This Gluten Free Chicken Pho Ga recipe is inspired by the traditional Vietnamese soup. Featuring rice noodles, homemade broth, and plenty of chicken, it’s a quick chicken pho recipe perfect for a comforting lunch or dinner!
The Best Gluten Free Chicken Pho Ga
Are you a pho fanatic? You’re not alone! We can’t get enough and in our opinion the spicier and creamier the broth, the better!
Inspired by traditional recipes, our twist is quick to make and super easy to prep with a total time of less than an hour. You get all the warm broth and bold flavors you love without having to spend all day in the kitchen!
Load it up with all your favorite toppings for a meal that’s even tastier than takeout.
Is Pho Gluten Free?
The ingredients in pho recipes are naturally gluten-free, consisting of rice noodles, veggies, and protein. However, you’ll want to be careful to double-check the ingredients used as some of the flavor enhancers and mix-ins may contain gluten or be produced in a factory with other gluten-containing ingredients.
What Is Pho Ga?
Pho is a Vietnamese rice noodle soup that is traditionally made with an aromatic beef-based broth that is flavored with spices such as ginger, peppercorn, fennel, and anise.
Typically, the noodles are served with slices of meat and a handful of fresh herbs, sliced peppers and scallions, and a dash of fresh lime.
While classic pho is usually made using beef or pork, this flavorful take uses chicken instead. The Japanese word “ga” translates in English to chicken. Hence the name, pho ga.
While chicken broth is a bit lighter than beef, seasonings like fennel seeds, onion, fresh ginger, and star anise punch up the flavor.
An authentic recipe for pho requires a long simmering time and can take hours to marry the flavors. However, for this quick version, we added a bit of prepared chicken broth and water, which speeds up the process without losing the bold flavor we love. This is a soup you can’t help but slurp!
Oh, and I have other soup recipes that come together in super quick fashion, too. Be sure to check out my recipe for Asian-Inspired Zoodle Flu Buster Soup, or use your blender to make a batch of Spicy Roasted Corn Vegan Soup!
How to Make Gluten Free Pho
That’s why I’m super excited to finally perfect a from-scratch, completely gluten free pho ga using:
Ingredients and Substitutions
Below is an overview of the key ingredients needed to make this recipe. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card below for the complete ingredient list, instructions, and nutrition information including calories, fiber, carbohydrates, etc.
- Rice Noodles – The foundation of pho ga! Look for long, flat rice noodles (similar to a skinny fettuccine shape). Cook them according to the package instructions.
- Chicken – We use boneless, skinless chicken breast, but you could use chicken thighs if preferred. If you use bone-in chicken, just be sure to remove the bones, and shred the chicken before adding it to the soup.
- Broth – Either vegetable or chicken broth will work here, but chicken gives pho ga a richer flavor.
- Onion – White onion is more traditional for flavoring the broth, but yellow or red onions will work as well.
- Fresh Whole Ginger – We highly recommend using whole ginger root, if it’s available, as it provides a very strong flavor to the broth. However, minced ginger is a good substitute.
- Whole Black Peppercorns – It’s key to use whole peppercorns in pho ga, as we will toast them over dry heat to bring out a deeper pepper flavor. Cracked black pepper could work as well, but avoid using ground pepper.
- Star Anise and Cinnamon Stick – Whole star anise gives off a wonderful flavor (and smell!) when toasted, but you could substitute this with anise seeds if you have them. The cinnamon complements star anise and is definitely a must!
- Fennel Seeds – Another aromatic seed that shouldn’t be skipped. However, you can also substitute this with coriander seeds if you can’t find fennel.
- Gluten Free Fish Sauce – You might be thinking, “Why is there fish sauce in a chicken soup?” We highly recommend you do not skip this ingredient, as it provides a key flavor component that ties in all the flavors of the pho ga broth.
- Tamari – Just a dash levels the flavor of the broth, so don’t skip it! You can use gluten-free soy sauce if preferred.
- Sugar (optional) – A small amount of sugar rounds out the bold flavors of the soup. It’s optional but highly recommended.
- Salt – Adjust to taste.
- Cilantro – Fresh cilantro provides a nice peppery flavor to pho ga, but if you don’t have it (or you’re one of the few who hate it), substitute with Thai basil instead.
Arguably, the best part of pho is the toppings! Feel free to load your soup up with all your favorites such as:
- Mung Bean Sprouts
- Green Onions
- Jalapeño or Red Chiles
- Cilantro and/or Thai Basil
- Mint leaves
- Lime Wedges or Lime Juice
Homemade Chicken Pho Instructions
- Toast the spices. Arguably the most important step in building flavor is to heat the aromatic ingredients. In this case, you’ll toast some onion, fresh ginger, star anise, and fennel seeds in a large pot.
- Build and simmer the broth. Next, add the raw chicken, water, broth, cinnamon sticks, and a handful of fresh cilantro. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Then, reduce the heat, and let it simmer over medium-low heat.
- Remove and shred the chicken. Use a fine mesh strainer to strain the broth, and remove and shred the cooked chicken. Then, it’s time to keep building flavor! Add the fish sauce, tamari, and a bit of sugar.
- Garnish and serve! Simply add the cooked rice noodles to a bowl, top with shredded chicken, and ladle in the broth. Finish by adding the toppings of your choice, and dig in!
Meal Prep Tips for Gluten Free Pho with Chicken
While making pho ga from scratch is actually super simple, there are a few ways to speed up the process to make the prep as easy as possible.
- Use store-bought broth: While you can use water to make a completely homemade broth, we use packaged broth in this recipe to cut down on the broth cooking time.
- Use pre-cooked chicken: Using precooked chicken like a whole chicken (like rotisserie) or shredded chicken will cut about 15-20 minutes off of the prep time. Simply shred the chicken, and you’re good to go.
- Prep ingredients ahead of time: Pho is a perfect meal prep recipe! Simply prep the ingredients, and cook up the pho broth and chicken a few days ahead of time. Then, build the meal when you’re ready to serve.
Frequently Asked Questions
The ingredients themselves are generally rich in nutrients and nourishing for the body. However, when you don’t make it yourself, it can be high in sodium or contain fattier cuts of meat, so it’s important to consider portion sizes. This is a healthier version of traditional pho ga because it is lower in sodium and uses chicken breast (a leaner meat).
Refrigerate any leftover chicken pho in a covered container. Leftovers should be used within 5 days. To store for a longer period, the soup can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Pho bo is a type of beef pho while pho ga is pho features chicken as the protein source.
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