My best-ever tom kha soup recipe is already perfect, but it’s even better when it’s made in the Instant Pot! Rich, creamy, and full of incredible flavors, this Thai coconut chicken soup recipe is easy and delicious. Easily make it Whole30, paleo, or vegan, too.
What Makes This Soup So Good
- If you’ve tried my Best Ever Tom Kha Gai Soup, then you totally understand why it’s one of my most popular recipes. It’s light and filling, creamy and rich, tangy and sweet.
- Making tom kha soup in the Instant Pot is the fastest way to get this delicious dish on the table. Our slow cooker version is super easy, but you’ll need 5 hours minimum to make it. The Instant Pot shaves an extra 15 minutes off the classic stove-top version, so you’ll have a giant batch of Thai coconut chicken soup in basically 30 minutes.
- This recipe can fit a variety of dietary needs! You can adapt this recipe to be Whole30-compliant, paleo, vegan, or vegetarian. Want a seafood version? Use shrimp instead of chicken!
Red Thai Curry Paste – The secret ingredient to the best tom kha soup, whatever method you use to make it. It’s a little sweet, a little spicy, and a little savory, and it gives the soup SO much flavor.
Lime Leaves – Kaffir lime leaves are optional, but I highly, highly recommend using them! They add SO MUCH flavor to tom kha gai, and it’s a little different than the flavor you get just from using lime juice.
Coconut Milk or Cream – The creaminess of tom kha soup comes in here. Be sure to use coconut milk or coconut cream. Coco lopez/coconut creamer are not the same and won’t work here!
- Leftover Instant Pot tom kha gai will keep up to a week. Just refrigerate it in an airtight container!
- Lemongrass is popping up more and more in grocery store produce sections. If you can’t find it fresh at your store then minced, refrigerated lemongrass will also work.
- Instant Pot tom kha soup can be tweaked to your palate, so make any adjustments you need or want to! Add more sugar for sweetness, more lime juice for tartness, or more fish sauce for saltiness. Serve it with fresh limes, add more mushrooms, or skip the cilantro.
You’ll Love These Instant Pot Recipes, Too
- Instant Pot White Chicken Chili
- Instant Pot Risotto with Parmesan and White Wine
- Dreamy Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
- Instant Pot Lasagna
- Instant Pot Chicken Stock
- Easy Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Soup
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ½ of one onion sliced
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- ½ of one red jalapeño pepper sliced, or a couple Thai chiles, halved
- 3 ¼-inch slices galangal or ginger
- 1 stalk lemongrass pounded with the side of a knife and cut into 2-inch long pieces
- 10 kaffir lime leaves torn, optional
- 1 tablespoon red Thai curry paste
- 4 cups chicken broth see Notes for vegan or Whole30
- 2 13.5-ounce cans full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream
- 2 chicken breasts about 1 pound, cut into bite-sized pieces; see Notes for vegan or to use shrimp
- 8 ounces white mushroom caps sliced
- 2-3 tablespoons brown or coconut sugar see Notes for Whole30
- 2-3 tablespoons fish sauce plus more to taste
- 2-3 tablespoons lime juice fresh
- 2-3 green onions sliced thin
- cilantro fresh, chopped, for garnish
- Instant Pot
- Silicone spatula or wooden spoon
- Slotted spoon
- Set Instant Pot to Sauté mode. Add coconut oil and heat over medium heat. When oil is hot, add onion, garlic, jalapeño, galangal (or ginger), lemongrass, lime leaves, and red curry paste. Stir frequently, cooking for 5 minutes or until onions are softened.
- Pour in chicken broth and stir. Secure lid on Instant Pot with vent in sealing position. Set to cook 5 minutes on Manual High Pressure.
- When 5 minute cook time is up, carefully Quick Release pressure and remove lid. Set Instant Pot back to Sauté mode. Use slotted spoon to strain out garlic, onions, lemongrass, lime leaves, and galangal. Discard aromatics.
- Add in coconut milk, chicken breasts, mushrooms, fish sauce, coconut sugar, and lime juice. Simmer in Sauté mode until chicken is just cooked through.
- Taste soup and adjust as desired. Add more sugar for sweetness, more lime juice for tartness, or more fish sauce for saltiness. Ladle soup into serving bowls and top with sliced green onions and fresh cilantro. Serve warm.
- Be sure to use coconut cream or coconut milk. Coco lopez and coconut creamer are not the same as coconut cream/coconut milk and will not work in this recipe.
- To use shrimp instead of chicken: Add 1 pound of raw shrimp instead of the chicken and heat until it’s cooked through (it’ll be pink and no longer translucent).
- Make it Vegan/Vegetarian: Use 2 additional cans full-fat coconut cream or coconut milk instead of chicken broth. Sub chicken with tofu. Use a 1-pound block of firm or extra firm (can be regular or silken) tofu cut into cubes. Use soy sauce to taste instead of using fish sauce.
- Make it Whole30: Use 2 additional cans full-fat coconut cream or coconut milk instead of chicken broth. Use 2 tablespoons of coconut aminos instead of coconut sugar and use fish sauce without sugar (the only one I know of is Red Boat Fish Sauce).
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.