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+ servings
Vietnamese pho

Vietnamese Pho Bo Recipe

This recipe give you step-by-step on how to cook the perfect Pho broth and toppings. The aroma, taste, and flavor will be so special that you could never return for a store' bowl.
Course Main, Noodle Bowl
Cuisine Vietnamese
Keyword Pho Bo, Vietnamese Beef rice noodle bowl
Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 7 hours
Total Time 10 hours
Servings 10
Author Victoria


Pho broth or soup base

  • 3 lbs knuckle bones 5 lbs if you don't use any well-done meat topping
  • 2 shallot onion
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 finger size piece of ginger
  • Secret ingredient or 1 oz rock sugar
  • 3 Tbsp of Good quality fish sauce

Spice Bag

  • 1 a fine mesh cotton/straining bag with closure tie
  • 1 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 black cardamom pod
  • 4 star anise
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cloves

Noodles, veggies & others

  • 4 lbs of fresh rice stick noodle Banh Pho Tuoi
  • 1 lb bean sprout 2 if your company are sprout-eaters like mine
  • 1 bunch Thai basil or basil
  • 1 bunch spearmint
  • 1 bunch culantro
  • 1 sprig cilantro
  • 2 bunch green onion
  • 1 large white/yellow onion
  • 4 red hot chili pepper
  • 2 limes
  • Sriracha, Hoisin sauce, ground black pepper for table seasoning

Pho Toppings for Combination Pho (increase quantity if you use lesser toppings)

  • 1 1/2 lb eye of round, sirloin, tender loin...
  • 1 lb heel meat /brisket slow cook to tender
  • 1 lb fatty flank or half rib pack
  • 1 piece whole tendon
  • 1 small piece of tripe
  • 20 meat balls w/ tendon

For Priming

  • 1 piece ginger 3-inches size
  • Wine, vinegar, salt
  • A lot of patient


  • 10-12 qt stockpot
  • Extra pots for priming and boiling noodle
  • Pressure cooker to save time
  • and a company to enjoy!!


Pho Stock using regular stock pot

  • Preferably on the night before or early morning(if you're serving Pho in the evening), you should start priming and preparing beef stock for Pho broth. Start by washing all bones that will going in for stock. Wash the rib pack too if you're using it.
  • Priming the bones and rib pack(if use) following
    this procedure by washing, soaking, blanching and roasting. When your bones and rib are primed and ready, let start making some broth.
  • Now with your stockpot fill with enough water (about 6qt), bring it to boil on high heat.
  • While waiting for the water to boil, remove shells and cut all the white/red onion/shallot into halves.Take a 1-inch chunk of ginger, remove skin, and cut into 3 slices.
  • Lightly roast all the onions, shallot and ginger until you could hear an aroma coming out.
  • When stockpot is boiling, add 1 Tbsp of salt, primed bones (and rib pack if use) and all of the roasted onion/ginger. If you choose/have the
    secret ingredient as noted above, roast it now and add to the stock pot as well.
  • When the content boiled again, adjust heat to low/simmering. Keep the pot at simmering for at least 4-5 hours, check back every hour or so to remove all the floating impurity and tarnished layer as they come up.
  • (option): If you're using the rib, remove it after 1 hour (since simmering) or at a little harder than your usual desire tenderness. Carve off all the meats, let them cool before wrapping for storage in the fridge. Throw all the rib bones back into the stockpot and keep simmering until the designated time.
  • Tip: If you have an electric range and prepare this the night before, you could just simmer for about 3-4 hours, then cover and turn the heat off without removing the pot from your stove.

Pho stock with the help of additional pressure cooker

  • Do the same as you would priming bones for a stockpot like Step 1 & 2: above.
  • Fill your pressure cooker to max water allowance, then bring it to boil (use a similar volume pot lid to cover it for faster boiling).
  • Remove skin, cut, and lightly roast all the onions, shallot, and ginger until you could hear an aroma coming.
  • secret ingredient
    When the water in the pressure cooker is boiling, add 1/2 Tbsp of salt, primed bones (and rib pack if use), and all of the roasted onion/ginger. If you choose/have the
    as noted above, roast it now and add it as well.
  • Replace the pressure cooker cover, make sure it tightly close in correct position (see your pressure cooker manual). Then Top it with pressure regulator or adjust to pressure building.
  • when pressure is at full level, reduce heat to low. At this point there should only be very little steam steadily coming out at the pressure regulator.
  • (option): If you're using the rib, after simmering/low for about 25-30 minutes, remove the pressure cooker from heat. Follow the cooker manual instruction to quickly release the pressure. When all pressure is release, just like the above stockpot's instruction, remove the rib pack to carve off and save all the meats. Throw all the rib bones back into pressure cooker, refill water if needed and start cooking again.
  • Step 9: Keep the pressure cooker at full pressure on low heat for about 3 hours (2 if yours is an electric range). When the time is due, turn off heat, but do not remove the pressure cooker nor release its pressure. Just let it sit there until all pressure are naturally released.

Pho Broth (This process should be started 1-2 hours before meal/serving)

  • If you cook the bone stock the night before, you will see a solid fat layer floating upon open the stockpot/pressure cooker lid, sweet, remove all of those. If not, place the whole pot/cooker in fridge or something to cool down for 10 minutes so that all the fat and impurity could be solidify and easily to be remove.
  • Strain everything solid in there (if you were using pressure cooker, just pour it over a strainer into the stockpot). Pick out the bones and your secret weapon (if used) and let them back into the stockpot with clean&clear beef stock. Discard everything else.
  • Bring the stocking liquid to boil level, then adjust heat to simmering (keep this simmering until serve actually). Now go ahead and season this Pho broth by adding fish sauce(if only good fish sauce, otherwise use salt), rock sugar (if needed), or seasoning powder(msg free mushroom seasoning powder, bouillon, or even msg, etc depend on your situation). Taste it a little overpower then you normally would, cause when serving with rice noodle and raw veggies, it will be balance out.
  • Prepare and add the
    spice bag into stockpot. Set the timer or note somewhere to remove this spice bag from the broth after 1 hour or when your could hear the Pho fragrant coming out of the cooking broth.
  • (optional) Now, if you're using brisket, tender, flank, tendon, etc.. any cooked meat as toppings, go ahead and prime them by soaking and blanching just like the bones, you could skip the roasting though.
  • Add all the prime meats & tendon to the cooking stock when it's boil then adjust to simmering. Most people would afraid to replace cover; but if you did well with priming all bones/meat and assuring the heat is at low, then go ahead and close the lid to preserve aroma and water level.
  • If you have pressure cooker, then instead of the above, fill your cooker with enough water to cook the meats/tendon, and just pressure cook them on the side.
  • Prepare an icy cold cooked water bath. Upon remove meats (about 1 hour), tendon (about 90 minutes) from the stockpot, submerge them completely in cold bath. If you're using pressure cooker, reduce the time and strained the remaining juicy water(use to cook meats) into your stockpot. When all cooked meats and tendon are cool to the touch subsequently, remove them from the water bath.
  • Check back on the broth to make sure it taste, add more water if needed and re-seasoning it too. If you think the spice is not present, go ahead and add back the spice bag, but don't forget to remove when the aroma come up or the broth will be overwhelmed.

Get the knife out

  • When your broth is still in simmering process (1-2 hours), let's prepare all the other stuff.
  • Star by thinly slice and organize all the cooked meats and tendon into separate closed containers (for easier serving later). Don't forget to slice the rib meat that you're saving earlier too.
  • (option) if you're using tripe, wash it clean and soak it with 2 Tbsp of wine (say vodka) for 5 minutes. Then boil some water with little salt, dip the tripe in for about 3-5 minutes until its color become lightly cloud. Remove and submerge in icy cold bath as well to easily slice.
  • Thinly slice the raw eye of round that you would be using for rare topping, again, store in an air tight container.
  • For the meat ball, wash and tri- or quart-cut or cross-carving, just however you like them to be, then set aside.
  • Wash all the veggies and herb, remove dead leaves, and arrange them on plates at serving table. Slice all chili pepper, and cut the lime into quarter or smaller if you want, put them on veggies plates too.
  • Cut the green part of the scallion (as thin as you could), throw the white chunk into your cooking broth.
  • Grate/extra thin slice white onion.

Serving a bowl

  • Boil a large pot of water next to your Pho broth pot.
  • Ladle some hot water on the serving bowl to lightly rinse it (doing this to keep the bowl from being cold).
  • Dip enough rice noodle portion into boiling water cooked (about 1-3 minutes, a little stiff is fine, it will expand more with Pho broth). Use a mesh tong or something to transfer noddle into serving bowl).
  • Arrange all the toppings over rice noodle being cooked meats/tendon first, meatballs, and finally the raw eye round on top.
  • Sprinkle on thinly slice onion, green onion and some ground pepper.
  • Repeat for every bowl. (I usually just batch cooking noodle into bowl then arrange toppings on all. Just be quick or have someone helping).
  • Make sure the broth is very hot (could just adjust to high heat/boiling if need) and ladle the broth all over the raw meat.
  • Enjoy while hot with side veggies and condiments.