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DIY Vietnamese Pho (Full Recipe Inside)

Our family is obsessed with diy vietnamese pho soup–we also love Pho which can be very expensive if you are buying it at a restaurant for the entire family. Pho is usually  generously served in many Vietnamese places and is basically a dish consisting of broth, noodles made from rice, a few herbs, and meat.

We like Seafood–but you can do this with any meat that you would like! Most of the items here can be found in a Asian grocery store–you will find that most items are fairly cheap there for your Vietnamese Pho.

Please note: my lovely husband, George wrote this out for you. He is a little… detailed.. so the post is pretty long  🙂 


12qt Stock pot

4 lbs chicken bones (preferably necks and feet)

3ea small yellow onions (whole)

1 ea garlic head (whole)

1 nub of ginger (whole) about a 4 inch piece

1/2 bun cilantro

4 ea sprigs Thai basil

4 TB fish sauce

1/4 cup sugar

2 TB whole coriander seeds

5 ea cloves

Salt to taste

For broth:

Preheat your oven to 400F and place your whole un-peeled aromatics (garlic, onions and ginger). Roast for 15 min. Take out the oven and allow to cool at room temperature. Cut garlic in half and squeeze out the garlic onto a plate or dish to hold all of your aromatics for the stock. Peel the onions as well but not the ginger, the skin can stay on. Cut onions and ginger into medium sized pieces. 1/2 in by 1/2 in and reserve all roasted veg for later.

Take bones and place in the pot and run cold water over it till covered. Agitate bones and wash vigorously. Empty water and repeat the washing. Once bones are cleaned of all particles and excess fat, cover with cold water and place on high heat and bring to a simmer.

NOTE: only bring to a boil, don’t continuously simmer the bones. The point is to boil the bones to take the impurities out so your broth is clear.

Once your water has boiled, pour the bones and water into a colander and drain. If you look at the bottom of the pot you will see particulates and built up fat along the sides. Wash the pot but don’t use soap, just rinse with hot water and wipe clean. In the clean pot place the bones back into it and wash twice again just like you did with the raw bones. Once you done that you should be left with gray clean bones that are ready for broth making!

NOTE: you can use any bones for the pho to make this broth (beef, chicken or pork) all you want to make sure you do is use the bones that have good cartilage. IE: necks, feet, or any bone that has a joint. That is where all good flavor comes from.

Grab your clean bones and place everything else from the broth recipe into the stock pot and cover with cold water all the way to the top of the pot giving about an inch of space. Place on medium low heat and simmer for about 4 hours. DO NOT BRING TO HARD BOIL, that will make your stock cloudy. Once stock has simmered for alotted time strain through a fine sieve and place on the stove and check for seasoning. Add salt if needed.

NOTE: you can make broth ahead of time if you like. Quick tip, you can completely cool your broth in the fridge overnight and then pour into ice cube trays to freeze in the freezer for another night. Once completely frozen, you can pop the cubes out and store in a ziplock freezer bag and you have cubes of frozen pho broth when ever you like. The work pays off and it’s healthier than any of that pre-made stock cubes on the market! Now back to dinner…..

Dishing up:

1 lb banh pho tuoi (rice stick noodles)

1 lb any meat you want (pork, chicken, seafood) pre-cooked and sliced thin

1# veggies (pre-cooked as well)

Hoisin sauce and sambal to preference


Cilantro leaves

Thai basil leaves

Bean sprouts

For the dish up, have all of your veggies pre-cooked and cooled. Best way is to have a pot of water boiling on the stove and place any veggie in the water for literally 30 sec. Scoop out of the water with a slotted spoon or spider and place on a plate and put in the freezer for 10 min to stop the cooking, just don’t forget them in the freezer!

If you overcook the noodles it will make your pho experience tragic and all that hard work will result in a trip back to your neighborhood friendly Asian market for more noodles and everyone will be waiting for dinner!

So the key is fast cook time and fast cool down time for the broth. So you still have the water on the stove, from your veggies, boiling. Place the dry noodles in the boiling water for LITERALLY 5sec and strain through a colander quickly and wash continuously with cold water until noodles are cooled. Place in a serving dish with all of your veggies, meat, herbs, and garnishes separate and allow your family to build their own experience. Place all veggies and garnishes in a bowl and pour piping hot broth over the top. finishing with a touch of hoisin and sambal, a lot if you prefer. Then Enjoy!

Mixing and matching different veggies and meats in your broth is fun filled and once you get the hang of it, you will be a pho master and you will be the coolest person on your block 😉

The garnishes and noodles in the broth can be stored in your fridge in an air tight container for up to 5 days and we have already discussed how to get maximum shelf life out of your broth.


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  1. Daisy

    May 1, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    YUM! We love pho and always have homemade chicken stock in the freezer…. this sounds like an excellent idea. I totally agree about making stock being worth it, it’s liquid gold as far as I’m concerned (and so good for you.) Thanks both Josie and George!

  2. Shannon

    May 1, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Pho soup is the best! me and my family have been eating it for years, thanks for the recipe!

  3. Gee

    May 2, 2013 at 2:14 am

    Looks very delicious. I like to get Pacific Naturals vegetarian pho stock, its so good!

    Great recipe, I’d like to try making this dish myself sometime thanks for posting.

  4. Sophia

    May 2, 2013 at 8:15 am

    Here’s a tip to save some money if you still want pho but don’t want to go through the process of making it from scratch:
    Get the pho to-go. If you think the portions are large at the restaurant, you should see how much they give you when you get it to-go. Make sure to specifically ask to get uncooked noodles.
    They provide you with everything – all herbs, sauce, meat, soup, and noodles are individually packaged
    Each portion will feed 2+ ppl more moderate servings.
    Another quick tip: when you cook the noodles at home, make sure you only place the noodles in boiling water for a very short period of time ~30 seconds. They may seem uncooked but will continue to cook in the hot broth when you get it to the table and while you’re eating it. The worst possible thing it to eat mushy noodles

  5. Sophia

    May 2, 2013 at 8:18 am

    Btw that’s neat that your family cooks pho at home! I’m Vietnamese, so when I make pho at home I also put star anise in too. Gives it a more complex flavor, but I guess it isn’t for everyone. Props to your husband 🙂

  6. leah

    May 2, 2013 at 9:55 am

    luv asian food! thanks

  7. Jennifer

    May 2, 2013 at 10:12 am

    OMYGOSH!!!! My husband loves LOVES pho! I’m going for it!!!!!! Thank you Josie and George!!!

  8. altkb

    May 2, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    i’m confused, what does the coriander seeds do for the broth?

    personally, i like pho tai filet style, you put the raw sliced meat in right when you get the soup. gives you a more soft and tender meat. but that’s for pho bo (beef). not the same for pho ga (chicken).

    • Josie

      May 2, 2013 at 12:08 pm

      This is simply a recipe from my husband.. you can do it your way if you would like! 🙂

  9. Katherine

    July 19, 2013 at 7:35 am

    Very healthy recipe!!!! But it absolutely is not Vietnamese Pho. Ladies please!!!!! It takes days to prep the broth. All the ingredients have to be cook a certain way. I am a daughter of pho restaurant. Cooking it at home is pain unless you have the right stove.

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