Vietnamese Beef Pho

Vietnamese Beef Pho is an iconic dish that has been popularized around the world due to its rich, fragrant and comforting flavour.

With a history that dates back to the early 20th century, this delectable soup has become a symbol of Vietnamese cuisine, and is enjoyed by millions of people worldwide.

The origins of Pho can be traced back to North Vietnam, where the dish was first created in Hanoi. It was initially served mainly to the working class, but eventually became a staple dish in Vietnamese cuisine.

Today, Pho can be found in Vietnamese restaurants all over the world and has gained a reputation as one of the most beloved and delicious dishes in the world.

The dish features thin slices of beef cooked in a carefully prepared broth that is infused with spices such as cinnamon, star anise, ginger and coriander.

It is then served with rice noodles, fresh herbs and bean sprouts, making it a healthy and nutritious option for any mealtime.

With its wholesome and satisfying taste, it is no wonder that Pho has become a beloved favourite around the globe.

Here is why you will love this recipe:

1. It is a traditional Vietnamese dish that is loved by many for its rich and flavorful broth made with beef bones, spices, and aromatics, creating a warm and comforting meal.
2. It includes thin slices of tender beef, rice noodles, and fresh herbs such as cilantro and scallions, making it a healthy and nourishing option that is also delicious and filling.
3. It is a versatile dish that can be customized to personal taste preferences by adjusting the ingredients and toppings, allowing for a unique and satisfying experience each time it is prepared.

Beef pho in a soup bowl

Vietnamese Beef Pho Recipe

Vietnamese Beef Pho is a delicious and aromatic soup that originates from Vietnam. This savory broth is made with beef bones, herbs, and spices, and is typically served with rice noodles, thinly sliced beef, and fresh herbs. It's a popular comfort food that's easy to make and packed with flavor.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 30 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Vietnamese
Servings6 servings
Calories (per serving)543.18 kcal


Beef Stock





  • Place the beef bones, onion, and ginger. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes at 220C.
  • Toast the star anise, cloves, cardamon pods, coriander seeds, and bay leaf in a skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. 
  • Add bones and brisket to a large pot and boil for 5-8 minutes.
  • Rinse and clean the brisket. Also clean the large pot, because it's ready to use again.


  • In a large pot, add water and bring to boil.
  • Add the bones, brisket, onion, ginger, and spices.
  • Cover and simmer slowly for 3 hours, or until meat is tender.
  • Remove brisket and store in an air-tight container. Slice and serve when ready to serve.
  • Remove cover and simmer for additional 30 minutes.
  •  Strain the stock into another pot and discard bones and spices.
  • Add fish sauce, salt, and black pepper into the new pot.

To Serve

  • Prepare rice noodles per packet instructions.
  • Place noodles in a bowl.
  • Top with raw sliced beef and sliced brisket.
  • Add the hot broth to the bowl.
  • Add beansprouts, spring onions, basil leaves, salt, black pepper, red chili, cilantro, sriracha, lime wedges, and hoisin sauce.
  • Serve and enjoy.


1. Start with high-quality beef bones: To create the rich, flavorful broth that is the backbone of any pho dish, start with high-quality beef bones. This will ensure that your broth is rich and delicious.
2. Roast the bones: Roasting the bones before making the broth will add depth and richness to the broth. This will give it a more complex flavor and a deeper color.
3. Use a cheesecloth or strainer: Once the broth has been simmered for several hours and all the flavors have been extracted, use a cheesecloth or strainer to remove any remaining bits of bone or debris.
4. Add fresh herbs and aromatics: Just before serving, add fresh herbs and aromatics to the dish. This will give it a bright, fresh flavor and a beautiful aroma. Some good options include basil, cilantro, mint, and scallions.
5. Use textures and garnishes: Top your pho with a variety of textures and garnishes to give it extra depth and flavor. Some popular options include sliced beef, bean sprouts, lime wedges, and sriracha sauce.
6. Serve your pho hot: Pho is best served hot, so make sure that you serve it soon after cooking. This will ensure that it is still steaming and flavorful.
7. Customize to individual tastes: Finally, remember that pho is a highly customizable dish. Encourage guests to add extra spices or toppings to personalize their bowls and make the meal even more enjoyable.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 543.18kcalCarbohydrates: 44.13gProtein: 48.01gFat: 19.26gSaturated Fat: 7.14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.95gMonounsaturated Fat: 8.93gCholesterol: 128.77mgSodium: 2154.29mgPotassium: 1088mgFiber: 4.26gSugar: 5.88gVitamin A: 449.48IUVitamin B1: 0.31mgVitamin B2: 0.51mgVitamin B3: 9.99mgVitamin B5: 0.99mgVitamin B6: 1.19mgVitamin B12: 4.79µgVitamin C: 56.79mgVitamin D: 0.04µgVitamin E: 0.97mgVitamin K: 40.77µgCalcium: 90.72mgCopper: 0.53mgFolate: 68.33µgIron: 6.19mgManganese: 1.01mgMagnesium: 114.95mgPhosphorus: 516.88mgSelenium: 44.5µgZinc: 10.27mgNet Carbohydrates: 39.88g
Read more nutritional information values.

Data source: USDA

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Ingredients Explained

– Beef: usually a mix of beef bones, beef tendon, beef brisket, and/or beef chuck. This provides the meaty and savory flavor of the broth.
– Spices: star anise, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom pods are the most common spices used to flavor the broth. These spices give the broth a warm and aromatic flavor.
– Onions and ginger: these are usually charred in the oven or over an open flame before being added to the broth. This gives the broth a deep, smoky flavor.
– Fish sauce: a staple in Vietnamese cuisine, fish sauce adds a salty and umami flavor to the broth.
– Rice noodles: the noodles used in pho are typically thin and flat, made from rice flour. They have a delicate and slightly chewy texture.
– Herbs and vegetables: bean sprouts, Thai basil, cilantro, lime wedges, and sliced jalapeño are commonly served with pho. These add freshness and brightness to the dish.

What to do with leftover Cooked Brisket

Due to the nature of this recipe, you will be left with around 500 grams of cooked brisket which you can use for another recipe, or keep stored for another day.

Fridge3 to 4 days (airtight container)
Freezer2 to 3 months (airtight container)

How long does Pho Broth last?

Vietnamese Beef Pho typically lasts in the fridge for 3-4 days and in the freezer for up to 2 months. To store, let the soup cool down first and then transfer it into an airtight container. Place the container in the fridge/freezer immediately.

To freeze, make sure the soup has fully cooled down before transferring it into airtight freezer-safe bags or containers with lids. Leave some space at the top of the container/bag for the soup to expand. Label the container/bag with the name and date before placing it in the freezer.

To defrost, remove the frozen soup from the freezer and transfer it to the fridge overnight to thaw slowly. Alternatively, you can place the container/bag in a bowl of warm water to speed up the process.

To reheat, heat the soup in a pot over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Alternatively, you can microwave the soup in a microwave-safe container until it is warmed through. Be sure to stir the soup occasionally as you heat it to prevent it from sticking to the bottom and becoming too hot in one spot.

Recipe Variations

1. Chicken Pho – substitute the beef with chicken which could be simpler, but still flavorful. Chicken Pho will require a bit less cooking time than beef pho, so watch it closely while cooking.

2. Seafood Pho – If you love seafood, try making pho with shrimp or mixed seafood (shrimp, squid, and clams). It will give you an amazing flavor and texture.

3. Vegetarian Pho – Swap the beef with tofu, vegetable broth and mixed vegetables, and herbs to make a vegetarian version.

4. Spicy Pho – if you love spicy food, add a few chopped Thai chilies, Sriracha sauce, or any chili sauce to the broth while it boils or on top of the pho after you serve it.

5. Meatball Pho – Adding beef, chicken, or pork meatballs to pho is an excellent way to elevate the flavor level. Meatballs can be made up of any meat you prefer or whatever meat you have on hand.

6. Imperial Hue-style Pho – In this unique version, the beef broth is mixed with pig’s blood, lemongrass, garlic, chili oil, and shrimp paste. It is served with sliced beef, crab cakes, and pig’s knuckles.

7. Fusion Pho – You can try a fusion version by mixing pho with different cuisines. For instance, top your pho with Mexican guacamole, cheese or adding Vietnamese cilantro, basil, and mint to Thai tom yum soup.

8. Ramen Pho – Combine two popular Asian noodle soups to make Ramen Pho. Prepare Ramen Soup using packaged Ramen noodles and add vegetables, beef, seafood, or chicken to it.

9. Brisket Pho – Brisket Pho is made by braising a beef brisket in pho broth along with spices, herbs, and veggies for hours.

10. Instant Pot Pho- Put all your ingredients in an instant pot, and let it cook for an hour. You will have your Pho out in no time!

What To Serve With

1. Bean sprouts
2. Jalapeño peppers
3. Lime wedges
4. Thai basil
5. Cilantro
6. Hoisin sauce
7. Sriracha sauce
8. Thinly sliced onions
9. Thinly sliced scallions
10. Fish sauce
11. Beef brisket or flank steak
12. Freshly chopped chili peppers.