Homemade Vietnamese Pho Soup Recipe

Making your own Vietnamese pho soup at home is not hard, all you need is a straightforward recipe, a few secrets and a nice big stockpot. Jump to the full Pho Recipe now or read on to see how we make it.

If you’re sitting there and wondering “what is pho,” it’s a delicate (and delicious) Vietnamese noodle soup, made from beef bones, ginger, onions and lots of aromatic spices.

It’s nothing short of soup perfection. The way all the spices and flavors from star anise, cardamom, fennel seeds and cinnamon come together is incredible and the best part? You can customize; it’s encouraged that you add any and all the condiments you desire to make it your own.

Pho Soup Recipe with Video

We make this at least once a month, always making sure there is leftover broth to freeze for another day. While it takes a bit of time, most of that is hands-off, so let’s get going towards amazing pho at home, shall we?

Pho-Inspired Grilled Chicken Wings RecipeWe love all the flavors of pho so much that we’ve even made Pho-Inspired Grilled Chicken Wings marinaded in ginger, garlic, lime and fish sauce.

Seven Secrets to this Amazing Pho Soup Recipe at Home

The Best Bones for Making Pho

You can’t make an awesome soup without awesome beef bones, right? So, look for knuckle and leg bones that contain marrow. We buy beef knuckles from a local Asian market and find them to be pretty inexpensive.

It’s Best to Parboil and Rinse the Bones

When you simmer bones they release “scum” or impurities. If you don’t get rid of this, you’ll be stuck with a cloudy broth. Not good. We like our soup to be as clear and clean as possible, so we add an extra step. Add the bones to a large stockpot, cover with cold water then bring to a boil. Boil for a few minutes then throw the water and bones into a strainer. Discard the water then rinse the bones to get rid of all the impurities. Also, make sure you give the pot a rinse, too — there will be scum on the bottom and sides of the pot.

Charr The Onion and Ginger

To create that distinctive and deep flavor of great Pho, slide onion and a sizable piece of ginger under the broiler. Broil until well charred. That’s going to give you nice depth and color.

Don’t Forget the Spices and Toast Them

Even though we’re simmering the broth with spices for a few hours, we still like to give all the spices a quick toast before adding to the pot. To do this, throw them into a dry pan over medium heat, stay close and shake the pan a couple of times to make sure they toast. You’ll know when they’re ready when you start to smell them. It only takes 2-3 minutes.

Pho Recipe with Video

Yellow Rock Sugar

Don’t just use regular white sugar from your pantry. We know that buying yellow rock sugar seems pretty particular and we’re all left with the problem of what to do with it after making this pho, but here’s the deal: using plan old sugar sadly produces a sweet, flat broth, whereas the rock sugar rounds things out and brings everything together. Plus, you’ll need that leftover rock sugar for the next time you make this recipe!

Use Fish Sauce

Buy some. You really can’t make pho soup (or other Vietnamese recipes) without it. Our fish sauce sits within arm’s reach of our stove. We use it in everything and absolutely will not make pho without it. We’ve come to trust the Three Crabs brand of fish sauce, which you can buy online or in Asian markets. Update: We have recently given Red Boat Fish Sauce 40°N a try and we prefer it over other ones we have tasted. We really like the clean fish flavor it has over other brands. Andrea Nguyen of Viet World Kitchen suggests that when shopping for fish sauce, look for glass bottles, not plastic and allow price to guide you. Go for the mid-high priced fish sauce (which will run you $4 to $5).

The Best Noodles and Condiments

You can buy fresh noodles at Asian markets, which is a nice treat, but dried rice noodles work perfectly as well. Even if you use fresh or dried, never cook the noodles in the broth. If you do this, the broth will become cloudy. So, cook them in another pot (they only take a few minutes) and add the cooked noodles to your bowl just before adding hot broth. As for condiments, we’re partial to Thai basil (you can substitute regular basil if you need too), fresh mint, crispy bean sprouts, a teeny tiny splash of fish sauce and some Asian chili sauce. Some like to add hoisin sauce, but we rarely do — it can take over the delicate deep flavor of the broth.

Oh, and while it’s not a “secret” make sure you have some freezer space to store some of that extra broth for the best make-ahead meal, ever!

Pho Soup Recipe with VideoDid you enjoy this Recipe? If so, we bet you’ll love these:

Recipe updated, originally posted August 201o. Since posting this in 2010, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear and added a quick recipe video. – Adam and Joanne

4.7 from 30 reviews
Homemade Vietnamese Pho Soup Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Making your own fabulous bowl of Vietnamese pho at home is not hard, all you need is a straightforward recipe, a few secrets and a nice big stockpot. We realize our recipe may look daunting, but this is quite simple to do and there is a lot of inactive time while you wait for the broth (we’ve just been extra tedious to share everything we know).

Our recipe will yield 3 1/2 to 4 quarts of broth.
Created By:
Yield: 6 servings
You Will Need
FOR the Broth
  • 5 to 6 pounds of beef knuckles or leg bones
  • 6 quarts cold water
  • 2 medium onions, quartered
  • 4-inch piece of fresh ginger, halved lengthwise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 6 star anise
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 black cardamom pod (see note below)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce, (We prefer Three Crabs Brand)
  • 1-inch piece yellow rock sugar (see note below)
FOR Assembly of Pho Soup Bowls
  • 1 to 2 pounds small (1/8-inch wide) dried or fresh “banh pho” noodles (see note)
  • 1/2 pound raw eye of round, sirloin or tri-tip steak, thinly sliced across the grain (see note)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced onions (see note)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
OPTIONAL Garnishes Served Alongside
  • Sprigs of fresh mint and/or Asian/Thai basil
  • Bean sprouts
  • Thinly sliced red chilies (such as Thai bird)
  • lime wedges
  • Fish sauce
  • Hoisin sauce
FOR Pho Broth
  1. Parboil Bones: Add beef bones to a large pot that will hold at least 10 quarts. Then, cover bones with cold water. Place pot onto high heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 to 5 minutes. During this time, impurities and foam (or scum) will be released and rise to the top.
  2. Drain bones, discarding the water. Then, rinse bones with warm water and scrub stockpot to remove any residue that has stuck to the sides. Add the bones back to the stockpot and cover with 6 quarts of cold water.
  3. Char Onion and Ginger: Move an oven rack to a high position then turn broiler to high. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  4. Place quartered onions and halved ginger onto baking sheet then broil for 10 to 15 minutes, turning onions and ginger occasionally so that they become charred or browned on all sides.
  5. Toast Spices: Add cinnamon sticks, cardamom seeds, fennel seeds, star anise, cloves and the black cardamom pod to a dry frying pan. Place onto low heat and cook, stirring occasionally until fragrant. About 5 minutes.
  6. Place toasted spices into a cotton muslin bag/herb sachet or cheesecloth then tie with butchers twine to seal.
  7. Simmer Broth: Bring stockpot with parboiled bones and water to a boil then lower to a gentle simmer. Add charred onion and ginger as well as the bag or sachet of toasted spices.
  8. Next, add 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt, a 1/4 cup of fish sauce and the rock sugar.
  9. Continue to simmer broth for 3 hours. If at any time foam or scum rises to the surface, use a spoon to remove it.
  10. Strain Broth: Use tongs or a wide mesh spoon to remove bones, onion and ginger from broth then strain broth through a fine mesh strainer.
  11. Skim Fat: The broth will have a layer of fat at the the top. There are two ways to remove this. First, if you plan to enjoy the broth now, skim the fat from the top of the broth using a spoon. If you do not mind waiting, you can also pour broth into containers then refrigerate overnight. As the broth cools, the fat will solidify, making it very easy to remove.
  1. Heat Broth: Bring the broth to a gentle simmer over medium heat.
  2. Soak or Rinse Noodles: If you are using dried noodles, add noodles to a bowl then cover with hot water and soak for 15 to 20 minutes until soft and opaque. If you are using fresh, add to a colander then rinse with cold water.
  3. Cook Noodles: Bring a medium saucepan filled with water to a boil. Place noodles into boiling water and cook for about 10 seconds or until they collapse. Drain noodles then divide between bowls. (We like to fill each bowl by 1/3 with noodles).
  4. Fill Bowls: Now, arrange slices of raw meat into bowl. Then top with hot broth. Finish broth with onion slices and cilantro.
  5. Serve bowls with a plate of optional garnishes listed above.Vietnamese Pho Soup Recipe Step 3
Notes and Tips
Black Cardamom Pod: Oddly enough, black cardamom is a member of the ginger family. It is quite powerful - providing a smoky aroma. You can buy black cardamom at Asian markets, however, if you have difficulty finding it, you may leave it out of the recipe.

Yellow Rock Sugar: This is also known as “lump sugar” and is sold at Asian markets. Look for it sold in a box. You will most likely need to break the rock sugar into smaller chunks. You can use a hammer or rolling pin to do this.

Noodles: You can usually find fresh noodles at Asian markets. If you cannot, simply use dried “banh pho” noodles. Follow directions on package for cooking. For the fresh noodles, you will most likely need to immerse the noodles into boiling water for a few seconds. For dried, you will need to soak the noodles in hot water for 15 to 20 minutes or until softened and opaque. Check the package for specific directions.

Raw Beef: Either ask your butcher to thinly slice the meat or if slicing at home, place beef into the freezer for 15 minutes to harden a little. Then, carefully thinly slice the beef across the grain into 1/16-inch thick slices.

Onions: Raw onion can be overpowering. So, thinly slice the onions then submerge them in some water. Set aside for 15 to 20 minutes then drain and rinse. This will tone down the “raw” flavor of the onion.

Recipe adapted and inspired by Andrea Nguyen of Viet World Kitchen and Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

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210 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Yassin June 19, 2016, 8:41 am


    Excellent broth but I found that mine tasted a lot sweeter than the ones I have in pho restaurants. I used same amount of water, spices and rock sugar in your recipe. Is it because of the sugar?

    I also found that the spices overwhelmed the flavor of the beef (adding to the sweetness). I did throw them in the water without a cheesecloth or anything, I don’t know if that may have caused it? What do you think?

    • Joanne June 19, 2016, 11:47 am

      Some of the spices and the rock sugar would have caused the broth to taste a little sweeter/more fragrant. Next time, you could try leaving out the sugar. I’d stick to the same spices, though.

  • Stephanie June 19, 2016, 6:12 am

    I would like to try your recipe, but I have one question and need your suggestion. I don’t eat beef, would like to use chicken bone instead beef bone for making broth, when I make chicken broth, do I still need to add spice into broth?because this beef broth looks heavy flavor due to add spices, so that can match with beef meat, if I want to make chicken noodle soup and add spices into broth, it’s probably off-taste, so can you give me suggestion how to make chicken broth taste as traditional Vietnamese soup and can match with chicken meat? Hope get your respond, thanks.

    • Joanne June 19, 2016, 11:48 am

      Hi Stephanie, Replacing chicken for the beef is possible. Personally, I’d eliminate the rock sugar and cardamom called for in our recipe for chicken.

  • Terry June 11, 2016, 5:20 pm

    What do you mean by impurities on the bones….I took out all the soft stuff (marrow?) in the middle. Is that what you do to “clean” up the bones ?

    • Joanne June 12, 2016, 12:07 pm

      Hi Terry, When you parboil the bones, there is often foam/scum that comes away from the bones. This isn’t great in the broth because it can make it cloudy. To parboil we add the bones to a large stockpot, cover with cold water then bring to a boil. Boil for a few minutes then throw the water and bones into a strainer. Discard the water then rinse the bones to get rid of all the impurities.

  • Charlamagne December 14, 2015, 8:31 pm

    We’ve made this recipe many many times and always love the heck out of it. Due to availability issues, we’ve subbed in oxtail or neck bones at times for the marrow, both of which turn out excellent, but straight leg bones full of all that delicious marrow produce the best results in our experience. Also we triple the fish sauce, omit the salt, and I personally add some MSG at the table, although the wife doesn’t. This is such a stellar recipe, though, and has provided us with so many amazing meals. Thank you!

  • Tony November 9, 2015, 9:32 am

    Beef bone marrow best broth yes.

    • Jason April 25, 2016, 12:49 am

      Pardon my ignorance I know I’m opening an old thread but can you send me a link as to what these bones would look like. Honestly every time I go to a butcher shop they look at me crazy anything. Will help

      • Joanne May 18, 2016, 1:08 pm

        Hi Jason, When you are in the butcher shop ask for beef knuckles or marrow bones. I don’t have a photo to share, but you should be able to google them and find photos. Hope that helps!

  • Dorothee July 31, 2015, 7:58 am


    I made this recipe today and I thought it was delicious!
    I didn’t use the star anise and the cardamom because I am not a big fan and I didn’t use the sugar you use, just normal one! It was very nice! Just a little bit salty but I think it comes from the fish sauce!
    Thank you for this recipe!
    I thought it was better than a lot of pho soup I had at the restaurant! 🙂

  • Jocelyn June 12, 2015, 3:52 pm

    I made this yesterday and it was really good! I did run into a few problems… I don’t know what I did wrong but it ended up turning out fine.

    I had to double this recipe and also doubled the simmer amount for a more intense broth. In the first hour of simmering the smell of the broth was very nice, but the longer the broth simmered, the more the smell faded.

    I tasted the broth 3 hours after simmering and was still very plain. I added 1/2 c more of fish sauce, 2 pho spice bags, and let it sit for another 3. And then magic! The broth came out tasty!

  • Yvonne Saito June 8, 2015, 10:40 pm

    I had a recipes that used 8 cups of beef broth. I used everything else except the cardamom. I used medium rice noodles. It was all delicious.

  • Jen April 26, 2015, 4:03 pm

    Thanks a million to Adam and Joanne for taking your time to post this. I tried this yesterday and my family loved it very much. My kids said the broth tastes better than the restaurants. I am so happy that I can finally made PHO. My mom always says Pho is very hard to make. Now, that’s not true anymore. There are so many Pho restaurants in our area, Southern Cal, but homemade Pho is the best. Also, thank you for the clear instructions!!! Love it!!!

    • Joanne April 27, 2015, 3:42 pm

      So happy we could help!

  • Tera January 24, 2015, 1:27 pm

    Just made this with stock we had. Seriously amazing! Thank you so much for sharing this!

  • Lexa November 13, 2014, 5:26 pm

    This looks delicious!!!! I want to make it this weekend. Do you know approximately how much broth it makes. I really don’t need leftovers. Thanks

  • Vanda September 28, 2014, 5:48 pm

    My grocery store only had star anise seeds. Will that work and do would you know how much I would use? Thanks

    • Joanne October 3, 2014, 11:21 am

      Hi Vanda, Anise seeds and star anise pods are actually different – the seeds come from the parsley family. Here’s a link to an article explaining the difference.

      If you have an Asian market or international grocery near you, we recommend looking there. They should have the pods and usually sell them for much less money than more traditional grocery stores.

  • Kim September 14, 2014, 4:22 pm

    I had my first bowl of Pho last week, and have been dying to make some at home. I was all set to make a “faux Pho” today for dinner… but after reading your recipe and instructions, and then going through all of the comments, I have decided to put it off until I get ALL of the proper ingredients and have sufficient time to simmer the broth.

    Will check back in after I’ve made it! Thanks very much for a wonderful tutorial!

  • Peter Pham September 1, 2014, 5:17 pm

    I made it and it was not very good. It’s so-so to eat, but it could be better. The broth is bland.

    Why do you choose 3 hours of cooking, not more or less?
    Look forward to seeing your answer.

    • Joanne October 23, 2014, 12:09 pm

      Hi Peter, Sorry you didn’t enjoy it. 3 hours has been enough time for us for a flavorful broth. You can always simmer longer for a richer broth, though.

  • Vinny August 28, 2014, 7:52 pm

    Should we simmer the soup for – let’s say 5 hours instead of 3 hours you instruct and would it make better broth?

    • Joanne October 23, 2014, 12:18 pm

      Try it — It could be fun tasting the broth at 3 hours, 4 hours or more to see what you like best. It’s your soup, after all.

      • Chef Nathalie September 13, 2015, 6:53 pm

        A simmering time of 8 hours is required to make beef stock. I don’t see how this would be any different. Although I would certainly hold off on the addition of the fish sauce until the later stages to avoid over salting.

        You could also roast your bones (after the first clarification boil) along with your onions and ginger for
        deeper flavor.

        Finally, palm sugar to taste would be a nice alternative to rock sugar.

        Good recipe.

        • Joanne September 16, 2015, 2:20 pm

          Hi Nathalie, 3 hours really does make for excellent Pho — the timing is pretty consistent across other Pho recipes. You can always simmer longer, though! Thanks for the tip about palm sugar.

  • helen August 2, 2014, 12:34 am

    Hi, I have a question. Do I leave the lid on or off whilst simmering?

    • Joanne August 7, 2014, 12:38 pm

      Off and make sure you keep the broth at a low simmer.

  • Rob July 8, 2014, 12:51 am

    Hi, I havent made this yet, but am certainly going to. I just wanted to comment on your clear instructions and presentation.

  • Jessiey May 23, 2014, 8:20 am

    I just came back from VIETNAM !!! and I am soooo super craving for their beef noodle …
    I ate that almost every morning once I woke up there. LOLZ… it was super delicious for sure . I still cant forget the taste.. it feels the taste still melting in my mouth .. 😀

    I cant wait to try this.. thank you for sharing your recipe.. however, I couldn’t mange to get three crab brand but I found red boat brand of fish sauce. will it actually ruin the taste ?

    • Joanne June 20, 2014, 2:18 pm

      You are so lucky, we would love to travel to Vietnam! We hope our recipe meets your expectations 🙂

  • Bill May 15, 2014, 12:36 am

    You mind if i use this recipe for a school project?

  • tinylove May 14, 2014, 6:32 am

    I am alergic to fish and recently became vegetarian… I have always loved pho though (without the fish sauce) and wanted to see if there was a way I could still enjoy this delicious nourishing dish.. upon finding your recipe, I converted it to vego by using ‘beef style stock’ as the stock base and then just left out the raw beef at the end. It turned out wonderfully. Thanks for all of the tips and herb secrets

    • Joanne May 16, 2014, 11:26 am

      We’re so glad you were able to convert the recipe to something you could eat!

      • Lisa Ruiz December 29, 2015, 1:00 pm

        My daughter is allergic to fish. Do you have any recommendations for a substitute for the fush sauce?

        • Joanne December 29, 2015, 1:55 pm

          Hi Lisa, Since your daughter is allergic to fish sauce, you may want to look for vegetarian fish sauce. I’d look in a well stocked international market or try a search online.

  • Abbey May 12, 2014, 8:10 pm

    This recipe has shown me how EASY it really is to make pho (and not because it’s not awesome or delicious or exquisite – cause it is!), that I can do it myself with wonderful results. We had a place close in my town that had the best… this makes it so I don’t have to drive a 1/2 hour away to have decent Pho! 🙂 THANK YOU for posting this! 🙂

    • Joanne May 16, 2014, 11:40 am

      You are very welcome 🙂

  • CT April 24, 2014, 1:49 am

    Wow! This is fabulous! Great recipe! Great video!
    Thanks for sharing this!

  • Alung April 23, 2014, 3:13 pm

    The recipie is so easy to follow. Am cooking it right now. Smells good and hopefully it will taste good. I Will update on the finished product.

  • Jeff April 4, 2014, 10:19 am


    Love the recipe and website. Question, I made a double version of the recipe with every ingredient on the list. I got home late, finished every part of the recipe so I had in its simmering stage at around 10 Pm and set a 3 hour timer. I woke up today at 6 am for work realizing, O no!! I let it simmer all night. I looked inside and the broth lever was about 2 quarts lower than it was before, so it looked like just meat in a pot. I quickly added the water back in and let it simmer for 10 more mins and made sure to stir everything. I drained and cleaned all the broth and stuck it in the fridge, going to head back to later to skm the fat. So my question is? Did leaving on simmer for 8 hours ruin the recipe, and my method for compensating for the missing water ruin it as well?

    Any help would be great!!

    San Jose, CA

    • Joanne April 4, 2014, 11:26 am

      Hi Jeff, Simmering Pho broth longer than the 3 hours we suggest is completely fine. It will actually lead to a richer broth. The only problem with that (which you found out) is that there will be less broth in the end. In general, we don’t like to add water at the end of the simmering process since it will only dilute the flavor you gained. If we were planning to simmer longer than 3 hours, we would have increased the water a little in the beginning. In your case, though, it seems that was the only option since you were left with so little broth.

      We’re hoping the broth works out for you in the end — there would have been a lot of flavor in that pot! Fingers crossed 🙂

  • nathalie March 31, 2014, 12:21 am

    Hi, what can I use to substitute the yellow rock sugar. I know you said white sugar is a big no so brown or nothing?

    • Joanne April 3, 2014, 10:50 am

      White sugar will work in a pinch, but if it were us, we’d skip it completely.

      • Luc November 4, 2015, 6:03 pm

        I used honey about 2 tablespoon of it.

  • hey March 17, 2014, 8:46 pm

    where’s the tripe??? It’s like the best part man!

    • Adam March 18, 2014, 4:19 pm

      You could always add it yourself 🙂

  • Carol March 17, 2014, 7:15 pm

    I really appreciate the explanations in your Pho recipe. It has helped me understand why things need to be done in a certain way.
    Can’t wait to cook it.
    I am going to go shopping now!

    • Adam March 18, 2014, 4:21 pm

      Exciting! Hope you enjoy the Pho.

  • Angel March 15, 2014, 1:29 pm

    I always eat pho. But finally I’m going to be making pho for me and my hubby. Lol

    • Joanne March 17, 2014, 3:02 pm

      Isn’t it wonderful!? Hope you enjoy our Pho .. it’s a little bit of work, but so worth it in the end.

  • Robin March 14, 2014, 4:36 am

    Thanks for the tip on making a clear broth. I always had trouble with that, and it never occurred to me to parboil the bones. I would have thought that I’ll lose too much flavor that way.

    I made pho (ok, faux pho) soup with friends in January, and it came out really yummy already. I can’t wait to use what I just learned here to make it even better and more authentic.

    • Joanne March 17, 2014, 3:09 pm

      Hi Robin, par-boiling is an odd concept, but since we’re only boiling for a short period of time no flavor is lost. Plus, it makes for better broth in the end.

  • nora March 5, 2014, 3:06 pm

    Whenmaking vietamese pho soup, I found onemade with beef. Do you have a recipe using chicken instead of the beef?

    • Joanne March 17, 2014, 4:59 pm

      We don’t — although, we do plan to add one soon.

  • Rick Koenders March 1, 2014, 3:44 pm

    Outstanding. The subtle spicing, the richness were amazing. Loved the video. Clear, simple. 5 stars.

  • Chelsea February 12, 2014, 7:05 pm

    I tried making this not too long ago with great results. I’m a college student with a small kitchen, so I had to cut some corners, but I was still very pleased with the final results. Broiling the ginger and onions in the oven before adding the to the broth brought a very nice flavor overall, and I wouldn’t have thought to do that on my own. I didn’t use star anise or coriander in my version since I didn’t have any, but it still turned out fine. Instead of yellow sugar I used rock sugar which I hoped would work similarly.

    My boyfriend and I LOVED the end product and ate it with peppers, mushrooms, noodles, and some tofu along with the beef. I’ll absolutely be making this again!

  • Gina February 9, 2014, 8:16 pm

    Awesome stuff!!! Just put it through the sieve and looking forward to dinner tomorrow. Thanks!

  • Sarah February 6, 2014, 8:04 pm

    Can the knuckle bones be used to make more than one batch of broth?

    • Joanne February 26, 2014, 12:47 pm

      Hi Sarah — that’s a great question. It is definitely possible to make broth with bones that have already been used to make a separate broth. You could try it (we have never done it).

  • Sarah February 6, 2014, 6:16 pm

    I am SO excited to make pho with this recipe this weekend! Can you tell me if the beef knuckle bones can be used for more than just the 8 qt recipe here? Like if we made a second batch would the bones still be good? Or if we double it in a gigantic stock pot do we need twice as many bones? Thanks!

    • Joanne February 26, 2014, 12:49 pm

      Hi Sarah — I replied to your second comment as well. We have never tried using them twice, but know it is possible to do it for other broths and stocks. Hope you love the pho!

  • Wei February 1, 2014, 10:44 pm

    And do you think I can add more water after the some liquid is boiled out, in order to keep a certain amount of liquid? Will the water added lighten the broth? Any advice?

    • Joanne February 2, 2014, 12:52 pm

      Hi Wei, Added water will dilute the broth. We don’t recommend it.

  • Wei January 30, 2014, 5:52 pm

    hi, I just have a problem. When I was making this recipe by using mainly leg bones(with marrow in), during the first hour, it smells exactly like how a bowl of fragrant pho should smell like, but after around 2.5 hours, the smell is gone and it became plane. I do not know why and plus, mine turns out to be not that tasty? Is it what the pho broth should be like? I followed every single step accurately but I guys it might because the charred onions ‘s flavor is gone after several hours braising?

    Any advice or comments are appreciated

    • Joanne January 31, 2014, 11:27 am

      Hi Wei, We’re really not sure what happened. The broth should increase in flavor and intensity around 2 1/2 hours. You could continue to cook a little longer (some even go as long as 5 or 6 hours). Hope that helps!

      • Wei January 31, 2014, 2:21 pm

        Hi Joanne:
        I spent some time to think about which step I did wrong. I recogonized that I might turned my electric stovetop a bit higher than simmer? I do not know whether it’s because my near-to-boil cooking heat kills all the charred onion flavor,. Do you think keeping a very very low simmer is the key or not?

        Thanks again for submitting the best tutorial pho video.

        • Joanne February 1, 2014, 11:35 am

          The broth should be cooking at a low simmer, not rapidly boiling.

      • Wei January 31, 2014, 2:24 pm

        And also, I did not use a cheesecloth to pack all my spices, I just throw them in after being toasted. I don’t think it’s gonna make a big difference, right?

        • Joanne February 1, 2014, 11:34 am

          No, that won’t make much difference.

          • Wei February 1, 2014, 3:08 pm

            Hi Joanne, thanks for all replying, but another question, did you put the lid on or keep the pot open while simmering?


          • Joanne February 2, 2014, 12:55 pm

            The lid should be off during simmering.

  • Timbo January 28, 2014, 9:58 pm

    If I wanted to double the recipe would I double everything…we have a big family to feed.


    • Joanne January 30, 2014, 12:24 pm

      Yep, just double it. You will need a pretty big pot, though (or use two).

  • Geno January 27, 2014, 4:37 pm

    First off, congrats to you both, Adam and Joanne, for creating what seems to be the most popular Pho internet tutorial recipe out there. Your clarity, thoroughness, and delicious final product are certainly to be credited for recipe’s popularity! I have used this recipe countless times and every time, I end up with perfection.
    For the heavy-duty Pho fanatics: you are most likely going to regret it if you don’t increase the batch size of this recipe by 50% or 100%. I serve Pho in my house frequently and the single batch wasn’t enough. I use a large sauce pot and double the recipe with no problems.
    For the folks having issues with intensity of flavor: I usually bring the broth to a boil and reduce it slightly to just above a simmer (low/medium boil) for the first hour or so. Then I reduce it to a simmer for 5-6 hours. The initial higher temperature seems to reduce the wateriness of the final product and concentrates the flavor nicely.

    • Joanne January 30, 2014, 12:38 pm

      Thanks for your thoughts and advice Geno!

  • Andrea January 22, 2014, 10:32 am

    Hi! I loved the video. I am making this recipe this Friday and I am having trouble finding the Rock Sugar where I live. I have read in other recipes that you can substitute it for white sugar however the broth might not be that clear. How much of a difference on flavor this would make? Also not everybody use the cheese cloth. Can I just pour the spices in the pot?
    Thank you! I am so excited to make this.

    • Joanne January 22, 2014, 11:49 am

      Hi Andrea, We’ve never tried using white sugar instead of rock sugar, but according to others online you should be okay using it. As for the cheesecloth, you can just throw everything into the pot, just keep in mind you will need a fine mesh strainer in the end so the you can strain them out.

  • Tweet January 20, 2014, 8:55 pm

    Well Im super excited to try this recipe. My favorite place in town for Pho has closed and Im left with this empty hole in my heart that can only be filled with Pho! Question, my Pho is usually served with siracha and a brown sweet sauce in a little container. Any idea what this brown sauce is?? Also the noodles are usually on the side. I like to get my broth just how I like it, with cilantro bean sprouts, siracha and onions. Once it’s to my liking I add the noodles and eat up! Thanks so much for posting this recipe.

    • Joanne January 21, 2014, 9:15 pm

      Pho is often served with Sriracha (hot sauce) and Hoisin sauce. You can buy both at most grocery stores.

  • LeslieRoden January 16, 2014, 7:29 pm

    Ok, so I never leave comments, ever! But this Pho is the best! My husband and I use to eat Pho all of the time when we lived in San Diego. We have moved to Austin, where we had bad Pho…then we moved to Charleston, where there was no Pho. One place opened up, but it’s 45 mins away and it tastes just awful. So since we’re craving Pho, I tried making it. The first time I used a different recipe and it was ok, barely. Beggars can’t be choosers esp if they have to cook it to get it. However, this time…I came across this amazing recipe and we are both suffering from noodle belly as we speak. Actually my husband us on the couch cuddling with the dog. I’m still in Pho Heaven and wanted to immediately say THANK YOU for sharing this recipe with the world. Without it we would pho be lost! Delicious. Amazing. Complex. Savoy. Absolute Yumminess. The only change I made was using chicken breast instead of steak meat. This is pho!

    • Joanne January 17, 2014, 10:25 am

      Yay! Thanks for your comment 🙂

  • Aide January 16, 2014, 3:11 pm

    Am trying this receipt today and so far it’s been easy and should be ready in 1 1/2 hrs.

    • Joanne January 17, 2014, 10:26 am

      Hope you love it!

  • Suejette January 15, 2014, 12:42 pm

    I made this yesterday and it was beyond delicious. I’ve made a couple other pho recipes, but this one, hand’s down, is my favorite and most authentic. For those that felt it was bland or didn’t taste quite right, I strongly advise not deviating from the recipe one iota. The black cardamom is a must as are all of the other ingredients. I found everything that I didn’t already have (including the beef leg bones) at an Asian market. You may have to purchase somewhat large quantities, but it’s all pretty inexpensive. I simmered my broth for 7.5 hours (lid off) and it reduced by almost half. The longer it cooked, the better it got.
    I did not put sliced beef in when assembling, but I did “build” my soup with rice noodles, baby bok choy, sliced mushrooms, sugar snap peas, small pieces of broccoli, bean sprouts, green onions, deseeded jalapeno, mint, Thai basil, and cilantro.
    Thank you so much for an EXCELLENT recipe. I just passed it along to my sister and can’t wait to hear of her results.

    • Joanne January 15, 2014, 2:57 pm

      So glad you loved it and thank you so much for passing it along 🙂

  • Leonard January 13, 2014, 10:46 pm

    So my wife and I have made this recipe at least a dozen times. Every time, the broth tastes like fragrant water. Definitely not the clear, succulent broth we are trying to emulate from the restaurants. What are we missing?

    • Joanne January 15, 2014, 3:29 pm

      Were you able to find beef knuckles? You could also try using Ox tails (more expensive, but richer in flavor). Another idea is to simmer for a longer period of time. You can go up to 8 hours if you like.

  • M Nguyen January 12, 2014, 4:35 am

    This looks like my mom’s recipe so it is definitely authentic!

  • joej January 10, 2014, 11:17 am

    First thanks so much. I made the recipe and it was delicious!!! My wife’s favorite thing and she loved it. You must have a real joy of cooking and helping others!

    If I was to roast the bones first, would I still want to parboil them for a few minutes? Or just rinse off after the roast?

    Thanks again you turned an intimidating goal into a success~!

    • Joanne January 15, 2014, 3:24 pm

      Great question! We were stumped so we looked around the web a little. It seems people who roast the bones first skip parboiling completely. If you do this, you will most likely find yourself skimming the top of the broth more often as it simmers. Here’s a helpful article from Serious Eats. They actually tested both ways (par-boiling and roasting). It seems they preferred par boiling to roasting, but did conclude roasting gave a beefier broth.


  • Stuart Godfrey December 29, 2013, 2:56 pm

    I’m very excited to make this for our annual New Years Day (hair of the dog) party. We try to make a couple of great, fresh soups full of healthy ingredients to start off the year well, then invite our friends to ‘come as they are’. It’s a great tradition.

    As i’ve never made anything quite like this before, I wanted to clarify the soup assembly. Raw beef in the bowl, pour over hot soup, serve…the beef is not cooked beforehand?

    Also, we plan to have fresh cabbage, as well as bean sprouts to add some extra ‘luck’ to the new year.


    • Joanne December 30, 2013, 11:11 am

      Yes, you are correct. You want the beef sliced very thin and the soup very hot. If you’re worried about it, you can cook the beef instead. It’s completely up to you.

      Fresh cabbage and bean sprouts will be nice. Happy New Year!

  • michelle December 24, 2013, 8:13 am

    Oh no, you have coriander seeds in the list of ingredients but cardomon seeds in the directions?
    Not sure what to use?

    • Joanne December 30, 2013, 12:21 pm

      Whoops. It should have said “coriander seeds.” We use coriander seeds and one black cardamom pod in the recipe.

  • Susan December 20, 2013, 11:53 pm

    Hello Adam and Joanne,
    I have never tasted Pho but my son, who is coming for Christmas LOVES IT. As a special treat to him and his wife, I am making your recipe of Pho and serving for our Sunday dinner. I’m confident from reading all the reviews that this will be a hit. I’ll let you know…..Thanks for the easy to follow video and recipe.

  • Jim December 15, 2013, 9:15 pm

    I loved the video.

    I do have a suggestion. You may be usung cinnamon and not “asian cinnamon”. Asian cinnamon or cassian is what is traditionally used. Not a big deal but it makes a slight difference.

    • Joanne December 16, 2013, 12:32 pm

      Thanks for the tip Jim!

  • Augustus van der Vlijht December 14, 2013, 6:33 pm

    Hi there. I was very intrigued by this recipe but it was a bit disappointing to some extent. I totally stuck to the instructions but the effort was rather low. The broth did smell great and promising but the taste was kinda meh. I fixed it with boiling it up with some more spices, soy sauce and somenextra bones. Whole a lot effort and expenses for a rather meh outcome.

    • Joanne December 16, 2013, 12:38 pm

      Sorry about that. Next time, simmering a little longer to reduce the flavors a bit more could help.

  • Kendall December 6, 2013, 1:01 pm

    This was such a wonderful recipe! I’ve always thought making pho would be such a daunting task, but your step by step instructions and video made it totally doable! I will make this recipe again and again. The only thing I will change next time is making more to stick in the freezer! Thanks again for a delicious recipe. 🙂

  • Shameem December 3, 2013, 2:15 pm

    Thank you for this very specific recipe. I made it last weekend and found that I could double the amount of liquid and get the same amazing results. I did only one thing differently, and that was to also char the bones in the broiler. This was amazing. Thank you!

  • Franklin November 26, 2013, 4:58 pm

    Hi Adam and Joanne, just wanted to say thank you for a fantastic recipe! So many other people have commented how great your recipe tastes so there is not much more for me to add, but I did have to comment and give credit where it is due, thank you for sharing this with the rest of us!

  • Julie November 23, 2013, 12:13 pm

    Thank you for such an authentic recipe! I am Vietnamese, so I scrutinize and scoff the “quick and easy” pho recipes, especially those that say fish sauce is optional. Your recipe is pretty much spot on to the ones used by other authentic pho aficionados. Kudos!


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