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Anyone else missing takeout lately? 🙋 I wouldn’t normally recommend pho on a keto diet, due to the noodles and even added sugar. But a low carb keto pho recipe, made with zucchini noodles and monk fruit sweetener, was the perfect candidate for transforming an Asian takeout dish into a healthier version at home!
I had to “cheat” a little with my “10 ingredients or less” mantra, though, because pho has complex flavors and the broth alone needs lots of ingredients. Many pho recipes have 15-20 different components!
I wanted to keep this as simple as possible, while maintaining the flavors you’d normally expect in pho. So, since the toppings are all optional and personal preference, these are not included in the 10 ingredients. With the pre-made bone broth and noodles that cook quickly, this keto pho recipe is still much quicker and easier than traditional versions.
Let me show you how to make pho keto friendly, all in just 35 minutes from start to finish!
How To Make Keto Pho
We’ve established that pho on keto diet is possible, and lucky for you, it’s a great dinner that’s ready in just 35 minutes. Here’s how it happens:
- Freeze steak. Freezing the steak for 30-60 minutes before slicing makes it easier to slice extra thin. Slicing it super thin is important, otherwise it won’t cook properly!
- Toast spices. WITHOUT adding oil to the dutch oven, add your warming spices: star anise, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, cloves, coriander seeds, and ground ginger. Toast until fragrant – this will go quick!
- Make pho broth. Add the bone broth and fish sauce. Stir together, bring to a boil, then simmer. After simmering, stir sweetener into broth until it has dissolved completely.
- Strain. Strain broth into another bowl and discard whole spices. Return to the pot – you’ll want it simmering right before serving.
- Make keto pho noodles. Spiralize zucchini and divide the zucchini noodles among 4 bowls.
- Slice steak. Thinly slice the steak against the grain and place over the zoodles. We want it sliced as thin as possible as we’ll be cooking the steak with the broth.
- Assemble low carb pho. While broth is still simmering, immediately pour it over the prepared bowls.
- Bring on the toppings! These are a big highlight of pho recipes. Some ideas for you below…
Pho Toppings & Garnishes
You can add as many or as few toppings as you like, but traditional pho has plenty of garnishes. I recommend:
- Thai basil
- Lime Wedges
- Thinly sliced red chili peppers (or jalapeno peppers)
- Scallions (a.k.a. green onions)
Low Carb Pho FAQs
What is pho?
Pho is a Vietnamese soup influenced by Chinese and French cooking. Typically, it includes bone broth, rice noodles, meat (often thinly sliced beef or chicken), warming spices, and loads of garnishes.
How do you eat pho?
You eat pho with chopsticks and a spoon. Use the chopsticks to dip the beef, noodles (or zoodles in this case), and garnishes into the broth, and use a spoon to sip the broth between bites.
Is pho keto friendly?
Traditional pho is made with rice noodles and the broth even has sugar added – not keto friendly!
But my easy keto pho recipe is made with zucchini noodles and Besti sweetener in place of sugar. It has just 4.8 grams net carbs per 2 cup serving.
Can I use other cuts of steak?
Yes, you can use a lot of different cut of steaks in this keto pho recipe. I used flank steak as I had it on hand, and (bonus!) it makes this pho soup less expensive.
However, sirloin steak is often used as well, so feel free to use that if you have or prefer it.
Can I use chicken?
Yes, but it will take a little longer because unlike the beef, you’ll have to cook it.
Once your broth is ready, you can add raw chicken and simmer until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken and shred it, then you can add it to your bowls on top of the zoodles for serving, and pour the broth on top.
Will the steak be raw? Can I cook it first?
As long as the steak is sliced very thinly (this is important!), pouring the simmering broth over it will cook it instantly.
However, if you are concerned about it, you can add the steak into the pot instead and cook the soup for a couple of minutes before serving.
Are there other options for keto pho noodles?
Sure! You can use spaghetti squash, but it’s less convenient because you’d have to roast the spaghetti squash first.
Check my keto pasta alternatives guide for more options.
I much prefer the zucchini noodles. Because they cook so quickly when you pour the hot broth over them, you don’t have to cook them beforehand.
What if I can’t find some of the spices?
I tried to keep the spices and ingredients to a minimum in this keto pho recipe, but the ones I left in are pretty much required to get the right flavor profile.
The whole spices for pho are usually available at most grocery stores. If you prefer to order them, you can get star anise, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, coriander seeds, and ground ginger are all available online.
You can omit one of the spices if you absolutely have to, but it will definitely affect the flavor.
Is this traditional pho?
Almost. It has the same flavors, but I made 3 key swaps to make it keto friendly, faster, and easier:
- Traditional pho includes charred onions and ginger. To simplify the process, I used ground ginger and omitted the onion. If you want to make it more traditional, you can use a quartered onion and 4-inch knob of ginger sliced in half. Char them in the dry pan before toasting the spices, then include them in the simmering broth. Strain them out just as you would the whole spices.
- Traditional pho includes rice noodles. Swapped these for keto friendly zoodles, like we already talked about!
- Traditional pho involves simmering bones for hours, or even all day. Who has time for that?! I simply used bone broth and called it a day. 😉
Keto Pho Soup Storage Instructions
Can you make low carb pho ahead?
Yes, you can make the pho broth ahead and prep some of the soup ingredients. The broth is the most time-consuming step, so it’s a great way to prep ahead, but here are some other prep ideas:
- Make pho broth ahead. Follow the instructions for the broth only, then let it cool and refrigerate.
- Spiralize noodles. (If this is new to you, check my zucchini noodles guide for ways to do this!) Don’t cook them until you’re ready to make the low carb pho.
- Prep any toppings. Slice, dice, and so on. Fresh herbs are best prepared fresh, though.
How to store pho leftovers
Store the low carb pho broth in the fridge for 5-7 days.
The low carb pho noodles, beef, and toppings should all be stored separately in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to eat your keto diet friendly pho recipe, reheat the broth until simmering and prepare the same way.
Can you freeze low carb pho?
Yes, you can freeze the pho broth for 2-3 months. Obviously, we don’t want to freeze the fresh components.
How to reheat pho
Reheat the pho broth on the stove top until simmering, then pour over the zoodles and beef.
More Low Carb Keto Soup Recipes
If you like this keto pho recipe, you might also like some of these other low carb keto soups:
- Keto Egg Drop Soup – Traditional egg drop soup without the carbs. Serve this as a starter before Asian meals.
- Low Carb Beef Stew – This comforting stew is perfect for cold, winter nights.
- Keto Bacon Cheeseburger Soup – Eat your burger on a spoon. This soup is rich and satisfying.
- Low Carb Taco Soup – The best taco flavors in soup form!
- Buffalo Chicken Soup – If you love buffalo chicken, you’ll love this soup that takes the best flavors from buffalo hot wings.
- Sausage Zoodle Soup – One of my simplest soup recipes, with just 5 ingredients. Find it in my Easy Keto Cookbook!
Tools To Make Pho Soup:
Click the links below to see the items used to make this recipe.
- Dutch Oven – I love this heavy-duty, but beautiful, dutch oven. It’s perfect for braises, stews, and this keto pho recipe!
- Spiralizer – If you love zoodles as much as we do, you’ll want this table top spiralizer. It’s the fastest way to make noodles out of veggies. The giant suction cup on the bottom sets it apart from others that have flimsy ones.
- Fine Mesh Strainer – This set has different sizes and is a fine enough to not leave any spices behind in the soup.
Reader Fave Keto Recipes
The recipe card is below! Readers also made these similar recipes after making this one.
Low Carb Keto Pho Recipe
No need to spend hours, this easy keto pho recipe ready in just 35 minutes! Low carb pho with zoodles and steak tastes like the real thing from a restaurant.
Click underlined ingredients to buy them!
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- 12 oz Flank steak (trimmed; or sirloin)
- 2 large Zucchini (spiralized into zoodles)
Optional pho toppings:
- Thai basil
- Lime Wedges
- Red chili pepper slices (or jalapeno peppers)
RECIPE TIPS + VIDEO in the post above, nutrition info + recipe notes below!
Click on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Place the steak in the freezer for 30 minutes to make it easier to slice thinly.
Meanwhile, heat a dutch oven over medium-high heat, WITHOUT oil. Add the star anise, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, cloves, coriander seeds, and ground ginger. Toast for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant.
Add the bone broth and fish sauce. Stir together. Bring the pho broth to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, use a spiralizer to make zoodles out of the zucchini. Divide the zucchini noodles among 4 bowls.
Once the steak in the freezer is firm, take it out and slice very thinly against the grain. Place the steak on top of the zoodles in each bowl.
When the broth is done simmering, stir in sweetener to dissolve (if using), and adjust salt to taste. Strain the broth into another pot or bowl. Discard the whole spices caught in the strainer.
While broth is still simmering, immediately pour it over the prepared bowls, ensuring that you submerge the steak so that it cooks through. (Alternatively, you can stir the steak into the simmering broth first.)
Garnish with toppings of your choice - Thai basil, cilantro, lime wedges, jalapeno or chili pepper slices, scallions, and/or sriracha.
Made this recipe? Leave a rating! ★★★★★
Serving size: ~2 cups, or 1/4 entire recipe
Nutrition info does not include the whole spices, since they are discarded and not eaten.
Nutrition Information Per Serving
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database. You can find individual ingredient carb counts we use in the Low Carb & Keto Food List. Carb count excludes sugar alcohols. Net carb count excludes both fiber and sugar alcohols, because these do not affect blood sugar in most people. We try to be accurate, but feel free to make your own calculations.
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