Gluten Free Fast Pho Recipe

by Carol Kicinski on December 29, 2011

Gluten Free Recipes - Fast Pho Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup with restorative properties – it helps get you through the sniffles, warms your bones and is a pretty good hangover food as well. In other words, it is good pho you. (Yes, I went there, sorry!)

While pho should be a naturally gluten free recipe, often it is not, especially when you grab a bowl at one of those little corner pho joints. Often the broth is made with a soup base which contains gluten. You can of course make your own soup broth from scratch but all that work is sort of counter intuitive when you are in need of a soup with restorative powers.

Due to the dietary restrictions and choices in my family I wanted a broth that would be gluten free and work for both vegetarians and meat eaters alike. I decided to use CelifibR Vegetarian Chicken Bouillon soup cubes from Maplegrove Gluten Free Foods. This way I could use meat – in this case chicken, as an optional garnish.

Speaking of garnishes, that is what, in my opinion, pho is all about! I mean otherwise it is just a bowl of noodles with broth, fine but not magically restorative. The thing with garnishes is that each person customizes their own bowl, no two soups are the same and each is an individual masterpiece designed by the diner. Serve the pho with dishes filled with lime wedges, cilantro and basil leaves, sliced green onions, slices of fresh chili peppers, bean sprouts and in this case, chicken shredded from a rotisserie bird from the store – making this really fast pho!

Of course there is no pho without noodles. Look for rice noodles, also called Bahn Pho Noodles, in Asian markets or in the ethnic section of the grocery store. They come in different sizes; I think the medium (about ¼ inch thick) are perfect. And, according to the lady who runs my local Asian market, disregard the instruction on the package that tells you to boil the noodles. Instead, soak the noodles until soft in warm water (about 10 minutes) then place them in a strainer set in a mixing bowl. Just before serving, fill the bowl with boiling water, let the noodles sit for 5 seconds then place in the bowls and ladle on hot broth. This method results in perfectly cooked noodles that are not mushy.

So, in case you caught the sniffles this holiday season or indulged just a wee bit too much, think about making fast pho. It may just magically restore you back to good health!

Gluten Free Recipes - Fast Pho

Gluten Free Fast Pho Recipe


½ pound rice noodles (Banh Pho)
4 CelifibR gluten free vegetarian chicken bouillon cubes
5 cups boiling water
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 handful cilantro leaves
1 handful basil leaves
2 Thai or jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced
2 fresh limes, cut into wedges
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (omit for vegan or vegetarian)


Soak the noodles in very warm water until softened, about 10 minutes.

Dissolve the bouillon cubes in 5 cups boiling water. Add half of the sliced green onions and season to taste with more salt and pepper if needed.

Once the noodles are softened, drained them, put into a strainer set in a large bowl and fill the bowl with boiling water. Let sit for 5 seconds, drain and divide the noodles among 4 large soup bowls. Divide the hot broth among the 4 bowls of noodles. Serve immediately with all the additional ingredients on the side. Let each diner design their pho the way they want.


A gluten free recipe that makes 4 big bowls of magically restorative noodle soup.

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Categories:    Soups & Stews
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  • Amanda

    Carol, thanks for the recipe. My fiancé and I love to eat pho at a local place that has assured me their recipe is gluten free. Cooking it at home sounds so much better though-especially on cold days when I don’t want to leave home :)

    • Carol Kicinski

      My pleasure Amanda – enjoy! And I know what you mean about leaving the house when it is cold – it has recently been really cold here (for Florida anyway) and I don’t want to venture out. I can only imagine how hard it is to do with snow and such!

  • Heather

    Perfect! Sounds so easy and thanks for tips on the noodles – when I have made them in the past they have been either too hard or too mushy.

    • Carol Kicinski

      Thanks Heather – enjoy!

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog)

    How very wonderful and delicious!

  • InTolerant Chef

    Just lovely! definitely a meal to cure all ills. Maybe Vietnamese penicillin?

    • Carol Kicinski

      Haha – sounds just about right to me!

  • Shirley @ gfe

    Awesome, Carol! Thank you so much for the recipe and noodle tips. The Maplegrove foods look pretty good, too!


    • Carol Kicinski

      Thank you Shirley!

  • Jacqui

    thanks for this recipe! And thank you for the rice noodle tip.. I’ve had way too many mushy ones!

    • Carol Kicinski

      My pleasure Jacqui, enjoy!

  • Jeanette

    I love pho with all the fresh herbs and chilies. There are so many gluten-free Asian noodles that work nicely in noodle soups and stir-fries.

    • Carol Kicinski

      I agree Jeanette – lots of Asian noodles are naturally gluten free and very reasonably priced.

  • Nancy@

    Looks great–and I’m sure it tastes great too. I love the idea of everyone creating their own soup with the additions. A wonderful use for some of the turkey I still have in the house! Thanks

    • Carol Kicinski

      Yes Nancy, turkey would be great! I love to see how each bowl is a little different depending on the tastes of the diner, their personality sort of comes through :)

  • Edonna

    One of the restorative powers of pho lies in the broth, if made from scratch, bones and all. I make this one-, and have frozen the broth for later. It worked out well. I have always loved broths and stews from soup bones and chicken/turkey carcass. And recently found another reason to appreciate them, having discovered gluten, corn and dairy make me feel icky-this discussion- I feel like the new kid on the block and am still not quite resigned to this new life.

    • Carol Kicinski

      The gluten free lifestyle gets easier – trust me! Soon you will find it is not much more difficult. I think having a freezer filled with homemade broth is a great thing, I just never seem to get there so I like my shortcuts :)

  • Cara

    Sounds lovely, Carol! Pho is my favorite takeout food – I should really go about making it at home!

  • jas

    oh yum, I love the fresh spices and chilli! Happy New Year Carol!

    • Carol Kicinski

      Happy New Year to you too Jas!

  • Iris

    Now I know what I’m going to do with the chicken broth I just made! Thanks Carol, for always bringing us recipes with a special twist. I wish you lots of love and happiness in 2012!

    • Carol Kicinski

      Happy New Year to you too Iris!

  • Tracy

    Thanks so much for this recipe! I love pho but am afraid to order it after getting so sick last time – even after asking the waiter to verify that it was wheat/gluten-free. Can’t wait to mix up a batch that I know will be safe.

    • Carol Kicinski

      I know exactly how you feel. When I lived in California there was a Pho place on very corner. I would alwways ask my usualy questions but usually got sick after eating (and being assured No Gluten!). That’s when I discoved the base they use has gluten. I missed my pho! Enjoy.

    • Shellene

      something you may want to consider is MSG it isn’t consider a gluten product but typically if you are allergic to gluten you are allergic to MSG and it is in a lot of places that serve pho

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  • Denise

    for a more authentic taste, throw half a cinnamon stick and an anise star or two. Remove them when you have the desired broth taste.

    • Carol Kicinski

      Thanks Denise!

  • Michelle

    Thanks for this recipe! Question: Does Pho that you get in the restaurants contain any dairy? I’m Dairy Allergic (Gluten-Limited). Thanks again for this quick, dairy free way to make it! :)

    • Carol Kicinski

      Hi Michelle, you’re welcome. I do not think that Pho contains dairy but you should always check with the establishment and make sure for yourself!

  • Kerry

    I don’t think rotisserie chicken from the grocery store is gluten-free. Not from my grocery store anyway.

    • Carol Kicinski

      Oh that’s too bad – mine is, I have checked. You should talk to them about it, there is no reason for there to be gluten in chicken!

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  • CarolKicinski

    Shellene, Just an added reason to make this dish from home!

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