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Easy Chicken Pho

This isn't authentic Vietnamese cooking but it is easy, quick to make and super tasty! Pho is a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup dish consisting of bone broth (usually beef), rice noodles, herbs and meat and served with condiments such as fresh bean sprouts, slices of chilies, Thai basil, hoisin sauce and sriracha. Hits the spot every time on a cool fall or blustery cold winter night! This is my easy version when you don't have time to boil up good bone broth but still want a delicious bowl of Vietnamese inspired chicken noodle soup.

Easy Chicken Pho

Ingredients (serves 4)


1 large or 2 small boneless, skin on chicken breast (or skinless if you prefer)

1 Tablespoon fish sauce

1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

Juice from 1/2 a fresh lime

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 small (or 1/2 medium) onion, peeled


3 quarts (12 cups) chicken bone broth or low sodium chicken broth

2 bay leaves, whole

1" piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into thick coins

2 full star anise (or equivalent of broken pieces)

1 cinnamon stick

1 teaspoon salt (more to taste)

1 Tablespoon fish sauce

Cilantro, handful - cut off stems for broth and chop upper portion with leaves for garnish

1 small head of lettuce, Boston, leaves separated and rinsed

12-16 oz dried rice noodles (thin flat noodles that are about 2-3 mm wide)

1/2 cup Thai basil leaves (garnish)

2 cups bean sprouts, rinsed

1/2 lime cut into 4 wedges

1 jalapeno, thinly sliced (optional)

hoisin sauce (optional)

sriracha (optional)


In a bowl, mix the chicken with the rest of the marinade ingredients. Marinate chicken for 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator. In the meantime, get your broth going.

In a large saucepan, add chicken broth, bay leaves, ginger, star anise, cinnamon stick, salt, and fish sauce. Bring up to a boil then turn down to a simmer and allow to simmer on low for 25-30 minutes.

As the broth is simmering, bring a medium saucepan of water up to a boil. Add rice noodles and stir often. Cook for about 4 minutes until cooked. Drain and rinse with cold water. Divide into 4 large bowls and set aside.

Cook chicken. Heat a medium heavy bottomed skillet, on high heat. Add 2 Tablespoons oil. When the oil is shimmery, add the chicken breast skin side down. Add onion to the side. Allow to cook uncovered until skin is crispy and onion is charred, about 5 minutes. Turn heat down to medium high and flip breast over.

Remove onion and add it and the cilantro stems to the simmering broth.

Add about 1/2 cup of water to the skillet with the chicken, cover and let the breast cook through until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F, about 7-10 minutes. When chicken is cooked, remove to a clean cutting surface to rest before slicing.

After 25 minutes or so, add the lettuce leaves to the simmering broth and bring back up to a boil. When the lettuce has softened but are still crispy, remove and divide among the 4 bowls. Taste and adjust broth seasoning for saltiness. Turn off heat.

Slice chicken breast into thin 1/4" slices and divide among the 4 bowls. To each of the bowls add bean sprouts, cilantro leaves, Thai basil, a lime wedge and slices of jalapeno if using. Discard the star anise, bay leaves, ginger, cilantro stems and cinnamon stick from the broth and ladle soup into each of the bowls.

Enjoy hot! Even better with some hoisin sauce and sriracha!

Best enjoyed fresh but if making ahead, keep chicken, cooked lettuce, noodles and toppings separate. Bring broth back up to a boil. Add the noodles and lettuce to the boiling broth briefly to soften then use tongs or a spider to fish out and divide among the 4 bowls. Add the sliced chicken and toppings to the bowls then ladle on the hot broth. Enjoy!

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Anita Wang
Anita Wang

We've always done beef pho, so it was nice to try a chicken one as we're trying to cut down on red meat. The chicken turned out tender and delicious 🥰 I also love packing the veggies into this soup. A wonderful comfort dish to cheer up any heart (4 confirmed in my family) on a gloomy wintry day like today!

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