Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup Recipe (Pho Bo Recipe)

Vicky Pham



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pho bo vietnam, Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup (Pho Bo)

Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup Recipe (Pho Bo Recipe)

The most iconic Vietnamese dish of them all, Pho. It’s considered Vietnam’s national dish and you can find it in every Vietnamese restaurant here in the states. Pho consists of either chicken or beef broth with rice noodles, herbs, and various cuts of meat. This recipe is the beef version, Pho Bo.

By Vicky Pham


Beef Stock

  • 3 lbs beef bones (ox tail, neck bones and/or shank bones)
  • 6 quarts water
  • 8 large shallots (about 15 oz; roast whole at 350°F for 40 minutes, peel)
  • 4 oz ginger (roast at 350°F for 40 minutes; slice into coins with peel-on)

Dried Spices

  • 1 stick Chinese cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons dried cloves
  • 2 teaspoons dried coriander
  • 3 dried cardamom
  • 3 dried star anise
  • Alternatively, 1 pho spice seasoning packet with spice bag

Stock Seasoning

  • 30 grams rock sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon chicken or mushroom bouillon powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tablespoon MSG (optional)

Pho Meaty Toppings

  • Any meat from beef bones after making stock (particularly ox tail)
  • 1-1/2 lbs thinly sliced eye-round beef steak
  • 1 11-oz bag cooked beef balls (Bo Vien)

Noodles & Vegetable Toppings

  • 2 lbs fresh rice noodles (soak in cold water for 30 minutes to remove excess starch)
  • 1 white/yellow onion (slice thinly)
  • 1 small bunch cilantro (roughly chop)
  • 5 green onions/scallions (slice thinly)
  • 3 jalapenos (slice thinly)
  • 3 limes (cut into wedges)
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Sriracha sauce


  1. Clean the beef bones. Cleaning the bones will rid of all the impurities and ensure a clear broth. To clean the bones, bring a large pot of water with 1 tablespoon salt to a rolling boil. Add beef bones (except shank with bone marrow) and boil for 2-3 minutes. For shanks with bone marrow, quickly dunk them in the boiling salted water. This way the shanks are cleaned but the marrow does not melt away. Remove the bones and give them a rinse and drain dry.
  2. In another large pot, add water (6 quarts) and bring to a boil. Add cleaned bones, roasted shallots, and ginger to the pot. Cook for 2 hours, semi-covered on a low simmer. Occasionally, use a ladle or mesh strainer to skim off the impurities that float to the top and discard.
  3. Remove all the aromatics and bones from the stock and discard. There may be a good amount of tender meat on the bones (particularly ox tail) so remove the meat from the bones and set aside as a meaty topping before discarding bones.
  4. In a small frying pan, dry roast (no oil) the spices for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Shake them around to prevent burning. Wrap the roasted spices in a cheesecloth or if you are using the pho spice seasoning packet, use the accompanying spice bag. Add to stockpot. Simmer on low for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the spice packet.
  5. Season stock with rock sugar, fish sauce and salt. Start with a little at a time and adjust to your taste. If you feel like the pho is still lacking and you're looking for more of an authentic restaurant taste, add the MSG and bouillon powder. Again, a little at a time to your taste.
  6. When ready to serve, bring a small pot of water to a boil and blanch a large handful of rice noodles for a few seconds. Add cooked noodles to a serving bowl. Add your choices of meat with the raw slices of eye-round beef steak on top. Ladle hot broth over the raw beef slices. Top with a bit of white/yellow onions, green onions, and chopped cilantro. Serve with hoisin and sriracha sauce, and a small platter of bean sprouts, Thai basil, jalapeno slices, and lime wedges.


If you are using the pho spice seasoning packet, you can reuse the accompanying spice cloth bag after a wash. The spices in these convenient packets will vary slightly, but it won't make a noticeable difference. In this particular spice packet, there is fennel instead of cardamon.

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