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Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)

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Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.8 from 15 reviews
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x


Learn how to make Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup) with this delicious and easy recipe!


  • 2 stalks fresh lemongrass, tough outer layers removed
  • 2 tablespoons grated (or finely-chopped) fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice or 10 kaffir lime leaves*
  • 6 cups good-quality chicken stock
  • 4 green onions, thinly-sliced with the white and green parts separated
  • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 8 ounces white, shiitake, or oyster mushrooms (or you could use a combination of your favorites), sliced
  • 2 (13.5-ounce) cans coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 13 teaspoons coconut sugar, to taste (or use another favorite sweetener)
  • toppings: fresh cilantro, thinly-sliced Thai red chiles**, fresh lime wedges, etc.


  1. Using the back of a knife, lightly smash the lemongrass on a cutting board.  Cut the lemongrass into 1-inch pieces, and add to a large stockpot.
  2. Add lemongrass, ginger, fresh lime juice (or kaffir lime leaves), chicken broth, and the white parts of the green onions to the stockpot, and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Strain out the broth and discard the solids, then return the broth to the stockpot.
  3. Add cooked chicken, mushrooms, coconut milk, fish sauce, and sugar, and stir to combine.  Increase heat to medium-high until it reaches a simmer, then continue cooking for 1-2 more minutes until the mushrooms are cooked and softened, stirring occasionally.  Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed.
  4. Serve immediately, garnished liberally with your desired toppings and the green parts of the green onions.


*Kaffir limes offer a more complex/authentic flavor to this dish, but can be hard to find.  So if they’re unavailable at your local store, feel free to just use fresh lime juice.

**If you can’t find fresh chiles, you can sub in some hot chili oil or sriracha, or even some crushed red chile flakes.

***I also adding a few vegetables, such as thinly-sliced red bell peppers and split peas, to this soup for extra color and nutrition.  If you’d like to add these, just add them along with the chicken/mushrooms/etc., and let the soup continue to simmer until they’re cooked through.

Recipe slightly adapted from Bon Appetit.

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71 comments on “Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)”

  1. I’ve never had this soup before. Looks yummy. Would be glad to taste test when we visit.

  2. please include nutritional info with recipes.

    • Hi Elaine! We’re sorry but we are unsure of the nutrition facts/amount of calories in this recipe. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!

  3. This sounds perfect for the upcoming chilly, rainy weekend we’re about to have in Louisville! 

    • Yes! We think it’s especially amazing while consumed in a warm, dry home, while it’s cold and rainy out! :)

  4. Yum! This is one of my favorite soups and it really is SO easy to make. One tip — my Asian market only sells frozen lemongrass which is actually great because I have a big frozen wad of it that I can use as I need it without lots of trips to the not-so-close market.

  5. What asian grocery store do you go to in KC?  My husband and I just got back from our honeymoon in Thailand and are anxious to recreate some of our favorite dishes like this one!

  6. This recipe is so fresh and tasty! It totally reminds me of summer!

  7. Thai food is normally so intimidating to try and make, but I actually recognize all of these ingredients… You make it look so easy!  You’ve encouraged me to try my hand at this cuisine instead of always ordering takeout. :)

  8. Oh, this is so beautiful! Love Thai soups like this. Your tip for straining the broth is a great one…sometimes, no matter how fine you chop lemongrass…even those soft inner leaves…there’s a bit of a texture issue.  Looking forward to making this!

  9. In the recipe you have: “Strain out the broth and discard the solids, then reduce the broth to the stockpot.”

    Should I strain the broth, return it to the stockpot, and then reduce it? 

    Making this tonight! It looks fantastic. Thanks!

  10. This looks so yummy. I want to try this recipe out, thanks for the post. 

    • Thanks Max! We hope you’ll get a chance to try it and that you enjoy! :)

  11. Oh my this looks so delicious and it’s really perfect for all seasons if you ask me. You can kick it up in the winter with extra spice

  12. I was so excited to see this and can’t wait to try this. I went to Thailand and Southeast Asia a year ago and the food was sooo spicy but absolutely incredible.  Going to get the ingredients so I can make this! It’s going to take me down memory lane :)

    • Very cool Maryann! We hope you love this and that it reminds you of your trip! :)

  13. I can’t wait to try this! Could you cook the chicken in the broth before you strain it??

  14. This soup looks so yummy! However, I’m not a fan of fish sauce; is it absolutely necessary??? Can you recommend a substitute?

  15. Thank you SO much for the delicious recipe. As far as I am concerned, keep these tasty Thai recipes coming. Love you blog.

    • Thanks Jan — we’re so happy you enjoyed this! Thanks for your sweet words. :D

  16. OMG made this soup last night. I absolutely love it! Got leftovers for lunch. 

  17. Looks yummy

  18. This was absolutely fantastic. I am so proud of myself for making such a yummy soup! The flavor does not shout at you but is delicate and delish. I will definitely be making this again!

  19. I’ve been looking for a good Tom Kha Gai recipe (thanks Google)… This looks great, can’t wait to try it! 

  20. I love soup, and I love Thai food, but for some reason I had never tried tom kha gai until a month or so ago, and it knocked my socks off. Unfortunately I had it on vacation, and local restaurants’ versions didn’t live up to that first experience. Another recipe I looked at called for ingredients like kaffir lime leaves and galangal that were either costly or unavailable. I’ve had luck with your recipes before, and I did this time, too! I will definitely be making this again!

    • Awesome, I’m so glad to hear it! And yes, those are two classic ingredients, but I left them out specifically for that reason — so hard to find! :(

  21. This looks like the perfect recipe for this time of year. Great thai recipe, thanks for the share!

  22. How would this freeze? I LOVE tom kha gai and all things Thai, but my husband doesn’t. Not even a bit. If I make this I wouldn’t finish the recipe myself. Typically, creamy things don’t freeze well…

    Let me know what you think!

  23. Awhile ago I got a similar recipe from a friend but I never ended up making it because I am put off by the fish sauce. I am not a seafood fan so I really don’t want to buy a bottle of fish sauce. I could taste it in my friends soup and figured I would just leave it out but she thinks it’s a critical ingredient. Has anyone tried the soup without the fish sauce?  Thx!!!

    • Hi Kim! You could totally use soy sauce in place of the fish sauce. We hope you enjoy!

  24. If I have dried lemongrass instead of fresh, how much dried would you substitute for the fresh?

  25. This was sooo good!! Thank you for the recipe!

  26. This is probably my favourite Thai soup. I’ve made it a couple of times and I get it almost everytime I go out for Thai. I would totally suggest adding galangal to the broth too, it gives it an amazing flavour!

  27. Really delicious and authentic — thank you for the recipe! I halved it since it’s just me, used light coconut milk (resulted in thinner consistency but still fabulous flavor) and added a roughly chopped clove of garlic to the broth. Also added the green onion tops with the mushrooms to infuse with more flavor. Thinly sliced red bell peppers were a great add suggestion. I sympathize with others who dislike fish sauce, but added since I had it on hand and didn’t detect any “fishiness.” Will definitely make this again!

  28. Turned out perfect! I used regular white mushrooms but still amazing!

  29. This is the best recipe for this soup! It’s restaurant grade.

  30. Overall pretty good, but would definitely add some spicy peppers next time. I also added baby red peppers bc it was what I had on hand. I feel like the ginger overpowered the lemongrass, so would do less ginger next time.

  31. Super easy, and super good….! Always love my Tom ka gai soup with a scoop of rice! I like regular mushrooms instead of shiitake and add jalapeno. Will add baby corn too next time.

  32. Could you make this in a crock pot?

  33. This is spot on for authentic flavor! It’s also easy and Ali gives good substitutes. The lemongrass in my store was basically rotted so I substituted juice from one lemon and it seems to have worked. Also added a little Korean chili paste and it’s very good.

    • So this is one of my favorite things to make, now. We like to use cubed chicken breasts and oyster mushrooms, but oyster mushrooms are a bit tough if they’re added in at the end. So I cook the chicken breast chunks, pull them out of the pot, and cook down the oyster mushrooms in the remaining chicken juices until they’re tender and the pot is nearly dry. Then I’ll add a tiny bit of garlic oil and some julienned red peppers, and saute it all until the peppers are just al dente. Then I pull it all aside with the chicken, and start the soup as the recipe describes. I do add a spoonful of chili paste as well, since we like our Thai spicy.

  34. This Soup was phenomenal… I’ve made it several times now, it’s quickly became one of our staple recipes! Thanks so much Ali

  35. Phenomenal!!
    And since the recipe yield is more than enough for me by myself, I’m enjoying the stock of several cardboard cups I take from my freezer and into the MV for 5 minutes/cup.
    I’m thrilled with how it came out, in spite of not watching the how-to video before making it… which suggested an order of adding ingredients.

  36. This was soooo good~ and much healthier than my friend’s suggested version. Thank you <3

  37. I’ve made this soup from other recipes but this is my favorite. The best Tom Kha Gai that I ever had was when we were stuck in Cedar City Utah with a truck breakdown. Lucky us! The delivery of a needed truck part kept us there for two days, allowing us to wander into the best Thai restaurant ever. The Tom Kha Gai at that place ruined me for any other versions…until now. I made the recipe with few additions, some red pepper strips for flavor and color and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Yum!

  38. Authentic tasting. although to avoid losing the finely chopped green onions, I added those after the lemon grass and ginger pieces were strained out. Next time around I divided the recipe by half and made a couple of adjustments to save time while preserving flavors. Because fresh lemongrass is hard to find here, I bought a tube containing a ground paste of lemongrass and also one of ginger root; both dissolved nicely into the soup so no straining step was needed. (Gourmet Garden was sourced from a chilled display in Publix produce department). 1 Tbsp = the amounts listed in the recipe, to my taste anyway. I also added 1 Tbsp of red chili paste for some kick, we enjoy a little spice in our Thai.

    Today I had some cooked chicken and a cup of sauteed mushrooms from dinner last night — a perfect fit for Tom Ka Gai ingredients already in my fridge and pantry. In 15 minutes there was a one pot meal ready on the stove. – Delicious!

  39. This is my favorite soup to order at a local Thai restaurant. Absolutely the best copy cat recipe I have tried. I would like to note that I did add a smidge more lime juice than what the recipe required…. I would say I used a total of 1/2 cup. With the first 1/4th being added in the beginning and the remainder at the end to add a bit more depth to flavor. Great job duplicating this recipe!

  40. Amazing!! It tastes just like the restaurant!! You’re one of my fave food blogs; I always create great meals when I follow your recipes :)

  41. Hello,
    I thoroughly enjoy all your recipes!
    The word “Kha” means galangal. Gai translates to “chicken, and Tom means “cooked”. Chicken cooked with galangal.
    Galangal can be found at most Asian markets & similar to ginger in looks, but not even close in flavor. Galangal can be frozen and taken out and sliced when needed. Comparing the two: ginger is a much more harsh flavor where galangal is a smooth almost flowery flavor with fresh pine undertones. It’s like comparing a regular roasted peanut to pine nuts. Total unique flavor. Your recipe is just one ingredient from being authentic.

  42. The presentation of your version of the soup is nice. But please don’t call it classic. Tom Kha again is traditionally made with Galangal, not ginger. It’s not the same at all. Also you didn’t add Kaffir lime leaf which is also important in this dish. I understand if you don’t have access to these ingredients, it’s hard for me to get them as well. I would probably enjoy your version but please don’t confuse people by saying your version is classic. No shade here, keep doing what you’re doing ?

  43. I added 2 tsp thai red curry sauce and thinly sliced red bell peppers….it was deilcious

  44. A perfect lunch for a rainy Sunday. I am lucky to have access to all of the ingredients, so I followed the recipe exactly. When I make it again I will include some of your suggested additions—red bell pepper and peas. The broth is delicious, and I am interested to see what the leftovers are like. I am secretly hoping this is one of those soups that takes better the second day!

  45. Finally, a copycat recipe that tastes just like the real thing with no changes! I’ve been dying for some of this but eating keto, so I didn’t want to get it from a restaurant not knowing what’s in it. I made this one using xylitol instead of the palm sugar and it’s PERFECT. I can’t stop eating it!!

  46. Haven’t made it yet, but I’m looking forward to it.