Top Pho Bo and Pho Ga Recipes You Must Try Yourself

I must admit this post is rather old. I’ve been busy helping people open and run their pho restaurants (with customized recipes for each, of course) so have not time to redo a survey of more recent recipes suitable for making pho at home. So I will get back to this shortly. For now, I highly recommend you check out either Quick Beef Pho Recipe with Quoc Viet Foods’ Pho Soup Base or Lovingpho’s own Beef Pho Recipe infographic.
Top pho recipesUpdated 03-14-15. Pho recipes come in great numbers around the Internet and you can find them easily using your favorite search engine. Some pho recipes are penned by well-known chefs and culinary experts, while others are shared by experienced pho cooks and private citizens. The most popular, however, are the ones written by chefs and published in various cookbooks. So here's a collection of the top pho recipes you can find on the Web.

It should be pointed out that this list is different from the list already published as "Ten Pho Recipes from Around the Web," which was more of a random sampling of pho recipes at the time I wrote it. Many are not as authentic as they should be, and two of those ten are very good, solid recipes by two of the most respected experts in Viet cuisine. I published that article in a rush, so now with a little more time and effort put into it, here are my pick of must-have top pho recipes.

Top Beef Pho (Phở Bò) Recipes

Pho Author/Chef NameWebpage with Pho RecipePubishedRank by LovingPho
Nicole Routhierrecipesource.com19991
SteamyKitchensteamykitchen.com20061
Mai Phamepicurious.com19951
Didier Corlouvietworldkitchen.com20021
Andrea Nguyenvietworldkitchen.com20021
Wandering Chopstickswanderingchopsticks20061
eatdrinknbmerryeatdrinknbmerry20051
Kevin Youngfood.com20002

Top Chicken Pho (Phở Gà) Recipes

Pho Author/Chef NameWebpage with Pho RecipePublishedRank by LovingPho
Andrea Nguyenvietworldkitchen.com20021
eatdrinknbmerryeatdrinknbmerry20051
Charles Phanfoodandwine.com19981
Wandering Chopstickswanderingchopsticks20061

Top Vegetarian Pho (Phở Chay) Recipes

Pho Author/Chef NameWebpage with Pho RecipePublishedRank by LovingPho
The Gastronomergastronomyblog.com20061
Emily Hothekitchn.com20102

I ranked the recipes using simple numerical ratings of 1, 2, 3, etc. with 1 being best. I left many recipes at the same level because I feel that, once they achieve what they set out to do (that is, to show a neophyte how to make pho themselves for the first time,) there is no point of picking one over the other. They are all good. They have variations among them, but all the basics are there and you can't go wrong with any of them.

For the beef pho, the recipe with rating of 2 did have bones in it but did not parboil the bones, making the broth less ideal and "clean" although the instructions did say to "scrape" and discard the scum. Plus it uses bay leaves and fennel seeds which may get the taste a little off for those who know pho well. I gave it one level down but it is a good recipe.

Chicken pho is relatively very easy to make, and the chicken pho recipes listed here are all pretty solid. They all get 1's.

For the vegetarian pho, I would prefer fresh vegetables, but these 2 are very good vegan pho recipes using pre-made vegetable stock. The Gastronomer gets top billing here for its great technique on the vegetarian "meat" and use of leeks in the broth. There are still other recipes using fresh vegetables, but I felt the vegetables used in those recipes really do not lend to the right flavor to make pho and may even be a little off-taste. Of course, a vegetarian dish can use any vegetable. But because it is pho and not just a vegetable soup, the flavor profile has to be correct. Anyway, I'll discuss a little more on this subject in another post.

The bottom line?

As you can see, many of these are great pho recipes. As we all know, it's all in the pho broth, so concentrate on how to make the broth. Once you've got the broth, the rest is easy and will just fall into place. Check 'em all out, pick one, make some and enjoy.

Top Pho Bo and Pho Ga Recipes You Must Try YourselfBut what is the REAL bottom line? It is this: Just pick one of these recipes that strikes your fancy and go with it. After the first or second time using it, I guarantee you will want (and know how) to experiment to get what you really want, by adjusting or adding ingredients. You'll have a feel for what each ingredient contributes to the broth's awesome and unique flavor, and will be able to make the changes to fit your taste. Remember, these recipes are only a staring point. Beyond that, you should be able to make the pho that you enjoy. You may incorporate some other ingredients or try out a "secret" element you've read about or heard from someone. You don't really need to find the "best" recipe; because it doesn't exist. You just need to start making pho. Whatever you do, don't forget to try that pho chay. Delicious!

For additional help, read my post on Easy Fixes to Common Homemade Pho Problems, where I provide additional helpful tips to either reinforce or elaborate on the instructions from many of these recipes. Follow those and you will have a great pot of homemade pho to feed a whole bunch of hungry family and friends.

Good luck and let me know how I can help.

By the way, a decent alternative to cooking pho broth for hours on end is with Quoc Viet Foods’ Pho Soup Base.

And one last thing, please take this poll.

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Originally posted 09-12-09.

30 comments

  1. Meredith 29 April, 2011 at 20:22 Reply

    I appreciate the recipes! 🙂

    When I was living in the San Francisco area, there was a restaurant in Palo Alto that made an incredible spicy-hot pho ga with pineapple. I have looked all over the Internet for such a thing, but have never found it So I was wondering if you experiment with different flavors in your pho ga. Would you be interested in trying to make it? Or do you consider yourself more of a purist?

  2. Cuong Huynh 29 April, 2011 at 20:38 Reply

    Hi Meredith: Umm, I guess I’ll stay away from spicy-hot pho ga with pineapple. Even if I’m creative enough to make pho ga with pineapple I wouldn’t call it “pho” to confuse my patrons, especially those who are not familiar with the dish. I would call it “spicy chicken noodle soup with pineapple,” or something similar. Yes, by the flavors of my articles on this blog, you can consider me a pho purist. But I’m not necessarily an extremist 😉 To me, authenticity has certain boundaries. Outside of these boundaries, the creative chefs should identify his new creations as “fusions” of the original dish.

  3. Meredith 30 April, 2011 at 10:22 Reply

    Oddly, this was a pho restaurant! Maybe the recipe was a family secret…

    If you want to try a “fusion” or a spicy pineapple chicken soup sometime, I think the heat may have come from Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce. Not positive, but there you go. 😀

  4. Cuong Huynh 30 April, 2011 at 21:17 Reply

    Yes I’ve seen pho restaurants do all kinds of new things to get your money. When it comes to getting paid, restaurateurs will oblige to the clients’ requests, especially when it’s so easy to please. The thinking is, the customer asks for it, so why fight it and try to “educate” her that what she wants doesn’t really exist?

    I’m sure there are many ways to kick up the heat in any soup. For me, I’ll just have mine the good old traditional way. That pineapple still bothers me a little though… 😉

  5. David 9 April, 2012 at 10:55 Reply

    Dear Cuong,

    My girlfriend and I are avid pho eaters. Unfortunately we’ve had the pleasure of too many Pho restaurants and now cannot curb our appetite for more! I was hoping someone on this site may be of some assistance with a hidden recipe we are trying to figure out from one of the various restaurants. All of the Pho tastes fairly similar but each has it’s owns style. This one Pho place, (Pho 21) has the best broth EVER! It’s a brownish color (clear), but has the spices and almost a sweet hint taste to it. You can also smell a distinct smell when you open it. I want to say it’s like brown sugar or cinnamon but we can’t get enough of it. It’s not like sweet but has a hint of it which drives our taste buds nuts. We are trying to make our own broth at home, and want that aspect to our broth… any thoughts or suggestions? Thank you
    -David

  6. Cuong Huynh 12 April, 2012 at 15:55 Reply

    Hi David: It’s good that you can find a pho place that you like. With respect to duplicating what they put in their broth to serve you, I’d say that would take excellent detective work first and foremost. Other than that, luck or some midnight acquisition (stealing their recipe that is 😉 )

    Joking aside, I do not know where to begin to help you, except that knowing the spices of pho broth being star anise, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and coriander seeds, you may want to vary them to get something close to what you want. People add rock sugar, and to do pho broth right, you’d also want some good quality fish sauce. Also some umami (read MSG) is definitely not out of the question either. Outside of these “traditional” spices and ingredients, I’ve known some to add very unconventional ingredients that they claim to be family secrets, resulting in something palatable to many others. Still a few others, hoisin sauce for pho is one of the ingredients in their broth! Can you imagine that? So there you go David, your mileage may vary.

    Have you read Andrea Nguyen’s post Pho Secret Ingredients: Dried Earthworms (Sa Sung)?

    Or maybe you should apply for a job and work there for a while…

    By the way, I wouldn’t say it’s unfortunate that you can’t curb your appetite for more pho. It’s a good thing!

  7. Must.Have.Pho 27 May, 2012 at 15:20 Reply

    /pho-ingredients-garnishes/ten-pho-recipes-on-the-web/. You mentioned on this link there are 2 very good pho recipes, whice 2 were you talking about? I’d like to try them myself

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