Pho is maybe the world’s most beloved soup.

My earliest memories of going out to eat were to pho restaurants. As a Vietnamese person, pho is something I’ve been making for over 20 years and eaten for my whole life.

If you want to fill up on some deep pho love and geekery, read on, or if you would like to just make the best, most authentic pho you’ve ever made at home, feel free to jump to the recipe using these handy links:

  1. What is pho?
  2. Pho soup
  3. Pho noodles
  4. Meats
  5. Toppings & garnishes
  6. Bowls
  7. How to make pho
  8. How to pronounce pho
  9. Pho variations
  10. Just skip to the recipe

What is pho?

Pho (properly made) is a deeply spiced and aromatic soup of a clear broth and rice noodles, topped with different cuts and textures of meats and fresh herbs. It doesn’t need to be meat, and in fact many Vietnamese have vegan pho, but it’s by default beef noodle soup, which is what this recipe is for.

authentic pho |

Pho soup

A great pho soup is a well made beef broth with charred aromatics, sweetened with sugar, and seasoned with fish sauce. The signature taste of beef pho though comes from the charred aromatics and spices: if you leave those out, you don’t have pho, you have generic beef noodle soup.

Bones vs Meat

Traditionally pho soup was made with bones, but I prefer a cheap cut of meat. Where we live, bones cost more or less the same as cheap beef because of the popularity of bone broth and marrow. Lately we’ve gravitated towards a cut from the ribs called finger meat (shown below) which I feel has the perfect ratio of connective tissue, fat, and meat to make an incredible pho soup. Using a cut of meat with some connective tissue and fat goes a long way, but any cheap cut of meat, soup bones, or a mix of both will do. I’m a sucker for whatever is on sale. You won’t be throwing away the meat once the pho is made either, so there’s no wastage if you go the meat route.

Ingredients for the best pho soup |

Charred Spices & Aromatics

Charred aromatics are the most important part of a great pho soup. It’s the first thing I learned from my parents when we made pho at home, especially charring the onion. My dad says it’s not even pho if you don’t do that.

The easiest way to char your aromatics is by putting them on a sheet tray and blow torching them all at once. While everyone needs a good blow torch because they’re cheap and insanely useful in the kitchen, you can also char over a gas range, on an outdoor grill, in the oven/broiler, or in a cast iron pan. If you’re charring over a gas range or even with a blowtorch, just char the larger items: ginger, onions/shallots, cinnamon stick, and star anise.

You’ll see daikon in the recipe list as well. That’s my mom’s secret ingredient (it’s a lot of people’s secret ingredient). You don’t need to/can’t toast that.

Charring spices for pho |

Fat content

Every good noodle soup needs fat for the broth to stick to the noodle and pho is no exception. If you prefer to control the fat content of your pho (and can wait a few hours before eating) this is a trick I learned from Ivan Ramen‘s cookbook:

  1. Leave the pho in the fridge until the fat solidifies (typically 4-6 hours)
  2. Scoop only the fat out into a small saucepan.
  3. Melt it over low heat.
  4. Strain into a small container.

The fat will keep in the fridge for up to a week, and you can measure out exactly how much each bowl will have. Add at least a teaspoon to each bowl of pho you make; unless you’re crazy about living fat free, your tastebuds will thank you for it. For us though, we just go with whatever fat comes with the soup.

Pho soup |


Pho is about balance, but not necessarily subtlety. Personally speaking, I like my pho to be extra. I’ll season my pho soup until it’s just on the verge of too sweet, then I add enough fish sauce to counter balance the sweetness and create a massive umami bomb. The blandness of the noodles and the brightness of the customary squeeze of lime at the table will temper all the craziness and bring the universe back into balance.

The sugar I prefer for pho is rock sugar, which you should be able to get in the Asian aisle of just about any supermarket, and definitely at every Asian supermarket. Some people traditionally use palm sugar. I wouldn’t say it’s totally worth the extra effort to get special sugar, but if you’re in the area already, rock sugar is delicious and very pretty. Regular white sugar is just fine though.

On Richness: some commenters complain that this pho doesn’t have the richness they’re looking for. That richness comes from MSG, which is an essential and authentic, though not traditional ingredient in many bowls of pho around the world. If you think this needs richness, reach for that little red panda shaped bottle.

Rock sugar for pho |

Fish sauce

Not all fish sauces are equal, and you really do get what you pay for, especially when you never pay more than $10 or so. If you aren’t shopping at an Asian grocery store, Red Boat is usually your best bet. If you’re at the Asian supermarket though, and see something called mắm nhĩ, go for that: it’s basically the equivalent of first press or extra virgin for fish sauce, and is always a good bet. Never buy mắm nêm unless you are prepared to cook outdoors.

Do you even need fish sauce? No. It’s traditional, but it’s also traditional to use salt or a mix of both depending on how “clean” you want your pho to taste. My mom leaves out the fish sauce in favor of salt these days. I would never consider this. She says I’ll change my mind in 30 years.

Pho noodles

If you can, get fresh pho noodles, but if you can’t, the dried stuff works too. Sometimes the noodles will be called rice stick or Thai rice stick noodles. Medium thickness is best. Briefly blanch the noodles about halfway to your desired softness, then drain and rinse in cold water so they don’t stick too much. Allow them to dry out in a colander for 5-10 minutes while you prepare the other items.

Drying out the rice noodles seems counterintuitive since you just cooked them, but it’s the secret to flavorful noodles as they suck in the pho broth to rehydrate later.

pho noodles |


Pho is beloved not just for its broth but the meaty toppings. Sirloin, well done brisket, flank, tripe, meatballs, the list goes on and on. Anyone who has been eating pho for awhile will tell you that dặc biệt (house special), which is every meat the restaurant has, is the way to go, but at home, you may not want to go that nuts.

For me though, a good pho should have 2-3 different meats. If you make this with finger meat, flank, or brisket, you should have some nice well done meat, and to that I’d recommend some meatballs, sirloin that’s been thinly sliced and allowed to cook in the broth (buy sirloin roast to get the nice round pieces), and, for the truly adventurous, tripe/omasum.


Sirloin is the star of pho. It’s the default inclusion, it’s always there. You want it as thinly sliced as possible and cooked only in the soup. Traditionally much of it will be left out of the soup both so you can see how fresh and high quality the meat is, and so that the meat doesn’t overcook before it hits your table. It only needs about 30 seconds to cook in the piping hot broth.


Vietnamese meatballs are bouncier and denser than what you’d typically think of meatballs as. Their traditional greyish color can be offputting at first, but their deliciousness will quickly retrain your mind to associate them with feelings of fullness and delirious satiety. Because of how dense these are, I like to halve them.

Brisket and Flank

Well done brisket or flank’s soft fall-apart-in-your-mouth texture is deeply satisfying, but so are the pho-full flavors they pick up in cooking in the pho broth for hours. Properly speaking, they should cook in the pho broth after it’s been made and seasoned, but if you are short on time, just cook them at the same time the pho broth is made. They won’t have as much flavor, but the texture will still be there. And, will you really notice the flavor as you dip it in your personalized mix of sriracha and hoisin anyway?


Tendon is chewy, a little crunchy, and so satisfying in a bowl of otherwise very soft things. It can be extremely hard to find unless you go to a butcher or a Vietnamese supermarket. Not even an Asian supermarket typically carries these, but if you see it, you should get it. Tendon should be chopped into bite sized pieces and added along with the bones as it takes hours to properly soften.


Tripe/Omasum is another slightly crunchy textureful meat that doesn’t look as good as it deserves to. It’s always been my favorite part of pho. You want it thinly sliced and briefly blanched, 1-2 minutes. I blanch it in the noodle water to keep it white, but again, we can one pot this in the instant pot, it’s not that finicky.

Pho recipe |

Toppings & Garnishes

Vietnamese food’s claim to fame are the fresh flavors and herbs and pho is no different:

  • Sliced raw onions and chopped cilantro are basically mandatory in my pho. I realize both are separately polarizing to two different groups of people. They’re pretty important to me though.
  • Thai basil is a must, but if you can’t get any, sweet basil is a sad-but-passable substitute.
  • Limes add brightness and offset the salty-sweet-umami-bomb in your mouth.
  • Vietnamese food is spicy, but pho isn’t, some say that’s because it originated in the less-spicy north. Regardless, Jalapeños or Thai chilies are always supplied to fix that issue for the people who love spice.
  • Bean sprouts add an earthiness and sometimes crunch to your soup. Many people like to blanch their sprouts and judge a pho place based on whether they took the time to blanch the sprouts first. Other pho restaurants ask you if you want them blanched or not. For me, I don’t like them at all and skip them.
  • Sriracha and hoisin sauce has been a fixture at pho restaurants since forever, even in Vietnam. Always feel welcome to add them to your soup and especially to make a dip out of them for your meats. They are 100% authentic, despite what Bon Appétit said about that (I still can’t believe they didn’t delete the tweet).

toppings for pho |


Over the years, I’ve come to realize that unless you grew up eating noodle soups, you probably don’t have the right bowl for pho at home. Serving pho in mixing bowls is pretty sad after you’ve slaved away for hours on a beautiful pho broth. You need large bowls that can comfortably fit 2 cups of soup as well as noodles and meats, my rule is about 9″ wide and 3.5″ high. You should also warm your bowls before serving. We just fill them up with hot tap water for 3-4 minutes.

How to make pho

Do you really need hours to make pho? Traditionally this is the way it was done at large restaurants, but Vietnamese people embraced the pressure cooker basically the moment it became available, so there is zero shame to making a one hour Instant Pot pho. Bonus, it traps the smells, aka flavor, inside the soup instead of in your house. If you don’t own an Instant Pot though, making it the traditional stovetop way or even the crockpot way is easy.

How to make pho in an Instant Pot

  • Char your spices and aromatics. Ideally with a blowtorch so you can char all the spices at once, but if you have a grill, broiler, or cast iron pan, just char the onion/shallots, ginger, and cinnamon.
  • Load everything up in the instant pot along with 4 quarts of water. If you want to do this the easy one pot super fast way, just throw it all in. If you have a little more time, leave out the sugar and topping meats to braise slowly later.
  • Cook. Cook the broth on high pressure for 35 minutes. Do a quick release once done. If you intend to eat right away, prepare the rice noodles, meats, and garnishes while the broth is cooking.
  • Season. Add sugar (if you didn’t add it in the prior steps) and fish sauce (or salt) until the broth is just about overseasoned. It’ll balance out once you add the noodles.
  • Build. Add rice noodles and sirloin in your bowl, then fill the bowl up with about 2 cups (or more) of pho soup. Top with onion and cilantro, then at the table, let everyone add thai basil, bean sprouts, chilies, hoisin, and sriracha to their liking.
  • Enjoy!

pho soup |

How to make pho on the stove

  • Char your spices and aromatics. Ideally with a blowtorch so you can char all the spices at once, but if you have a grill, broiler, or cast iron pan, just char the onion/shallots, ginger, and cinnamon.
  • Boil the bones and meats for 5 minutes to remove most of the scum, then drain. Ideally, wash the pot again too.
  • Fill up the pot with the parboiled bones or finger meat, tendons if using, aromatics, and spices along with enough water to cover. Bring to a very gentle simmer and hold it there for 4-6 hours. If you have flank or brisket, add it in 2 hours before the broth is finished cooking.
  • Prepare. Just before you intend to eat, prepare the rice noodles, meats, and garnishes while the broth is cooking.
  • Season. Add sugar and fish sauce (or salt) until the broth is just about overseasoned. It’ll balance out once you add the noodles.
  • Build. Add rice noodles and sirloin in your bowl, then fill the bowl up with about 2 cups (or more) of pho soup. Top with onion and cilantro, then at the table, let everyone add thai basil, bean sprouts, chilies, hoisin, and sriracha to their liking.
  • Enjoy!

How to pronounce pho

By now everyone knows to pronounce pho as fuh. But you can be a little closer to the tonal Vietnamese if you pronouce it as if you are asking a question. I think it’s closest if you always pronounce the single word as it sounds at the end of this sentence: “Really?! You want to eat pho?!”

Other phos to make

pho |

Authentic Pho Recipe

A pho recipe developed over decades from our Vietnamese family to yours.
Serves 6
4.76 from 37 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


Pho spices and aromatics

  • 5 star anise pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp peppercorns white preferred, black if not
  • 1 tsp fennel optional
  • 5 cardamom pods optional
  • 1/2 medium onion peeled
  • 2 inches ginger halved lengthwise
  • 1 shallot peeled and halved

For the pho soup

  • 2 lbs beef for soup see notes
  • 3 inch daikon 1" slices, optional
  • 4 qt water
  • 2 oz rock sugar ~1/4 cup white sugar, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce or to taste
  • 24 oz dried pho noodles or fresh, see notes
  • 8 Vietnamese meatballs or more, cut in halves
  • 1 lb sirloin roast thinly sliced
  • 1 lb brisket or flank steak
  • 1/2 lb tendon optional
  • 1/2 lb omasum optional

To serve the pho

  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro roughly chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion sliced
  • 3 cups bean sprouts blanched if desired
  • 1 lime cut into wedges
  • 1 bunch Thai basil
  • 1 jalapeño sliced
  • sriracha
  • hoisin sauce

Special Equipment


  • Arrange the larger aromatics on a heat proof baking sheet and blow torch until fragrant. Alternately, toast all aromatics in a cast iron pan on the stove or in the oven broiler for a few minutes until fragrant.
    Charring spices for pho |

To make the pho soup

  • Transfer charred aromatics along with sugar and all meats except the sirloin to Instant Pot/Pressure cooker. Fill to the max fill line with water, about 4 quarts. Set pressure to high and cook time to 35 minutes and cook. Quick release the pressure when cooking time is completed. See notes for stovetop instructions.
    Ingredients for the best pho soup |
  • Once cool enough to taste, add fish sauce 1 tablespoon at a time until it’s just about overseasoned. Add extra sugar if needed. If you go too far, just add water. You may optionally strain the pho at this point to get as clear of a broth as possible.
    pho soup |

To serve

  • Warm your bowls with hot tap water, then drain. Bring a pot of water to a boil and briefly blanch the noodles, then rinse with cold water and drain well. Divide noodles evenly into each of the warmed bowls. Thinly slice the sirloin (if needed) and top each bowl. Thickly chop all the other meats and divide evenly.
    ingredients for pho |
  • Cover with about 2 cups of hot broth per bowl and sprinkle chopped cilantro and sliced onions over top. Serve with a plate of bean sprouts, limes, Thai basil, and chilies. Have small dipping plates of sriracha and hoisin sauces for each person.
    pho |


We used finger meat in this recipe but the choice of beef or bones is up to you. See the section on meats for more details.
If you don’t have a pressure cooker, bring the beef to a boil along with enough water to cover for 5 mins, then drain and wash the pot. Add clean cold water and gently simmer the beef, tendons if using, aromatics, and daikon for 4-6 hours. You can do this part in a crockpot as well. Try to maintain the same level of water during the cooking process, checking back every 30 minutes or so. 2 hours before the soup is finished, add the brisket. 20 minutes before serving, add meatballs and tripe. 
While the nutrition information is as accurate as possible, it is only representative if you consume all of the broth. It includes 1/2 of meat per bowl, which may be a lot more than you have if you didn't go for the optional meats, and includes 1 tbsp of fat per bowl. If you go with 1 tsp of fat, it is 806 calories, and if you go with no fat, it is 773 calories per bowl.

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Authentic Pho Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 888 Calories from Fat 247
% Daily Value*
Fat 27.4g42%
Saturated Fat 12g75%
Cholesterol 217mg72%
Sodium 1854mg81%
Potassium 965mg28%
Carbohydrates 76.7g26%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 15.1g17%
Protein 80.7g161%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Authentic Instant Pot Pho Recipe -


  1. chloe says:

    This sounds so delicious!

    Maybe I’m missing something, but how much water do you add along with the aromatics/sugar/meat into the instant pot?

    1. Mike says:

      That’s a great question, I completely forgot to mention the most important step! It’s 4 quarts or so, fill right up to the max fill line. Thanks for catching that.

      1. chloe says:

        Thanks so much. Can’t wait to try it!!

        1. Mike says:

          Just realized: make sure you’re filling to the pressure cooker max fill line, not total max capacity

      2. Lance says:

        The recipe says it feeds 6 people. If I want to feed 12 people do I just double the amount of water and ingredients or is there a better way to preserve flavor

        1. Stephanie says:

          definitely double all of the ingredients, seasoning and water.

  2. Alex says:

    What are your thoughts about the Instant Pot? I’ve been eyeing it up for a while now but have been intimidated by comments about the learning curve on using it properly…

    1. Mike says:

      It’s incredible. It’s become: “what should we have for dinner?” “I don’t know, let’s make something with the Instant Pot” in our house. Highly recommended, there’s very little learning curve, at least the way we use it.

  3. Andrea says:

    I used pressure cooker for almost 60 years. Yes, I’m that old and I still cook from scratch. I never use the p. cooker for soup, where the flavours need time to get out off the meat. P.cooker makes it soft quickly. If you want the flavor to stay in , than use it. Very good to cook smoked meat, potatoes, root vegetables. Experiment with your time of cooking and do not force to open the pot under pressure.

  4. Em says:

    This looks so delicious! I’ve never tried cooking anything with rock sugar (I usually just ate it straight as a kid), but I’ll have to try this one out :) Thanks for sharing!

    1. Elizabeth says:

      Rock sugar NOT to be confused with Rock candy. Different.

  5. Kristina says:

    I loved reading about your family, it reminded me so much of my parent’s stories of when they first moved to America from Hong Kong. It’s incredible how strongly a single dish can make such an impact on our families! I’m going to have to try out this recipe soon!

    1. Mike says:

      Thanks Kristina, totally agree on the impact of single dishes on your life – although I have dozens of those, haha

  6. CRAIG HAWLEY says:

    Another tip for a clearer broth: natural release. Manually releasing the pressure will cause the broth to boil/agitate.

  7. Rozita says:

    I love Pho. Especially Bun Ga Hue. Could you enlighten me – what is added to make it spicy? What is the red the paste to make it specially spicy? I can’t seem to get that specific taste! Thanks.

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi rozita,

      we’re putting up a recipe for bun bo hue soon!

      1. Kim says:

        Ohhhh please let me know when. That’s one of my favorites!!!

  8. Andy says:

    What do you do with the ginger. I see it says 2 inches when and where do you use it?

    1. Mike says:

      Hi Andy, you char or roast it along with the other aromatics (star anise, ginger, etc) and put it in with the meat to make the broth.

  9. Jackie says:

    I just got an Instant Pot and I’m determined to make pho at home! I’ve only ever made broth with bones before, so I’m a bit confused… Do you eat the meat that you used to make the broth, or is that discarded?

    1. Mike says:

      Hi Jackie – you should definitely eat the meat, if you’ve had pho at a restaurant before it’ll be similar to what’s usually the menu as well done flank

    2. Stephanie says:

      you eat it – it’ll have the texture of the well done brisket that you usually get at pho restaurants. you could also do thinly sliced sirloin/steak too, the way you see in pho restaurants.

  10. Mackenzie says:

    I’m so curious–how did your parents react? My husband loves Pho and I am so excited to make this for him!

    1. Mike says:

      Update: I still haven’t made it for them.

  11. Frank says:

    Hey there, thanks a million for this recipe. I literally just cleaned up the Instant Pot after making this. I did use a few oxtails along with some of those ribs you used. When it came out it was very fatty though. Like, verrry fatty. Really affects the flavor in a not pleasant way. I’m chilling it overnight to try to scrape off a layer. I can’t even taste test it to add in the fish sauce. I did add 1 tablespoon for now, but I’m afraid of overdoing it so I’ll wait until I can lower the fat and warm it back up and add in fish sauce as needed. Any other suggestions? It’s smells great but the taste is just off right now so I can’t really tell how good it is yet. Thanks again!

    1. Mike says:

      Hey Frank, I think you’re absolutely on the right track with chilling it overnight and waiting until tomorrow to season. My only advice is to take out all the solids and strain it before you chill it to make life easier for yourself tomorrow.

  12. Alexandra says:

    Do you have suggestion re: a fish sauce measurement? I am not feeling confident enough to experiment. It’s an unknown ingredient to me. Also, what would your sub measurement be for the use of a standard grind of sugar? Does rock sugar have a different flavour?

    1. Mike says:

      It’s a bit difficult since all fish sauce tastes slightly different, but if you’re following the recipe to a tee, I’d call it 3 tablespoons on the safe side

    2. Tonya says:

      I used half a bottle of fish sauce and it still was a little undersalted.

  13. Vieng Samay says:

    hi, my mom and her family were refugees from Laos and my dad’s family adopted over a dozen refugee boys from Vietnam (even my grandma doesn’t know how many children she has!) so pho has been an important part of my life…always

    I’m moving into my first apartment soon and I look forward to experimenting with this staple to make it my own

    thank you so much for a recipe, since my mother and grandmother and uncles and their wives all have their own particulars for their pho broth but always respond with the cryptic “you just know” when questioned about ratios or measurements

  14. Jenna Lee says:

    This looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it out. What size instant pot are you using? We have an 8qt and a 6qt.

    1. Mike says:

      we have the 6!

  15. J says:

    Followed this recipe and it came out really well! There are a couple of things we changed and might change next time, too:

    – We added about 2-3tsp of salt to the broth because we felt it was overly fishy (we are *not* scared of fish sauce! :) ), but still not salty enough for our tastes
    – We used about 3lbs of beef soup bone, but we don’t think it was beefy enough. Perhaps the bones comprised too much of the weight. We might do 4 or 5 lbs of soup bone next time.
    – We felt that it was just a bit watery initially, so we simmered the broth after pressure cooking until we hit about 2/3 of the fill line. When you say “water to the fill line”, which kind of instant pot is that for? There are 4, 6, and 8 quart instant pots now.
    – We didn’t have a blow torch, and I think we should have more aggressively toasted/burnt the spices before adding. To others about to try this recipe: don’t be afraid to burn your spices and onion a bit! I might even try toasting the ginger next time too, but I might need a blowtorch to get the results I want there in particular.

    1. Mike says:

      We have the 6qt, definitely don’t be afraid to burn the spices, ours are often charred black

  16. Jason S says:

    How much water for the 8qt? Any guess?

    1. Mike says:

      Hey Jason, sorry for the slow response, try about 3/4 to the max fill line.

  17. Shane says:

    Making this tonight. Could you update the recipe to reflect the amount of water (found it in comments) AND what to do with the ginger (also found that.) ?

    1. Mike says:

      Hi Shane,

      It’s approx 6 quarts of water or just fill to the max fill line on your instant pot. The ginger gets charred and thrown in with the rest of the aromatics.

  18. Amanda says:

    When adding the aromatics and meat to make the broth, does the “meat” in this case refer to JUST the 1kg Beef, and NOT the toppings (sirloin/brisket/meatballs etc)? With that being the case, the meat for toppings would need to be prepared separately?

    1. Mike says:

      Hi Amanda, the meat refers to just the 1kg beef. Most of the toppings should simply be heated in boiling water when you are ready to serve – with the exception of brisket and flank, which need to be cooked for longer and can be cooked with the 1kg beef in the instant pot if you would like.

  19. Bobbi says:

    I can’t have sugar but want to make this for me and someone else who can. Can I make the broth take some out for me then add sugar or does it need to cook with the broth the whole time?

    1. Mike says:

      Hi Bobbi – you can definitely add the sugar in later. Bring the extra portion of broth back up to a boil after you’ve added the sugar to dissolve it. Sugar should be added to taste so if you can’t taste it, you might want to have someone else double check after you’ve added all the seasoning.

  20. maci says:

    How long am I supposed to char the aromatics? I have to use oven broiler. I have never charred anything before.

  21. maci says:

    How long am I supposed to char the aromatics? I have to use oven broiler.

    1. Mike says:

      about 3-5 minutes if you’re on the middle rack but keep an eye on them so they don’t burn

  22. Meems says:

    Lao/Viet husband: “Best pho ever”
    Me: ?

  23. Emma says:

    What will the broth taste like without the fish sauce? Is it necessary?

    1. Mike says:

      It’s not totally necessary, you can use salt instead to season, but you’ll be missing out on a lot of umami. It sounds like you’ve never tried out fish sauce before, and if so I’d go salt, but if you want to take a leap, this fish sauce is good and easy to find at any grocery store.

  24. MsPurple says:

    My Lao hubs is addicted! Thx for the tips. This is the real deal xo

  25. Jos says:

    I notice you didn’t even blanch the beef for the broth. Wouldn’t it make the broth cloudy and not as clear?

    1. Mike says:

      this is a taste-first easy-second looks-third kind of recipe; without bones in the broth and a high quality cut of meat it should not be very cloudy – you can see the cloud level to expect from any of our top down shots

  26. Theresa says:

    I’m going to have to make this. There’s a Hmong restaurant about an hour from me that makes wonderful pho, but too far away to have on any regular basis. Besides, I needed more recipes for my InstantPot.

  27. AC says:

    Hi, Steph! I just made this tonight and loved it. The husband did mention that there was something that was “missing”, that kept it from tasting like good old SGV or Westminster pho. He felt like it was msg? I really don’t like adding msg to my dishes…is there anything I can do to deepen the flavor without adding it in? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi! i would season it with more fish sauce and sugar! fish sauce will definitely add more depth of flavor and you’d be surprised how much sugar will help too. hope that helps!

  28. Kathleen says:

    Hi. I’m making the pho right now and scoured the San Jose area looking for beef finger meat without any luck. I love the idea that I can just put in meat rather than the bones, so there is much less issue of having to put it into the refrigerator to “defat” it. That being said, can you recommend two or three other types of beef to use if I never am able to find the finger meat?

    Also, I put the spices and sugar in a cheesecloth bag. Is that what you recommend to do so that you wouldn’t have to strain it?

    1. Mike says:

      Hi Kathleen,

      Try a flank steak or brisket, or failing all that, a chuck roast.

  29. Ryan says:

    Hi – great recipe! I’ve obsessed with pho for quite a while, and was thrilled to find a way to make decent pho in an Instant Pot. I’ve now made this about 4 times. I love it, but I also do feel that it is missing something to really bring it over the top. I’m wondering if anyone has any opinions on:
    A) what is the best type of cooking meat to use? I’ve used several ‘cheap’ cuts, thinking why would I spend a lot just to boil all the flavor out and not eat it (I know Mike says to eat it too, but I tried it and it’s not that good IMO), and…
    B) Do you guys think pressure cooking it for longer will yield a richer broth? I’m willing to do this if that means the broth will be richer for sure. I like the ‘delicate’ flavor this recipe creates, but I can’t help but notice restaurant quality pho has a deeper, denser flavor. When I’ve added and added premium fish sauce, there is a definitely a point of it being too much, yet still short of that rich beefy flavor I’m accustomed to taking home from the restaurants. Has anyone achieved this using this recipe as a base and making an adjustment? Thanks!

  30. Toni Favacho says:

    Can i use raw sugar? Dont have rock

    1. Stephanie says:


  31. Bobby says:

    Going to make this one of these days. One of the best Phos I had was done by a Vietnamese chef at my work place. She did the charring on a fire, boil the bones, wash them just like your recipe. First time I ate that Pho without adding any sauce to it as the base was so good. She also used black cardamom pods. I haven’t seen anyone use that before. But I can see why that added the special flavor. That’s why my mom would add that to basmati rice.

  32. ramon says:

    5 stars
    This is wonderful! Thank you. :)

  33. Del Wesley says:

    5 stars
    Woops,I added the sugar and fish sauce with the spices, aromatics, and meat at the beginning to simmer. Did I ruin it? Anything modifications I should make?

    1. Mike says:

      Nope, you’re fine!

  34. Xuxa says:

    5 stars
    I will try this asap and in the meantime I am so much enjoying your ancestor-informed and easy way of writing. You have a great voice. Unpretentious and earthy. I love it how you include that your mom says you’ll change your mind about fish sauce in 30 years. Thanks for putting yourself and your heritage and family out there. Authentic, enjoyable informative read. Oh wait it’s two of you writing? I love it. Xo.

  35. Lopa Roy stock says:

    Hello Mike thank you so much for that recipe I think it’s the best Vietnamese food it is my most favorite as I’m at Indian so once again thanks a lot ?

  36. 5 stars
    I find that hilarious that Allrecipes claims to have authentic Pho haha. I think “generic” pho might be a be a more fitting name.

    I would never call my pho recipe on my blog “authentic” because it’s simply not.
    And it’s definitely an interesting conversation about recipe authenticity. Does it make a recipe better? Who can actually use that word?

    If someone puts cream in a carbonara I die a little inside but also if they prefer it that way is it really that bad?

    Either way, your Pho recipe sounds pretty legit and the photos are stunning.
    Also, I still can’t believe how good the broth is with an instant pot.

    Stay safe you guys,

    A Canuck Chef in the Netherlands

  37. Kim Wright says:

    Haven’t made this yet, but I did make your Khao Soi recipe last night and it was great! One question I have – do you cut up the flank/brisket meat or leave it whole to cook and then cut up?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi kim,
      we leave it whole when cooking then slice it afterwards. for really clean cuts we chill the meat so it’s cold (this really works best if you’re making pho the day before) – it’s much easier to slice like that.

  38. Amy says:

    is venison to lean for this?

    1. Mike says:

      Hi Amy, venison would work (and be really cool).You should consider throwing in some fat if you can; I would add a couple of chicken thighs to the mix.

      1. Amy says:

        ok! I can do that. Thank you!

  39. Mohd shamil says:


  40. Natalie says:

    I can clearly see that a good bowl of pho is important to you and I appreciate all of your tips and information. Although I am Vietnamese and cab make a good pho, I am really looking forward to try out your recipe! I think it will definitely enhance my pho game. Thank you so much!! Truly enjoy reading your wonderful post that I felt compel to comment— a rarity.

  41. Miriam says:

    My cousin’s aunt is Vietnamese and she always told us the key of pho is the soup, and I totally agree! It took her almost a whole day to cook the soup to make it super rich. Next time I see her I’ll use this recipe see if I can impress her with my cooking skills hahha.

  42. Elisabeth says:

    Can I use meaty bones (used for soup) in my recipe, in addition to chuck roll roast (boneless, unfortunately) and sirloine? It’s difficult to find the correct parts where I live.

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi elisabeth, yes you can use meaty bones to supplement the meat in the recipe!

  43. Charlene says:

    5 stars
    I read some of the comments regarding missing richness so I added bone marrow which I think has done the trick. Naturally, you will have to strain off any excess fat. But it definitely has that rich flavour.

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Thanks for reading as always!
-Steph & Mike