The Ultimate Guide to the 9 Best Noodles for Pho

The 9 best noodles for Pho

When it comes to Vietnamese cuisine, one dish that has gained immense popularity in North America is pho. Pho is a flavorful noodle soup that consists of broth, noodles, meat or seafood, and herbs. The choice of noodles plays a crucial role in the overall taste and texture of the dish. In this article, we will explore the nine best noodles for pho, their characteristics, and why they are a great choice for this popular Vietnamese dish.

1. Bánh Phở – flat rice noodles

The most traditional and widely used noodle in pho is bánh phở, also known as flat rice noodles. These long and chewy noodles have a texture that holds up well when soaked in broth. The width of the noodles can vary, but it is recommended to choose a size similar to fettuccine or linguine. Bánh phở is made from a combination of rice flour and water and becomes translucent when cooked. These noodles have a neutral taste, which allows them to absorb the flavors of the broth and other ingredients.

2. Bún – Rice vermicelli

While not traditionally used in Pho, rice vermicelli, or bún, can be a delicious alternative. These round and thin noodles are often found in noodle bowls, salad rolls, and cold noodle salads. Rice vermicelli may not absorb as much broth as flat rice noodles, but they offer a unique texture and flavor. They require a short cooking time of only 1-2 minutes and have a subtle flavor that complements pho broth well.

3. Sweet potato glass noodles

Sweet potato glass noodles are not commonly used in Pho, but can be a delicious addition. Often used in salads or hot pot dishes, these noodles have a translucent appearance when cooked. Made from sweet potato starch and water, they have a springy and firm texture. Like rice noodles, sweet potato glass noodles have a mild flavor that allows them to harmonize with the flavors of the pho broth.

4. Mung bean thread noodles

Mung bean thread noodles, also known as glass noodles or cellophane noodles, are another excellent choice for Pho. These noodles are made from mung bean starch and have a texture similar to sweet potato glass noodles. Although they may appear gray when uncooked, they become clear and beautiful when cooked. Mung bean noodles are easy to prepare by soaking them in boiling water for about 3 minutes. They have a smooth and flexible texture, which makes them pleasant to eat in a bowl of pho.

5. Bánh Canh – Tapioca Noodles

For those looking for a different texture, bánh canh, or tapioca noodles, can be an intriguing alternative. These noodles have a unique slimy texture compared to other varieties. Tapioca noodles are typically made from tapioca flour and water or a combination of tapioca and rice flour. They come in a variety of thicknesses and styles, with the vermicelli style being a popular choice. The distinctive texture of bánh canh noodles adds an interesting dimension to a bowl of pho.

6. Mì – egg noodles

Vietnamese egg noodles, known as mì, bring a non-traditional twist to the classic pho. Made from wheat flour, these yellow egg noodles are similar to Chinese lo mein noodles. They are often used in stir-fries, but can also be a delicious addition to a pho noodle soup. With a slightly chewier texture and subtle flavor, mì noodles offer a distinct contrast to rice noodles. They can be prepared by soaking them in boiling water for 5 minutes before adding them to the pho broth.

7. Ramen noodles

Although primarily associated with ramen dishes, ramen noodles can also be an interesting substitute for pho. Made from wheat flour, salt, and water, these thin noodles have a softer texture than Italian wheat pasta. While most ramen noodles are made with wheat flour, rice flour options are now available for those with gluten or wheat restrictions. The soft and squiggly texture of ramen noodles allows them to absorb the flavors of the pho broth, making them a delightful addition.

8. Soba Noodles

Soba noodles, a type of Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour and water, can add a unique twist to traditional Pho. Although not commonly used in pho, soba noodles offer a pleasing texture and flavor. Soba noodles come in several varieties, and their nutty flavor can complement the pho broth. These noodles can be prepared by cooking them in boiling water until tender, then rinsing with cold water to remove excess starch. Adding soba noodles to pho can create a fusion of flavors that is both satisfying and intriguing.

9. Udon Noodles

Udon noodles, another Japanese noodle, can also be a surprising addition to pho. These thick and chewy wheat noodles have a distinct texture that sets them apart from other noodles. Udon noodles are commonly used in Japanese soups and stir-fries, but their versatility allows them to work well in pho. The hearty and substantial nature of udon noodles can provide a satisfying bite in every spoonful of pho.


When it comes to enjoying a bowl of pho, the choice of noodles is an important consideration. The traditional flat rice noodle, bánh phở, is the most common and widely used option, providing a chewy and slurpable experience. However, there are several other types of noodles, such as rice noodles, sweet potato glass noodles, mung bean thread noodles, bánh canh, egg noodles, ramen noodles, soba noodles, and udon noodles, that can add their own unique textures and flavors to a dish.
Experimenting with different types of noodles can elevate your Pho experience and allow you to discover new and exciting flavor combinations. Whether you prefer a traditional approach or enjoy exploring new culinary possibilities, there is a noodle option for everyone to enjoy in a steaming bowl of pho. So gather your ingredients, prepare the broth, and choose your favorite noodles to create a pho that satisfies your cravings and delights your taste buds.


What are the best noodles for Pho?

The best noodles to use for Pho are bánh phở (flat rice noodles), rice noodles (bún), sweet potato glass noodles, mung bean thread noodles, bánh canh (tapioca noodles), egg noodles (mì), ramen noodles, soba noodles, and udon noodles.

Are there gluten-free noodle options for Pho?

Yes, there are gluten-free noodle options for Pho. Rice vermicelli, sweet potato glass noodles, and some brands of rice-based ramen noodles are gluten-free and can be enjoyed in Pho.

What is the most traditional noodle option for Pho?

The most traditional noodle option for Pho is bánh phở, also known as flat rice noodles. These noodles have been used in pho for generations and are widely recognized as the classic choice.

Can I substitute other types of noodles for the recommended noodles?

While the recommended noodles are popular choices for Pho, you can certainly experiment with other types of noodles to suit your preferences. Just keep in mind that different noodles can change the texture and flavor of the dish.

How do I cook noodles for pho?

Cooking instructions for noodles may vary depending on the type of noodles you choose. In general, rice and glass noodles can be soaked in hot water until tender, while egg and wheat noodles may need to be boiled for a few minutes. It’s best to follow the instructions on the package for each type of noodle.

Can I make my own noodles for Pho?

Yes, you can make your own noodles for pho if you prefer a homemade touch. There are several recipes for homemade rice noodles, egg noodles, and other types of noodles commonly used in pho.