Authentic Oxtail Pho


This oxtail pho recipe is authentic. This is the way my husband's family has always made it and it is delicious. My kids have grown up on this comforting noodle soup, which is especially good on a cold rainy day. Garnish with hoisin sauce and sriracha as desired.

Oxtail Pho
Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
6 hrs 5 mins
Total Time:
6 hrs 25 mins
8 servings


  • water to cover

  • 1 ½ pounds beef oxtail, or to taste

  • 2 Spanish onions, peeled, divided

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce, or to taste

  • 1 tablespoon whole star anise pods

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • salt to taste

  • 3 tablespoons beef pho flavor paste

  • 2 bunches scallions, chopped

  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

  • 1 (16 ounce) package dried rice noodles, or to taste

  • 1 (12 ounce) package beef pho meatballs, halved, or to taste

  • ½ pound sirloin steak, thinly sliced, or to taste

  • 1 lime, cut into 8 wedges

  • 4 teaspoons white sugar, or to taste

  • 1 (8 ounce) package bean sprouts

  • 1 bunch Thai basil leaves, torn into bite-size pieces

  • 1 (2.8 ounce) can crispy fried shallots, or to taste


  1. Bring water and oxtail to a boil in a pot. Skim the foam and oil off the surface. Add 1 onion, fish sauce, star anise, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in pho flavor paste; cover loosely with a lid. Reduce heat and simmer broth for at least 6 hours.

  2. Cut the remaining onion in half and slice very thinly. Place in a bowl with scallions and cilantro.

  3. Place noodles in a large bowl and rinse. Cover with warm water and let soak for 1 hour.

  4. Drop meatballs into the soup 20 minutes before broth is done.

  5. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Drain noodles and dip into the boiling water for 30 seconds. Transfer noodles into 8 large bowls.

  6. Top each bowl with sliced sirloin. Ladle in broth, meatballs, and oxtail. Taste and season as needed. Squeeze 1 or 2 lime wedges into each bowl and mix in 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Top with the cilantro-onion mixture, bean sprouts, basil, and shallots.

Cook's Notes:

You can use 1 large pack of oxtail or 2 small packages.

You can find beef pho meatballs and crispy fried onions in most Asian stores.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

567 Calories
18g Fat
70g Carbs
30g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 567
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 6g 32%
Cholesterol 92mg 31%
Sodium 744mg 32%
Total Carbohydrate 70g 25%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 30g
Vitamin C 25mg 126%
Calcium 143mg 11%
Iron 5mg 29%
Potassium 649mg 14%

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

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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