Beef Pho Noodle Soup Recipe (Pho Bo)

What is Pho Bo (Phở Bò)

Ingredients in this Vietnamese pho beef soup:

Dry spices:

  • 3 whole star anise
  • 1 2-inch cinnamon stick
  • Coriander 1 teaspoon seed
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns

For the Broth:

  • Onion, Garlic & Ginger – Which we will briefly broiled until charred, in order to add that classic smoky flavor to the broth.
  • Lemon grass (optional – but I love to add it in to mine)
  • Broth – beef and chicken combined or just beef for a richer flavour (homemade or store bought)
  • Fish Sauce
  • Rice Noodles – I like to use flat
  • Beef – leftover rare or medium-rare steak such as beef tenderloin very thinly sliced and cut into bite-size pieces (about 1-⅓ cups) or raw beef strip loin or fillet, sliced or shaved thin

Toppings or for serving (optional):

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  • Scallions
  • Cilantro
  • Basil
  • Shallots
  • Bean sprouts
  • Lime wedges
  • Chile paste, or thinly sliced fresh hot chiles

How to make this Vietnamese pho beef soup:

Making this Vietnamese pho soup (faux soup) at home is not hard, all you need is a straightforward recipe, a few tips, and a stockpot. This homemade version is quite simplified and not as authentic but is still absolutely delicious!

  1. BROIL/CHAR the onion, garlic and ginger this will add so much flavour to the broth
  2. TOAST the spices – The heat draws out the oils from the spices, emphasizing and emboldening the flavor of the spices and the broth
  3. SIMMER – add the charred onion, garlic and ginger to the toasted spices then the broth and lemon grass and simmer for 30 min – stir in fish sauce
  4. PREP NOODLES – according to package directions and divided into serving bowls
  5. SLICE BEEF – very thinly and place over noodles – check out tips below for slicing the beef.
  6. POUR broth over noodles and beef and serve with all the extra toppings and garnishes
  7. ENJOY!

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Pho Bo Make ahead instructions:

  • Broth: Although soup doesn’t take too long to make as it is a very simplified version, the broth can be made ahead and once cool can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days. It can also be frozen for up to 3-4 months. Reheat broth stovetop right before you need to pour it over the noodles and beef.
  • Noodles: Rice noodles are always best served fresh, but if you have some leftover and need to save them, or you want to make them ahead of time, it’s best to keep them in the fridge. Tossing the rice noodles in oil will prevent them from becoming too sticky and clumping together during storage. Rice noodles that have already been soaked or cooked should be kept in a shallow airtight container, or a resealable plastic food bag, in the fridge. The noodles will keep for 3-4 days.

Pho Bo Tips:

  • Slicing the beef thin: Freeze the beef for 15 minutes. Place the beef on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 15 minutes. The edges of the beef should feel firm to the touch, but the beef should not be frozen through. This will make it easier to slice the beef thinly.
  • Slice the beef into thin slices. Remove the beef from the freezer and immediately use your sharpest knife to slice the beef across the grain into very thin slices no thicker than ¼-inch. (Alternately, you can ask the butcher to thinly slice your steak for you, or add pre-cooked steak to your soup.) Once sliced, keep the beef covered and refrigerated until ready to serve. I used leftover medium cooked beef tenderloin that I had frozen and let thaw in the fridge for a little bit and it was easy to get nice and thin slices out of it.
  • Don’t boil the noodles in the broth – prepare them separately so they don’t soak up too much of the liquid and get gummy.
  • Use pre-cooked steak: If you prefer not to cook the steak in the individual serving bowls, feel free to instead stir the steak directly into the stockpot of simmering broth to ensure that it is fully cooked. Then ladle the broth and beef together into the individual serving bowls.

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More soup recipes you will love:

  • Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
  • Kale and White Bean Soup
  • Rosemary and Squash Chicken Soup
  • Quick and Easy Miso Noodle Soup With Salmon
  • Simple Classic Avgolemono Soup Recipe (Greek Egg Lemon Chicken Soup)
  • Easy Cream of Mushroom Soup



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About the Author: Thien Bao

Hello, my name is ThienBao. I am a freelance developer specializing in various types of code.