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Chicken Pho Soup Recipe with rice noodles, jalapeno, cilantro

Chicken Pho Soup Recipe

  • Author: Elizabeth Rider
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6-24 hours
  • Total Time: 6-24 hours
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Simmer, Chop
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese-Inspired


This Vietnamese-inspired Chicken Pho Soup recipe is my solution to makeing pho soup at home. The flavors of the long-simmered broth are incredible, and you can customize it any way you want. Enjoy!


  • 2 (uncooked) bone-in chicken leg quarters + 2 bone-in chicken breasts (OR, one whole raw chicken)
  • 3 carrots, cut in half to fit in the pot
  • 1 white or yellow onion, cut in half
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1-2 inches ginger, chopped
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 4-6 whole cloves
  • 5 whole cardamom pods
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp fish sauce to taste (optional, and highly recommended; I use Red Boat brand)
  • 1 (12-ounce) package of rice noodles (recommended)
  • Garnishes (choose what you like): fresh cilantro, lime wedges, sliced jalapenos, bean sprouts, sliced green onions (fresh basil is also often used)


Step 1: Make the broth (6-24 hours):

  1. Add the bone-in chicken pieces or whole chicken to a 6-quart slow cooker or soup pot, then add the carrots, onion, fresh garlic, fresh ginger, whole spices, and apple cider vinegar to the pot. (If using a whole chicken, remove & the bag of organs inside the whole chicken.)
  2. Remove most of the green part of the lemongrass, and leave approximately 4 inches of the thicker white stalk. Score it vertically with a sharp knife and smash it just enough to loosen it then add it to the pot. (Reserve the fish sauce, if using, until the end.)
  3. Fill the pot with water (I like using filtered water) until about ½ inch from the top of the pot, and set the temperature to high. (If making on the stove, bring to a boil then reduce to a low simmer.) If using a slow cooker, leave it on high for 3-5 hours to come up to a rolling simmer, then turn it to low for up to 24 hours.
  4. NOTE: After about 2-3 hours of cooking, remove the chicken meat from the bones, then add the chicken bones and skin back to the crock pot. The meat will be poached at this point, and you'll want to remove it to ensure it's not overcooked. Reserve it, in a covered container in the fridge, to eat in the soup when it's done.
  5. Continue to simmer the broth at a low simmer for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours. When the broth is done, add 1 teaspoon of fish sauce to your broth (more or less to taste).
  6. Strain the pho broth through a colander over a large heat-safe bowl, then add the strained broth back to the Crockpot or pot.
  7. Add 2-3 teaspoons of salt to the pho broth; adjust the seasoning to taste.
  8. When it's time to eat, cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions. (I pour boiling water over the rice noodles in a separate heat-safe bowl, let them sit for 5-10 minutes until soft, then drain and rinse.)
  9. To serve: Add a few ladles of broth to a large bowl, then add a serving of cooked noodles, cooked chicken, and garnishes to the soup.
  10. Garnish with lots of chopped green onions (aka scallions), fresh cilantro, fresh lime juice, slice jalapenos, and other pho garnishes that you like.


Pho soup garnishes often include:

  • fresh cilantro
  • fresh basil 
  • chopped green onions
  • fresh lime juice from lime wedges
  • bean sprouts
  • sliced jalapenos or pepper of choice

Save Money

Buying large containers of everything you need to make pho at home can be expensive. To save money, I recommend buying your spices from the bulk spice section in the supermarket and buying only what you need. I can often buy the spices for this soup recipe for less than $5USD in the bulk spice section. Smaller, local grocery chains often have bulk spice sections.

Keywords: chicken pho soup recipe