HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Pho Noodles

  • m

The broth is the easy part.

I can't get my noodles right.

I make mush. Every recipe I find for Pho doesn't give the instructions for the noodles.

The package on the several types I've tried say to boil for 5 minutes. MUSH!

I want mine like Pho #1

I don't want them to break when I try to pick them up or even look at them.

Any ideas? Tricks? Suggestions?

Happy New Year, Everyone!


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Five minutes seems too long. Try tasting a noodle around 1-2 minutes.

    Bring water to a boil over high heat, add noodles, separate, stirring occasionally.

    The noodles I use seem to just need a blanch.

    1. From what I've read, you're supposed to soak the noodles in warm water for about 20 minutes. Then you just put it in the bowl and put hot broth over it when you eat it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: In-N-Outer

        That is the way I have had it. I have a Vietnamese friend who makes Pho for us and assembles every thing in the bowls and the noodles are almost dry and then pours on boiling hot broth. Yum!

      2. We just put the noodles in hot water until it's the right consistency (about 2 or 3 minutes I think, but check it) and then into your soup bowl. Then put the meat on top and the hot boiling soup on top of that.
        Happy slurping and a Happy New Year.

        1. You're so right about those bad or nonexistent package instructions!!

          This is how my family and I do it: Soak pho noodles in plenty of lukewarm water for at least 30 min. Bring a pot of water to a boil. To make many noodle servings all at once, dump in all the noodles. Once the water returns to a boil, remove quickly and strain. Important: rinse noodles w/ cool water to separate and cool down.

          For individual servings: Pile a serving size clump of noodles into a spider strainer. Dip into boiling water til al dente. Remove and rinse w/ cool water before transferring to bowl.

          I grew up on noodles that were cooked through and soft, not the popular "al dente" in the US. If you like yours more toothsome, then reduce cooking time accordingly.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Carb Lover
            Hungry Celeste

            Yes, Carb's instructions are the best way to prepare dried, packaged noodles. Soak for a while in cool water, then dunk into boiling water. One thing to note: different noodle thicknesses require different soaking times (I know, duh). Really wide thai style rice stick noodles need a longer soak than bun vermicelli or medium pho noodles. And take it from personal experience--the noodles MUST be soaked first, or you will boil and boil, and the noodles will be hard and then just dissolve.

          2. Thanks, All!

            Going to try a few of your suggestions.

            I never rinsed them in cold water. Maybe that will help.

            So much easier to say, I'll have a #19.

            1. Ideally if you have any access to an Asian market with fresh rice noodles all you have to do is dip them in just under a boil water for a minute or so. With the dry, soak to pliable and treat the same. The hot pho broth will finish them off. We just had homemade pho (although with a turkey carcass base instead of beef)- true comfort food!

              1 Reply
              1. re: torty

                my mom makes pho with turkey and it is by far my favorite. i didn't think anyone else did this. we also dip the noodles for a min or two in boiling water and let the hot broth do the rest.

              2. I have yet to try this myself (I think I've been spoiled by my boyfriend's mother who seems to make pho every time I start to crave it), but this webiste seems to be an excellent source. The info about the noodles is a little bit down on the page.

                Link: http://www.vietworldkitchen.com/books...

                1 Reply
                1. re: CeeBee


                  Thanks for that link.

                  I love the step by step approach with side notes.

                  Thanks again!

                2. I haven't seen this discussed elsewhere, forgive me if this is a repeat question.

                  I'm planning to try Steamy Kitchen's Crockpot Pho and plan to serve it pretty much as soon as I'm home from work. Has anyone tried leaving (dried) rice sticks to soak for a longer period of time, say 8 hours? It would be nice to put them in water in the morning and have them ready when I get home. The Mongolian grill near us has them on the line this way, I wonder if anyone has tried it at home?

                  Also I remember hearing somewhere that refrigerating rice sticks is a no-no. So maybe soaking on the counter?

                  I've never had good results dunking dry noodles in boiling water, I normally soak in hot tap water for 1/2 hour. Thoughts before I screw up a whole package of noodles? Thanks!