Slurp your noodles with abandon in 30 minutes with this Easy Beef Pho Soup Recipe! A quick, satisfying and full-flavor version of Vietnam’s national dish.
Easy Beef Pho Soup Recipe – Phở Bò
If you try to order phở at noon in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), you may already be too late.
Pho soup is traditionally a breakfast food in Vietnam.
And while you may have more a bit more luck these days finding pho in the evening as you travel this beautiful country, the more traditional shops open up around 6AM and are sold out around 9 or 10AM.
Pho is one of those rare foods that is filling enough to energize you for a day of work or sightseeing in the notorious Southeast Asian heat and humidity – but light enough not to weigh you down.
While pho vendors in Vietnam have likely been simmering the rich broth since the day before, my pho soup recipe only takes 30 minutes to prepare from start to finish. You’ll be slurping noodles in no time – at any time of the day or night with this easy recipe!
How To Make Pho Soup (phở)
Making a traditional pho soup (or broth) typically takes hours.
The rich and intricate flavors need time to develop so they can transform a simple bowl of beef and noodle soup into something unforgettable.
Those aromatic flavors are achieved by simmering beef bones and oxtail in the stock-pot along with onions, sugar, fish sauce and lots of spices.
And if you are wondering what spices are in pho, here’s the list:
- fennel seeds
- star anise
- coriander seeds
As much as I love eating the real thing, pho is one of those global cuisines that’s a bit tough to make at home. Not only does it take a long time to make, some of the ingredients might also be hard to find depending on where you live.
By taking these two matters into consideration, I’ve simplified the ingredients and came up with an easy pho recipe that only takes 30 minutes to make.
Obviously this version doesn’t have the same depth of flavor as a traditional bowl of pho. But hey, you can make this in your own kitchen and it still tastes really good!
Is Pho Soup Good For You?
Pho soup is typically low in fat and contains key vitamins and minerals such as iron, vitamin C and vitamin A. It’s also high in protein and fiber. The only thing to watch for is the sodium level which can be high if you are eating out.
The good thing about making pho at home is you get to control what goes into your soup, including sodium.
How To Eat Pho
Once the broth has reached heavenly levels of goodness, it’s time to focus on the noodles.
What are the best noodles to use for pho?
- Narrow rice noodles are best for pho and for most Asian noodle soups.
As far as brands are concerned, I like the Three Ladies Brand in size S (they have S, M and L) because the noodles are the perfect consistency and don’t break easily.
I’ve had some bad moments with non Asian brands and their Asian style noodles. Some disintegrated before they were even entirely cooked!
So now I stick to Japanese brands for soba, somen and udon noodles, Chinese for egg noodles, Korean for sweet potato noodles, and Vietnamese or Thai for rice noodles. So far it’s worked like a charm.
Are rice noodles gluten free?
Yes and we love them for that!
When it comes to rice noodles, the cooking process is a little different than with most noodles.
Instead of adding noodles to a pot of boiling water, you add them to a pot of very hot water (that’s not boiling) and leave them anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes, depending on the width and thickness of the noodles.
Pho Toppings And Sauces
Eating pho (pronounced “fuh”) is actually a lot of fun!
That’s because pho comes with a variety of toppings and sauces.
You can add fresh leaves of basil, mint and cilantro, bean sprouts, chopped scallions and fresh chilies. If you like heat, squirt some sriracha on top or add a little hoisin sauce for sweetness. Finish with a generous squeeze of lime and ăn tự nhiên nhé!
That’s Vietnamese for enjoy your meal 😉
Add a few extra dashes of fish sauce if you are looking for real southeast Asian pungent flavors.
And if want a pho recipe that takes even less time to make, check out my 20 minute roasted chicken pho recipe (phở ga) that uses rotisserie chicken for a blast of smoky richness to your pho soup.
As in most beef pho soup recipes, this preparation calls for paper thin slices of beef to be added to the serving bowls just before your diners dig in.
The heat of the broth cooks the thin beef and leaves it extremely tender.
If your beef slices are too thick, the hot soup will have a tough time penetrating the beef.
It’s definitely tough to slice raw beef paper thin without a meat-slicer.
Just put your sirloin or London broil into a freezer bag, and place it in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. You’re not actually freezing the meat – but the time spent cooling will firm it up and make it easier to slice thinly.
This easy and delicious pho soup recipe is simple enough to whip up in 30 minutes – but will taste like you spent hours in the kitchen.
Your diners don’t have to know how easy it was. And their empty soup-bowls and content smiles will let you know that it was a satisfying hit!
How do you like your pho soup? Spicy, sweet, tart, savory? All of the above? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
Other simple and delicious Vietnamese recipes:
- Nuoc cham – Vietnamese dipping sauce
- Meatless meatball banh mi sandwich
- Summer chicken pho
- Vegetable pho broth
- Shrimp bun cha
- Vietnamese spicy cabbage salad
Did you like this Easy Beef Pho Soup Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!
These recipes constantly make “best dish” lists on sites such as Country Living, Self, Shape, Bon Appetit, The Cooking Channel, Men’s Fitness and Woman’s Day. They are favorites among my readers, friends and family!
Simple and easy dishes made healthier, with calories and fat content provided. Tried and tested by my readers and loved by everyone!
Easy Pho Soup Recipe
Slurp your noodles with abandon in 30 minutes with this Easy Pho Soup Recipe! A quick, satisfying and full-flavor version of Vietnam’s national dish.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 2 people
- Category: Easy, Healthy Recipe, Soup
- Cuisine: Vietnamese
Pho soup broth
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- 1 small onion (peeled and halved)
- 1 3-inch piece ginger (peeled)
- 1 quart low sodium beef broth (946ml)
- 2 cups water
- 2 star anise
- 2 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
Noodles and toppings
- 4 ounces dry flat rice noodles
- 1/4 small onion (thinly sliced into half moons)
- 1/3 pound sirloin or London broil steak (cut into ⅛ inch slices (putting the steak in the freezer about 15-20 minutes prior to cutting makes it easier to slice))
- 2 stalks scallions (thinly sliced on the bias)
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 6-8 mint leaves
- 6-8 basil leaves
- 6-8 sprigs cilantro
- 1 lime (sliced into wedges)
- 1 jalapeno pepper (thinly sliced)
- In a medium size pot over high heat, add oil, onion halves (cut side down) cinnamon stick and ginger and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add all other ingredients for the broth and bring to a boil. Stir, lower heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes (uncovered).
- Meanwhile, cover the rice noodles with hot water and soak for 8 minutes (or follow instructions on the package). Drain and set aside.
- Discard onion, star anise, cloves, ginger and cinnamon stick.
- Divide noodles evenly among two bowls and pour broth over them. Finish by adding toppings of your choice. Serve immediately.
This Easy Pho Soup Recipe is:
High in manganese
Very high in niacin
High in thiamin
Very high in vitamin C