Our Thai coconut chicken soup is a hearty comforting chicken soup recipe that's a great alternative to the classic chicken noodle.
It's a Tom Kha Gai variation that's a coconut milk based with red curry that's also gluten free, Whole30, paleo, and keto too.
What is Tom Kha Soup?
You can call this a Thai coconut soup, Thai curry soup, Tom Kha, or even Tom Kha Gai, but regardless of how you know it...it's downright delicious!
By chance you haven't yet tried this popular soup recipe, Tom Kha Gai is a Thai coconut chicken soup with vegetables, lemongrass, and other Thai seasonings. Think of it like the Thai version of comforting chicken soup.
The traditional Thai curry soup includes galangal root, which is an ingredient used in traditional cooking, this isn't easy to find for many parts of the U.S. so we've made some swaps to get as close to an authentic flavor as possible at home.
It doesn't traditionally add curry paste, we add it to almost all homemade Thai recipes since it's one of our favorite flavors, plus it gives it a little punch since we're a household of spice lovers.
Why This Recipe Works
When you're craving a comfort food soup but want something a little different than that usual, or possibly because you're avoiding gluten or dairy, Thai coconut chicken soup is just what the Dr ordered!
We are not claiming this to be a Thai authentic Tom Kha Gai recipe like you'd find in Thailand or even at your local restaurant, we've adapted it slightly for American home cooks with ingredients that are easier to find.
During the winter or when one of us at home are a little under the weather, this Thai chicken soup is ALWAYS our preference over classic chicken noodle.
- All natural ingredients means this recipe is super healthy and works for most diet and food restrictions.
- You can eat your favorite Thai coconut chicken soup whenever you want it and don't need to get take-out.
- Easy to find substitutions makes this a great option for the home cook.
- It's easy to adapt by changing up the type of protein, curry, or veggies.
The full ingredient list for Thai coconut chicken soup is at the bottom of the post in the recipe card, here's a handful of ingredient notes and tips before heading to the grocery store.
While at first glance it might seem like there's a long ingredient list, many of these are Thai inspired recipe basics you'll use for many other purposes if you love Thai or Asian recipes. The combo will give you a mouthwatering blend of flavors you won't want to miss from a Thai curry soup recipe.
- chicken breast
- mushrooms- shitake, crimini, button, or a mix works well
- coconut milk - this is the canned coconut milk, NOT coconut beverage.
- coconut oil
- chicken broth
- red onion
- lime - fresh is always best, please don't use a lime concentrate
- lemon grass- you can find it with the fresh herbs at many grocery stores or in the fresh Asian section.
- Thai curry paste - we used red, green would be a good substitute, or you could even skip it if you're going for more of a traditional tom kha gai recipe.
- fish sauce - read the labels to make sure it's gluten free, if that's of concern
- ginger - we love frozen minced ginger from Trader Joes, mincing fresh works well too. Just peel the root before mincing.
- sweetener- we used monk fruit to keep it low carb and sugar free, you can also use honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar
- basics - salt, pepper, minced garlic
Instead of chicken, why not try shrimp? To make this a vegan option, use vegetable broth and tofu.
If you'd prefer not to have a spicy Thai soup, cut back on the curry or eliminate it completely. Likewise, to increase the spice, add even more.
Step by Step Instructions
Prep all of the ingredients before you get started, Thai coconut chicken soup cooks so quickly, in under 20 minutes, it's best to have all of the chopping, slicing, and dicing done in advance.
Smash the lemongrass with a kitchen mallet to help release it's flavor during cooking.
In a large pot over medium heat, heat the coconut oil.
Add the sliced onions, minced garlic, minced ginger, red chili paste, and lemon grass piece.
Cook until the onion is soft, which will take about 5 minutes
Turn the burner up to medium-high, Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Turn it back down to medium heat once it reaches a boil.
Add the coconut milk, coconut cream, diced raw chicken, and mushrooms. Simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, which will take about 6-7 minutes.
Turn the heat off and mix in the fish sauce, lime juice, and sweetener.
Remove the lemon grass stalk before serving.
Garnish and Serve
Terrific garnishes for Thai coconut chicken soup include cilantro, Thai basil, lime slices, Thai hot peppers, or jalapeno slices.
- Use less curry paste if you prefer a very mild soup, likewise, you can add even more to kick up the heat.
- We used both a can of coconut milk AND a partial can of coconut CREAM. To cut back the fat you can skip the coconut cream, but it does add a lot of extra flavor. If you can't find coconut cream at your store, buy 2 cans of coconut milk and scrape the hardened cream layer off of the top and use that (since that's technically the coconut cream).
- This is a very easy soup to make substitutions, as long as you have the basic Thai ingredients on hand. Feel free to swap the veggies or use a different type of protein.
- If you have pre-cooked chicken on hand instead of raw, add it at the very end and just simmer the soup until the chicken is heated, which should just take 2-3 minutes.
Can This Soup be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze our Thai soup recipe, it doesn't contain any ingredients that doesn't do well frozen and then reheated. Coconut curry chicken soup will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
What to Serve with Thai coconut curry soup?
Easy sides to consider would be rice, a cold cucumber salad, green salad with an Asian dressing, or a Thai noodle dish.
Can I double the recipe?
If you have a large stockpot or Dutch Oven, this is a great soup to freeze for later or just to eat off of for up to 4-5 days when kept in the fridge.
More Chicken Soup Recipes
Looking for more soup recipes? Try our favorite chicken soups!
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Soup
- Chicken Pozole
- Chicken Soup with Zucchini Noodles
- Pressure Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup
- Instant Pot Chicken Stew (Cuban)