This is how to make pho broth from beef bones, oxtails or chicken. Then you can make homemade pho with meat of your choice like flavorful oxtail soup with noodles and vegetables inside too.
Homemade pho broth is delicious when eaten fresh or can be stored for later use too. We love beef but you can make chicken on the stovetop or Instant Pot faster too. Simmered for hours you can now make your favorite Vietnamese meal from scratch yourself. (affiliate links present)
What is Pho
Pho (pronounced F-U) is a Vietnamese soup typically made with a flavorful broth, rice noodles, meat, and various herbs and vegetables. It is a popular street food in Vietnam and has gained popularity in the United States in the past few years.
To make it, you will need to start by preparing the homemade broth. You do this by simmering bones with a bit of meat on them (or a lot), onions, and spices for many hours to extract their flavor. Once it is ready, you can add rice noodles and more meat if you like before serving.
To assemble it you place cooked rice noodles in a bowl, some add thinly sliced raw beef next. Pour the hot broth over the top and add any desired toppings. Popular choices are usually fresh bean sprouts, cilantro, basil, lime wedges, and sliced roasted jalapeno.
Favorite condiments on top would be a squeeze of hoisin sauce or Sriracha. It is a delicious and satisfying meal that is perfect for any time of day.
Chicken Pho Broth
Basically you would use the same seasonings in the water as shown in the recipe card below but you would be boiling a whole chicken or using just the bones to make this. If you aren’t going to make the entire meal right then and there you may want to just use bones. If not it is a great way to cook meat to get it SO so tender.
Once you extract all the flavor out of the meat and into that liquid in the pot you can dice or shred the proteins and add that in later to serve as a complete meal. You could even boil frozen chicken for this believe it or not! Typically I will make this for a meal that very night. Pho soup is seriously our favorite meal.
It does take some time so don’t be in a hurry. Made with chicken or beef broth is amazing. Made in a large stockpot or in a pressure cooker it is great how made at home you can season to your liking so it becomes just right for your tastebuds. Love a bit of fish sauce in your Vietnamese noodle soup? Add some at the end.
Beef Pho Broth
There are a few ways, some take longer than others. If we use ox I just throw them in or saute with the onions to brown the outsides just a bit. If you have marrow or bones you can broil or bake them to brown and that will give you even more deep flavors. If you do that you can toast the spices at the same time enhancing it all for boldness.
- 4-5 pounds of bones or 2 lbs ox tail (since those have quite a bit of protein on them you need less)
- 1 medium onion and sliced radish
- 1 small mild pepper is optional and sliced carrot
- 1” ginger root
- chives or 2 green onions
- 1 lime
- fresh cilantro
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1⁄2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp black pepper, ground coriander and fennel seeds
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Water or broth for boiling
Some like to add whole star anise, I really don’t appreciate that flavor at all so I leave that out. Authentic broths would include this, decide for yourself on that one. 😉
Instant Pot Pho Broth
You would basically follow our chicken broth Instant Pot steps which would work with chicken or beef bone broth this way too. This will dramatically cut down on the cook time (to closer to 30 minutes vs. 5-6 hours) for sure but still gives you that low and slow flavor.
Pho Broth Recipe
If you want to use beef bones or want to know how to cook bone marrow, you will want to roast them a bit first to really enhance those flavors, then proceed as posted below. You could skip this step and just add into the pot as we did with oxtails but this is an optional step for bones specifically.
- Preheat your oven to 425°F.
- Place the beef bones on a baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes until browned.
If you are making oxtail pho broth you just need to rinse your pieces and pat dry. If you wanted to brown the outsides just add them into the pan when you saute the onions and other veggies.
- Chop onions, carrots, daikon radish, and thinly slice mild pepper. Set aside.
- In large cooking pot, add oil, heat onions, carrots, ginger, radish, and spices until onions are
- Add meat bones.
- Add enough water or broth to cover everything in the pot + 2″ or so.
- Bring to a steady boil, then reduce to simmer for 5 – 6 hours or until meat is easily removed from
- Use a fine mesh strainer to strain soup liquid into a new pot.
- Set aside vegetables and remove meat off of the bones, set aside together.
If you want to make oxtail pho today you would proceed to the next steps of boiling noodles in the broth, then adding back the meat and veggies.
How to Make Pho
Similar to making chicken noodle soup with whole chicken, if you want to make this immediately you would continue to the rest of these steps. If you want just the broth then allow it to cool. Use a spoon to scoop up the fat that accumulates at the top of the liquid and discard that. Then you can pour into mason jars and store in the fridge or freeze once cooled.
- Add noodles to soup liquid and cook according to package directions until al dente but tender.
- Add vegetables and meat back to soup liquid with cooked pasta.
Fill bowls with soup, top with cilantro, green onions or chives and roasted jalapeno pepper
slices if you’d like to add a bit of heat.
What to do with leftover pho broth
You can store leftover broth in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze it for up to 6 months in sealed containers. Always make sure that you allow it to cool completely first though. Remove fat layer from the top before pouring into containers. Cover with lids or you can use plastic wrap to cover the top. Best is to gently touch the top with the saran wrap so it doesn’t create a film when in the fridge.
Of course you can. Don’t throw out any leftovers as especially if you make homemade pho broth like we share here in our recipe it is like gold. You’ll want to skim the fat off the top that has been accumulated and pour liquid into a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 1 minute stirring in the middle until warm.
You can use this to make any sort of soup you want really. Scrape fat off the top and heat in a pot on the stove. If you want to add rice noodles add them when it has reached a rolling boil until tender. Easiest thing is to use would be leftover meats chopped up and thrown inside the pot to warm all of it together.
Want to see a few of my favorite things that I am totally obsessed with?? Take a peek and see how many you might already have…twinsies!
How to Make Pho Broth
- 4-5 lbs bones beef bones or 2 lbs oxtails
- 1 onion
- 1 radishes daikon
- 1 carrot peeled and sliced
- 1 small ginger root piece, about 1"
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/8 tsp cloves ground
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 1/2 tsp salt and pepper
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- water or broth, enough to cover ingredients + 2"
- Chop onions, carrots, daikon radish, and can add thin slices of a pepper if you wanted heat. Set aside. In large stock pot, add oil, onions, carrots, ginger, radish, and spices and saute until onions are tender.
- Add meat bones. Add enough water or broth to cover everything in the pot + 2" or so. Bring to a steady boil, then reduce to simmer for 5 – 6 hours or until meat is easily removed from bone.
- Use a fine mesh strainer to strain soup liquid into a new pot. Set aside vegetables and remove meat off of the bones, set aside.
- To just make the broth to use and store;
- If you want to make this immediately you would continue to the rest of these steps, if you want just the broth then allow it to cool. Use a spoon to scoop up the fat that accumulates at the top of the liquid and discard that. Then you can pour into mason jars and store in the fridge or freeze once cooled.
- To make pho immediately you would;