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A bowl of chicken pho with chopsticks and soup spoon

Vietnamese Chicken Pho

Course Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Vietnamese
Keyword Vietnamese Chicken Pho
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Serving 30 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 836kcal
Author Scruff


  • 4 L stock pot
  • Cheesecloth / Chux cloth / Large tea bag


  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon powder (optional but recommended)
  • 1 kg fresh pho rice noodles (300 gm pack of dried pho noodles)


  • 2.5 L boiling water
  • 1.8 kg free range chicken, cleaned and not frozen
  • 1 large onion, peeled and halved
  • 30 gm ginger, sliced
  • 1 large swede (rutabaga), peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1.5 tsp salt


  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick (do not use the powdered version)

Fresh Vegetables

  • 1 pack bean sprouts (optional)
  • 1 bunch Thai basil (optional)


  • 3 spring onions, chopped
  • 5 sprigs coriander, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, cut into small wedges
  • 2 chillies, chopped (optional)


  • hoisin sauce
  • hot sauce / sriracha


  • Prepare all the soup ingredients.
  • In a pan, dry fry the onion and ginger until slightly charred. Wash off any overly burnt parts. Note: Do not break up the onion into its layers.
  • In the same pan on medium heat, toast the spices until fragrant. Put the toasted spices in a cheesecloth / chux cloth or a spice bag and tie it up. Please refer to the picture above for examples.
  • Bring 2.5 L of water to the boil in a stock pot on high and add the chicken breast side down, the rest of the soup ingredients and the spice bag.
  • Once the water comes back to the boil, turn the temperature down to low and simmer for 50 minutes. Put two chopsticks in between the lid and the pot so that there a gap (please refer to the picture above for examples). Skim the soup as scum builds up on the surface.
  • After 50 minutes, take the chicken out and push a chopstick deep into the chicken breast and few other parts to see if any blood runs out. If the juices run clear, the chicken is cooked. Place it in a large bowl of cold water for (approx. 10 minutes) to prevent it cooking further.
    If the chicken is still raw, cook for another 10 minutes or until done.
  • Let the soup cook for another 30 minutes.
  • While the soup is cooking, wash / dry / prep all your garnishes, fresh herbs and vegetables.
  • Once the chicken is cool enough to touch, tear it into chunks. Keep the chicken pieces in a closed container until needed.
  • Strain the soup. Squash the vegetables against the strainer with a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible and then discard.
  • Add 3 tbsp of fish sauce and chicken bouillon powder (if using) and taste check. Adjust the soup to your preference. Note - the soup should be on the salty side.
  • Turn down the heat on the soup pot to low and put on the lid with a small gap. Leave until needed.

Serve the Fresh Herbs / Vegetables / Condiments

  • Plate the fresh herbs / vegetables and serve them on the table.
  • Place condiments with dipping bowls on the table.

Preparing the Dried Rice Noodles

  • If using dried rice noodles, prepare them per the package directions.

Preparing Fresh Rice Noodles

  • Place the fresh rice noodles in a large bowl.
  • If the noodles are soft and are not clumped together, then pour boiling water into the bowl. Loosen the noodles up with chopsticks for 10 seconds then strain.
  • If the fresh rice noodles are clumped together and are very hard, then put them in the microwave for 1 minute on high. Gently loosen the noodles up. If they are still clumped together then put them back in the microwave for another minute.
  • Pour boiling water over the top of the noodles and loosen them up with chopsticks for 10 seconds. Strain.


  • Take the lid off the soup pot and turn the heat up to medium-low.
  • Divide the rice noodles into bowls.
  • Heat the chicken pieces up by placing them in a strainer and dunking them into the soup pot.
  • Ladle the hot soup over the pho noodles.
  • Garnish with chopped spring onions / red onion / coriander.


Calories: 836kcal | Carbohydrates: 85g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 162mg | Sodium: 2388mg | Potassium: 960mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 392IU | Vitamin C: 48mg | Calcium: 158mg | Iron: 4mg