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Quick Beef Pho – Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup

Phở is a traditional Vietnamese dish and a hallmark of Vietnam’s culinary culture. Beef Phở, in particular, offers a unique flavor profile, known for its harmonious blend of aromatic herbs, spices, and quality beef. These ingredients combine to create a savory broth, intensified by the tender slices of beef, resulting in a culinary experience that is both comforting and profoundly satisfying.

Upon savoring the soup, your taste buds will explode with flavor, and you will understand why traditional Phở requires so much time to prepare. It is, of course, necessary to allow sufficient time to extract the essence of each ingredient, resulting in a broth that is rich, flavorful, and encapsulates the soul of Vietnamese cuisine.

But I’ll let you in on a heavily time-saving recipe that can be done in just 45 minutes, yet closely compares to the traditional method. This quick and easy version of Beef Phở still promises to deliver all the warmth, richness, and complexity of flavors, proving that you don’t have to spend all day in the kitchen to enjoy a bowl of this sensational Vietnamese soup. This recipe is perfect for busy days, while still offering an authentic taste of Vietnamese cuisine.


  • 250g beef, thinly sliced 

For the broth:

  • 1 liter of beef broth or chicken broth 
  • 2 cups of water
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced 
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper 
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp sugar to taste
  • 2 onions
  • 3 shallot
  • 2 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise pod

Noodles and herbs:

  • 3-4 ounces thin rice noodles 
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce (optional)
  • 1/3 cup of bean sprouts 
  • Thai basil (optional)
  • Sprigs cilantro (optional)
  • sawtooth herb (optional)
  • 1 lime, sliced into wedges (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce 

About the beef:

You can select any type of beef for this recipe, but it’s generally recommended to opt for a cut that offers a balance of tenderness and a mix of lean and fatty portions – all according to your preference. Some suitable cuts could be flat iron, flank steak, or sirloin. These cuts cook quickly, yet retain their succulent qualities, making them perfect for this quick and easy Beef Phở recipe.

About the noodles:

For the noodles, you have a variety of options. You could go with traditional dried rice noodles (bánh phở khô), or opt for substitute noodles such as dried wheat noodles, glass noodles, or vermicelli. However, for the most authentic taste, traditional rice noodles are highly recommended. These noodles can typically be found in any Asian grocery store.

About the herbs:

It’s worth noting that these herbs not only add a vibrant touch of freshness to the dish, but also bring nutritional benefits. Thai basil, for instance, is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, while the sawtooth herb contributes a unique taste with its bold, cilantro-like flavor. The bean sprouts, on the other hand, provide a satisfying crunch and are a great source of fiber and vitamins.


Step 1: Prepare the ingredients

Start by thinly slicing the beef. Afterwards, thoroughly wash the herbs. 

For an authentic flavor, traditionally the onions and shallots are roasted until slightly charred on the outside, then peeled, and halved. However, given that this is the quick version of the recipe, you may choose to skip the roasting step.

Step 2: Cooking the Broth

Pour the beef or chicken broth and 2 cups of water into a large pot and bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Add the prepared onions and shallots, as well as the cinnamon sticks and star anise pods. 

Allow the broth to simmer for around 20-25 minutes, ensuring that the spices and aromatics infuse their flavors into the liquid. 

After this time, you can remove the aromatics, leaving behind a flavorful and aromatic broth. Then, stir in the fish sauce and sugar to taste, balancing the savory and sweet elements of the broth.

Step 3: Cooking the Rice Noodles

Cook the rice noodles until they are al dente. You can add the cooked noodles directly into the broth. This can help the noodles to absorb more flavor from the soup, making your Phở more flavorful. 

Be careful not to overcook the noodles. They should retain a firm texture that holds up to the hot soup. Once the noodles are added into the soup, stir gently to combine everything.

Step 4: Assembling the Dish

Now comes the fun part – arranging and assembling your Phở. Start by placing a generous amount of cooked rice noodles at the bottom of each bowl. Then, layer thinly sliced raw beef over the noodles. The heat from the broth will gently cook the beef to a perfect medium-rare. If you prefer your beef more cooked, you can always add it to the broth a few minutes before serving.

Next, ladle the hot broth into each bowl, making sure to cover the beef slices. The meat should start changing color as it comes into contact with the broth.

Finally, garnish with a handful of bean sprouts, fresh herbs like Thai basil, cilantro, and slices of lime. Feel free to adjust the amount of herbs to your liking. Add a dash of hoisin sauce on top, if you like, for an extra layer of flavor. 

Serve immediately. Enjoy your homemade, quick and easy Beef Phở, as you dive into the richness of Vietnamese cuisine right from your kitchen.


  • To save time, you can prepare the broth ahead and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • If you don’t have an Asian grocery store nearby, many of these ingredients can be found online.
  • Feel free to adjust the seasoning according to your preferences, adding more salt, sugar, or fish sauce until you reach the desired flavor.


Beef Phở is a powerful sensory experience, whether you’re eating it in a restaurant or making it at home. With this quick and easy recipe, you don’t have to sacrifice flavor for convenience. In just 45 minutes, you can get an authentic-tasting bowl of Beef Phở that will be sure to satisfy your cravings. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get cooking! 


Is Beef Noodle Soup The Same As Pho?

Vietnam has 2 separate dishes, Bò kho and Phở Bò (beef phở) but when their names translated to English is beef noodle soup. So be cautious not to get caught by this.

Is Pho Healthier Than Ramen?

Yes, pho can be considered a healthier option than ramen because of the use of fresh and healthy ingredients like herbs and lean meats. In addition, Phở is usually served with fewer noodles and less fat compared to ramen. However, the healthiness of your meal will depend on the amount of oil and seasoning used when you are preparing it. So, always keep an eye on the amount of oil you are using and adjust your seasoning to taste. 

Is Phở Healthy?

Phở can be considered a healthy dish. Phở is rich in protein and packed with vitamins and minerals, making it a nutritionally balanced meal. However, like any dish, the healthiness ultimately depends on the portion size and how it is prepared. To make your phở healthier, aim for a balance of lean protein, a small portion of noodles, and plenty of herbs and vegetables. Also, be mindful of the amount of sodium in the dish.

Why Is Pho Soup So Popular?

Phở soup has become a popular dish because of its flavorful and comforting broth. It’s easy to customize with your favorite ingredients, making it enjoyable for all palates. In addition, the diversity in flavors and textures from the herbs, noodles, and meat make it a perfect meal in one bowl. All of this makes it a great option for a quick, healthy meal.