Recipe for making delicious Beef Meatball Pho

Rare beef and meatball pho


For the broth:

  • 2 lbs beef bones (preferably marrow bones)
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 1 ginger root (about 3 inches), halved lengthwise
  • 5 star anise
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 1 rock sugar or 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • Salt to taste
  • 6-8 cups water

For the meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar

For the pho:

  • 1 lb rice noodles (pho noodles)
  • Fresh herbs (cilantro, Thai basil, mint)
  • Bean sprouts
  • Green onions, sliced
  • Lime wedges
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Sriracha sauce


Broth Preparation

  1. Roast the Aromatics:
    • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
    • Place the onion and ginger on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes until they are slightly charred.
  2. Prepare the Bones:
    • Blanch the beef bones in boiling water for 5 minutes to remove impurities.
    • Rinse the bones under cold water.
  3. Make the Broth:
    • In a large pot, add the beef bones, roasted onion, and ginger.
    • Add 6-8 cups of water and bring to a boil.
    • Reduce heat and simmer for at least 4-6 hours (the longer, the better).
    • Occasionally skim off any foam that forms on the surface.
  4. Add Spices:
    • In a dry skillet, toast the star anise, cloves, cinnamon stick, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, and cardamom pod until fragrant (about 2-3 minutes).
    • Add the toasted spices, rock sugar, and fish sauce to the broth.
    • Simmer for another 1-2 hours.
    • Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve and season with salt to taste.

Meatball Preparation

  1. Make the Meatballs:
    • In a large bowl, combine ground beef, minced garlic, chopped onion, fish sauce, cornstarch, egg white, black pepper, and sugar.
    • Mix well until everything is fully incorporated.
    • Shape the mixture into small meatballs (about 1 inch in diameter).
  2. Cook the Meatballs:
    • Bring a pot of water to a boil.
    • Gently drop the meatballs into the boiling water and cook until they float to the surface (about 5-7 minutes).
    • Remove the meatballs and set aside.

Assembling the Pho

  1. Prepare the Noodles:
    • Cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions.
    • Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
  2. Assemble the Bowls:
    • Divide the cooked noodles into serving bowls.
    • Top with cooked beef meatballs.
    • Ladle hot broth over the noodles and meatballs.
  3. Garnish:
    • Serve with fresh herbs, bean sprouts, green onions, and lime wedges on the side.
    • Offer hoisin sauce and sriracha sauce for additional flavoring.


  • For a clearer broth, regularly skim off the impurities during the simmering process.
  • Adjust the seasoning of the broth by adding more fish sauce or salt according to your taste.
  • Customize your pho with different types of meat, such as brisket or thinly sliced beef.

Enjoy your homemade Beef Meatball Pho!