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Duck Pho

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Make this duck pho with wild or farmed ducks

I have a great neighbour who always shares the birds from her shoots with me. Pheasants, grouse, partridges and wild ducks… I get to cook with all of them.

Although this wild duck pho is delicious as is, you could substitute one large farmed duck if you can’t find wild.

duck pho

The perfect bowl of duck and noodle soup. Give this recipe a try.

Getting this duck pho recipe right…

This duck pho is made the traditional way by slowly simmering a stock until it is out of this world delilcious.

Beef pho is the most popular option but duck is a great alternative.

Just follow the instructions below and you will be enjoying delicious duck pho tonight!

wild ducks

It doesn’t get much fresher than this. Shot on the same day I cooked this duck pho. You can also use one large farmed duck.

Why char the ginger and onions>

This is a little trick I learned back in California when I went to a Vietnamese barbecue.

They chefs were charring the ginger and onions which were then added to the stock. This is my indoor version but if you happen to be barbecuing soon, grilling the ginger and onions over fire does add a lot to the flavour.

In the duck pho recipe below, I charred the onions and ginger over a gas stove. You could also do this under the grill (broiler) in your oven.

It is, however optional. Your duck pho will still be very nice even if leave the charring out.

Working ahead…

The stock can be made a couple of days ahead of serving. In fact by doing so, the fat will solidify at the top. You can scrape this off for a lighter pho and also clearer stock.

You could also prepare the noodles a day ahead of serving if more convenient. Just be sure to rinse them with cold water when cooked and stir in a little oil so that they don’t stick together.

This is a one pot meal!

I developed this recipe for ease so that you could make it all in one pot. How important the one pot concept is, is down to you.


If you feel two pots would be better for your cooking style, then two pots it should be. 

This duck pho recipe starts by cooking the noodles and then the stock, using the same pot. You could of course use a different pot to cook the noodles if your prefer. 

You could also cook the noodles in the stock but that will make your stock cloudy. It will still taste amazing though. 

Step by step…

Grilling onions and ginger

This step is optional but adds a nice flavour. Grill the onions and ginger over a gas hob or barbecue.

roasting spices

Roast the whole spice until warm to the touch and fragrant but not yet smoking.

Important note about this recipe…

I made a novice mistake when making this duck pho. I really don’t know where my head was but I have changed it so that it’s correctly in the recipe below. 

After roasting the spices, pour them into a bowl to add later. 

Then follow the photos as they are. It is much easier to skim any foam off the top if you don’t have the spices floating all over the place!

starting the stock

Add the roasted onions and ginger along with the duck carcasses, minus the breasts to the pan and cover with water.

skimming stock

Skim off any foam that rises to the top and then add the roasted whole spices. Simmer for 3 hours.

Preparing the duck breasts…

Skin the duck breast and place them in the freezer for about an hour while the stock is simmering. This will make it easier to slice them thinly. 

Using a sharp knife, slice the duck breasts as thinly as you can. These are added raw to the duck pho and then cook through when the hot stock is added. 

Simmering stock

After three hours, the stock will be rich and delicious. Strain it through a fine sieve and pick any of the duck meat off the bones.

Finishing the duck pho

Return the stock to the heat and bring to a boil. Stir in the sugar, fish sauce and sesame oil to taste.

Finished duck pho

Place a bed of cooked rice noodles in each bowl and top with a few pieces of sliced duck breast. The ladle the broth and cooked meat over the pho. Add toppings to your liking.

duck pho

I like mine spicy so I add lots of chopped chillies and sriracha sauce.

Finished duck pho

Dig in!


If you like this recipe, you might like to try some of these Vietnamese favourites too!

Shaking Beef
Vietnamese Rotisserie Chicken
Vietnamese Tofu with Pork Stuffing
Beef Congee
Vietnamese Grilled Scallops
Cha Ca – Fried fish with Dill
Bo Kho – Spicy beef soup
Vietnamese Chicken Wings
Bun Cha – Grilled Pork Patties in Sauce
Chicken Pho
Beef Pho
Duck Pho
Pork on Lemongrass Skewers
Ban Xeo – Crispy Vietnamese Pancakes


Yield: 4

Wild Duck Pho

duck pho
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes


  • 2 wild ducks or 1 farmed duck
  • 225g (1/2 lb) pho rice noodles
  • 1 x 10cm (4 inch) ginger, thinly sliced into large pieces
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 8 cardamom pods, smashed
  • 6 star anise
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, lightly smashed
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp palm sugar
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • Noodles
  • bean sprouts
  • large bunch coriander
  • large bunch mint leaves
  • spring onions
  • Lime wedges
  • Green bird's eye chillies


  1. Slice the breast off the ducks and place in the freezer for 30 to 60 minutes.
  2. To prepare the pho noodles, Bring a kettle of water to a boil and pour over the noodles in a bowl. Let soak for 8 minutes and then strain and rinse with cold water. Pour the noodles into a bowl and stir in 1 tbsp of sesame oil to stop them from sticking together. Set aside.
  3. Now roast the whole spices in a pot large enough to simmer the ducks over medium high heat or until fragrant and warm to the touch but not yet smoking. This will only take about 30 to 60 seconds.
  4. Pour the roasted spices in a bowl for later.
  5. This next step is optional but adds a nice flavour to the brown. Grill the sliced ginger and onions over a gas hob or under your oven grill. It is also nice done on a barbecue.
  6. Place the duck carcasses, ginger, onions and lemongrass in the pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer for about 3 hours.
  7. After three hours, the stock will taste amazing! Pass the stock through a fine sieve and remove the meat from the duck carcasses.
  8. Bring the sieved stock to a steady simmer and add the cooked duck meat, sugar, fish sauce and remaining sesame oil.
  9. To serve, place a bed of the cooked noodles in each bowl and top with a few pieces of sliced duck breast. Ladle the stock over the it all and top with the topping of your choice. Chillies, mint, coriander (cilantro), bean sprouts and spring onions (scallions) are all good as is a generous amount of lime juice and sriracha.

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I hope you enjoy this duck pho recipe. If you do try it, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you. 


Wednesday 12th of July 2023

I think you forgot to add the step to add the roasted spices into the soup. I assume together with step 6.

Dan Toombs

Friday 14th of July 2023

Yes that’s correct, Thanks, I’ll get that fixed. Dan

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