Inspired by Vietnamese pho, this Americanized beef noodle soup combines rice noodles, beef and fresh herbs in a simple pantry-based beef broth.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Olive oil – or any other neutral cooking oil like grapeseed, canola or avocado oil.
- Yellow onion – white onion or shallots would also work.
- Garlic – fresh minced garlic provides the best flavour but the jarred variety is fine too.
- Ginger – if you don’t have any fresh ginger, ground ginger will work in a pinch.
- Soy sauce – tamari sauce or coconut aminos are the best substitute.
- Lime juice – use freshly squeeze lime juice, bottled lime juice or even lemon juice.
- Sriracha – use a spicy garlic chili sauce or leave this out if you don’t like spice.
- Cinnamon – leave this out altogether.
- Nutmeg – leave this out altogether.
- Star anise – this adds a traditional pho flavour but you can leave it out if you can’t find any at the grocery store.
- Beef broth – beef stock or vegetable broth would also work.
- Sirloin steak – sliced chicken or tofu would also work here.
- Rice noodles – use any noodles you want like spiralized zucchini noodles, soba noodles or pre-cooked chow mein noodles.
How to make beef noodle soup
- Sauté the onion, garlic and ginger.
- Add in everything but the steak and noodles and simmer.
- Slice the steak thinly across the grain.
- Prepare any garnishes.
- Strain the broth.
- Add in the noodles, serve and enjoy!
Making the beef broth
Most traditional pho broths, which this recipe is inspired by, have you simmering beef bones for several hours, along with onions, garlic, ginger and other spices. From there, you strain everything to have a clear beef broth left.
Obviously, I've got nothing on real pho and this recipe, while inspired by the dish, is nothing like the traditional dish.
In this Americanized version, you'll use store bought beef broth as a major shortcut, and add a few extra spices and seasonings to get a quick version that has the same hints of flavour. From there, you'll add in cooked or raw beef, your noodles and the toppings. I also like to keep the cooked onions, garlic and ginger in there instead of infusing and straining for the extra flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
This beef noodle soup is an Americanized version of traditional Vietnamese pho. This is a much quicker and easier version because instead of simmering the beef bones, you’re using store-bought beef broth.
I like using rice noodles for this recipe but you can use any noodles you like or leave the noodles out altogether! Spiralized zucchini noodles, soba noodles or pre-cooked chow mein noodles would all be good in this recipe.
Star anise is a dried seed pod from a fruit that has a mildly liquorice taste. Much like the cinnamon and nutmeg, star anise lends itself well to savoury flavours and will really make your soup shine. It’s one of the key flavours that you'll find in traditional Vietnamese pho and what makes this recipe inspired by that dish. It may be hard to find at your local grocery store. If it is available, it will likely be at a larger grocery store in the spice aisle. You should also be able to find it at most international or Asian grocers. And if all else fails, you can order some off Amazon!
Storing and reheating this recipe
To store any leftovers, I highly recommend that you store the broth alone without any noodles, steak or toppings. This is to prevent the rice noodles from soaking up the broth, and so that you can easily reheat the soup without worrying about overcooking the veggies or beef.
You can store this beef noodle soup as directed above up to 5 days in the fridge. Add the noodles and beef to the broth before microwaving, then reheat for 2-3 minutes until hot. Add garnishes fresh to the leftover soup.
Freezing the broth
Unfortunately you can't freeze the noodles, beef or veggies, but you CAN freeze the broth! Just freeze in individual serving sizes in glass bowls with lids. The broth will keep for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, microwave the broth for 6-7 minutes, stirring halfway through. Add your beef, noodles and garnishes fresh and it's like a brand new meal!
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More cozy soup recipes
Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Order star anise if you can't find it at your local grocery store.
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on turning this recipe into leftovers.
- I get all my grass-fed beef from Butcher Box, conveniently delivered to me frozen.
- Freeze this recipe in glass microwave-safe bowls up to 3 months.
Vietnamese-Inspired Beef Noodle Soup
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 inch piece of ginger minced
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp sriracha
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 2 star anise (optional)
- 6 cups beef broth
- 2 striploin steaks
- 375 g rice noodles
- fresh cilantro chopped
- fresh basil (or Thai basil)
- fresh mint
- bean sprouts
- green onions, sliced
- lime cut into wedges
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pot with fitted lid on med-high heat. Saute onion, garlic and ginger for 2-3 min, until fragrant and softened.
- Add soy sauce, lime juice, sriracha, cinnamon, nutmeg and star anise stirring to combine. Add broth, bringing to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on. During this time, garnishes can be chopped and prepared.
- After preparing garnishes, slice steak very thinly across the grain and set aside with other garnishes. Optionally, you can sear steak for 1-2 minutes per side if you don't want to add the beef to the broth when it's raw (it will cook in the hot broth if sliced thinly enough).
- Drain broth into a large pot using a mesh strainer, then put pot with broth back on high heat, bringing to a boil. Add rice noodles, cooking for 1-2 minutes. If possible, remove noodles from the broth to prevent them from soaking up the broth. This is especially important if you want leftovers – store the broth and noodles separately in this case.
- Serve the soup in large bowls with noodles, broth, steak, and garnishes. Beef will cook as it sits in broth. Enjoy!