This delectable homemade beef pho recipe draws inspiration from the beloved Vietnamese soup but incorporates a handful of time-saving tricks. With its savory and fulfilling taste, this pho can be whipped up in a mere 45 minutes, offering a convenient and nutritious choice for hectic weeknights.

Very few dishes captivate the senses quite like a steaming bowl of Vietnamese pho. Rich in flavor, depth, and tradition, this iconic soup has earned a cherished place in kitchens and hearts around the world.

Infused with aromatic spices, tender meats, and hearty noodles, our rendition of pho captures the essence of comfort and satisfaction in every spoonful. What sets it apart is the thoughtful integration of efficient techniques, allowing busy individuals to indulge in this culinary masterpiece without sacrificing precious time.

Unlike traditional recipes that demand hours of simmering, our version slashes the cooking time to a mere 45 minutes. This reduction in time doesn’t compromise on taste or authenticity but rather offers a practical solution for those craving the soul-soothing flavors of pho on hectic weeknights.

Reasons to love Beef Pho

  • Flavor Symphony: Beef pho boasts a complex and harmonious blend of flavors. From the aromatic broth infused with spices like star anise and cinnamon to the tender slices of beef, every element contributes to a culinary symphony that delights the palate.
  • Comfort in a Bowl: There’s something incredibly comforting about a steaming bowl of beef pho. Whether you’re feeling under the weather or simply craving a warm and nourishing meal, this Vietnamese classic never fails to provide solace and satisfaction.
  • Customizable Creations: One of the joys of beef pho lies in its customization. With an array of fresh herbs, lime wedges, bean sprouts, and chili peppers on the side, each diner can tailor their bowl to suit their taste preferences, creating a personalized culinary experience. You can also serve it with a nice side of Vietnamese spring rolls

What is Pho?

Pho is a traditional Vietnamese soup that is beloved worldwide for its rich flavor and comforting qualities. It typically consists of a clear broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat, often beef or chicken. The broth is usually simmered for hours with various aromatic spices like star anise, cloves, and cinnamon, which impart a deep and complex flavor. Thinly sliced meat is added to the hot broth, cooking it just before serving. Pho is commonly served with a side of fresh herbs such as Thai basil, cilantro, and bean sprouts, as well as lime wedges and sliced chili peppers. It is a popular street food in Vietnam and has gained widespread popularity in many other countries for its delicious taste and satisfying nature. Pho is often enjoyed as a nourishing and comforting meal, especially during cold weather or when feeling under the weather.

Ingredients for Beef Pho

  • Steak: Traditional pho bo (beef pho) features thinly sliced steak cooked directly in the simmering broth within each individual serving bowl. To achieve ultra-thin slices, I suggest placing the steak in the freezer for approximately 45–60 minutes before slicing it thinly against the grain. Alternatively, you can request the butcher to thinly slice your steak.
  • Thin rice noodles: Pho typically features delicate rice noodles, like these. To ensure the noodles retain their perfect texture, it’s customary to cook them separately. They are then added to each serving bowl along with the protein, hot broth, and toppings to create a delicious bowl of pho.
  • Pho broth: this version of pho broth would not be considered a Vietnamese authentic broth, but it is a delicious and faster alternative to making it 100% from scratch, and it uses the following elements:
    • Fresh onions and ginger: Which we will briefly cook in a skillet until charred, in order to add that classic smoky flavor to the broth.
    • Beef stock: In order to save the extra hours required to cook beef stock from scratch, I’ve written this recipe using (good quality) store-bought stock as a shortcut.
    • Spices: Pho broth relies on five essential spices: star anise, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, and coriander seeds. For optimum flavor, I highly suggest utilizing whole spices and briefly toasting them to enhance their aroma.
    • Fish Sauce: It’s traditional to add just a little splash to the broth.
    • Sweetener: I used brown sugar to sweeten my broth instead of traditional yellow rock sugar, but really, any sweetener you prefer will work.
    • Sea salt: As always, to season your broth.


  • Fresh herbs: I recommend a combo of fresh cilantro, fresh mint and fresh Thai basil.
  • Bean sprouts: You can find these in the produce section of your grocery store, or they are always available in southeast Asian groceries.
  • Lime wedges: Essential for brightening up the flavors of the broth.
  • Chile’s (optional): Thai bird Chile are traditionally used to give the soup your desired amount of heat, but you could also use jalapeños or serrano peppers too.
  • Onions (optional): Either sliced green onions or super-thinly-sliced white onions as a garnish.
  • Sauces (optional): It’s also traditional to serve pho with hoisin sauce and/or sriracha to use as a garnish if desired.
beef pho

How to make Beef Pho

  • Prepare the protein: by chilling the beef or your protein of choice in the freezer for at least 30–45 minutes to facilitate thin slicing. Use a sharp knife to slice the meat thinly before adding it to the soup.
  • While the meat chills: char the onion and ginger either in a skillet or under the broiler. Simultaneously, briefly toast the spices in a large stockpot. Then, add the charred onion, ginger, and broth to the pot. Cover and allow the mixture to simmer for at least 30 minutes to meld the flavors. Strain out and discard the onions, ginger, and spices. Stir in the remaining ingredients and season with salt.
  • As the broth simmers: cook the noodles in a separate sauce pan until they are al dente according to the package instructions. Drain in a strainer, briefly toss with cold water to halt cooking, and set aside. For preventing sticking, consider tossing the noodles with a drizzle of oil, such as sesame oil.
  • To assemble: place a handful of noodles in each serving bowl, topped with the desired protein. Ladle the simmering hot broth into the bowls, ensuring the meat is submerged for cooking. Garnish generously.
  • Serve warm: encouraging everyone to stir the garnishes into the soup to flavor the broth further.
beef pho steps


  • Vegetarian/Vegan Option: Replace the beef, chicken, or pork with tofu or tempeh slices, and use vegetable broth instead of beef broth. You can also add a variety of vegetables like sliced mushrooms, bok choy, or baby corn to enhance the flavor and nutritional value.
  • Seafood Pho: Instead of beef, chicken, or pork, use shrimp, fish, or a combination of seafood in the soup. Opt for a seafood broth or a combination of seafood broth and chicken broth for a rich flavor. Garnish with fresh cilantro, lime wedges, and sliced chili peppers for a zesty kick.
  • Spicy Pho: Add heat to your pho by incorporating sliced chili peppers, chili flakes, or sriracha sauce into the broth. You can also infuse the broth with additional spices like black pepper or chili powder for an extra kick.
  • Pho with Egg: Create a unique twist by adding a poached egg to each serving bowl of pho. The runny yolk adds richness and creaminess to the broth, creating a comforting and satisfying meal.
  • Pho with Greens: Boost the nutritional value of your pho by adding a variety of greens such as spinach, kale, or Swiss chard. Simply wilt the greens in the hot broth before serving for a vibrant and nutrient-packed meal.
  • Pho with Noodle Variations: Experiment with different types of noodles such as egg noodles, soba noodles, or even spiralized vegetables like zucchini or carrots for a low-carbs option. Each type of noodle brings its own unique texture and flavor to the dish.
Beef pho with seafood and hard-boiled eggs

Tips and Suggestions

  • Quality Ingredients: Use high-quality, fresh ingredients whenever possible. This includes fresh herbs, spices, meat, and vegetables. Fresh ingredients will impart the best flavor to your pho.
  • Preparation Time: While pho can be made relatively quickly compared to some other dishes, it’s important to allow enough time for preparation, especially for the broth. The longer the broth simmers, the more flavorful it will become. Consider making a large batch of broth and freezing it for future use.
  • Char the Aromatics: Charring the onion and ginger before adding them to the broth adds a depth of flavor and aroma to the soup. You can do this by placing them under a broiler or directly over an open flame until they are charred on the outside.
  • Toasting Spices: Toasting whole spices before adding them to the broth enhances their flavor. Simply heat them in a dry skillet over medium heat until they become fragrant, being careful not to burn them.
  • Thinly Sliced Meat: For the best texture, thinly slice the meat against the grain. This ensures tenderness and makes the meat easier to cook in the hot broth.
  • Cook Noodles Separately: To prevent the noodles from becoming mushy, cook them separately from the broth and add them to individual serving bowls just before serving.
  • Customize Toppings: Set up a toppings bar with an assortment of garnishes such as bean sprouts, fresh herbs, lime wedges, sliced chili peppers, and hoisin sauce. This allows everyone to customize their bowl of pho according to their taste preferences.
  • Experiment with Variations: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different variations of pho by adding your favorite ingredients or trying out new flavor combinations. Pho is a versatile dish that can be adapted to suit a variety of tastes and dietary preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions

What cuts of beef are best for pho?

Popular choices for beef pho include brisket, flank steak, eye of round, or sirloin. These cuts are tender and flavorful when thinly sliced and added to the hot broth.

How do I slice the beef thinly for pho?

For thinly sliced beef, it’s helpful to partially freeze the meat for about 30-45 minutes before slicing. This firms up the meat, making it easier to slice thinly against the grain with a sharp knife.

What are the best toppings for beef pho?

Popular toppings for beef pho include bean sprouts, Thai basil, cilantro, lime wedges, thinly sliced chili peppers, and hoisin sauce. These toppings add freshness, flavor, and texture to the soup.

Can I customize beef pho to suit dietary preferences?

Yes, beef pho can be customized to accommodate various dietary preferences. For example, you can make it gluten-free by using gluten-free rice noodles and ensuring any store-bought ingredients are gluten-free. Vegetarian or vegan versions can be made using vegetable broth and tofu or tempeh as a protein substitute.

beef pho

Easy Beef Pho

This delectable homemade pho recipe draws inspiration from the beloved Vietnamese soup but incorporates a handful of time-saving tricks. With its savory and fulfilling taste, this pho can be whipped up in a mere 45 minutes, offering a convenient and nutritious choice for hectic weeknights.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Appetizer, Dinner, lunch
Cuisine vietnamese
Servings 2 Large Bowls


  • 1 medium onions Quartered, divided
  • 1-3/4 cup Beef broth
  • 1-3/4 cup Chicken both
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp Fish sauce
  • 1 inch Fresh ginger Thinly sliced
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 Star anise pod
  • 4 Whole cloves
  • 7 oz Rice noodles
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ cup Bean sprouts
  • ¼ cup Fresh cilantro leaves chopped
  • Lime wedges For serving
  • Hoisin sauce and sriracha For serving


  • Slice one of the onion quarters as thin as possible; set aside. In a large pot, bring the remaining 3 onion quarters, beef broth, chicken broth, water, fish sauce, ginger, cinnamon stick, sugar, star anise, and cloves to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Off the heat, add the noodles. Let sit, stirring regularly to prevent sticking, until the noodles are soft and pliable but still not tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and rinse well with cold water. Set aside.
  • Over a large bowl, strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer. Discard the solids and pour the clear broth back into the pot. (Alternatively, you can use a fine mesh spider to fish out the solids.)
  • Bring the broth to a boil and add the noodles; cook until the noodles are just tender, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Using tongs or a spider, lift the noodles from the pot and divide evenly into bowls. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the sliced beef to the broth; let simmer until no longer pink, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon or spider, remove the beef from the broth and divide between the bowls. Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning with salt, if necessary. Ladle the broth over the noodles and beef. Top each bowl with the reserved thinly sliced onions, bean sprouts, and cilantro. Pass the lime wedges, hoisin, and sriracha at the table.
Keyword beef, pho
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