It’s a universal fact that pho soup is one of the tastiest and most versatile dishes we can get our hands on.
From filling breakfasts to healthy lunches to savory dinners, pho is one of those meals where the possibilities are virtually endless as it depends on the toppings you end up choosing.
From classic to non traditional pho toppings, all you need to do is figure out what flavors your palate prefers best.
The good news is:
Pho toppings come in a very wide variety of flavors, textures, aromas, and presentations.
This means you won’t be short on an answer to “what to put on pho soup”
Today, I’ve put together a list of 17 amazing toppings to help you explore and improve pho recipes.
Best Pho Soup Toppings
It only takes a glance at pho soup dishes online to know just how many options for toppings are out there.
Many are traditional for a reason — they’re simply delectable.
But you can also venture out of the norm to discover phenomenal flavors.
Remember, all is fair in food as long as you enjoy the taste!
Here’s a pho toppings list of mouthwatering pho toppings ideas to get you started.
1. Sweet and Sour with Pineapples
Kicking things off with non traditional toppings for pho, try adding pineapples to your soup.
The sweetness and tartness of pineapples are proven to be a dynamic duo in the world of flavors.
In this recipe, you’ll add the chopped pineapples to the sauce on the stove only for 1-2 minutes before you turn off the heat.
This is to make sure that the juiciness of the pineapples is well incorporated into the soup and that the pineapples are all coated with the sauce.
I like pineapples as vegan pho toppings, but the fruit also works flawlessly if you’re after sweet and sour beef pho toppings.
2. Couple with Zucchini Noodles
Rice noodles are pretty much a staple among pho soup toppings, but why not swap them with zucchini noodles to shake things up a bit?
The taste of zucchini is mild with a hint of sweetness and bitterness that highlights pho soup flavors without overpowering them.
You only need to add them towards the end of cooking until they’re just tender.
Zucchini noodles absorb the spices to give you a buttery feel, a soft texture, and an explosion of flavors once you bite into them.
3. More Depth with Pickled Mustard Greens
If you’re a fan of sharp and tangy flavors, you’ll love using pickled mustard greens as pho vegetable toppings.
Pickling these greens is a process that uses all-natural ingredients.
It’s free of added sugar or preservatives, so it’s pretty healthy.
Pickled mustard greens taste prominently salty and sour with extra depth thanks to hints of garlic, ginger, star anise, and Thai chilies.
This topping doesn’t need cooking, simply sprinkle a generous amount upon serving.
4. Have Fun with Baby Corn
Compared to full-grown corn, baby corn tastes a lot milder.
Baby corn is slightly sweet and grassy.
They’re almost neutral, which makes them a terrific canvas for taking up spicy or savory pho flavors.
When you cook them up a little bit, they’ll taste like your soup.
They’ll have a slight crispiness but will mostly feel mushy.
5. Spice with Sriracha Mayo Sauce
It’s hardly a surprise to see people using sriracha sauce on their pho bowls.
But to make it into one of the non traditional pho toppings, try the sriracha mayo twist!
It’s creamy and tastes awesome, combining all sorts of flavors from spicy and tangy to sweet and garlicky.
Not to mention, it’s super versatile and you can get it done in under 5 minutes.
Just mix your choice of mayonnaise (vegan, original, etc.), sriracha sauce, garlic powder, and some lemon juice.
Drizzle your creation on your pho and enjoy!
6. Get Juicy with Bean Sprouts
When it comes to pho vegetable toppings, bean sprouts need more appreciation.
Their mild, earthy almost neutral taste makes them perfect candidates for accompanying spicy and savory pho dishes.
Besides never overwhelming the meal, bean sprouts soak up the flavors and turn into a juicy, crunchy element!
7. Mellow Down with Napa Cabbage
Try topping your pho with stir-fried napa cabbage and you’ll thank me.
It’s milder and sweeter compared to regular cabbage, so it highlights savory pho flavors without being too pungent.
8. Sweeten with Sweet Potato Noodles
Not only are sweet potatoes very nutritious, but they also taste very buttery in pho bowls.
Sweet potatoes offer a mild, sweet, and starchy flavor profile that complements spicy pho like a dream.
It also adds a pleasant pop of color to the dish.
9. Crisp It up Fried Shiitake Mushrooms
It’s not uncommon to use mushrooms in both non-vegan and vegan pho toppings.
But if you want an extra shot of flavor, try fried shiitake mushrooms.
They even add a nice, effortless crispiness!
10. Bring the Crunch Spicy Croutons
I absolutely adore croutons on top of creamy or brothy soups, so I thought “why not apply the concept to pho?”
I did, and it turned out magical!
The powerful crunch delivers so much depth to the meal and makes the eating experience a lot more interesting.
For an extra kick, spice your croutons with chili powder and red pepper flakes.
11. Crank up the Flavor with Shrimp Paste
Whether it’s chicken, pork, beef, or vegetable pho, a topping of shrimp paste can boost the flavors of the dish BIG TIME!
It’s salty and savory, with a concentrated punch of delicious shrimp taste.
12. Get Smokey with Japanese Eggplant
Inspired from miso noodle soup, cubes of Japanese eggplant make for fantastic vegan pho toppings.
The spongy, creamy texture is intriguing while the slightly sweet taste beautifully complements pho.
I prefer grilling my Japanese eggplant to extract its yummy smoky flavor
13. A Good “Fishy” with Trout Cake
When I feel like adding something fishy but not too fishy to my pho, I use trout cake.
They’re mild so they won’t overpower other flavors and I can control their spiciness as I please!
14. Butter It Up with Beef Marrow Bones
One of the best beef pho toppings in my experience is beef marrow bones.
They possess a unique umami flavor and feel very creamy and buttery that they literally melt on your tongue!
Yes, it’s fatty, but it gets more savory and rich when cooked properly.
You can even pick up on a hint of sweetness.
Place the marrow bone over your pho soup once they’re done simmering in the soup.
15. Pair with Parmesan Cheese and Roast Beef
That’s right, you can top your pho bowl with slices of roast beef and grated Parmesan cheese for an Italian-inspired twist!
The brininess of the meat coupled with the fruitiness and nuttiness of the cheese is just flawless when combined with hearty broth spicy noodles.
16. Mix It Up with Baked Okra
You don’t see enough people using baked okra as toppings for pho soup.
It’s a shame considering that the vegetable offers sweet, grassy, creamy, and crispy flavors/textures all at once!
17. Add Roasted Cauliflower
Last but not least, how about some roasted cauliflower on top of your pho?
I love these vegetable bits not only because they’re delightfully crunchy, but also because their nutty and sweet flavor is simply irresistible alongside savory soup.
The Best Pho Toppings: What to Serve with It
Whether you’re looking to create a thoroughly fulfilling meal or trying to make the table more interesting with different flavors, colors, and textures, side dishes got your back!
To get your creative gears running, here are some ideas that’ll go great alongside your pho soup:
Steamed Edamame with Garlic Chili Sauce
Edamame doesn’t just make for a delicious snack, but it’s also good for you.
Not to mention, it’s super fun to munch on!
This particular side dish recipe has it all; color, crunch, spice — you name it.
It’s also very easy to whip up, taking less than 10 minutes to finish.
On its own, steamed edamame is buttery with sweet and nutty notes.
Adding the garlic chili sauce gives the vegetable a nice kick that complements most pho recipes.
More often than not, pho soups end up spicy, hearty, or both.
This is exactly why a cucumber salad is a fantastic side dish to pair with pho.
It’s cool and refreshing to balance out the richness and/or spiciness of your pho.
Cucumber salad also offers a vibrant pop of color and a nice crunch that you can boost with some roasted peanuts.
For the dressing, I like a flavor-packed one that features sesame oil, apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, honey, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes.
Besides being a breeze to make, cucumber salad is as delicious when fresh as when you prepare it in advance.
As they sit in the dressing, the cucumbers start to taste somewhat pickled, which is just YUM.
Mashed Potato Spring Rolls
Think of the crispy goodness of spring rolls.
Then, think of the creamy consistency and comforting flavors of mashed potatoes.
Now, combine both. Mashed potato spring rolls — need I say more?
To create the filling, you need potatoes, butter, cream, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, and salt.
Once you fold your spring rolls, you can fry them like typical or you can bake them for extra convenience (and fewer calories!).
Pho toppings can totally transform the flavor, appearance, and even mouthfeel of your soup meal.
If you’re not sure what to put on pho soup, today’s list will give you dozens of ideas to help experiment with different options.
Don’t be afraid to go for non traditional pho toppings — you may just stumble upon your all-time favorite add-on!
Pho Toppings: 17 Delicious Add-ons
- Sweet and Sour with Pineapples
- Zucchini Noodles
- Pickled Mustard Greens
- Baby Corn
- Spice with Sriracha Mayo Sauce
- Juicy Bean Sprouts
- Napa Cabbage
- Sweet Potato Noodles
- Fried Shiitake Mushrooms
- Crunch Spicy Croutons
- Crank Up the Flavor with Shrimp Paste
- Get Smokey with Japanese Eggplant
- A Good “Fishy” with Trout Cake
- Butter It Up with Beef Marrow Bones
- Pair with Parmesan Cheese and Roast Beef
- Mix It Up with Baked Okra
- Add Roasted Cauliflower
- Choose your desired Pho topping recipe.
- Gather and organize needed ingredients.
- Create tasty Pho toppings and enjoy your meal!