Simplified Pho Noodle Soup with Beef

Pho is one of the most underrated comfort foods around! A perfect beef pho has a satisfyingly savory broth with meat that melts in your mouth – a sensation that is sure to make anyone’s taste-buds soar. Though this dish is quite complex, pho can actually be a surprisingly easy dish to recreate. Just check out this foolproof recipe from Simply Pho for a delicious Simplified Pho Noodle Soup with Beef. Enjoy!


Simplified Pho Noodle Soup with Beef

SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate • PREP TIME: 30 minutes • COOK TIME: 2 to 8 hours • YIELD: 8 to 10 servings



5 lb (2.2 kg) beef bones (marrow and knuckle)
1 lb (454 g) beef brisket or flank, kept whole
20 cups (5 qt, or 5 L) water
1 medium yellow onion, peeled
1 tbsp (15 ml) salt, plus more to taste
1 thumb-size piece rock sugar, plus more to taste
Chicken stock powder, to taste

Pho Aroma

1 medium yellow onion, unpeeled and halved
2 thumb-size knobs ginger, cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick (3 mm) slices
3 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
2 or 3 black cardamom pods
1 tsp cloves (optional)
1 tsp coriander seeds (optional)

While traditional phở bò takes at least eight hours to cook, this is a simpler version you can cook in your home kitchen, and the result will be just as satisfying.


1. To make the broth: Place the beef bones in a stockpot filled with enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until the impurities rise to the top. Drain the pot and rinse the bones well under running water to wash away the impurities.

2. Place the bones in a large stockpot with the beef brisket and the water. (If you use the same pot as in step 1, make sure you clean it before putting the bones back. It is crucial for a clear broth.) Add the onion, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) salt, and thumb-size piece rock sugar to the stockpot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered. Occasionally skim off the scum. Depending on the cut of beef, it might take 1 to 2 hours to cook. If the broth reduces, add hot water to compensate, making sure you always have the same amount as when you started.

3. To make the pho aroma: Heat the onion halves and ginger slices directly over an open flame on the stove until slightly charred on all sides. Peel the grilled onion, but try to keep the stem intact and not let the onion layers fall apart. Rinse the onion and ginger under warm running water and scrape off the charred bits.

4. Toast the star anise, cinnamon sticks, black cardamom pods, cloves (if using), and coriander seeds (if using) in a large pan over medium low heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Place these spices in a spice ball or large tea or spice bag(s), or wrap in a piece of cheesecloth.

Add the spices and the charred onion and ginger into the stockpot 30 to 45 minutes before serving, so the aroma stays fresh and tempting.

5. When you pierce the meat with a chopstick and see no pink water coming out, it is cooked. Remove and soak in a large bowl of cold water for 5 minutes to prevent the beef from drying up or turning dark. Drain and thinly slice into bite-size pieces. Set aside.

6. Remove the onion halves from the stockpot before they break, which will make the broth less clear. Continue to simmer the broth for at least a few more hours on very low heat if you have time. The broth should simmer for at least 2 hours from the beginning of making the recipe and up to 8 hours. If the broth reduces, add hot water to compensate, making sure you always have the same amount as when you started.

7. Season the broth to taste with salt, sugar, and stock powder.

8. To assemble the pho bowls: Fill each serving bowl one-third full with noodles (about a handful of noodles). Top with sliced beef (cooked and/or raw beef, your choice), onion slices, chopped scallions, and blanched scallions.

9. Ladle the hot broth over the noodles to fill the bowl. The broth will cook the raw beef in seconds.

10. Serve with a platter of the fresh herbs, blanched bean sprouts, and lime wedges, along with the hoisin sauce and sriracha, if using these  condiments.

Pho Bowl

3 1/3lb (1.5 kg) fresh or cooked pho noodles
10½ oz (300 g) beef (eye of round or sirloin), thinly sliced against the grain
1 small or medium yellow onion, sliced very thin, soaked in ice water for 15 minutes, and drained
3 to 5 scallions (green parts chopped; white parts kept whole, smashed, and blanched)
3 sprigs Asian basil
3 sprigs sawtooth herb
1 lb (454 g) bean sprouts, blanched (optional)
1 lime, cut into wedges
Hoisin sauce (optional)
Sriracha (optional)

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Simply Pho A Complete Course in Preparing Authentic Vietnamese Meals at Home

Ramen is so 2012. It’s time to start enjoying a scoop of Vietnam’s varied, delicious, and aromatic soup sensation: pho. Grab yourself a bowl of pho and discover the sensation with Simply Pho.

Whether you are cooking for one or ten, Simply Pho brings healthy homemade pho noodle soup and all the fixings straight to your table. You’ll learn how to put together the perfect bowl of piping hot pho–bothauthentic and quicker weeknight versions–in a myriad of ways!

To complete this introductory Vietnamese cooking course, author Helen Le, creator of the popular YouTube channel Helen’s Recipes, also show you how to make Vietnamese favorites–fresh and crispy spring rolls and bahn mi sandwiches–along with those that will be new and inspired favorites, such as omelets, crepes, and pizza all made with pho noodles; vermicelli noodle salads topped with beef and pork; and a variety of mi Quang noodle dishes.

Helen also shows you how to make fresh pho noodles from scratch, Vietnamese baguettes, dipping sauces, flavored oils, and broth and aromatics so you can craft the perfect bowl of pho noodle soup at home. Try your hand at:
Pho Noodle Soup with Chicken
Pho Noodle Soup with Beef Stew
Vegan Crispy Spring Rolls
Chicken Curry with Vermicelli Noodles
Meatball Sandwiches and More
With easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions and stunning photos, Simply Pho will bring the mouthwatering and aromatic scents of your favorite Vietnamese restaurant straight to your kitchen!