Pho Vietnamese Noodle Soup

Prep Time

10 minutes

Prep Notes

This broth only gets better - in flavor and nutritional benefits - the longer you let it cook.  While you will get good flavor after only a few hours, I usually let mine cook for 2 days.

Cooking Time

10-48 hours


4-5 quarts


6 quarts filtered water

Carcass of a whole chicken (or several drumsticks –make sure it contains some bone and sinew)

2 medium onions, quartered

4” hunk of fresh ginger, halved lengthwise andbruised

4-8 cloves garlic, peeled, whole

5 whole star anise

1 Tbsp fennel seeds

10 whole cloves

3” cinnamon stick

1 Tbsp high mineral sea salt

4-6 Tbsp good quality fish sauce (without added sugaror preservatives, such as Red Boat brand)

To serve soup:

Thin rice noodles (the package will most likely say "Pho")

Steamed veggies, such as carrots cut into coins, broccoli and cabbage

Tofu (soft or fried) or chicken

Whole button mushrooms, canned 

Fresh cilantro and basil

Chopped scallions

Mung bean sprouts

Chili sauce and/or plum sauce

Lime wedges


  1. Place all ingredients except fish sauce in a large slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low for 10-48 hours (longer is better).
  3. Strain broth through a cheesecloth or fine sieve and return to slow cooker.
  4. Add fish sauce and cook on high another 30-60 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more fish sauce if desired.

To serve soup:

Cook thin rice noodles for about 3-4 minutes in boiling water, then drain.  Be sure to do this just before serving, as the noodles will lose their good texture if prepared in advance.  (Also check directions on the noodles you are using - different noodles may need more or less cooking time.)

Place noodles in the bottom of a bowl.  Place steamed vegetables, chopped scallions and chicken or tofu on top.  Pour hot broth over top.

Serve fresh cilantro, fresh basil, tamari or Bragg’s, chili sauce and lime wedges on the side so that each person can create their bowl to their liking.  Enjoy hot!