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Vietnamese chicken pho ga soup recipe

Vietnamese chicken pho ga soup recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Poultry
  • Chicken
  • Chicken soup
  • Chicken noodle soup

If you have a crowd to feed, this authentic chicken pho recipe couldn't be a simpler or more delicious way to show off the flavours of Vietnam.

1 person made this

IngredientsServes: 24

  • 1.4kg chicken bones
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 (5cm) piece fresh ginger
  • 1L chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon rock sugar
  • 3 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 2 cubes pho ga soup seasoning
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 900g rice noodles (banh pho)
  • 225g bean sprouts
  • 1 bunch spring onions, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
  • 6 sprigs Thai basil, or as needed
  • 1 lime, cut in wedges

MethodPrep:30min ›Cook:1hr30min ›Ready in:2hr

  1. Bring a large stockpot filled with water to the boil. Place bones in the pot of boiling water. Reduce heat and simmer until they start to soften, skimming any fat off the surface of the boiling liquid, about 60 minutes. Discard bones.
  2. Place whole chicken into the pot and simmer until cooked through, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove chicken from water and set aside to cool.
  3. Combine onion and ginger in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook and stir until golden brown and fragrant, about 7 minutes. Smash ginger with the backside of a knife on a cutting board. Place onion and ginger into the cooking liquid. Add chicken stock, sugar, fish sauce, seasoning and salt.
  4. Bring another large pot of water to a boil. Add rice noodles and boil until tender yet firm to the bite, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain.
  5. Peel skin off of the cooled chicken; discard skin and bones, reserving the meat.
  6. Serve noodles in bowls topped with pieces of chicken and stock. Garnish with bean sprouts, spring onions, fresh coriander and Thai basil. Squeeze a wedge of lime into each bowl.

Pho ga soup seasoning:

Pho ga soup seasoning is sold in Asian supermarkets.

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Authentic pho ga – vietnamese chicken noodle soup

Authentic pho ga takes some time. Takes some attention to detail. But it’s worth it. This is one of the world’s greatest chicken noodle soups.

I’m a bit of a pho addict. OK – maybe not just a bit. Card carrying member of pho lovers anonymous here. Now you know.

I read the Lucky Peach Pho issue cover to cover. That’s 160 pages dedicated to pho. The definitive pho manifesto. As far as I know, anyway.

This recipe is based on the Lucky Peach recipe. It has some glebekitchen embellishments but it’s in the ballpark.

I’ve also read about 100 recipes online. Some are more authentic than others. Some have me wondering if the author has ever eaten pho.

Are you getting that I am a pho addict yet?


    • 2 tablespoons canola oil
    • 2 medium yellow onions, halved
    • 1 (2-inch) piece ginger, cut into 1/4-inch slices
    • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
    • 3 star anise pods
    • 5 cloves
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 3 cardamom pods, lightly smashed
    • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
    • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 8 cups water
    • Kosher salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 4 servings rice noodles, prepared according to package directions
  1. Toppings:
    • 3 scallions, sliced
    • 1 small handful fresh herbs, such as mint, cilantro, and Thai basil, chopped
    • 1 lime, cut into wedges
    • Handful of bean sprouts (optional)
    • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced (optional)

Vietnamese chicken pho ga soup recipe - Recipes

I bought a cast iron Lodge Logic Dutch Oven from Amazon for $19.98. So eager to try out its heat retention capabilities, I decided to make pho ga (Vietnamese chicken noodle soup).

I normally make Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup) but didn't want to make the trek to the Asian grocery store to buy beef marrow bones. (A small aside about Vietnamese pronunciation. The ? accent over the O in pho makes it sound like a question. So to pronounce it properly, say pho ? as if you were asking a question. Remember pho ? is your friend, not foe so don't pronounce it that way. :P )

Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup)

For a 5-quart stock pot, you'll need:
1-lb package of Banh Pho (Vietnamese Flat Thin Rice Noodles)
1 whole chicken
1 onion
2-inch knob of ginger
1 stick of cinnamon
About 4 star anise pods
About a half a dozen cloves
About half a head of garlic
2 tsp salt
Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce), to taste

Optional for serving:
Bean sprouts
Thai basil
Scallions, sliced
Sawtooth herb
Onions, thinly sliced
Hoisin sauce
Sriracha chili sauce
Limes, quartered

Optional: Add about 4 cardamom pods to the broth stock if you have them

I like my broth with lots of flavor from the spices so adjust yours accordingly. Ingredients include cloves (studded into an onion), cinnamon, star anise, ginger, and garlic.

Then using a pair of tongs, char each item over a gas burner. The charring brings out the aroma in the spices. If you don't have a gas stove, then dry-fry the spices in a pan with no oil to release their fragrance.

You may wish to put the spices into a cheesecloth for easy removal. It also keeps the spices from falling apart in the broth. I use a slotted spoon to scoop out the spices later and don't mind small bits. (That's code for I'm too cheap and lazy to buy cheesecloth for the rare instances when I decide to make pho.) I just toss the charred spices into the pot with the boiling chicken. Add 2 tsp salt, lightly cover the pot, and turn the heat to medium-low so the chicken simmers for about half an hour to 45 minutes. Too long and the chicken will become mushy. Make sure to turn the chicken halfway through so that both sides are fully cooked.

Remove the chicken and shred into large chunks. Cover so the chicken doesn't dry out and set aside.

Transfer the bones back into the pot. Let the stock come to a boil again. Then turn it down to medium-low and let it simmer again for another hour or two.

When you decide you're ready to eat, take a slotted spoon and scoop out all the bones and spices until the broth is clean of any debris.

If you want to do this overnight, then turn off the pot and let it cool and refrigerate. The next morning, fat and any leftover impurities will have solidified and risen to the surface of the pot. Remove with a skimming spoon, or by dragging plastic wrap across the surface. Refrigerating it makes for easier removal of impurities and a much cleaner broth.

When you're ready to eat, taste and add fish sauce if necessary. Then add the chicken back into the pot to let it warm up.

Prepare the herb platter with basil and chopped scallions. Normally, I'd use Thai basil, but I had Italian basil in my garden.

While your broth is simmering, you can boil water for the pho noodles. Pho comes fresh or in dried packages. My trick is to upend a rice bowl into the colander. This minimizes the area the hot noodles would be poured into, thus helping to prevent clumping.

Now, when ready to eat, turn up the heat again so the broth is boiling. My grandma always said to use the biggest bowl you have, even if you don't plan to eat that much pho, because the bigger bowl will help retain the heat and keep your pho piping hot. This is more important with beef pho since the larger bowl will hold more boiling broth, thus cooking the raw beef. Not so important for chicken pho, but it's still nicer to have room for added condiments and herbs.

To assemble your pho bowl, start with noodles, add the meat on top, then ladle in the boiling broth. Condiments are usually Sriracha chili sauce and hoisin sauce. Then squeeze a quarter section of lime, add bean sprouts, basil, green onions, and sawtooth herb if you're lucky enough to have any.

My verdict? I still prefer pho bo, but it's not so bad for a first attempt at pho ga. The broth wasn't as clear as I'd like. That's mainly because of the cast iron stock pot and because I bought some cinnamon bark at the Vietnamese grocery store that seems to darken the broth a whole lot more than the cinnamon sticks I usually get at the American grocery stores. Not a problem when making beef pho, but seems a bit too dark for chicken pho.

August 14, 2009 Update :
I wanted to update this post with better pictures so I invited some friends over for dinner. Unfortunately, I got home from work late, so it took a little longer to get food on the table. I wasn't in the mood for setting up photos and figured I'd leave the post as is. Luckily, WeezerMonkey took plenty of photos and graciously allowed me to use them. So all photos below are courtesy of her.

Sawtooth herb on the left, Thai basil on the right.

She even made the bean sprouts look pretty!

I'm not a purist. I like both hoisin and Sriracha chili sauce in my pho .

Now, wouldn't you all agree that these photos livened up this old post?

We finished off dinner with Tony of SinoSoul's freshly churned Bailey's ice cream.

Related recipes

Speaking of authentic and traditional soup recipes, I have quite a few on my blog. If you can challenge the fermented fish smell, give this Bun Mam recipe a try. Or on a lighter option, this Bun Rieu can surprise you too. And if you're all for comfort food, you can't skip this number one comfort soup found in Vietnamese cuisine: macaroni soup with pork ribs. Last but not least, for some reasons you want to challenge your cooking to the next level, how about go for the most popular pho version on the planet: Beef pho. I found this recipe on Viet World Kitchen pretty amazing.

Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup: Pho Ga

To me there is nothing quite like a big warming bowl of soup on a chilly autumn day. From classics such as chicken noodle to Korean jjigae and simple blended soups, I love them all. One soup that sits on my top 5 favorites is Vietnamese Pho. This soup has a clear broth that is made from aromatic spices and either beef or chicken bones. There are many variations but most commonly the broth is served with rice noodles, fresh fragrant herbs, chili peppers, been sprouts, limes wedges and sliced or shredded meat. In the case of beef pho, it is thin raw slices of beef that are served on top of the soup. Chicken pho is topped with cooked and sliced or shredded pieces of chicken.

The first time I tasted pho was on a cool spring day in Paris. We had been out exploring the famous Latin Quarter and were in need of food to warmup our bodies. After weaving through quiet streets away from the tourists we stumbled upon a quaint Vietnamese restaurant. Had it no been for a small window, where we could see a young girl enjoying a big bowl of soup, we might not have noticed the door lead to a restaurant. I had never eaten Vietnamese food but my husband had and he was eager to have me try a new cuisine. Of course I didn’t hesitate and was rather excited to try it out.

It is safe to say that with that first sip of pho I fell in love. I like it so much that for a period that’s all I wanted to eat when we ate out. My poor husband got so burned out on pho that I had to give up eating it for a few months. Luckily now I know how to make my own pho so whenever the craving strikes I can whip up a huge pot. Here’s my recipe and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Vietnamese Pho Ga Recipe (Chicken Noodle Soup) in the Slow Cooker

  • Author: Michelle - Powered by Mom
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 6-8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours
  • Yield: 4 - 6 1 x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese


Enjoy this Pho Ga Recipe (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup) which is all about the flavourful broth. This Chicken Pho is not a starter soup, it is a meal. Add the toppings to enhance the flavour of the broth and you’ve got a scrumptious meal that makes this Vietnamese dish a family favourite.



  • 12 cups of Chicken Stock
  • 3 on the bone skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
  • 3 ½ tablespoons of fish sauce
  • White onion, peeled (size of a small apple is good)
  • 1 ½ cinnamon sticks
  • 10 star anise
  • 3 -inch piece of ginger sliced thinly
  • 8 cloves
  • ¾ tsp of salt

Noodle Bowl

  • Large Soup Bowl – it’s a meal remember
  • 9 oz of pho rice noodles, 1/16 inch size is the best. Thinner noodles like vermicelli can be used but the texture and taste is not the same.

Toppings – Add the ones you want

  • Limes
  • Thai Basil
  • Green Onions
  • Sriracha
  • Hoisin
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Red chilli peppers
  • Sliced white onions



  1. Add all of the broth ingredients except the salt to the slow cooker.*
  2. Cook on the low setting of the slow cooker for 6-8 hours. Each slow cooker is different so you will have to gauge yours for cooking times.
  3. Every few hours skim off the “scum” that has risen to the top of the broth. Do this every few hours.
  4. Around 5-6 hours (depending on your slow cooker) see if the chicken breasts are thoroughly cooked. It will be easy to tell as they will fall apart. Shred one of the chicken breasts and set aside. Leave the remaining two in the slow cooker until you’re done cooking the broth.
  5. Once broth is cooked add the salt and let it simmer another 10 minutes on low.
  6. Strain the broth so that all the herbs, onion, ginger etc.. is no longer in the broth
  7. Keep broth on warm until ready to serve.

Noodle Bowl

  1. Prepare the rice noodles as per packet instructions, just prior to serving. Drain well (excess water will dilute the broth).
  2. Place noodles in large bowls. Top with chicken, add broth (but make sure to strain out any of the herbs like the star anise) so that it covers the noodles and sits above the noodles but doesn’t drown the chicken.
  3. Pile on toppings of choice. My favourites and the most common are the Thai Basil (a must imo), lime, Sriracha. Common choices also include chopped green onions, thinly sliced white onion and bean sprouts. I’m not a raw onion or green onion fan so I don’t add those to mine but most people do.


Remember this Vietnamese Pho Ga is a meal not a starter soup. So use big bowls and add a generous amount of broth, it should cover the noodles entirely and touch the bottom of the toppings.

*You can make the chicken stock from scratch if you don’t want to use store-bought stock. To do that you can use a whole cooked roasting chicken but just the carcass. Add the cooked chicken meat during the last hour to infuse some of the broth flavour.

You can also use skinless bone-in chicken thighs about 2 kg/4.4 lbs to create your own stock. Some people prefer this meat. I like either one so it depends if you like chicken breasts or chicken thighs more. Thighs will have a different texture too but it’s all good.

You can also use chicken thighs bone in (no skin) for the stock about 2kg/4lbs

You can make the broth and freeze for up to 3 months, or refrigerate up to 5 days. Reheat until it’s piping hot. Do not scoop off chicken fat that thickens in fridge – it’s essential for flavour in the broth.


Keywords: Pho Ga Recipe, Vietnamese chicken noodle soup, Chicken Pho, Soup, Slow cooker soup, crockpot pho, crockpot soup

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @poweredbymom on Instagram and hashtag it #poweredbymom

See how easy it is to make the Pho Ga broth? You just put all the ingredients in the slow cooker and let it do its thing. The broth should be a light-medium amber colour and should be clear like in the photo below.

Use Fresh Quality Ingredients

For the fresh herbs like Thai basil, green onions and mint make sure they are fresh and not wilting, quality matters. That brings us to our chicken too, we always buy chicken with the Raised by a Canadian farmer logo on it just like the one below. There are so many reasons why you should buy chicken with this logo and I will share a few of those reasons. First though if your local store doesn’t carry it, talk to a manager and ask them to bring it in!

Canadian chicken is a healthy choice that it’s grain-fed, free of added hormones and steroids, and raised right here in Canada according to nationally-set, high food safety and animal care standards.

  • There is a mandatory, robust, third-party-audited Animal Care Program that is administered across all Canadian chicken farms.
  • Canadian chicken farmers adhere to a strict mandatory On-Farm Food Safety Program.
  • Canadian chicken farmers are committed to sustainability through innovation, by preserving the health of the land, providing value to Canada’s economy, & making affordable food for Canadians.

Check out some of our other delicious recipes in our Recipes section! Here are just a few of our tasty recipes to try:

See how tender the chicken looks? It is very tender and is infused with the broth flavours. So yummy it’s one of the most flavourful soups out there. If you haven’t had pho yet now is the time to try it. This Pho Ga Recipe is easier than Beef Pho as you need certain beef bones for the Beef Pho. You’ll love the flavours of this chicken Pho.

If you’re looking for more Slow Cooker recipes make sure to stop by as they have a ton of recipes in all categories including for the slow cooker.

Here are just a few of their slow cooker recipes:

Now the #Crocktober giveaway we promised!

ONE winner, Must be a Canadian resident 18+ years of age. $500 value prize pack! Giveaway ends October 28th, 2020 at 12pm EST.

  • Crock-Pot® Multi-Cooker
  • FoodSaver Vacuum Sealing System
  • Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

Enter on the giveaway tools widget below.

More info about Chicken Farmers of Canada can be found HERE

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  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, split in half
  • 1 small hand of ginger, roughly sliced
  • 1 small bunch cilantro
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 6 to 8 chicken drumsticks
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons rock sugar or raw sugar, plus more to taste
  • To Serve:
  • 4 servings pho noodles, prepared according to package directions
  • 1 small white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 2 cups mixed herbs (cilantro, basil, and mint)
  • 2 cups trimmed bean sprouts
  • Thinly sliced Thai chilis
  • 2 limes, each cut into 4 wedges
  • Hoisin sauce and Sriracha

Heat oil in a pressure cooker over high heat until smoking. Add halved onions and ginger, cut side down. Cook without moving, reducing heat if smoking excessively, until onion and ginger are well charred, about 5 minutes.

Add cilantro, star anise, cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, coriander, and chicken to the pot. Add 2 quarts of water, the fish sauce, and the sugar to the pot. Seal the pressure cooker and bring it to high pressure over high heat. Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes, then shock under cold running water in the sink (or release pressure valve if using an electric pressure cooker).

Open pressure cooker. Transfer chicken legs to a plate. Pour broth through a fine mesh strainer into a clean pot and discard solids. Skim any scum off the surface of the broth using a ladle, but leave the small bubbles of fat intact. Season broth to taste with more fish sauce and sugar if desired.

To serve, place re-hydrated pho noodles in individual noodle bowls. Top with chicken legs, sliced onions, and scallions. Pour hot broth over chicken and noodles. Serve immediately, allowing guests to add herbs, bean sprouts, chilis, lime, and sauces as they wish.

Cook's Note:

To serve this "kho" style, dice reserved chicken skin into small pieces. Heat a large skillet over medium heat add chicken skin. Cook and stir until brown and crisp. Lower heat and drain most of the chicken fat from the skillet. Add 4 cloves minced garlic cook and stir until softened. Stir in 1 1/2 cup chicken broth, 1/2 cup soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons white sugar. Bring to a boil. Dissolve 1 teaspoon cornstarch in 3 tablespoons water add to skillet and boil until sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Lower heat and simmer until flavors combine, about 5 minutes. Serve sauce over cooked noodles and chicken, with broth on the side.


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