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Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef and Noodle Soup)

This Easy Pho Bo (or Beef Noodle Soup) packs all the flavor punch of a traditional pho in a fraction of the time. This sinus clearing soup is my favorite meal when I’m sick. It’ll warm you up from the inside out!

Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef and Noodle Soup)

This is totally cheater soup.

That’s right. I’m a big, fat cheater.

You see, authentic Pho Bo is made from boiling marrow-filled beef bones and spices and charred onions and ginger all together into a rich, hearty stock. It’s amazing, buuuuut I’m not really into extracting marrow from beef bones on a Wednesday night.

Enter Cheater Pho Bo. This comes darn close to being as good as the authentic stuff and is ready in 30 minutes.

You just can’t beat those stats.

Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef and Noodle Soup

If you haven’t had Pho Bo before, here’s the deets. (Did I just say deets? I’m sorry. Clearly I can’t be trusted with words).

The broth is light and flavorful. It hits on all the major taste senses–sweet, sour, and savory with a great bite from the spices and fresh ginger.

The broth is poured over rice noodles (yummy) and raw beef (wait, what?).

Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef and Noodle Soup)

That’s right. You don’t cook the beef. You just slice it into papery thin slices then pour the boiling stock over it. This process is awesome for two primary reasons: 1. It cooks the beef quickly and perfectly and 2. You don’t get ebola. (or Spanish flu or barfonella or whatever the heck you get from eating raw beef these days.).

After your beef is all cooked and not deadly, you get to move on to the fun part: the toppings. You are king of the Pho! Customize this however you like. I personally love a good Zorro “Z” of sriracha slashed across the top, followed by a couple jalapeno slices (sans seeds), a squeeze of fresh lime juice, and lots and lots of cilantro and mint.

But if you don’t like lime, no one here’s gonna judge you if you leave it out. If you enjoy not having taste buds, you can put a whole seed-filled jalapeno in there. This soup is yours for the taking. Make it good. Make it yours.

Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef and Noodle Soup)

P.S. if you ever need to get some incredible authentic Pho Bo, head over to Indochine Cafe. They know what’s up.

Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef and Noodle Soup) for #SundaySupper

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
  • 4 oz. dry rice stick noodles
  • 8 cups beef stock
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons Hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon five spice powder
  • About 10 ounces steak (I used 2 flank steaks)
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 2 limes
  • 1 jalapeno
  • Sriracha sauce for serving
  • Handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Handful fresh mint leaves, chopped
  1. Prepare rice noodles according to package directions. Be sure to drain and rinse them with cold water after they’re cooked to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
  2. For the soup, place beef stock, onion, hoisin sauce, fish sauce, ginger, pepper, and five spice powder in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Slice your steaks as thinly as possible across the grain.
  4. Divide noodles, bean sprouts, and sliced steak evenly between four bowls.
  5. Pour about 2 cups of the boiling broth over each bowl. Let sit for one minute to cook the beef.
  6. Allow your guests to dress their soup to their liking adding Sriracha and jalapeno for heat, lime for a little zest, and cilantro and mint for a fresh finish.
{ 58 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment

  • supperforasteal February 24, 2013, 9:51 AM

    I love cheater recipes! If it makes dinner easy and tastes delicious fine by me. I’m so excited to give this a try as I have never had it.

  • Juanita's Cocina February 24, 2013, 10:27 AM

    This seems so easy and delicious! Thank you for the fabulous recipe!

  • Jennifer Drummond February 24, 2013, 10:43 AM

    Your soup is beautiful! I am soooooo loving it!

  • Shannon February 24, 2013, 11:06 AM

    I love it…faux-pho… I cant be trusted with words either lol. This is perfect for a busy night but still get your pho fix. Love it!

  • kimchi_mom February 24, 2013, 11:07 AM

    I love pho and I love “cheater” recipes! 😉 And flank is best for these kind of soups!

  • Cindys Recipes February 24, 2013, 11:18 AM

    thanks for sharing, my daughter will love this recipe!

  • Erin @ Dinners, Dishes.... February 24, 2013, 11:19 AM

    I am all about cheating sometimes! This looks like such great flavors, I wish I had everything to make this for dinner tonight!

  • Tara February 24, 2013, 1:10 PM

    My mouth is watering, I love Vietnamese flavors!!

  • Amanda M February 24, 2013, 1:55 PM

    I love taking really long and drawn out recipes and re-crafting them into something much simpler and quicker – without losing the great flavors.

  • Paula @ Vintage Kitchen February 24, 2013, 1:55 PM

    The flavors of this soup are amazing! I can see why this is such a popular soup. Gorgeous!

  • littleredkitchen February 24, 2013, 2:46 PM

    I like cheater pho! It still tastes good and saves you so much time!

  • Hezzi-D February 24, 2013, 2:59 PM

    I always think this soup looks so fresh and delicious. Your version sounds incredible!

  • DB-The Foodie Stuntman February 24, 2013, 3:08 PM

    Nice soup, but don’t worry about cheating. I can smoke ribs in 90 minutes.

  • Wendy February 24, 2013, 5:24 PM

    Love this…what a great idea for a quick dinner. I can’t even run down the street and get takeout that fast!

  • Flour On My Face February 24, 2013, 11:55 PM

    Great recipe! who cares if your cheating its the end results that matter!

  • Beate @ The Not So Cheesy Kitc February 25, 2013, 1:07 PM

    This sounds like the perfect, quick, super delicious weeknight meal! Yum!

  • Sarah R February 25, 2013, 4:10 PM

    Its so simple! How can it not be a winner?

  • Renee Dobbs February 25, 2013, 4:42 PM

    A quick and easy pho – I’m all in! And I pile up all the toppings too. Love it.

  • Jennie @themessybakerblog February 25, 2013, 11:13 PM

    I don’t think cheating matters if the result is as delicious as this soup. Yum!

  • Alice Choi February 26, 2013, 3:34 AM

    hey, I think we all have a “cheater” pho bo recipe . . or in my case, faux pho bo (i really do have this posted on my blog! recipe from Aida Mollenkamp’s cookbook). anyway, I love this. . most of us don’t have time to boil the bones or, frankly, don’t want to do that so this is a great alternative to the real thing. . . and it looks fantastic!!! At least you know what authentic Pho Bo is and you know what’s up. 🙂 Love this post!

  • Sandi @ My Culinary Escapades February 26, 2013, 11:12 PM

    This looks amazing. I am big on easy dinners.

  • Family Foodie February 26, 2013, 11:40 PM

    I have not tried Pho Bo before but I am ready to tackle a faux recipe! Looks amazing!

  • Katie February 28, 2013, 8:07 AM

    this looks amazing. I’ve never tried Pho before… SIGH i know… I’m intrigued by your faux version and that you don’t cook the meat yet pour the broth over it! Very interesting and I’m sure it tastes delicious.

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood March 3, 2013, 10:06 PM

      It’s definitely a new flavor experience. It’s such a great mix of savory, sour, and just a teensy bit sweet.

  • Karen March 7, 2013, 11:49 PM

    I need to try making this. Sounds amazing, and your photos are just beautiful!

  • Lulu Mevietkieu June 22, 2013, 11:08 AM

    FYI: the Broth of PHO Beef Soup should be as clear as possible; therefore the first “Fail-the-Test” error in this recipe is cooking the broth with hoisin sauce, that’s why your bowl of soup had a muddy broth… I’d suggest you mix beef and chicken broth, and the hoisin sauce should be used ON THE SIDE in a condiment dish – preferable half hoisin sauce, half siracha hot sauce – it’d look pretty too – and you will dip your half cook beef pieces in it.

  • Serena Bakes Simply February 20, 2014, 11:02 PM

    I love Pho and I love how easy your recipe is! We will have to try it soon! Gorgeous photos!

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