Need dinner in a hurry? Meet Photon Soup!  Wontons float in a fragrant Vietnamese Pho broth, made in just 15 minutes flat! This lifesaving soup is nourishing, healthy and warming and super speedy. Video!

PHOTON SOUP! Vietnamese Pho meets Wonton Soup - a fast and flavorful soup can be made in 15 minutes flat! Healing, nourishing and flavorful. | #pho #wontonsoup #wontons #soup #phosoup

I’ve been holding out on you. 😉

For the past few winters, I’ve been making this soup on nights when I’m feeling especially tired, worn out, hungry and in need of bone-warming sustenance in a great big hurry.  It’s a cross between Vietnamese Pho and Wonton Soup, hence the name, but what’s most extraordinary about this is … it can be made in 15 minutes flat. Try it!

What I love most about the Photon Soup is the flavorful, yet effortless broth. Chinese Five Spice gives the soup its flavor. Vietnam and China are neighbors and while visiting, it was impossible not to notice how their flavors would overlap, and how Five Spice was often used in Vietnamese cooking.

The Vietnamese Pho style broth is radically and unapologetically simplified for the sole purpose of speed. Call me shallow if you like. 😉 But you’ll find the simple broth has unexpected depth, all things considered. The wontons, admittedly, are store-bought, but true lifesavers during hunger emergencies, and I always try to have some in the freezer for backup.

Lightning Speed Photon Soup | 60-second video

PHOTON SOUP! Vietnamese Pho meets Wonton Soup - a fast and flavorful soup can be made in 15 minutes flat! Healing, nourishing and flavorful. | #pho #wontonsoup #wontons #soup #phosoup

What Wontons to use:

Homemade: Now of course you could make homemade wontons, with whatever filling you like and keep them in zip locks in the freezer, all ready to use. But that wouldn’t be Lightning Speed Photon Soup, would it? Your call!

Store-bought: Trader Joe’s has mini wontons which are little bite-sized versions, perfect for soup. They also have shrimp wontons, which I’m in love with. Asian markets have many varieties, including good vegetarian versions, so find one you like and stock it, because if you are like me, once you have this soup, you will crave it.


PHOTON SOUP! Vietnamese Pho meets Wonton Soup - a fast and flavorful soup can be made in 15 minutes flat! Healing, nourishing and flavorful. | #pho #wontonsoup #wontons #soup #phosoup

What stock to use:

Homemade: You can also make your own stock and freeze in quart-size mason jars, thawing as necessary. Beef, chicken or vegetable will work here.

Store-bought: Seek out organic stock or bone broth- beef has great flavor here, paired with the Chinese 5 Spice but veggie broth will work too!

The Key Ingredient:

Chinese Five Spice! Use store-bought or make your own Five Spice here!

Wonton Soup Meets Pho! a cross between Vietnamese Pho and Wonton Soup that can be made in 15 minutes flat! Healing, nourishing and flavorful. |

The Toppings:

Fresh jalapeño slices, basil, scallions, lime wedges and bean sprouts dress the soup when it’s done. But know that the soup is also pretty good without this, and often during a hunger crisis,  if these ingredients are not in the house, I make the soup anyway, with just the wontons, broth, chili sauce and lime, and call it good.

However, the toppings do seem to bring it to the next level.


You can improvise quite a bit here, adding mushrooms, greens, shredded cabbage, shredded Brussels sprouts, carrots, celery, or most any veggie to the soup as long as your soup base is flavorful and balanced. I often add a few heaping handfuls of chopped arugula, spinach or baby kale to “up” the nutrient level at the very end. (I call this having my salad in my soup.)

Give me a brothy soup any day of the week, and I’m content. Restoring, healing, and filling without being overly high in calories, my body feels nourished after eating this.

Have a happy weekend!


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Wonton Soup with Pho Broth

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 18 reviews


Vietnamese Pho meets Wonton Soup  (aka photon soup) a fast and flavorful soup can be made in 15 minutes flat! Healing, nourishing and flavorful.


Units Scale
  • 4 cups beef, chicken or veggie broth
  • 45 thin slices ginger (OK to leave peel on)
  • 12 rough chopped garlic cloves (optional)
  • 45 Scallions, sliced, divided into white parts and green parts (or sub very thinly sliced onion)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked pepper
  • 1214 mini wontons (or to your preference)
  • 2 cups greens – optional ( chopped kale, bok choy, arugula, mizuna)
  • Splash soy sauce
  • Splash fish sauce
  • generous pinch sugar
  • Garnishes: bean sprouts, lime wedges, jalapeno slices, fresh basil or cilantro, chopped greens, sriracha, hoisin sauce, sesame oil.


  1. Place stock, ginger, garlic, scallions (white parts only) 5 Spice, pepper into a medium pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Add frozen wontons and return to a boil. Simmer 5 minutes or according to directions on the package (perhaps longer for bigger ones). Add greens (optional) When wontons float, they should be done.
  3. Add the green scallions, soy sauce, fish sauce and sugar.
  4. Taste for salt. Adjust. The broth should taste flavorful and have depth, so adjust with soy sauce,fish sauce or salt, as necessary.
  5. Ladle into two large bowls and top with fresh bean spouts, a handful of herbs, thinly sliced jalapeño peppers. Stir in sriracha sauce and hoisin to taste.


  • Serving Size: 1 big bowl
  • Calories: 219
  • Sugar: 10.6 g
  • Sodium: 431.9 mg
  • Fat: 5.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 34.2 g
  • Fiber: 9.1 g
  • Protein: 13.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 14.8 mg

PHOTON SOUP! Vietnamese Pho meets Wonton Soup - a fast and flavorful soup can be made in 15 minutes flat! Healing, nourishing and flavorful. | #pho #wontonsoup #wontons #soup #phosoup


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  1. I’m working my way through your 40 Easy Recipes and loving it. This is another winner. So tasty and so easy. Thanks for all you do!

  2. I have missed my Asian soups since I moved away from Dallas and WOW, was this stunning! I never knew that even I could make something so delicious that tasted like my Thai and Chinese favorites that I used to have every week. Bless you for soothing my SOUL. I used your Chinese 5 spice recipe. Looking forward to trying many more of your recipes!

  3. This is AMAZING! I added a tiny bit of sesame oil to the broth and it really added a good flavor. Thank you so much for this recipe!

  4. Outstanding. I’ve made variations of this recepie 3 times over the past two months. Chicken broth, vegetable broth, with and without greens. Ive loved them all!

  5. Made this last night and loved it! Use chicken cilantro wontons from Trader Joe’s. My 3rd recipe I’ve made from this site and cant wait to make more! All have exceeded my expectations!

  6. Delightfully easy and delicious soup! We spooned the soup over spinach so it didn’t completely wilt and added shiitake mushrooms. And thankfully we doubled it so we have leftovers.

  7. Wonderful recipe, fast and easy. I adapted it to be gluten free, made chicken meatballs rolled in rice flour instead of wontons

  8. This was so great, so easy, and so fast! It was amazing how I was able to develop such a depth of flavor in such a short time with boxed vegetable broth! Thank you!

    1. Great to hear Luann! Thanks for the comment and rating and I’m so glad you enjoyed!xoxo

  9. This was a great dinner! The broth had a lot of flavor and it really was super fast and easy. I will be making this again.

  10. WOW! I made this for the first time last night, and WOW! I almost tripled the recipe and not a drop was left. Not a drop! I used Vegetable Better Than Bouillon for the base (its my fave), and my son who is a faux lover, said, “this was amazing.” Thank you!

  11. This is absolutely phenomenal Sylvia!!!! OMG I am just drooling!!! It looks light and airy and yet do uber comforting! YES!!! Pinned! So glad that I fell on your site. This is just gorgeous!!!

  12. Good evening Sylvia. What fish stock do you recommend? I have never cooked with fish stock and do not want to buy the wrong kind. Thank you for your time.

    1. Hi Rachel- I’m always trying different ones from the Asian market- but a couple good and grocery store – accessible ones are Red Boat and Thai Kitchen!

  13. HI, which broth did you use, chicken or beef when you cooked this one? do you have a beef broth recipe on your website please. thank you

    1. You can use either. For this recipe, because it’s a “quick recipe” I use store bought stock or broth.

  14. Hi – This looks fantastic. However, while I’ve seen Chinese Five Spice before, I’ve never used it. I’m checking online and see that they don’t all have the same 5 spices! My guess is the one with star anise, fennel, black pepper, cinnamon, and cloves is the ticket. Can you clarify that for me? THNAKS!

  15. Just wanted to share that I am enamored with your website. When I get your recipes in my inbox its a thrill. Photography is absolutely stunning as are you! Many thanks for all you share with us!!

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