Perfect Pho Recipe - Vietnamese Noodle Soup

Authentic recipe for Pho - Vietnamese Noodle Soup

Course Main Course
Cuisine Vietnamese
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 7 hours 30 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Johan


  • 2 pounds beef shank
  • 2 pounds oxtails
  • 4 pounds beef bones
  • 2 large onions split in half
  • 10 cm piece of ginger washed and split in half
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 star anise pods
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 5 cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 0.5 deciliter fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar or light muscovado sugar


  • 1 pack thin rice noodles Banh Pho noodles
  • 4 large handfuls mix fresh herbs cilantro, Thai basil and mint
  • 4 handfuls bean sprouts
  • 4 scallions sliced
  • 2 limes cut into wedges
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Sriracha


  1. Preheat oven to broil.

  2. Place beef bones, ox tails, shanks and brisket in a large pot and cover fully with water, bring to a boil over high heat.

  3. Meanwhile, place onion on ginger on a baking tray and broil on the top rack for about ten minutes until charred on one side, but not cooked through. Remove from oven and turn oven off.

  4. Once pot of bones come to a boil, allow bones to cook at a rolling boil for about 15 minutes.

  5. Carefully remove pot from the stove and boil entire content into the clean sink.

  6. Thoroughly rinse bones, removing any remaining gunk or impurities.

  7. Finally, give the pot a thorough cleaning, place the cleaned meat and bones back in along with the ginger, onions spices and fish sauce, then cover with clean water.

  8. Return pot to the stove and bring to a simmer over high heat.

  9. Once a simmer is reached, back down the heat and allow to simmer for about 90 minutes, taking care to remove any gunk that may float to the surface.

  10. After 90 minutes, carefully remove brisket from the pot, allow to cool slightly, then refrigerate till needed.

  11. Allow broth to simmer for at least another four hours before carefully straining into a clean pot or container.

  12. If broth seems a little unclear, you can strain again through a very fine-meshed sieve or a piece of cloth to remove any remaining impurities.

  13. Discard beef bones, ginger, onions and spices. Set beef shanks and oxtails aside until cool enough to handle.

  14. Put strained stock over low heat, carefully skim most of the fat off the surface, then season to taste with fish sauce, salt or sugar and keep broth on a very low simmer till needed.

  15. Once cool enough to handle, pick the meat from the oxtails and beef shanks, discarding any large pieces of fat or connective tissue in the process.

  16. Remove cooled brisket from refrigerator and slice into half-centimeter thick slices.

  17. Put two slices of brisket and a couple of teaspoons of shredded meat per diner into a small pot, ladle over a bit of the broth and keep warm on low heat until ready to serve.

  18. Put rice noodles in a bowl, cover with water and steep according to package instructions.

  19. Fetch one large bowl per diner. Lay one serving of noodles in the bottom of the bowl, top with herbs, bean sprouts, cooked meat and finally a few slices of raw beef.

  20. Carefully ladle hot broth into the bowl and let diners watch in awe as the broth cooks the beef before their eyes. Then serve immediately with a side of lime wedges, Sriracha, Hoisin sauce and Asian beer, allowing diners to tailor their own experience by adding as much or as little heat as they desire.

Recipe Notes

This recipe (probably) makes more broth than needed. The broth freezes really well and can be easily thawed and re-heated whenver a Pho craving arrises!