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. chuynh 12 March, 2013 at 02:11 Reply

    Hi sien,

    You may use a photo hosting service for your photo and provide a link here. Dried orange peel does not sound like anything traditional pho, nor do the other 2 items you mentioned. But I really can’t tell without seeing them. Sorry I can’t help you there, but do let us know how your pho turn out.

  2. chuynh 13 March, 2013 at 23:45 Reply

    @sien: I can help translate but haven’t had the time yet, but here goes. The first part is a list of ingredients, in order, large star anise hồi (3g), small star anise hồi (3g), clove đinh hương (1.5g), cardamom thảo quả powder (1.5g), cardamom thảo quả (1.5g), trần bì (3g), coriander seeds ngò hột (3g), licorice cam thảo (1.5g), cinnamon quế (12g). I’m not sure what trần bì is [correction: trần bì is dried citrus peel, often orange, found in many Chinese drug/herb stores.] I don’t think pho needs this, but it may give some interesting flavors.

    To make the broth: Use 1 bag of spice for pho broth (3og) boiled in 5 liter of water. Add shallots (hanh tim), daikon (cu cai trang), spice/flavoring, with 2kg of beef bone, simmer with 4 liters of water, then add 600g rare beef for 2 people.

    This above is my best attempt to translate Vietnamese into English. Many instructions like this are written as one long sentence which you must figure out yourself. I think you can get the gist of it.

    Personally, I think you might as well follow one of the more clearly written recipes pointed out in this blog post, instead of trying to follow what’s on the bag. Hope this helps.

  3. sien 14 March, 2013 at 02:51 Reply

    thanks for the translation.. i’ve checked the package and all ingredients you’ve mentioned are there and only dried orange/lime peel you didn’t mentioned… so i guess trần bì is for that?
    Strangely the package consists of licorice and dried orange peel.. licorice taste bitter though… some they add dried sea worm to the broth.. and some even add dried scallops to bring stronger flavour… anyone here got their own ‘secret recipe’ to the pho mind to share??? 🙂

  4. chuynh 14 March, 2013 at 06:55 Reply

    @sien: Yes that must be trần bì. As you can see, people have many ways to give subtle flavors to the broth. In the end, it’s your own preference, economy and time that will dictate how you make your broth. I’m personally not a big fan of “secret ingredients” as they don’t do much for me. If one has secret ingredients making broth at home, it’s rarely made and is only enjoyed by a few. If a restaurant has secret ingredients, oftentimes it is something simple and probably inconsequential. I’ve heard of a few people using licorice and dried orange peel, but again, this is fine cooking at home. For large quantities, this gets expensive.

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