Delicious Pho Bo Recipe: A Perfect Comfort Food

Vietnamese cuisine has become increasingly popular all over the world for its unique blend of fresh herbs, complex spices, and bold flavors. Amongst the many delicious dishes that Vietnam has to offer, Pho Bo stands out as a standout noodle soup that truly captures the essence of Vietnamese flavor.

Pho Bo is a hearty beef noodle soup that has been a staple in Vietnam’s culinary repertoire for generations. This dish combines rice noodles with tender slices of beef, served in a hot and flavorful broth that has been simmered with a variety of aromatic spices like cinnamon, cloves, coriander seeds, and star anise for hours to achieve its signature taste.

Whether you’re looking to warm up during cold weather or want to enjoy a cozy night in, this recipe is sure to satisfy your cravings. Plus, with its combination of protein-rich beef slices and carbohydrates from the rice noodles, this dish makes for a nourishing and filling meal that can be enjoyed any time of the day.

Get ready to experience Vietnam’s rich culinary tradition right in your own kitchen with our Pho Bo recipe. Trust me; one spoonful of this delicious soup will transport you straight to the streets of Hanoi.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Pho Bo (Beef Noodle Soup)
Pho Bo (Beef Noodle Soup)

Fellow food lovers, let me tell you about the star of today’s recipe article – the Pho Bo, a delicious and hearty Vietnamese-Style Beef Noodle Soup! This beloved dish has been enchanting people with its tempting aroma and mouth-watering taste. Not convinced yet? Let me tell you why you’ll fall in love with this Vietnamese classic!

First and foremost, there’s nothing quite like pho when it comes to warming your soul on a chilly day. As soon as the soup simmers on your stove, it fills your home with an irresistible and comforting fragrance. With rich beef broth, tender slices of sirloin beef, and a mix of fragrant spices like cinnamon stick, cloves, and star anise, each spoonful of pho will have you feeling cozy and content.

Secondly, pho is an incredibly versatile dish. You can add or omit ingredients according to your taste buds’ preferences. Plus, this recipe can easily accommodate any meat preference – chicken noodle soup may be good for some but others prefer beef or bo vietnamese noodle soup. What’s more interesting is you can even create vegan-friendly or vegetarian variants by using vegetable stock, tofu or plant-based protein!

Finally, Pho Bo is also known as a therapeutic dish that can soothe stomach aches thanks to its bone broth base that is full of minerals such as calcium and magnesium. With its combination of fresh herbs such as cilantro, basil leaves, and bean sprouts topping the warm broth with vibrant colors makes it appeal not only to the palette but also to our senses.

In conclusion, there are numerous reasons why you’ll love this recipe! From the soothing aroma filling your kitchen to its versatility in ingredients accommodating various dietary restrictions to its health benefits from the bone broth base… It’s clear that Pho Bo noodle soup is a must-try for everyone who loves rich flavor profiles, comfort foods, and healthy eating.

Ingredient List

 A warm and comforting bowl of Pho Bo is perfect for a cozy night in
A warm and comforting bowl of Pho Bo is perfect for a cozy night in

Here are the ingredients you will need to make a steaming bowl of Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup):

  • 2 lbs sirloin beef, sliced thinly
  • 1 lb beef brisket
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 yellow onion, cut in half and charred
  • 3-inch ginger knob, roasted and sliced
  • 3 star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 3 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • Salt to taste

To serve:

  • Rice noodles
  • Bean sprouts
  • Fresh herbs (cilantro, basil, mint)
  • Lime wedges
  • Thinly sliced onions and green onions

You can easily adjust the recipe according to your preference, but keep in mind that these ingredients ultimately determine the flavor of your pho bo. So do not forget to get high-quality beef and other fresh herbs that go into the soup.

The Recipe How-To

 All the flavor in this Pho Bo comes from the spices and herbs simmered in the broth
All the flavor in this Pho Bo comes from the spices and herbs simmered in the broth

Now that we have gathered all the ingredients, let’s start cooking! Get ready for a heartwarming Vietnamese classic, Pho Bo!


  1. Begin by soaking the rice noodles in cold water for half an hour before cooking.
  2. Char the yellow onion and ginger on an open flame or in the oven until they’re slightly blackened.
  3. Toast the spices – 1 cinnamon stick, 1 tbsp coriander seeds, 1 tbsp whole cloves, and 2-3 whole star anise inside a dry pan.
  4. In another pot, quickly blanch both brisket and beef bones in boiling water for five minutes. Rinse with cold water.
  5. Cut brisket into large pieces.


  1. Place brisket and beef bones in a large pot with 5 litres of water over high heat and bring to a boil.
  2. Once boiling, quickly drain everything and rinse the pot clean with cold water.
  3. Add another 5 litres of cold water along with burnt onion & ginger, toasted spice, brisket pieces, beef slices or minced beef to the pot and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce to a simmer and skim off any foam that rises to the surface.
  5. Add 4 tbsp of salt, 4 tbsp of sugar and 4-5 tbsp of fish sauce (depending on your taste preference).
  6. Continue simmering over low heat for at least four hours or until the broth has reached its rich depth of flavour.

Assemble Your Bowl

  1. Remove beef slices from the broth once cooked through (around two minutes) and set aside.
  2. Boil rice noodles according to packet instructions or until al dente texture is achieved.
  3. Arrange your toppings beside your bowl – thinly sliced onions, chopped coriander, lime wedges, and bean sprouts.
  4. Place cooked rice noodles in a large bowl and layer with beef slices on top.
  5. Pour the hot broth over your noodle ladened bowl.
  6. Add the veggie toppings on top – raw onion slices (or add to broth as soup ingredients), coriander, bean sprouts, and a generous squeeze of fresh lime.

Now that you know how to make this beef noodle soup masterpiece, who said impressive flavour meant hours and hours of cooking?

Substitutions and Variations

 The star of the dish is the beef, which is thinly sliced and added to the hot broth just before serving
The star of the dish is the beef, which is thinly sliced and added to the hot broth just before serving

When it comes to making Pho Bo, there are a variety of substitutions and variations you can make to tailor it to your preferences or what’s available in your pantry. Here are some options to consider:

– Beef: If you don’t have sirloin beef or beef brisket on hand, you can use other cuts of beef like flank steak or chuck roast.

– Broth: While traditional Pho Bo requires boiling water and beef bones for hours to create a rich broth, you can use store-bought beef stock as a shortcut. You can also experiment with using chicken or vegetable broth instead.

– Noodles: Rice noodles are the typical noodle of choice for Pho Bo, but if you can’t find them, you can substitute them with ramen noodles or even flour Pho. Just keep in mind that the texture and flavor may be slightly different than traditional rice noodles.

– Vegetables: Bean sprouts and thinly sliced yellow onion are often used as toppings for Pho Bo, but you can mix it up by adding other veggies like carrots, bell peppers, or bok choy to the soup.

– Meat Variations: For those who aren’t big fans of beef, try using chicken or pork instead! You can even mix your meats by adding beef slices along with chicken or shrimp.

Remember, the best part about making your own pho is that you have the power to customize it however you like. Whether you want a spicy broth or prefer more vegetables in your soup, don’t be afraid to make substitutions and add your own twists.

Serving and Pairing

 The noodles soak up the broth and add a satisfying chewy texture to the dish
The noodles soak up the broth and add a satisfying chewy texture to the dish

When it comes to serving and pairing Beef Noodle Soup, there are many options that can complement this sumptuous dish.

Typically, Pho Bo is served in large bowls with an array of garnishes such as bean sprouts, sliced onions, lime wedges, and fresh herbs like Thai basil and cilantro. Not only do these additions provide texture and colors to your soup but also the freshness that contrasts with the richness of the broth.

Feeling peckish? Then try adding some thinly sliced beef or chicken to your Pho. The tender meat will soak up the hot broth, resulting in a mouth-watering blend of flavors perfect for any time of day.

Another delightful option is to pair your Beef Noodle Soup with a side dish of crispy spring rolls or bánh mì sandwiches. These choices will elevate your overall meal experience by providing different levels of textures and flavors – all while reflecting the Vietnamese cuisine’s complexity.

Finally, a cold Vietnamese beer or iced tea would be the perfect drink to complement your Pho Bo. These choices will refresh your palate while balancing aromas and flavors.

In conclusion, when serving Beef Noodle Soup, don’t hold back; add your preferred accompaniments and let your taste buds indulge in this savory Vietnamese dish.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 The garnishes are just as important as the soup itself, with fresh herbs, bean sprouts, and lime completing the dish
The garnishes are just as important as the soup itself, with fresh herbs, bean sprouts, and lime completing the dish

Preparing pho bo is undoubtedly time-consuming, but its deliciousness makes up for all the effort. Plus, it’s a recipe that you can easily make in advance and store or reheat when you are ready to serve it.

If you have leftover pho bo, place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. However, avoid adding the bean sprouts and noodles until just before serving to preserve their texture. When reheating, add the noodles and sprouts once the broth begins simmering.

If you plan on making pho bo ahead of time or in large quantities, consider freezing it. Allow the soup to cool, leaving ample space in the container so that it doesn’t expand and rupture when frozen. Then, freeze for up to two months.

When you are ready to eat, defrost the pho bo overnight in the refrigerator or at room temperature for a few hours. Alternatively, place the frozen soup in a pot with hot water until it loosens and then reheat on low heat on the stove with fresh bean sprouts and noodles until warm.

A word of caution: reheating pho bo may affect its original flavor and texture slightly. Therefore, adding some fresh sliced onion or cilantro will help restore any loss in flavors. Take your pho game up a notch by maximizing your preparation efforts and storing leftovers properly.

Tips for Perfect Results

 The secret to a great Pho Bo is a slow and steady simmer, allowing the flavors to
The secret to a great Pho Bo is a slow and steady simmer, allowing the flavors to

As a chef specializing in Vietnamese and Asian cuisine, I understand that making the perfect pho bo can be a challenge for many cooks. Here are some tips to help you achieve the best results possible:

1. Use high-quality beef: For the best flavor, use sirloin beef or thinly sliced beef brisket. Make sure to trim the fat before adding it to the soup.

2. Toast your spices: Toasting cinnamon sticks, coriander seeds, cloves, and star anise before adding them to the broth brings out their flavors and makes the soup more aromatic.

3. Simmer slowly: To make a flavorful broth, simmer your beef bones and onions in water for at least 4-5 hours on low heat. Be patient and keep an eye on the pot.

4. Prepare your rice noodles properly: Soak your rice noodles in cold water for at least one hour before cooking them in boiling water for 1-2 minutes.

5. Add fresh herbs and bean sprouts as garnish: Top your bowl of pho with fresh cilantro leaves, thinly sliced onions, bean sprouts, and lime wedges.

6. Adjust seasoning to your taste: Taste the soup before serving and adjust the seasoning (salt, sugar, fish sauce) according to your preferences.

7. Store broth and noodles separately: If you plan to make pho bo ahead of time, store the broth and cooked noodles separately in different containers; this ensures that the noodles won’t absorb all of the broth’s liquid.

8. Experiment with different cuts of meat: Although sirloin beef is the traditional choice for pho bo, you can experiment with other cuts such as beef tripe, tendon or meatballs to add texture and flavor variation to your soup.

By following these simple tips, you can create authentic Vietnamese pho bo noodle soup that will impress your friends and family.


As we near the end of the recipe article, it’s time to address some of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to making pho bo. Let’s dive into some helpful answers that will ensure you’re serving up a bowl of deliciousness!

What is the secret ingredient in pho broth?

One of the key elements that contributes to the delicious flavor of pho is a type of dried worm called sa sung, which is often considered as a secret ingredient.

What is the difference between pho and pho Bo?

Vietnamese noodle soup comes in various types. However, if you’re looking for a chicken or beef noodle soup, then you can try Pho ga or Pho bo. It’s worth noting that other noodle soups added with vegetables or mushrooms can’t be considered Pho.

What is the difference between pho Bo and ramen?

There is a noticeable variation between Pho noodles and ramen noodles. While ramen noodles hail from wheat flour, Pho Noodles are crafted from glutinous rice flour. The former is more commonly found dried, but the latter is found in thin, transparent strands known as Banh pho.

What gives pho broth its flavor?

When making a delicious pho broth, it’s vital to include an array of distinctive spices to achieve the authentic flavor profile. In order to get the most out of the spice blend, I strongly suggest utilizing whole versions of both the star anise, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, and coriander seeds. By toasting these spices beforehand, we can enhance their intrinsic flavors and give the overall dish a delightful aromatic note.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Pho Bo recipe is a must-try for any fan of Vietnamese and Asian cuisine. This delicious beef noodle soup combines a fragrant and savory broth with tender slices of beef, rice noodles, and fresh herbs, making it the perfect comfort food or satisfying meal. By following the above instructions and tips, you can easily create an authentic Pho Bo experience in your own kitchen.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different variations and substitutions to make this recipe truly your own. Whether you prefer a spicy Pho Bo with tripe and tendon or a milder version with just beef brisket and rice noodles, there’s something to suit every taste bud.

And remember, while the ingredients list may seem long and intimidating, don’t let that discourage you from trying this amazing dish. Once you’ve tasted the perfectly balanced flavors of this Vietnamese beef noodle soup recipe, you’ll understand why it has become such a beloved staple of Asian cuisine.

So go ahead and indulge in a comforting bowl of hot Pho Bo today – trust us, your taste buds will thank you!

Pho Bo (Beef Noodle Soup)

Pho Bo (Beef Noodle Soup) Recipe

Homemade pho. Great for cold weather 😛
No ratings yet
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 5 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Vietnamese
Calories 1118.2 kcal


Beef Broth

  • 3 lbs beef bones (ask your butcher to cut them into manageable pieces)
  • 1 1/2 lbs beef short ribs or 1 1/2 lbs beef brisket
  • 16 cups water (4 quarts)
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 6 -8 cloves, whole
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • thinly sliced raw sirloin beef, if desired (optional)


  • 1 lb rice noodles, uncooked (Banh Pho, small size)
  • boiling water


  • Bring water to a simmer, add bones and beef, simmer with onion, ginger, fish sauce and sugar for 1.5 to 2 hours.
  • Strain foam and fat frequently, but be careful to not stir too much as you don't want to cloud the broth.
  • Remove brisket/short ribs; shred meat and set aside for service.
  • Add anise, cloves and cinnamon stick in a cheesecloth or spice bag.
  • Simmer broth with spices for another 30-45 minutes. Remove spice bag, onion and ginger. Strain broth well, keep boiling hot.
  • Cook noodles in boiling water, stirring with chopsticks or spoon to keep from clumping, just until soft (about 45-60 seconds). Remove from water, place in bowl. Top with cooked beef, thin slices of rare beef, cilantro and green onions if desired.
  • Mix noodles in broth.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 1302gCalories: 1118.2kcalCarbohydrates: 105.1gProtein: 29.5gFat: 62.3gSaturated Fat: 27gCholesterol: 129.3mgSodium: 4894.5mgFiber: 2.3gSugar: 8.4g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Asian, Lunch, Savory
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recommended Recipes Just For You