Skip to Content

Chicken Pho Soup

Looking for an easy chicken pho recipe that doesn’t take all day? My short-cut version will give you all of the pho flavors you love in under an hour! Make it traditionally with rice noodles or my low-carb version with zoodles.

A bowl of Chicken Pho Soup with garnishes and a set of chopsticks in the bowl with the soup.

This Chicken Pho Recipe is comfort-food central!

My favorite thing about chicken pho is how quick it is to get a cozy, take-out worthy bowl of this exotic (but easy!) soup on your table. It’s flavorful and homey, but a different twist on classic chicken soup.

And you can make it either with zucchini noodles or traditional rice noodles.

What is Chicken Pho? 

Ok, first thing’s first. It’s pronounced “fuh”. It’s a Vietnamese soup that has a spiced broth, cooked chicken or steak, rice noodles, and a smattering of fresh garnishes on top.

And, unlike other soup recipes where the protein and vegetables are featured, the diva of this soup is the broth itself. Get the broth right and this soup absolutely sings. It’s not hard if you find the right ingredients.

You might need a couple of things you don’t already have, but don’t worry. I’ll talk you through it.

Why you’ll love Chicken Soup Pho 

Despite having to get possibly unfamiliar ingredients (which are only unfamiliar until you use them once!) this soup is really easy to make.

Honestly, the hardest part is the ridiculously short shelf life of mung bean sprouts, so you’ll want to get the timing right with that.

Other than that it’s a piece of cake! Just toss the chicken, broth and seasonings in the pot and let it simmer away while you prep a few toppings and noodles. Or zoodles.

Ingredients for chicken pho soup: chicken, chicken stock, zucchini, honey, star anise pods, tamari, ginger, cinnamon sticks, limes, garlic, cilantro, basil, mung bean sprouts.

Chicken Pho Ingredients

  • Chicken broth — Store bought is fine, but if you want to pull an Ina Garten and use Homemade Bone Broth it’ll make you feel super cheffy.
  • Star anise pods — OK, this is probably something you don’t already have on hand. Nicer grocery stores usually have these in their spice section. Or you can find star anise pods on Amazon. (You can also use them in your Holiday Simmer Pots!)
  • Cinnamon Sticks — These are easy to find!
  • Fresh ginger
  • Fresh garlic
  • Soy Sauce, Tamari, or Coconut Aminos — Feel free to use any of these here. If you’re avoiding gluten, use a gluten-free soy sauce like tamari. If you’re avoiding soy, use coconut aminos.
  • Fish Sauce — Maybe another ingredient you’ll have to source? Don’t be scared off by the name, but don’t stick your nose in the bottle and smell it either. Fish sauce provides a deeply salty flavor. Thankfully it’s found in just about every grocery store I’ve ever seen — in the Asian section. Use it in any of my Thai Recipes that call for fish sauce!
  • Honey
  • Chicken Breasts or Thighs — I use boneless/skinless chicken, but you can use bone-in and/or skin-on. Just simmer that broth for an extra few minutes to make sure the meat is cooked all the way through. Having the bones and skin in there might make your broth a little greasy, but it’ll still be delicious.
  • Noodles — I like using zucchini noodles (zoodles) here, but you can use traditional rice noodles. I like to buy flat rice noodles — like rice “fettuccini”.
  • Fresh herbs — Cilantro and basil are really great together in this soup.
  • Fresh limes — Fresh lime juice makes a difference!
  • Other garnishes — Any of these would be delicious here: mung bean sprouts, sliced jalapeños, sriracha (or another Asian chili sauce).

How to make Chicken Pho Soup

  1. Simmer the chicken, broth, and seasonings until the chicken is cooked.
  2. Meanwhile, prep the noodles and garnishes.
  3. Slice the chicken and strain out the whole spices and sliced ginger.
  4. Assemble individual bowls of soup by adding hot broth to bowls of chicken and noodles. Top with any garnishes you like!
Garnishes and add-ins for the soup set out: lime wedges, sambal oelek, zoodles, mung bean sprouts, fresh cilantro, fresh basil, and limes.

Easy Chicken Pho Recipe Variations

Make it with Steak: Swap out the chicken broth for beef broth. And instead of simmering the steak, slice it as thinly as you can while it’s still half frozen (Like, with a mandolin. You’ll want it shaved. Or buy pre-shaved steak from your butcher.) The add the shaved steak to the steaming hot broth in your bowl to cook it to a lovely medium rare.

Make it with Shrimp: Toss in a bunch of thawed, uncooked medium shrimp (with tails and peels removed) to the steamy broth during the last few minutes of cooking. If you plan to keep the broth steaming hot for a while, remove the cooked shrimp and add them to individual bowls so they don’t overcook.

Add more Vegetables: If you want to bump up the vegetables here, add some shredded carrots and snow peas — both of which soften quickly in hot broth.

Tips for making Pho Chicken Soup

  • Simmer the broth gently. You don’t want a rolling boil for 30 minutes or your chicken will end up dry. You should have small, gentle bubbles. It’ll also help keep the broth clear.
  • Keep the broth very hot during serving. In order to keep the soup a good temperature in your bowl you’ll want to start with really hot broth. It’ll cook your zoodles for you and warm the chicken back up if it has cooled completely. You’ll also be adding a few cold garnishes, so you don’t want to end up with cold soup quickly.
  • Use fresh spices and herbs. The broth is the star player here and flavors the entire soup on its own. You’ll want to use fresh ginger (not ground), whole cinnamon sticks, and fresh herbs and lime juice to get the best flavor. These are pretty inexpensive and worth a quick trip to the store.
  • Don’t make the rice noodles ahead of time. They stick together worse than regular pasta after they’ve been cooked. The broth will loosen them up, but it’ll be easier if they haven’t been out of their cooking liquid long when you use them.
  • Use an Instant Pot or a Slow Cooker! I included instructions for both in the recipe card below.
A ladle pouring hot broth into a bowl with zoodles and cooked chicken.

How to serve Chicken Soup Pho

This is a “build your own bowl” situation, which my kids really like. Put some noodles and chicken in a bowl and ladle the steamy broth over the top. It’ll warm the chicken back up, make it extra flavorful, and as it sits, the zoodles (if you’re using them) will get nice and crisp-tender.

Then add whatever garnishes you like! I love fresh cilantro, basil, mung bean sprouts, a squeeze of lime, and some Asian chili paste.

Storing leftover Chicken Pho

You’ll want to store the broth separate from the garnishes. You can add the zoodles and chicken to the broth for storage and reheating, but if you’re using rice noodles store them separately so they don’t get soggy and fall apart.

Store everything in separate lidded containers in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Bowl of Chicken Pho soup with garnishes on top and the garnishes set around the bowl.

Easy Chicken Pho Recipe freezing instructions

If you want to freeze your leftovers, you can freeze the broth and the chicken (either separately or together) in freezer safe containers.

I like these freezer safe deli containers on Amazon. They’re great for freezing soups, broths, and general leftover storage in the fridge since they stack well.

I don’t recommend freezing rice noodles or garnishes. You’ll want to make another fresh batch when you make the soup again.

If you have leftover zoodles you can store them frozen in a freezer safe plastic bag and thaw them before serving. They’ll be softer when you add them to the soup, but still delicious.

How to reheat Chicken Soup Pho

Thaw out the frozen broth and chicken, then transfer them to a pot and warm them up. You don’t need to boil them, but make sure the broth is steamy when you serve it.

More Asian-inspired Soup recipes on Perry’s Plate

If you like this Chicken Pho recipe, try another one of my Asian-inspired soup recipes!

Thai Coconut Soup – Otherwise known as Tom Kha soup, this one is a quick one with shrimp!

Thai Coconut Curry Soup – This soup has a rich curried broth and tender shredded chicken.

If you make one of my recipes, be sure to post it on social media and tag me at @perrysplate or #perrysplate so I can send you some love!

Pho Chicken Soup

Pho Chicken Soup

Yield: Serves 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Looking for an easy chicken pho recipe that doesn't take all day? My short-cut version gives you all of the pho-lavors you love in under an hour! (Did I go too far?) It's delicious with zoodles or more traditional rice noodles.


  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 2 1/2 quarts chicken broth
  • 5 star anise pods
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 inch knob of ginger, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • 1/4 cup gluten free soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce or 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 medium zucchini, spiralized into zoodles or enough zoodles for 6 bowls of soup
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2-3 limes cut into wedges
  • Additional garnishes (optional): mung bean sprouts, chili garlic sauce, sliced jalapeños


  1. Add chicken to a large pot. Pour the chicken broth into the pot and add the star anise pods, cinnamon sticks, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, honey, and fish sauce/salt.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and let it simmer gently for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, prep the zucchini (if you didn't buy pre-spiralized zoodles) and gather your toppings.
  4. The chicken should be cooked through and soft. Pull the meat out and slice it thinly. Use a slotted spoon or a small strainer to fish out the star anise, cinnamon sticks, ginger, and any foamy stuff that accumulated from the chicken. Discard those.
  5. You can either return the cooked chicken to the broth or set it aside in a separate bowl and add it to individual bowls.
  6. Make sure the broth is really hot and steamy when you serve it. Serve the soup by putting some zoodles in each bowl. Pour hot broth over the zoodles to quickly soften them. Add chicken, herbs and any garnishes you like, including a lime wedge.


  1. If you'd rather not use zoodles, cook a 1 lb package of flat rice noodles in a separate pot right before serving the soup. Add the cooked rice noodles to each bowl and serve the soup as directed above.

INSTANT POT INSTRUCTIONS: In step 1, add those things to a 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot. Instead of simmering, seal the pot and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Wait 5 minutes before releasing the pressure manually. Serve the soup as directed in the recipe.

SLOW COOKER INSTRUCTIONS: In step 1, add those things to a 6-7 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours until the chicken is easy to shred. Serve the soup as directed in the recipe.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1 large bowl
Amount Per Serving Calories 433Total Fat 12gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 152mgSodium 4687mgCarbohydrates 29gFiber 5gSugar 8gProtein 52g

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

This post may contain affiliate links. Any purchases made by using these links won’t cost you any extra and helps keep my content free. These links may be Amazon links as I am part of the Amazon Associate Program.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Kathryn Colton

Wednesday 28th of February 2024

This was a hit! My kids like “build your own soup” bowls haha.

Natalie Perry

Monday 18th of March 2024

Yes! My kids love it for that reason too!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to Recipe