5 from 3 votes

Chicken Pho (Vietnamese Inspired Noodle Soup)

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This budget-friendly chicken pho is a delicious take on the traditional Vietnamese recipe. It's easy, ready in less than 30 minutes, and oh-so-tasty!
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
£1.93
Makes: 5
mains, meal prep
VIETNAMESE

This delicious chicken pho is an easy (and budget-friendly) version of the traditional recipe. It’s made with a flavourful chicken broth, tasty chicken breast bits, delicate rice noodles, and a topping of fresh herbs, green onion, and chillies. This recipe is perfect for keeping you warm when the weather is chilly.

Overhead shot of chicken soup with noodles, mange tout, chillies and spring onions in a blue bowl on a pink background with chop sticks and chilli flakes by dish.

Why you’ll love this recipe

I’ve recreated the traditional chicken pho (a Vietnamese recipe) to be more budget-friendly, so it’s easy to make at home. The traditional version of pho ga (chicken pho) includes aromatics, like star anise, an entire chicken, MSG, pho noodles, and toppings. It takes over an hour to prepare a traditional pho recipe. 

My version of this delicious dish includes a yummy chicken broth, juicy chicken breast pieces, fresh herbs, and fiery chillies. I’ve included easier-to-source ingredients, like fresh ginger and basil, to recreate the flavour of a chicken pho recipe (authentic).

By keeping the broth simple and including filling veg, you can enjoy Vietnamese chicken pho for around £1.93 per serving. This cost per serving is even less than ordering pho chicken soup at a restaurant!

If you’re in the mood for other soup recipes during the week, consider making one of the following:

Ingredients

Ingredients to make  chicken soup with noodles laid out on a pale ble background and labelled.

Chicken Breast
The chicken breast is the star of the show in this chicken pho since it provides a good amount of protein. You can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs for a juicier recipe in Vietnamese chicken pho soup. Or, make this chicken pho broth recipe even quicker by using rotisserie shredded chicken pieces.

Rice Noodles
Rice noodles are the traditional option for pho chicken. However, you can use other noodles like ramen or angel hair pasta if you have them on hand. Using different noodles for this pho recipe chicken will change the dish’s consistency slightly.

Fresh Chillies
Feel free to use your favourite type of chilli for this recipe. Use less spicy chillies (like jalapeños) for a less fiery flavour. Alternatively, hotter chillies, like habanero, are great for adding more spice to the soup.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities. 

Variations/ Adaptations

Many of the ingredients in this chicken pho dish are typically gluten-free already. However, it’s best to check that the rice noodles, chicken broth, and fish sauce are all marked as gluten-free. Some brands that create these items include gluten in their recipe.

It’s easy to turn this chicken pho recipe into a vegan dish with a few swaps. Use vegetable broth instead of chicken stock. You can also swap out the chicken for tofu. Finally, use a vegan fish sauce (or soy sauce) as a replacement for standard fish sauce.

Here are some other chicken recipes to give you inspiration; Wagamama’s Chicken Ramen (Chilli Chicken), Spanish Chicken and Chorizo Stew and Chicken Swarma bowl

How to make chicken pho

  1. To a large saucepan filled with heavily salted boiling water, add the chicken breasts. Poach the chicken for 12 minutes, or until entirely cooked through (Image 1).
  2. Remove the cooked chicken from the saucepan and strain the water from the chicken (Image 2).
2 step by step photos, the first with 3 chicken breast fillets boiling in water a saucepan and the second with the poached chicken breast fillets on a strainer on the saucepan.

3. Remove the strained chicken from the saucepan and transfer onto a chopping board. Use a fork to shred into bite-sized pieces (Image 3).

4. Slice the spring onions and grate the ginger (Image 4).

2 step by step photos, the first with shredded cooked chicken breast on a chopping board and the second, with the sliced spring onions and grated ginger on a board.

5. Add all the ingredients into the saucepan with the chicken and dry noodles. Pour the stock and fish sauce into the pan and cook over a low/ medium heat, for around 4 minutes (Image 5).

6. Once the rice noodles are fully cooked (after around 4 minutes) and the chicken is heated through, garnish with the slices of spring onions (Image 6).

2 step by step photos, the first with the chicken slices, dry noodles, mange tout in broth in pan and the second, with noodles cooked and all the ingredients heated together in the same pan.

7. For meal prep, divide all of the ingredients into 5 meal prep containers, except the liquids (the stock and fish sauce) and the toppings. Reserve some of the greener end of the spring onion to garnish. Top with a lime wedge to squeeze with serving, spring onion, chillies and pepper (Image 7).

overhead shot of 5 square, glass meal prep containers with beansprouts, chickn slices, spring onion, ginger and mange tout.

Tips for the best results

Heat the rice noodles over a lower heat to prevent them from breaking.
Rice noodles are known to break into bits in boiling water since they’re thin, fragile noodles. The best way to avoid bits of rice noodles in pho soup is by heating them over low heat.

Don’t try to break the noodle nest apart until it’s cooked enough. Otherwise, the noodles will snap. As mentioned, rice noodles are quite delicate. If you try to break apart the noodle nest too early, you’ll also end up with bits of noodles. Wait until the noodles have softened; then, you can gently pull the nest apart with a fork.

Remove broth bits to create a clear chicken pho broth.
Chicken pho is known for having a delicious, clear broth. You can recreate a clear broth at home by removing any bits that arise in the first 20 minutes. These bits (like fat from the chicken) are what make the broth cloudy.

Cook the noodles right before serving.
Rice noodles can break apart easily, making them turn into a mushy mess, especially if they’re sitting in hot broth for a while. Avoid this by cooking the noodles right before you serve them.

I can never get enough soup when the weather is cold or gloomy. If you’re like me, you’ll want to alternate this chicken pho dish with other tasty soup options.

Here are a few more of my favourite soup recipes: Loaded Vegetable Minestrone Soup, Easy Bacon and Lentil Soup and Easy Carrot and Coriander Soup

Close up shot of chicken soup with noodles, mange tout, chillies and spring onions in a blue bowl on a pink background with chop sticks laying behing the dish.

FAQs

What does chicken pho taste like?

Chicken pho has a similar taste to chicken noodle soup. However, the seasoning is quite different. It also has a fresher flavour since it’s topped with fresh herbs, bean sprouts, and lime juice.

What is pho traditionally?

Traditionally, chicken noodle soup (pho) is made with bone broth, pho noodles, and thinly sliced meat (typically beef). It’s topped with Thai basil, jalapeño slices, bean sprouts, and lime wedges. This dish is also considered the national dish of Vietnam.

What is the difference between pho and ramen?

There are quite a few differences between pho and ramen. Pho is a Vietnamese recipe, while ramen is a Japanese dish. Pho has a much lighter, aromatic broth, while ramen is known for featuring a hearty, rich broth. The noodles are also different; pho has soft rice noodles, while ramen noodles are chewy. The traditional toppings for each soup are also quite different.

Finish off this chicken pho with a tasty dessert, like Chocolate Chip Microwave Cookies, Chocolate Rice Cakes with Peanut Butter, or Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats.

Chicken soup with noodles, mange tout, chillies and spring onions in a blue bowl on a pink background with a bottle of fish sauce behind the dish and chop sticks towards the front.

If you love chicken, try these recipes : Chicken and Rice, Creamy Chicken and Chorizo Pasta and One Pot Chicken & Veg Fajitas More shredded chicken recipes

If you tried this Chicken Pho Soup recipe, it would be mean so much to me if you could leave a review & a star rating to let me know how you found it! I love hearing about your experiences – it motivates me to keep creating more and more recipes for you guys 💛 Let’s get cooking! – Mimi x

    Chicken Pho (Vietnamese Inspired Noodle Soup)

    Print
    5 from 3 votes
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cook Time: 15 minutes
    Total Time: 20 minutes
    £1.93
    mains, meal prep
    VIETNAMESE
    Servings: 5
    This budget-friendly chicken pho is a delicious take on the traditional Vietnamese recipe. It's easy, ready in less than 30 minutes, and oh-so-tasty!

    Ingredients

    • 600 g 3 chicken breasts (£4.70)
    • 250 g rice noodles (5 nests) (£1.05)
    • 200 g bean sprouts (£0.50)
    • 160 g mange tout (£1.00)
    • 1 lime, sliced into wedges (£0.25)
    • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated (£0.55)
    • Fresh basil, torn to serve (£0.55)
    • 50 g spring onion, thinly sliced (£0.50)
    • Fresh chillies, thinly sliced (£0.55)

    Cupboard Essentials

    • 2.5 litres chicken or beef stock
    • 5 tbsp fish sauce

    Method

    Note: I made this as a meal prep recipe to keep prices down. So when making an individual portion, use 500ml stock (½ stock cube to avoid overly salty flavour),  1 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tsp ginger etc. The ingredients above, divided by 5.

    • To a large saucepan filled with heavily salted boiling water, add the chicken breasts. Poach the chicken for 12 minutes, or until entirely cooked through.
    • Remove the cooked chicken from the saucepan and transfer onto a chopping board. Use a fork to shred into bite-sized pieces.
    • For meal prep, divide all of the ingredients into 5 meal prep containers, except the liquids (the stock and fish sauce) and the toppings. Reserve some of the greener end of the spring onion to garnish.
    • When it’s time to eat, add the contents of a meal prep container into a small saucepan. Pour the stock and fish sauce into the pan and cook over a low/ medium heat, for around 4 minutes, or until the rice noodles are fully cooked.
    • Top with a lime wedge to squeeze with serving, spring onion, chillies and pepper.

    Notes

    • Heat rice noodles over low heat to prevent breakage.
    • Avoid breaking the noodle nest prematurely: Allow the noodles to soften before attempting to separate the nest; breaking them too early can result in broken bits. 
    • Maintain the traditional clear broth of chicken pho by skimming off any emerging bits, such as chicken fat, in the initial 20 minutes of cooking.
    • To prevent mushiness, cook rice noodles shortly before serving to avoid their disintegration, especially when immersed in hot broth for an extended period.

    Nutrition

    Servings: 5 servings
    Fat: 11g
    Calories: 454kcal
    Carbohydrates: 46g
    Protein: 42g

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    Thank you so much for trying my recipe! I hope you loved it. I’d be so grateful if you could leave a comment/rating - it makes my day hearing your feedback!

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