Bò Kho Recipe (Vietnamese Beef Stew)

Vietnamese bò kho (beef stew) is packed with tender, fall-apart braised chunks of beef loaded with herbs, aromatics and a delicious broth that will have you coming back with more Vietnamese baguette!

Similar to thịt kho, this slow braise / stew is easy to make, and the longer you cook it the softer the meat gets. It’s an incredibly satisfying meal very accessible to both Vietnamese and American folks. This recipe is pretty hard to mess up in the kitchen.

This was one of the popular dishes at my mom’s old restaurant because of its familiarity and accessibility, and something I had often there, in between bottomless icy coconut drinks and fountain sodas.

Vietnamese vs. American beef stew?

Sure, I’ve eaten and cooked American and French style beef stews and its a similar concept: beef, root veggies (like carrots or potatoes), onion and aromatics.

If you are counting the ingredients, differences in the Vietnamese beef stew stand out, such as: lemongrass, ginger, powdered anise and cloves (in the powdered seasoning packet).

It’s also a little different in that you dip pieces of meat in a salt / pepper and lemon juice mixture just for some variation.

Cooking it down

Paprika powder adds redness to this broth, but a decent amount of tomato paste also adds a rich red and sweetness too.

At this stage we’re trying to extract flavor from all the aromatics, and essentially just cook it long enough so the connective tissue in the beef softens. I love the fattier cuts, with more connective tissue and tendon which gets mouth-meltingly soft if you cook it long enough.

Final additions & herbs

For herbs we have both cilantro and Thai basil (on the side), which I loveee. Feel free to leave either of them out if it’s not your thing, but I like to go extra basil with this!

Cilantro can be placed in the bowl and wilt, but for basil I like to add it just before serving so it stays green and has a fresher hit.

Thinly sliced raw red onion goes well with this too.

How to serve this stew

On the side, we serve it with Vietnamese baguette (which is light and airy compared to regular French baguettes). I love this dish with bread or even just rice sometimes, but it’s very commonly eaten with flat rice noodles instead.

Since it can take a while to boil and soften the meat, this is a great dish to make in large batches to share, and to eat over the course of a week!

Vietnamese beef stew Pinterest image

Bò Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew)

5 from 58 votes
An easy to make, mouth-meltingly tender braise loaded with herbs and aromatics, in a broth that will have you going back with more Vietnamese baguette!
BY: Huy Vu
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total: 2 hours 20 minutes


  • 2 lb beef shank cut into 3/4 – 1" pieces
  • tap water
  • 1 tbsp salt



  • 2 tbsp neutral cooking oil
  • 4 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp paprika optional, for extra color boost


  • 1 tbsp Vietnamese beef stew seasoning
  • 1 medium onion quartered
  • 1.5 tbs fresh ginger sliced or pounded
  • 1-2 stalks lemon grass use ~7" of the aromatic root area, pounded
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 3-4 pods star anise
  • 4-5 bay leaves
  • 1 can chicken broth about 2 cups
  • 6 oz coconut soda, Coke, or Sprite
  • 5 cups filtered water or enough to barely cover the ingredients
  • 2-3 carrots cut into 1" chunks


  • 6 12" Vietnamese bread loaves
  • 2 sliced jalapenos
  • 1 sliced lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 bunch Thai basil


  • Clean the meat. Add beef to a large pot and add 1 tbsp salt and enough tap water to barely cover the meat. Bring to a boil on high heat, and once it hits a boil for 30 seconds, kill the heat, drain, and rinse under running water to clean. If you haven't cut the meat into 3/4 – 1" pieces yet, do it now.
  • Marinate the meat. Add all marinade ingredients to the meat in a covered bowl or a bag for at least two hours, but overnight would be better.
  • Aromatics. Preheat a large pot on medium high. When hot, add the oil, let it warm a bit, then add all the garlic and stir to slowly saute until it turns light brown. Then add the paprika an stir until it releases its aroma, about 30 seconds.
  • Broth. Add all broth ingredients to the pot except the carrots. Turn the heat to high until it hits a boil, then reduce heat so it maintains a low boil. Cook until the meat is as tender as you'd like it, about 60-90 minutes. Add carrots towards the final 10 minutes so it softens. Discard the cooked onions and star anise pods.
  • Serve with accoutrement as shown: tearing fresh Thai basil onto your plate, taking occasional bites of jalapeno, and dipping a few pieces of meat into the salt / pepper / lemon juice side for variety.


2/16/2021: Added approximate meat cooking time.
Nutrition Facts
Bò Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew)
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: beef, beef stew, bread, stew, vietnamese
Did you cook this recipe?Tag @HungryHuy or #hungryhuy–I’d love to see it!

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25 comments on “Bò Kho Recipe (Vietnamese Beef Stew)

  1. Martha says:

    What is the Vietnamese beef stew seasoning? Is it something you put together yourself in a different post?

    1. Huy says:

      Hey Martha check my other comment for a link! It’s a pre-made seasoning packet.

  2. Karen says:

    What is in the Vietnamese beef stew seasoning in this recipe?

    1. Huy says:

      Hey Karen! The package reads “Paprika, Anise, Garlic, Chili, Onion, Ginger, Cloves”. I used a Vietnamese brand seasoning packet specifically for bo kho, like this one.

  3. Hang says:

    5 stars
    Bo kho, made right, is amazing for dipping in that perfect Vietnamese baguette. Yumminess during the cold winter months. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Huy Vu says:

      Thank YOU for sharing Hang, glad you liked it!

  4. Jhon says:

    is it okay to serve this with any kind of bread?

    1. Hungry Huy says:

      Sure as long as it’s not sweet, it can work in a pinch!

  5. Stephanie Ramos says:

    Looking forward to making this recipe ! 😊
    I eat this regularly @ an area restaurant.
    With this recipe I can make larger batch to freeze and enjoy when I want to . Thank you

  6. Mei Lee says:

    If I don’t like star anise. Can I omit it? Or will it change the recipe?

    1. Hungry Huy says:

      Hey Mei, it won’t taste how it’s intended to be, but omitting star anise will not break this recipe. Good luck!

  7. Brianna says:

    How much water do you add after adding the oil?

    1. Hungry Huy says:

      For the broth section, you want to add just enough water to cover the meat, so it can all simmer and soften. This will vary depending the pot size but about 5 cups for the recipe unscaled.

  8. meaghan says:

    When you say “Cook until the meat is as tender as you’d like it.”, how long do you usually let it simmer for?

    1. Hungry Huy says:

      Hi Meaghan, about 60-90 minutes. I updated the recipe to reflect this!

  9. Emily says:

    5 stars
    Turned out wonderful! Thank you for the recipe!

    1. Huy @ Hungry Huy says:

      Thanks Emily!

  10. Belinda says:

    Besides the jalapeno, is this spicy?

    1. Huy @ Hungry Huy says:

      It’s not really spicy without that, good luck Belinda 🙂

  11. Tiffany says:

    5 stars
    I ordered some thit bo kho at this Vietnamese sandwich shop that’s a little out of the way to drive to back in the spring. The thit bo kho broth was a little thicker, kind of like curry. How do you get the broth to be like that? (I know most bo kho broths are watery but I actually prefer the thicker broth). Went back recently to order more bo kho but whoever made it did the watery broth.

    1. Huy @ Hungry Huy says:

      Hey Tiffany! You can get a thicker broth simply by reducing the water more by keeping it on a low boil. You’ll want to remove the meat whenever it reaches a softness you like, so it doesn’t keep cooking beyond that. Since the flavor will be more potent you’ll likely have to reduce all the seasonings slightly too.

  12. Andi Houston says:

    5 stars
    I made this with venison and it was absolutely delicious.

    1. Huy @ Hungry Huy says:

      Cool to hear, I haven’t tried the venison mod 🙂

  13. San says:

    5 stars
    Thank you for sharing the recipe !!! It was easy to follow and really simple yet packs so much flavor!! I am a terrible cook… but your recipe has given me hope ! I made this for the first time and I think it tastes amazing.. or so my husband says !! You da Bomb Huy!! 1000000% will subscribe !!

  14. Monica says:

    5 stars
    I absolutely love all of your recipes and I always refer them to people! Bun rieu, bun bo hue, and this are my go to! Thanks for sharing ◡̈!

5 from 58 votes (52 ratings without comment)

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