Go Back
+ servings
Print Recipe
5 from 11 votes

Traditional Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup)

This chicken pho ga recipe is a Vietnamese chicken noodle soup that's made with chicken bone broth, noodles, chicken, and various toppings!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: authentic pho ga recipe, easy chicken pho recipe, pho ga recipe
Servings: 6
Calories: 588kcal
Author: Andrea Howe



  • 1 yellow onion , unpeeled
  • 1 three-inch piece of ginger , unpeeled
  • 2-3 Tbsp oil
  • 1 whole free-range chicken (about 4 pounds), breast removed and cut into 4 pieces, remaining chicken cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3-4 quarts water
  • 1 inch chunk of rock sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 10-12 cloves
  • 1 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 Tbsp fennel seeds
  • 2-3 cardamom pods
  • 4 star anise pods


  • 1 package rice noodles (banh pho)
  • 1 tsp oil
  • pinch of salt

Optional Garnishes:

  • Bean sprouts
  • Thai basil
  • Sawtooth herb
  • Scallions , thinly sliced (green part only)
  • Cilantro , chopped
  • Onions , thinly sliced
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Sriracha chili sauce
  • Limes , quartered


To make the broth:

  • Wrap the onion and ginger in a large piece of foil. Place directly over open flame on a gas stove and cook for 15 minutes until soft and charred. Turn over at half-way mark. Remove from flame. Once cool, peel both the onion and ginger removing any charred layers. With the onion, trim off the root end then cut into it halfway, as if cutting it in half but still leaving it in tact. Bruise the ginger with the broad side of a cleaver or chef’s knife. Set both aside.
  • While cooking the onion and ginger (step 1), toast all the spices (last 5 ingredient items) in a dry pan for 2-3 minutes to release their fragrance and heighten their aroma in the broth. Allow to cool, then wrap in double layer of cheesecloth and tie securely.
  • Heat oil in large soup kettle, stock pot or dutch oven. When oil shimmers and just begins to smoke, add the chicken breast pieces; brown on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Remove and set aside.
  • Add the remaining chicken pieces to the pot; sauté until no longer pink, 4 to 5 minutes. (Do this in batches if it does not all fit into the pot without overcrowding). Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until chicken releases its juices, about 20 minutes.
  • Increase heat to high; add 3-4 quarts water along with the breast pieces, rock sugar salt, fish sauce, and cheesecloth pouch of spices. Return to simmer, then cover and barely simmer until chicken breasts are cooked and broth is rich and flavorful, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove all chicken pieces from broth; set aside. When cool enough to handle, remove skin, then remove meat from bones and shred into bite-size pieces; discard skin and bones.
  • Using a fine mesh sieve, strain broth; discard onion, ginger, and spice pouch. Add more salt and fish sauce to the broth according to your taste.

To prepare noodles:

  • Place the dry noodles in a large bowl and cover it with hot water. Soak for about 10 minutes until the noodles have softened and are pliable. Drain water and rinse noodles until water runs clear. Drain and set aside.
  • Fill a large pot with water and heat. Just before it comes to a boil, add oil and salt, then noodles. Turn off heat and stir noodles for 30-60 seconds. Pour noodles into colander and drain. Shake out excess water and toss with chopsticks to prevent clumping.

To assemble your bowl of pho:

  • Start with noodles, add the meat on top, then ladle in boiling broth. Condiments are usually Sriracha, chili sauce, and hoisin sauce. Then squeeze a quarter section of lime, add bean sprouts, basil, sawtooth herb, onion slices, scallions, and cilantro.


  • Hack Into Those Bones! A few helpful techniques I learned from Mary was to really hack into the bones of the chicken with a knife, allowing the rich marrow to transfer into the broth.
  • Soak The Noodles In Warm Water. And soaking my noodles in warm water just a bit, before adding them into my pho. 
  • Adjust To Your Liking. When we made our batch of Vietnamese pho soup, she was a bit conservative on the fish sauce, not sure how intense I would like my flavor. But I would say you could easily add another 1-2 tbsp to your broth, only to its benefit.
  • Peel Onions Over A Bowl. And when heating the roasting the onions, her stovetop foil-wrapped method was nothing short of genius, although it does make a bit of a mess during peeling, so I suggest doing it over a bowl or your sink.


Calories: 588kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 1242mg | Potassium: 371mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 203IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 2mg