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4.87 from 37 votes

Pho Recipe- How to Make Vietnamese Noodle Soup

Learn How to Make this Vietnamese Noodle Soup Recipe (Pho) right in your own home with these easy to follow instructions.
Note- there are two sets of instructions. The first is for the more authentic pho broth (long version) and the second is for the less authentic (short version).
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time8 hrs
Refrigerate6 hrs
Total Time9 hrs
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: How to make Pho, How to Make Vietnamese Noodle Soup, Pho Recipe
Servings: 12 bowls of pho (highly variable)
Calories: 574kcal
Author: Jessica Randhawa

Ingredients

Authentic Pho Broth (8+ hours)

  • 10 pounds beef bones, preferably a mix of marrow bones (femur bones) and bones with meat on them (oxtail, short ribs, and knuckle bones cut in half)
  • 2 medium onions, quartered
  • 2 whole heads garlic, halved crosswise
  • 4 (2-inch pieces) ginger, sliced lengthwise
  • 6 whole star anise
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2/3 cup fish sauce, divided between the two pots
  • 4 tbsp sugar, divided between the two pots

Non-Authentic Pho Broth (20-30 minutes)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 shallots, diced
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped, green and white parts divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth, or water
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce

Assembly

  • 1 pound flat rice noodles, dried or fresh
  • 1 pound flank steak, chuck roast, brisket, sliced thin against the grain
  • sliced onions
  • fresh cilantro, chopped

For the Table

  • fresh mint, Thai basil
  • mung bean sprouts
  • green onions
  • lime wedges
  • thinly sliced red chilis
  • hoisin sauce
  • fish sauce
  • chili sauce
  • bok choy

Instructions

Authentic Pho Broth (8+ hours)

  • Blanch the bones. This step is SO IMPORTANT. If you want a clear, beautiful pho broth, blanch your bones. Do this by dividing the bones between two large stockpots and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes before draining and rinsing the bones with water.
  • Roast the bones and the vegetables. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Transfer the bones, onion, garlic, and ginger to the roasting pans. Don’t pile them all on top of each other- use two roasting pans. Roast for 30 minutes before gently tossing the bones, and roasting for an additional 15-30 minutes more. In other words, roast for at least 45-60 minutes
  • Toast the spices. As the bones are roasting, add all of your spices (the star anise, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom pods, coriander seeds, and fennel seeds) to a large, dry skillet over low heat. Not medium heat. LOW HEAT. Toast your spices, stirring often to prevent burning, until fragrant, approximately 5 minutes. Divide the spices in half and transfer to your cheesecloth. Make two spice sachets by gathering at the top and tying with kitchen twine.
  • Transfer the roasted bones back to the stockpots. But not before washing the stockpots first. Make sure you wash your pots after the bones were blanched and drained. Transfer the bones back to the stock pots and scrape up any remaining bits and juices remaining in the roasting pan using a metal spatula and a little water, if needed. Add to the pot with the bones (don’t worry, all those brown bits are FLAVOR!). 
  • Bring to a boil. With the bones, spice sachets(one per pot), onion, garlic, and ginger divided between the two pots, fill each pot with approximately 12 cups water (or until bones are fully submerged), 1/3 cup fish sauce and 2 tablespoons sugar. Bring to a boil.
  • Simmer the bones. Reduce heat to low and simmer, with the lid slightly ajar, skimming any foam or excess fat, occasionally (if you blanched your bones, you shouldn’t see much foam). Simmer for at least 6-12 hours, ideally 24 hours (do not leave the stove running overnight. Simply cool and store in the refrigerator and continue to simmer the next day). Add more water if needed to make sure the bones stay submerged.
  • Strain the broth. Once the bones have simmered and your broth is ready, you will need to strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer essentially separating the pretty, clear broth from the bones and spices. Set aside the broth to cool and reserve the bones.
  • Don’t forget about the meat. Whether you eat the meat still left on the bones in a bowl of soup or in sandwiches, I can almost guarantee that there is a TON of delicious meat waiting to be picked from the bones. Don’t let it go to waste! Discard the meat-free bones, herbs, and other bits that were used to make the broth.
  • Skim the fat from your broth (optional). Add a couple handfuls of ice to your broth to expedite cooling and cover your pot with a lid. Transfer the broth to the refrigerator and allow broth to cool fully. The result will be a hard, thick layer of fat on the top and a bottom layer that is your pho broth (which should look like gelatinous brown jello). If desired use a fork to scoop off the top layer of fat. 

Non-Authentic Pho Broth (20-30 minutes)

  • Cook the mirepoix. To a medium stockpot over medium heat, add the olive oil and shallots. Cook the shallots for approximately 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the white parts of a few green onions, minced garlic, and ginger to the pot and stir well to combine. Cook for 1-2 more minutes.
  • Add pre-made broth or stock. Add the broth to the pot and bring to a simmer.
  • Add some flavor. Add 1-2 whole star anise, soy sauce, and fish sauce to the broth. Cover. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Remove the star anise. Try not to forget this part.
  • Season to taste. When it comes to Pho, you do you. Add more salt, more sugar, more fish sauce, etc.

Assembly

  • Slice your meat. Thinly slice your meat. If you're having trouble, place it in the freezer for 10 minutes which will make it easier to slice.
  • Noodles first. Grab a large bowl and divide the pre-cooked noodles between bowls. 
  • Add the raw meat. Yes, you guys. RAW. Add the meat directly on top of the rice noodles. Don’t worry, assuming your broth is boiling hot and not just warm, your meat will get fully cooked.
  • Add the broth. It doesn’t matter which broth (the fast or the slow method), this is the moment. Just make sure it’s super hot and ladle directly over the meat.
  • Garnish like crazy. Add some extra cooked beef from the bones you used to make the bone broth, add one sauce…or five. Guys, it’s up to you! Have fun!

Notes

  • This recipe will require two (8+ quart) stockpots and two roasting pans. If this is too much, you can easily cut the recipe in half. However, the soup freezes well and takes so much effort, why not, right?
  • Servings amounts. Authentic Pho Broth (approximately 8 large bowls or 24 cups of broth). Non-Authentic Pho Broth (approximately 2 bowls of Pho).

Nutrition

Calories: 574kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 57g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 2179mg | Potassium: 111mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 165IU | Vitamin C: 1.9mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 3.9mg
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