stove and add the anise, brown sugar, cloves, and cinnamon. Cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes. Then, add 2.5 liters of water. 
  6. Transfer the chicken and vegetables to the saucepan with the spices. Add the apples and cook over low heat for 1.5 hours. Then, strain the broth. Season with salt and pepper, and add fish sauce. 
  7. Heat a saucepan of water and cook the noodles for 5-7 minutes.
  8. Chop the shiitake mushrooms and herbs.
  9. Add the chopped chicken to the broth. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
  10. Place the shiitakes, noodles, and herbs on a plate and top with the broth. Enjoy!

Chef Recipe Tips:

  • If you are not using a whole chicken, but just the frames for the broth, it is better to add the thigh to the soup itself. 
  • You can freeze the broth in portions and then take it out and cook the soup. 
  • You can add noodles to the broth and cook them that way. 
  • Chicken frames can be baked in the oven at 365 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Then add the water with the spices.
  • If the shiitakes are dry and not fresh, soak them in warm water for 30 minutes.

Overall, making pho is a simple process, but it does require some patience. The end result is a delicious and comforting soup that’s perfect for a cold day or any time you’re craving something warm and flavorful.

recipe for vietnamese pho

How to Store Pho

To ensure freshness, it’s best to store broth and rice noodles separately in airtight containers and keep them in the fridge. The items can be stored for a maximum of four days. When you’re ready to eat, reheat the broth on the stove and the rice noodles in the microwave. After that, combine the two and enjoy your delicious meal.

How to Freeze Pho

It’s important to note that you can only freeze the pho broth and not the rice noodles. Once the broth has completely cooled down, transfer it to an airtight container or a freezer bag (make sure to freeze the bag flat) and store it in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw the dish in the fridge overnight and reheat on the stove. for up to three months. When you are ready to use it, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat it on the stove.

pho noodle soup recipe

How to eat Pho?

  • There are really no rules on how to eat the pho right. But here’s how it goes if you want to eat pho like a pro (read: the traditional Vietnamese way):
  • Arrive – Your bowl arrives topped with noodles, chicken, broth and sprinkled with green onions;
  • To appreciate its pure, unadulterated perfection, take a small sip of the broth;
  • Help yourself with herbs, bean sprouts, a squeeze of lime, and fresh chili slices. As you go through the bowl, you can add more bean sprouts and herbs;
  • Drizzle hoisin and sriracha over the MEAT (and/or bean sprouts); the sauces are not meant to flavor the broth, they are for the meat. In fact, you’ll find that some Vietnamese Pho stands will have little bowls for you to put the sauces in so that you can dip the meat in them. This makes the flavor quite intense. I prefer the alternative of spooning the sauce directly into the bowl – better distribution of the sauce. It is also perfectly acceptable for some sauce to end up in the broth. Just don’t intentionally squirt it directly into the broth and mix it vigorously.
  • Inhale – Lean over the bowl and breathe in the incredible smell of all those fresh herbs;
  • Dip your chopsticks into the broth where you want to attack first to mix up the lime juice. Don’t intentionally push the chicken with the hoisin into the broth – it’s fine if it happens naturally, but don’t intentionally contaminate the broth;
  • Take a few noodles with chicken, bean sprouts, and herbs with your chopsticks. Eat it, then take a sip of soup with the spoon; and
  • Repeat the process until the noodles are finished. Then pick up the bowl and drink it to the last drop of this beautiful broth!

A very good soup that contains many beneficial micronutrients, including iron and vitamin C, so this dish will certainly be helpful for people prone to iron-deficiency anemia. This soup is a self-contained dish because it has all the necessary components for a satisfying and healthy lunch: carbohydrates from rice noodles, high-quality protein, and fats from beef. If you are trying to lose weight, then soups, in general, are a good choice for you, as they provide a feeling of fullness due to their volume and have a relatively low calorie content, which is important for weight loss. Just 509 calories per serving make it an excellent option for a complete lunch on any weight loss program.

Jenny Dobrynina
Jenny Dobrynina
Nutrition Editor
Health score:
8 / 10
How to Make Perfect Homemade Pho Soup
5/5 (2)
Author:Vadim Rachok
Make flavor and yummy Pho soup with chicken, rice noodles, and Shiitake mushrooms.
vietnamese food pho soup
Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
2 hrs
Total Time:
2 hrs 20 mins
Servings:
8
The ingredients you need
1 pc whole chicken (or chicken frame)
1 pc onion
1 pc green apple
1 pc carrot
1 pc celery root
2 ounces (60 g) ginger
3 stars anise
0,04 ounces (1 g) cloves
0,1 ounces (3 g) coriander
1 stick cinnamon
0,7 ounces (20 g) fish sauce
1 bunch cilantro
0,7 ounces (20 g) brown sugar
salt
pepper
3,5 ounces (100 g) rice noodles (banh pho)
1,4 ounces (40 g) shiitake mushrooms
oil for frying
Let’s start !
1

Cut chicken into fillets, legs, and wings. Dice the fillet and set aside.

2

Dice the onion, carrot, and celery. Peel and dice the ginger and apple.

3

Heat a saucepan and add oil, then add the chicken wings, legs, and frame. Fry for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. 

4

Add all the vegetables except the apples and fry for 5-8 minutes until golden brown.

5

Place another saucepan on the stove and add the anise, brown sugar, cloves, and cinnamon. Cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes. Add 2.5 liters of water. 

6

Transfer the chicken and vegetables to the saucepan with the spices. Add the apples and cook over low heat for 1.5 hours. Strain the broth. Season with salt and pepper and add fish sauce.

7

Heat a saucepan of water and cook the noodles for 5-7 minutes.

8

Chop the shiitake and herbs.

9

Add the chopped chicken to the broth. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes.

10

Place the shiitakes, noodles, and herbs on a plate and top with the broth.

Nutrition Information
Servings Per Recipe: 8 Calories: 3453
% Daily Value *
 % Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g14%
Saturated Fat 4g20%
Cholesterol 74mg25%
Sodium 3519mg153%
Total Carbohydrate 66g24%
Dietary Fiber 4g16%
Total Sugars 9g 
Protein 35g 
Vitamin C 20mg101%
Calcium 138mg11%
Iron 5mg25%
Potassium 693mg15%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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Watch How To Make It

For an extra layer of depth in your pho broth, char the onions and ginger over an open flame or under a broiler before adding them to the pot. This imparts a smoky essence that elevates the entire dish. Also, when slicing the beef, freezing it for about 15-20 minutes makes it easier to achieve those thin, melt-in-your-mouth slices. Serve with a side of fresh herbs, bean sprouts, and a squeeze of lime to customize each bowl to perfection. The true magic of pho lies in those personalized finishing touches!

Vadim Rachok
Vadim Rachok
Pro tip from chef
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