Faux Pho (Quick Beef Soup with Rice Noodles)

Quick Pho Soup

If you’re looking for a quick and easy Pho recipe, this may be the perfect option for you! Pho (pronounced “fuh”) is a traditional Vietnamese soup, made with a complex broth that is stewed over many hours or even days. This recipe is not real pho, the broth in this recipe is a quick imitation of pho broth which captures a lot of the same flavors. Real pho broth will have a much deeper and more developed flavor.

The advantage of this recipe is that you don’t have to spend days preparing it, this can come together in about an hour. Even though it lacks the depth of traditional pho, it’s a wholesome and delicious meal that may earn itself a place in your dinner rotation.

Key Tips – Faux Pho (Quick Beef Soup with Rice Noodles)

Buy thinly sliced steak for the best results.

  • If you can find it, beef that is already thinly sliced is the easiest choice for this recipe. You can find thinly sliced beef at most Asian grocery stores, and some traditional grocery stores in the US. It’s also typically reasonably priced, pictured below is a 1/2 lb for under $7.
  • If slicing the beef yourself, use sirloin, round eye, or London broil. Freeze the steak for about 15 minutes to help with cutting, then slice as thin as possible (1/16th of an inch).
Quick Pho Soup - thinly sliced beef

Don’t skip the MSG.

  • If you don’t keep MSG stocked in your kitchen, you may be missing out! Despite the bad reputation it picked up in the early 2000’s MSG is a safe seasoning to consume and occurs naturally in many foods including tomatoes. Check out this article to read more about how it got this reputation. MSG is a “flavor enhancer” similar to salt, that makes foods taste more savory. It’s an awesome thing to keep on hand for soups, sauces, and just about anything! I typically buy mine online, here!

Get a good char on the veggies.

  • The charred veggies help develop the flavors of the soup, so make sure not to rush through this step. Pictured below is how much I typically char the veggies before moving them to the pot
Quick Pho Soup - charred onions and ginger

Pour the hot soup directly onto the beef to cook it.

  • When preparing this dish, fill the bowls with cooked rice noodles the place the raw beef on top of the noodles in the bowl. Spread it out a bit and make sure there are no large clumps, which may not cook through.
  • After straining the solids from your broth, bring it back up to a simmer so you know its very hot when you transfer it to the bowls.
  • Pour the hot broth directly onto the beef, moving around to make sure you get all of it. You should be able to see the beef cook immediately, so it’s easy to tell what you’ve already hit. Don’t worry if you miss a bit, the beef will continue to cook in the soup.
Quick Pho Soup - meat on top of rice noodles

Use at least a few additional toppings.

  • You can top this soup with any of your favorite pho toppings. I typically use bean sprouts, cilantro, green onion, jalapeños, and lime wedges.
  • Some other toppings to consider: Thai/Vietnamese basil, mint, Thai chilies, serrano peppers, and sliced onion.

Don’t dump your broth!

  • This is an obvious one, but unfortunately not an entirely uncommon mistake. We are so used to draining dishes where we want to keep the solids and discard the liquid, but it’s the opposite here!
  • To avoid this mistake in the moment, I recommend setting up a pot with a strainer as a reminder to yourself before the broth is finished simmering. Since there are small whole spices in the broth, a mesh strainer works best for removing everything.
Quick Pho Soup broth in progress

Dietary Restrictions – Faux Pho (Quick Beef Soup with Rice Noodles)

This dish is naturally Dairy-Free.

This dish is naturally Gluten-Free

  • Just make sure to check that your fish sauce is gluten-free. Most fish sauce is GF, however a few brands have wheat additives.
Quick Pho Soup

A Note On Serving Sizes

Serving sizes are a very personal thing, making it very difficult for me to select a serving size that suits everyone. This recipe is listed as two large servings, which match the photos in this post. These bowls are around the size you would expect to receive if you order pho at a restaurant.

Quick Pho Soup

Faux Pho (Quick Beef Soup with Rice Noodles)

A quicker-to-make imitation of Vietnamese Pho soup. Beef broth flavored with whole spices and charred veggies, served with thinly sliced beef, rice noodles, and toppings such as bean sprouts, jalapeños, and fresh herbs.
4.89 from 9 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American, Vietnamese
Servings 2 large bowls


  • 8 oz thinly sliced beef see notes
  • 6 oz rice noodles I use vermicelli

For Broth:

  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 medium sweet yellow onions
  • 1 large, 3-4-inch ginger root
  • 2-3 medium carrots
  • 1 whole star anise pod
  • 2 whole ~3 inch cinnamon sticks
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 5 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp brown sugar optional, balances flavor
  • 1/4 tsp MSG optional

Optional Toppings:

  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts
  • 3 green onions greens sliced thin
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 jalapeño thinly sliced
  • 1 medium lime sliced into wedges


  • Set the oven broiler to preheat. Peel the onions and cut them into quarters. Peel the ginger and slice it into a few large pieces. Arrange the pieces on an aluminum foil lined cookie sheet and roast under the broiler. The goal is to char the veggies in some spots– roast for about 5 minutes, then toss and roast further (time needed will vary from oven to oven).
  • Peel the carrots and chop them into large pieces, set aside.
  • Place the whole spices in a medium stock pot and dry toast them over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Then add in the beef broth, 1 cup of water, fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, MSG, charred onion and ginger, and carrots.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover the pot with a lid. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prep the toppings and prepare the rice noodles per package directions. Divide the rice noodles evenly between the bowls and top the noodles with the raw steak (steak will cook when the hot soup is added) spread the steak out as much as possible.
  • When the soup is done simmering, carefully strain it into another pot, removing all the solids. Taste the broth and add more seasoning to taste (I usually add a little salt).
  • Bring the broth back to a simmer, then quickly pour it into the bowls, directly onto the steak. You should see the steak cook immediately as the hot soup hits it. Top each bowl with your desired toppings and serve immediately.


If you can find it, beef that is already thinly sliced is the easiest choice for this recipe. You can find thinly sliced beef at most Asian grocery stores, and some traditional grocery stores in the US.
If slicing the beef yourself, use sirloin, round eye, or London broil. Freeze the steak for about 15 minutes to help with cutting, then slice as thin as possible (1/16th of an inch).
Keyword Beef, Faux Pho, Noodles, Pasta, Pho, Quick Pho, soup, Steak
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Send me pictures of your creations — it’ll make my day! Message @CraftyCookbook on Instagram or tag me in a post! Please note, tagged posts are only visible to me if your account is public. Did you make any interesting changes or substitutions for this recipe? Tell me about them in the comment section below!
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  1. 5 stars
    This was my first try making Pho and this recipe helped me knock it out of the park, it was super easy to follow and took way less time than I expected!

    • Thanks for commenting Cord, so glad you enjoyed it and I loved seeing the video you sent of the final results!

  2. 5 stars
    I love pho but there are no pho shops near me and making it from scratch is a little over my head. This recipe was so easy to follow and came out great, I added some Thai basil and Serrano peppers since those are my favorite toppings!

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