Damn Delicious

Cheater Pho (Asian Noodle Soup)

With this simplified version, you can have homemade pho on your table in 30 min or less. It doesn’t get any easier!

Cheater Pho (Asian Noodle Soup) - ​With this simplified version, you can have homemade pho on your table in 30 min or less. It doesn't get any easier!

Pho is a super popular Vietnamese noodle dish. It’s also one of those amazing hangover foods that comes in particularly handy during your college days.

But pho typically takes hours and hours of simmering, which is simply too long for those busy weeknights. Now with this cheater version here, you’ll still have homemade pho, made from scratch of course, in 30 min or less.

And if rice noodles are difficult to find in your area, feel free to substitute any other kind of noodles here to your liking – ramen, udon, angel hair pasta, etc.

Quick dinners are meant to be exactly that. Quick and easy, not leaving you with crazy ingredients that you can’t find at your local grocery store.

 Cheater Pho (Asian Noodle Soup) - ​With this simplified version, you can have homemade pho on your table in 30 min or less. It doesn't get any easier!

So there you have it – this cheater pho is quick, comforting and just so darn easy.

Cheater Pho (Asian Noodle Soup)

With this simplified version, you can have homemade pho on your table in 30 min or less. It doesn’t get any easier!

15 minutes15 minutes


  • 8 ounces dried rice noodles
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoons fish sauce

For the garnishes

  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • 2 limes, halved


  1. In a large pot of water, cook rice noodles according to package instructions; drain well and set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. Add chicken to the stockpot and cook until golden, about 2-3 minutes; set aside.
  3. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the stockpot. Add garlic and ginger, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Whisk in chicken stock, hoisin sauce and fish sauce. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Serve immediately with rice noodles and chicken, garnished with onion, bean sprouts, cilantro, mint, jalapeno and limes, if desired.

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Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Servings Per Container 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 626.4 Calories from Fat 169.2
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18.8g 29%
Saturated Fat 4.2g 21%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 104.8mg 35%
Sodium 1190.5mg 50%
Total Carbohydrate 73.5g 25%
Dietary Fiber 3.5g 14%
Sugars 12.3g
Protein 38.7g 77%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    It actually taste pretty similar 
    100% would do it again!

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    This is dam delicious alright what a smart hack, the two sauces gives it the rich broth flavor.

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    So easy and delicious . Chicken took much longer than 2-3 minutes.

  4. Absolutely delicious. I used vegetable Pho stock. 

  5. Rated 4 out of 5

    Made the broth and added star anise and some lime leaves. Turned out really well even though I didn’t have all the garnishes but added mushrooms and celery. Will try it again.

  6. Rated 5 out of 5

    Delicious recipe! My husband and I don’t care for chicken thighs, we don’t like dark meat. So I use chicken breasts. This recipe is so good. In fact I’m making it for dinner tonight.

  7. Quickly toasting a quarter onion, ginger, star anise, coriander seeds and cinnamon stick does wonders as well! 

    ADVICE NEEDED: I’ve tried multiple brands of pho noodles, soaked it 30 minutes prior cooking, rinsed it after cooking prior eating, however the noodles make the broth white. 
    Anyone with the same problem and solution? 
    The noodles are destroying my broth! 🙁 

  8. First of all….Fantastic!!! I have tried the baked bones and several other recipes to average results. For a quickie this one rocks. I added some green onion to the broth as well as one Thai chili…Just a bit of heat. And I broke off a small chunk of rock sugar and added it to the broth as it steamed away. Star anise is also a good addition.
    Just a hint… I would go easy on the fish sauce. It’s strong so if that isn’t your cup of tea I would use it sparingly.
    If you have the patience use fresh made noodles. It adds a certain creaminess to the dish that is very authentic.

    This one is a keeper and I will make tweaks to it each time I make it.

    Enjoy people. It’s awesome.

  9. Rated 5 out of 5

    Delicious! Quick prep and cook time for anytime of the day!! The broth is flavorful and my add-ons kicked it up a notch!

  10. Rated 5 out of 5

    This recipe is great! We used steak instead of chicken and added some Napa cabbage to the broth. We also cooked our rice noodles right in the broth and it was amazing! 

  11. Rated 5 out of 5

    I have made this recipe a few times and it is delicious. I have not changed a thing, but this time when I make it I am going to use a little sesame oil as suggested by another reviewer.

    Great simple recipe!

  12. Rated 5 out of 5

    This was absolutely delicious! I did take the liberty of using shrimp instead of chicken and used green onions and mushrooms as well . The whole family enjoyed it so much! Thank you.

  13. Rated 5 out of 5

    This is a really solid recipe if you are dying for an Asian noodle soup in a hurry. I would recommend adding 1/8 teaspoon of Chinese 5 Spice powder and siricha sauce to your personal taste before eating.

  14. Rated 5 out of 5

    For a Pho thos quick, the recipe is great! Its a little flavor lacking but I literally eat my pho with hoison sauce so it doesn’t bother me! The recipe can serve more than 4 in my opinion, but the recipe itself IS GOOOD!

  15. Rated 5 out of 5

    I add a half teaspoon of ground clove to this and it makes it taste just like our favorite pho restaurant.  Great stuff

  16. Rated 5 out of 5

    Really good! I added lime leaves and the flavour popped 

  17. Rated 5 out of 5

    We use this to warm up in winter and to cure colds — it really works! I prefer to use a little sesame and canola oils in place of olive oil, and I generally have a bag of frozen chicken breast tenderloins in the freezer so I use those. But this soup is a fave here and one of these days I’m going to double or triple the recipe and have a pho feast with friends.

  18. Rated 5 out of 5

    I was craving phó & since I didn’t want to drive 2 hours I googled for a cheat recipe and Tada! This recipe is simple and quick, I used thin slices of beef instead of chicken & it was so good. There is phó broth now available in Terrapacs & I used that w all fresh ingredients! 

    • @Christina. What kind of beef did you use? Just any thinly sliced piece and just cook directly in broth when serving?

  19. Rated 5 out of 5

    This was amazing. Super easy taste perfect.

  20. Rated 5 out of 5

    My husband and I loved this!  We often get Pho at restaurants and it was nice to eat it at home, plus cheaper and healthier.  I’ll be making this regularly!  I didn’t make any changes.

  21. Rated 5 out of 5

    Quick, easy and tastes great. I added a tbsp of soy sauce and sesame oil. I left everything else the same. So much flavor. Thumbs up my picky teen. I will make this again!

  22. I don’t know if it is possible to crave something you’ve never tried but I have been craving pho for a while now. Looking forward to trying this recipe!! I have loved the others of yours one tried so I have no doubt this will be amazing, too.

  23. Rated 5 out of 5

    Just made this for the first time. It’s gotten me excited about cooking and I can’t wait to make it again!

  24. I absolutely loved it.  I am going to try to make the beef version but my husband is requesting meatballs. What ingredients would be in Vietnamese meatballs ? I have only made Italian!

    • What a great idea! But unfortunately, without having tried this myself, I cannot answer with certainty. As always, please use your best judgment when making substitutions and modifications.

    • Lemongrass, some basil, garlic and instead of beef, I would use a pork and beef mixture. Super late reply, might not matter anymore !

  25. This was amazing. Didn’t have chicken on hand or fish sauce and made my own Hoison and wow – I impressed myself.  Thanks for a great, quick recipe.  

  26. The pho recipe was so nice. I added a scant half teaspoon of 5-spice powder.

  27. How can I make this vegetarian and still be damn delicious.

    • Hi Nina, I would suggest following the recipe as closely as you can when it comes to spices and the already vegetarian ingredients. Then you can use veggie stock instead of chicken and replace the meat with tofu or something to that effect, or omit it completely. Hope that helps!

    • I was thinking the same thing, making it meatless. I’ll check my local Asian markets for shiitake mushrooms but plan to still use all of the other ingredient list, including Bok choy.

  28. When should you add the bok choy?

  29. Since I found this recipe, we eat it at least once a week, it’s amazing! What’s even more amazing is that we’ve actually found a recipe we both love so much that we can eat it once or twice a week. I add siracha to the broth, and use soya sauce instead of fish sauce. Use the real ginger root people! Ginger powder just is not the same for this recipe. It’s also very versatile. Our favourite way is made just like this with bok choy. Another really good way was a beef and broccoli version. Steak strips, beef broth, and broccoli, yum!

  30. How is this over 600 calories per serving? I can’t seem to figure it out?

    • I entered the recipe into My Fitness Pal, and came up with 380 calories per serving. The chicken stock seemed to be the ingredient that varied the most, depending on the brand, but I can’t imagine that it would DOUBLE the calories!

      I just had pho for the first time last month and have been craving it ever since. I can’t wait to try this!

  31. I made this last night — it was good for a quick “cheater” version of Pho but not NEARLY as delicious as real Pho. Something was definitely missing in the flavor. It left me disappointed and wanting real Pho — but it wasn’t terrible. I didn’t like the chicken thighs (grossed me out) – next time I would use white meat or thin cuts of beef.

  32. What cut of beef could I use if I can’t find Shabu Shabu?

  33. Oh my Goodness this looks amazing – such great flavors and recipe:)

  34. I’ve made this soup multiple times over the past year. It is so easy to make and so very flavorful! We recently started making it with shrimp and it is defiantly  a household favorite. Thank you for the recipe! 

  35. Excellent, excellent, excellent! Just made this and it is incredible. Easy and delicious. So ‘clean’ tasting. Will be making again and again. Thank you for this wonderful recipe.

  36. What causes the high sodium

  37. Love this recipe! Very simple and tastes great! I tried this with homemade beef bone broth and added a nice flavor overall! Looking forward to checking out more recipes on this blog 🙂

  38. I just made this for a few people who don’t eat anything out of their normal suburban American diet as an attempt to expand their horizons. It was easy to cook, and prepare, and tasted wonderful. Even my bland family really enjoyed this recipe with little adjustment (couldn’t find bean sprouts). I highly recommend this.

  39. This was easy and delicious. I sautéed using sesame oil and added lemongrass. Otherwise I followed the recipe. Yummy! 

  40. This Pho was absolutely damn delicious!!! My family loved it. I will be adding this to our family menu rotation. Thanks!!!

  41. Hello! this sounds amazing but i’m wondering, is the 626 calories per serving or is it for all 4 servings?

  42. What brand and thickness of rice noodles do you use? 

  43. That can’t be the correct nutritional content per serving??

  44. This was delish!!! I added about a tablespoon of Thai spices, three star anises, and a little hot chili sauce with a combo of chicken and beef stock. My husband is on a low carb diet so we substituted shiraka noodles in place of the rice noodles! Thanks for such a quick and easy pho! We’ve made this multiple times now, so glad I pined this one!!!

  45. This was ridiculously good!  My husband hates soup (and I made it anyways!) – and he loved it!  So much so that he said declared it the best ever first time recipe and suggested that we add it to our regular rotation.  The only changes we made were:  no garlic, no fish sauce and we did a combo of beef stock (4c) + low sod chicken stock (2c).  It was sooo good!

  46. Can you add bokchoy?

  47. I made this last night and was really impressed. I couldn’t get enough.
    I made a couple of adjustment to my own liking- I used chicken breast instead of thighs; I also used green onion instead of regular onion and didn’t add the fish sauce.
    It was very tasty, and my husband said it tasted just like the restaurants. I will definitely be making this again, especially since it takes so little time to prepare.

    I love this recipe!

  48. not a bad cheat recipe but definitely DO NOT do number one first. Wait until the literal last minute when everything is ready before you make the noodles…they only need about 20-30 seconds in boiling water or they will become mushy and will certainly be mushy and stuck to one another if cooked before taking the rest of the steps.

  49. Amazing taste for 30 minutes effort! Love it!

  50. Made this tonight because I have a cold and was craving pho. This recipe was perfect! So easy to make, even in my weakend state. Hubby loved it too! Definitely hit the spot and we will be adding this recipe to our regular repertoire! Thank you!!

  51. Hi Chungah,

    I have very thinly sliced beef strips and would like to make beef pho. Do you think this recipe would work with beef?

  52. This was excellent. Thanks!

  53. This looks delicious! I am a new subscriber and really don’t know which recipe to try first! They all look good! Thanks so much for having recipes that actually call for ingredients you have on hand!

  54. This looks so good! I am pinning this — have to make some soon! 🙂

  55. I LOVE PHO and I love your recipes! I’m so thrilled you have a recipe for this and I can’t wait to try it!

  56. Can’t wait to make this! Not a big fan of chicken thighs so I was going to use breasts – do you think that will change the flavor?

  57. Since a little after New Year I came with a resolution to cook 1 new dish every week (or Sunday really) to be organized, eat different things and to save money by buying all my shopping at once.

    I cooked this one twice now! I absolutely love it! Such a great dish.. and super quick to make.
    Cooked one chicken version and one beef version. 

    Thank you! 

  58. So simple to make and I had all the ingredients on hand. My family loved this pho recipe! My 3 year old daughter kept asking for more broth, it was so good.

  59. I used beef broth instead, it was better than our favorite Pho takeout! Any nutritional info available?

    • ​Nutritional information is provided only for select and new recipes at this time. However, if it is not available for a specific recipe, it is best that you use free online resources at your discretion (you can Google “nutritional calculator”) to obtain such information.

  60. DELICIOUS! Thank you for this recipe, so easy I could make it while sick and have my favorite sick food!

  61. This was really, really good. I couldn’t find hoisin sauce for a reasonable price (I’m in Japan – things are hit or miss), so I used sweet bean sauce and added star anise and cinnamon, and it was wonderful! Also, learned a tip about pho noodles (my pack had no instructions) and soaked them in cold water for about 20 minute, then boiled just a few minutes until done, drained them and dunked the colander into cold water. From there, added the broth, etc. Anyway, my nearest restaurant serving pho is too far and too expensive to get to regularly, so I’ll definitely be making this quick and delicious recipe when I have a craving. 

  62. I’ve made this twice in the past week! It is so super easy and tasty I honestly have cravings. I used chicken tenderloins sliced thin the second time & it tasted great that way also. It tastes just as good leftover!

  63. This is a great recipe. I make it twice a week and it never fails. Thanks

  64. Made this soup last night. I cheated and used rotisserie chicken. I thought I would mess this up but this soup was so good! It’s definitely going on the regular rotation. Thank you for this recipe.

  65. Made it for lunch today and only made one cheating change: rotisserie chicken! Delicious! I used chicken broth. Now if you could just teach me how to make lemongrass chicken like my favorite Vietnamese place…

    Thanks for being my go-to stop for recipes and inspiration. Keep going!

  66. I could eat Pho everyday. Even my son loves it, and he’s the pickiest eater. I’ve never made it at home though. Your recipe sounds easy too. Looking forward to finally making it at home. Wish me luck! 🙂

  67. I don’t have any allergies, but fish sauce doesn’t agree with me at all. Any substitutes ? No other asian product bothers ( hoisin, soy sauce, curry paste, thai peppers LOL ).

  68. OMG! I made the Pho last night and it was awesome! My husband loved it and could eat as much as he wanted (2 huge bowls). I used beef broth, beef boullion, and shabu shabu (suggested by another reader). Will be making the Pho again. I love your recipes!

  69. Wow thank you for this recipe! I love asian inspired food above all other cuisines. You just reminded me of my wonderful travels through Vietnam.

  70. Homemade pho in under 30 minutes?? Awesome! I am so in!

  71. Wow!I’m gonna make this,can’t wait from tasting it.It’s really looks delicious.
    Awesome recipe!I’ll love tasting this cheater pho.
    Thanks for share this cool recipe.I’ll wait for the next!

  72. I can not wait to make this! There is a great little Vietnamese restaurant close to where I live that has amazing pho. I find that I crave it, but it’s not always convenient to drop everything to run out and get some. Maybe now I can get my fix whenever I want.

  73. Ha! I live near a TON of Vietnamese markets and restaurants. I’m hitting a market tonight to get some of the goods I don’t have. Luckily I already have most except a few of the fresh herbs.

  74. I am so excited about this recipe. I can’t wait to cook because I am so tired to order Pho Soup from any restaurants. Thank you so much!

  75. This pho looks amazing! Can’t wait to try this!

  76. I have a cheater pho recipe I use, too! I go with beef broth (mixed with a bit of bouillon because I like a beefier flavor) simmered with charred ginger, onion and star anise and I buy the shabu shabu slices of beef from the Asian markets like 99 Ranch or Mitsuwa. <3

  77. Pho Noodle Soup is a favorite in our household so I am excited to learn of your simplified version. Now I can make it more often. Your recipes are the greatest!

  78. 30 minutes? I can’t wait to serve this to the family!