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10 Best Pho Soup Recipes

Updated on February 9, 2017
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John applies his scientific & research skills (PhD) to develop recipes, food guides, reviews of healthy whole foods, ingredients & cooking

Pho soup (pronounced "fahr") is a fragrant, light soup made with a rich tasty stock, fresh, crunchy vegetables, herbs, spices and your choice of meat strips, seafood or mushrooms. It is an ideal healthy and light vegetarian dish, as well. It is one of the favorite and most loved Vietnamese soup dishes, that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner. It is easy to prepare at home and can be enjoyed as a healthy snack any time of the day. The secret of a stellar pho is the quality of the freshly prepared stock along with the choice of fresh herbs and beautiful spices. Below are 10 of the best ever Vietnamese pho soup recipes for you and your family to enjoy. The ingredients are readily available anbd you can use various substitutes and your own variations.

Learn how to prepare delicious homemade Beef Pho soup with this delightful easy to prepare recipe featuring fresh herbs and vegetables.
Learn how to prepare delicious homemade Beef Pho soup with this delightful easy to prepare recipe featuring fresh herbs and vegetables. | Source

1. Beef Pho Recipes with Homemade Stock, Herbs and Vegetables


for the Stock

  • 2 onions
  • 10 cm piece ginger
  • 2 1/2 kg (5 lb) beef soup bones
  • 5 star anise
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 8 cm piece cassia bark
  • 450 g (1 lb) beef brisket or chuck steak
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/3 cup fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar (or brown sugar)

to be added to the bowls

  • soy sauce to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1/3 cup chopped coriander (fresh)
  • 1 kg (2 lb) dried or fresh pho (rice stick) noodles
  • 4 spring onions (scallions), green part only, finely chopped
  • 225 g (8 oz) ( beef sirloin or eye fillet) finely sliced across the grain

for the garnishes

  • Thai basil
  • lime wedges
  • sliced chilies
  • fresh bean sprouts
  • Vietnamese mint sprigs


To make the stock, start by preparing the bones. Cover the bones with cold salted water in a large pot. Bring to the boil and simmer vigorously for about 3-5 minutes. Pour off the water and rinse the bones several times in warm tap water. Remove the bones and wipe with paper towels to remove excess fat. Wipe out the pot, add the bones and cover with fresh cold water. Bring the pot to the boil. Then, reduce to a gentle simmer, add the ginger, onion and remaining stock ingredients and cook for 1 1/2 hours, skimming off any fat that accumulates at the surface. Remove the meat when just cooked and set aside in the refrigerator. Cook the broth for an additional hour. Strain the stock to remove the bones and skim off the fat when cold. Reserve the stock in the refrigerator, where it will keep for several days.

To prepare the pho soup, reheat some of the stock. Slice the cooked meat into thin strips and fry briefly to warm through. Cook and drain the noodles. To serve add a serving of the noodles to serving bowls. Add slices of cooked meat, with raw sirloin on top. Top with coriander, onion, spring onion, fresh bean sprouts and your choice of herbs. Season with pepper and thinly sliced chilli. Pour in a serving of the hot stock, add some lime juice and season with fresh basil or mint.

Assembling Vietnamese Pho soup for serving, by pouring the hot stock over the meat, herbs, noodles and vegetables.
Assembling Vietnamese Pho soup for serving, by pouring the hot stock over the meat, herbs, noodles and vegetables. | Source

2. Vegetarian Pho Soup Recipe with Shiitake Mushrooms, Toasted Nori Sheets and Fresh Herbs


  • 8 cloves
  • 3 sheets nori
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 5 cups fresh vegetable stock
  • 1 small brown onion, finely sliced
  • 10–12 smalldried shiitake mushrooms
  • large piece of ginger, finely sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots, julienned or shredded

For serving and garnishing

  • lime wedges
  • fresh bean sprouts
  • hoisin sauce (optional)
  • 1 long red chilli (thinly sliced)
  • chilli sauce (Chinese or sriracha sauce (optional)
  • 150 g (4 oz) rice noodles, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes, drained
  • fresh herbs for garnishing (coriander, mint, Vietnamese mint, Thai basil or similar)


Add the cinnamon stick, coriander seeds, star anise and cloves to a dry moderate size saucepan. Place over moderate-high heat and dry-roast for about 3 minutes to release the aromatic. Add the ginger, shiitake mushrooms, stock, onion and soy sauce and bring the saucepan to the boil. Then, reduce the heat to a low simmer. Using tongs, hang the nori sheets over a direct flame for about 30 seconds until each sheet is lightly toasted and has become dry and crisp. Then, add the nori to the stock. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper. Then, cover the pot and simmer for about 20 minutes. Next, add the carrots and simmer for about 7 minutes until the carrots become tender. Strain, reserving the stock, carrots and shiitake mushrooms. Thickly slice the carrots and mushrooms and return to the stock. To serve add some rice noodles carrots and mushrooms to serving bowls. Pour a serving of the hot stock over the noodles and garnish with chilli, mixed herbs and beans sprouts. Serve with hoisin sauce, chilli sauce and lime wedges available to be added.

Discover how to incorporate a wide range of inseason vegetables and herbs into Pho Soup with these great recipes
Discover how to incorporate a wide range of inseason vegetables and herbs into Pho Soup with these great recipes | Source

3. Spicy Beef Pho with Mixed Herbs and Spices


  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped coriander leaves
  • 250 g (8 oz) of dried or 500 g (16 oz) fresh ‘banh pho’ noodles
  • 300 g (9 oz) filet or surloin steak, with fat removed, sliced very thinly against the grain

for the Stock

  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup star anise
  • 1 tablespoon cloves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken
  • 2 medium onions, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 black cardamom pod, bruised
  • 2 kg (4 lb) beef knuckles, or bones
  • 1 small handful green cardamom pods, bruised
  • 3 long fresh red chillies, halved and coarsely sliced
  • 1 large piece fresh ginger, chopped into large pieces

for the Garnishes

  • fish sauce
  • mint sprigs
  • bean sprouts
  • hoisin sauce
  • coriander sprigs
  • Thai basil sprigs
  • 2 small limes quartered
  • thinly sliced red bird’s eye chillies (or similar hot chillies)


Firstly, make the fresh stock by placing the bones in a large heavy saucepan, Dutch oven or stockpot and covering with cold water. Bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce to a brisk simmer. Grill or fry the onion and ginger over high heat until well browned to release the flavors. Add to the stock. Dry-fry the spices in a heavy pan over low heat for 5 minutes or until fragrant. Transfer the toasted spices to a small piece of muslin or cheesecloth, and tie with twine to make a bag. Add the spice bag to the stock pot and simmer the pot for 10 minutes. Then, remove and wash the bones and spice bag, wash the pot and return the bones and spice bag to the pot with clean water. Simmer the pot for about 2-3 hours, skimming off any fat that gathers on the surface. Next, remove the bones and spice bag from the pot and discard. Then, strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth. Prepare and drain the noodles. Next assemble the pho, by heating the broth to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Add a serving of noodles to serving bowls. Add some thinly sliced raw meat to the bowls and a ladle of hot broth. Sprinkle with sliced onion, coriander and a selection of garnishes, leaving extra garnishes and sauces on the side.

Delicious Chicken Pho Soup is easy to make at home with a homemade chicken stock and mixed fresh herbs and spices. See this great recipe.
Delicious Chicken Pho Soup is easy to make at home with a homemade chicken stock and mixed fresh herbs and spices. See this great recipe. | Source

4.Chicken Pho Soup Recipe with Homemade Chicken Stock


for the Stock

  • 1 star anise
  • salt to taste
  • 4 red shallots, unpeeled
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • freshground black pepper to taste
  • Large piece fresh ginger, unpeeled
  • 3 1/2 litres (3 quarts) cold water
  • 1 teaspoon rock sugar or brown sugar
  • 4 whole cloves (or 1 black cardamom pod)
  • 1 small chicken; or two chicken frames and some chicken mince

for the Vegetables and Garnish

  • bean sprouts
  • chillies, sliced
  • 2 sprigs coriander
  • limes, cut into wedges
  • sprigs of Asian Parseley
  • Sprigs of Vietnamese mint
  • 2 sprigs sawtooth coriander
  • spring onion, sliced finely
  • 1 onion, sliced finely, soaked in cold water
  • 2 chicken breast fillets (or 6 thigh fillets)
  • 2 sprigs rice paddy herb (ngo om), if available
  • 200 g (3 oz) flat rice noodles (banh pho, preferred), cooked


Prepare the stock by removing the bones from the chicken and finely slice the meat. Fry or grill the red shallots and ginger directly over high heat or flames until well browned, and set aside. Dry fry the coriander seeds, star anise and cloves until toasted and aromatic. Add the chicken, water, rock sugar, fish sauce, ginger and red shallots. Cook in a pressure cooker for 45 minutes, or simmer in a pot with a lid for 60-90 minutes. Sieve the stock and discard the solids. Season with salt and pepper. Poach or fry the chicken breasts until just cooked and slice finely. Assemble the pho by adding a serving of noodles to the bowls and topping with cooked chicken slices. Reheat the stock and pour a serving into each bowl. Sprinkle with your choice of chilli, onion, spring onion, bean sprouts and herbs. Squeeze fresh lime juice on top and add bean sprouts and herbs.

Seafood Pho ios a delight pairing the delicate taste of fish, prawns and shellfish with the tang of fresh herbs and crunch of bean sprouts and green onions
Seafood Pho ios a delight pairing the delicate taste of fish, prawns and shellfish with the tang of fresh herbs and crunch of bean sprouts and green onions | Source

5. Vietnamese Prawn Pho Recipe with Mixed Fresh Herbs


  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • 150 g (5 oz) rice noodles
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves
  • 100 g (3 oz) fresh bean sprouts
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
  • 2 1/2 cups of fish or vegetable stock
  • 150 g (5 oz) large cooked king prawns
  • 1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves or Thai basil
  • Large piece of ginger, crushed or sliced into pieces
  • 1 length of lemongrass, crushed with the side of a knife
  • 3 tablespoons of nam plah (asian fish sauce), or similar
  • 4 birdseye chillies (or similar hot chillies), finely chopped


Transfer the stock to a moderate size pan, add the garlic, ginger, lemongrass and the chillies. Bring to the boil and then simmer briskly briskly boil for 20-30 minutes to create the basic broth. Set aside on very low heat for a further 10 minutes. Add the bean sprouts to the pot and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, then add the noodles and cook for 5 minutes until just tender. Using a slotted spoon remove the ginger, lemongrass and garlic. Then, add the cooked prawns and heat through for 5 minutes. Divide the cooked noodles and stock between the serving plates. Garnish with a serving of coriander, Thai basil, mint leaves, a few slices of red chilli and spring onion. Serve hot with a wedge of lime.

6. Vietnamese Fish Pho Soup Recipe with Pork Bone Stock


  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 cup Thai basil
  • 1/2 cup bean sprout
  • 1/4 cup of fish sauce
  • 2 kg (4 lb) Pork bones
  • 500 g (1 lb) Pho Noodle
  • Hot chili sauce for serving
  • 5 whole cloves, dry roasted
  • lime, quartered for serving
  • 3 red chilles, finely sliced
  • 1 kg (2 lb) firm fleshed fish
  • Black Sauce (Soybean sauce),
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander or mint
  • Yellow rock sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1-2 cardamom, baked or dry roasted
  • 1 star anise, grilled or dry roasted.
  • large pieces of fresh ginger, finely sliced
  • 3 moderate size onions, peeled, grilled or baked


Prepare the stock by cleaning the pork bone under running water. Place on a pot and cover with 8 cups of water. Bring to the boil, then lower the temperature to a slow simmer and cook covered for 2-3 hours. Strain the broth, remove the bones, add 2 cups of clean water. Add the star anise, grilled onion, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and season with extra salt and pepper if required. Allow to cool and then remove the fat and store in the refrigerator. When ready to assemble the pho, reheat the stock to a gentle simmer. Cook and drain the noodles. Cut the fish into 3 or 4 pieces (one for each serving) and boil or steam until just tender (about 20-30 minutes, depending on thickness). Then, remove the fish pieces to a frying pan and fry in a little oil with the garlic for about 5 minutes. Add a serving of noodles to each bowl, add a piece of fish and top with a variety of fresh herbs and bean sprouts. Pour stock into the bowls and serve with lime slices and extra herbs on a plate.

7. Crab Pho Soup Recipe with Mixed Fresh Herbs


  • 4 lime wedges
  • 1 cup enoki mushrooms
  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
  • 1 cup sliced white onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 2 cups rice noodles, cooked
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 cup fresh Thai basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, or mint
  • 1 large piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon chili oil, or chopped fresh red chili
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (freshly made is best)
  • 2 pounds (1 kg) fresh crab meat (or thawed frozen crab, not tinned)


Using a large heavy pot, heat the broth, cloves, coriander, chili flakes, ginger, chili oil, fish sauce and onion until simmering gently. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until the onion have started to soften. Gently add the crab meat to the stock and simmer gently for 3-5 minutes, until the crab is just cooked. Assemble the pho by placing 1/2 cup noodles in the bottom of each serving bowl. Gently add a serving of crab and ladle one cup of broth into each bowl. Garnish with sprouts, basil leaves, mushrooms, cilantro, herbs and serve with lime wedges.

8. Quick Pork Pho Recipe with Chicken Broth


  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise pods
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 ounces thin rice-stick noodles
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons rice bran or grape seed oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled, halved vertically
  • 1 large piece ginger, peeled, finely chopped
  • 2 bone-in pork shoulder steaks (about 12 oz; 375 g each)
  • 2 hot red chillies or 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

for Serving

  • Lime wedges
  • Mung bean sprouts
  • Fresh coriander stems
  • Thinly sliced green
  • Chopped unsalted, roasted peanuts


Heat a large heavy skillet or frying pan over moderate to high heat. Cook the onion, cut-side down, until well browned (about 5 minutes) and set aside. Add garlic, cinnamon stick, chillies, red pepper flakes, fennel seeds and star anise to the dry skillet and cook while stirring, until fragrant (about 1 minute; do not burn). Add the onion, ginger, and pour in the broth. Bring the pot to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a little heat oil in a frying pan over moderate to high heat. Season pork with salt and pepper and cook on both sides in the hot pan until browned and cooked inside (about 5 minutes per side). Let rest 5 minutes and then slice the pork thinly. Cook the noodles and then add a serving to each of the serving bowls. Add several slices of pork. Strain the broth and ladle a serving into the bowls. Dress the pho soup with bean sprouts, green onions, coriander and peanuts and serve with lime wedges and extra fresh herbs on the side.

9. Vegetarian Pho Soup Recipe


for the Soup

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 star anise
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 1/2 cups rice noodles
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grape seed or rice bran oil
  • 1 large white onion, peeled and quartered
  • Salt and Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 5 ounces (140 g) thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or broth (freshly prepared)
  • 1 large piece of ginger, peeled and halved lengthwise

for the Garnishes

  • 4 small lime wedges
  • 4 sprigs of fresh mint
  • 1 1/2 cups Mung bean sprouts
  • 4 sprigs of fresh basil or cilantro
  • 1 1/2 cups green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh jalapeño or hot red chili


Heat a Dutch oven or heavy pot over moderate heat. Add the star anise, cinnamon sticks and cloves and dry toast until fragrant (about 3 to 4 minutes). Add the vegetable stock, water, onion, ginger and tamari. Increase the heat to high, bringing the mixture to the boil. Then, reduce the heat and gently simmer the mixture for 30 minutes. Cook the rice noodles, drain and set aside. Fry the shiitake mushrooms gently in warm oil until the mushrooms are tender and lightly browned, (about 4 to 5 minutes), then set aside. Once the broth is cooked and flavorsome, strain out the onions, spices and ginger using a small metal sieve. Season to taste and heat to simmering ready for serving. Assemble the pho by adding a serve of cooked noodle to the bowl, some mushrooms and a serving of broth. Add your choice of fresh garnishes and herbs.

10. Vietnamese Mixed Seafood Pho Recipe (Pho Hai San)


  • 1 cup field Mushrooms
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoon fresh coriander
  • 500 g (1 lb) Pho noodles or similar
  • 2 tablespoon coriander finely chopped
  • 5 liters (5.2 quarts) fresh vegetable stock
  • 500 g (1 lb) shrimp, mussels, crab, firm white-fleshed fish, clams, scallops

Spices for the Broth (1/2 to 1 teaspoon of each)

  • Cloves
  • Sea salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Star anise
  • Black pepper
  • Fennel seeds
  • Black cardamom
  • Coriander seeds
  • Green cardamom pods


Fry the seafood in small batches so that all the items are just cooked. Add the field mushrooms and spices into the simmering stock (you can also use homemade chicken stock for the broth). Simmer the stick for 30-40 minutes. Cook the noodles until just soft. To serve, add a portion of the cooked noodles to serving bowls and add some hot broth. Add a serving of the mixed seafood and top with your choice of coriander, onions, mushrooms and herbs.

© 2017 Dr. John Anderson


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