This quick and easy chicken soup is pho-inspired and features the delicious Vietnamese flavors of the beloved slow-simmered broth, tender noodles, crisp vegetables and fresh herbs.

Overhead image of pho soup in a black bowl set on a gray table

If you’re a pho lover, you know that any quality pho requires a unique and balanced broth. Creating that broth can take hours and lots of ingredients.

In this quick recipe I add classic pho aromatics—ginger, cloves, coriander, fish sauce and cinnamon—to vegetable or chicken broth. As the broth simmers away the remaining ingredients are prepared and all that is left is assembly.

Overhead image of pho soup in a black bowl set on a gray table

How to make easy pho-inspired soup

Classic pho broth can simmer for hours on the stove top. Not this one. This quick pho recipe cuts down the simmer time by using prepared broth (chicken or vegetable), a bit of water, and a handful of classic aromatics. A short 15–20 minute simmer on the stove top is all the broth needs to be ready for enjoying!

  1. combine broth, water and aromatics in a large pot.
  2. bring broth to a boil, reduce to a simmer, partially cover and simmer 15–20 minutes.
  3. meanwhile, cook rice noodles and prepare toppings.
  4. divide noodles and chicken between bowls
  5. ladle broth over noodles
  6. top with veggies and (lots) of herbs.
Overhead image of pho soup in a black bowl set on a gray table

Pho toppings

There are two key components to a good pho. A flavorful broth and LOTS of fresh toppings. And if there’s one topping you shouldn’t skip or skimp on, it would be herbs—use a lot of herbs and a variety of herbs.

  • Sliced hot peppers (serrano, jalapeño)
  • Cilantro
  • Basil or Thai basil
  • Cilantro
  • Scallions
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Hot sauce (Sriracha)
  • Limes
Overhead image of bowls of pho soup in a black bowl set on a gray table

Pho vs. Ramen

These two noodle soups can seem similar, but are actually quite different. Both feature flavorful broths and noodles, but that’s pretty much where the similarities stop. Here is a quick rundown of each soup’s components.

Pho:

  • Vietnamese
  • Light flavorful and aromatic broth
  • Thin rice noodles
  • Very fresh toppings: veggies and herbs
  • Thinly sliced meat (chicken or beef)

Ramen:

  • Japanese
  • Creamier broth
  • Thick, curly noodles
  • Variety of hearty toppings, soft boiled egg, corn, narutomaki (fishcake), corn, seaweed and sprouts.
  • Thick and fatty slices of meat
Overhead image of pho soup in a black bowl set on a gray table

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Overhead image of pho soup in a black bowl set on a gray table

Quick & Easy Chicken Pho-Inspired Soup

  • Author: Lauren
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese

Description

Warm up with a steaming bowl of homemade chicken pho. With this quick method, you can enjoy the flavors of a slow-simmered soup in just minutes. Plus, with tons of veggies and lean protein, this is a weeknight meal you can feel good about!


Ingredients

Scale

For the broth:

  • 8 cups (64 ounces) low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 (3 inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into coins
  • 3 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 3 teaspoons whole peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 2 teaspoons turbinado sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks

For the Pho:

  • 1 (16-ounce) package dried rice noodles
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 pound shredded cooked chicken breast (from a rotisserie chicken)

Toppings:

  • ½ cup sliced scallions
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • Thinly sliced serranos, jalapeños, or preferred hot pepper
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • Sriracha (optional)

Instructions

Combine all broth ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer, partially cover, and cook for 15–20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook rice noodles according to package directions. Drain and toss with sesame oil.

Divide noodles between bowls and top with desired amount of chicken. Ladle broth over noodles and chicken and top with desired toppings.



Nutrition

  • Calories: 324
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Sodium: 1389mg
  • Fat: 3g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 36g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 36g
  • Cholesterol: 73mg

Keywords: quick pho, easy pho, quick chicken pho, easy chicken pho, healthy pho

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Originally Posted January 11, 2016.

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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