This slow cooker version of my best-ever tom kha soup recipe (or Thai coconut chicken soup) is absolutely perfect… and made to be easier than ever! Light, yet filling and full of tangy flavor, it’s the best tom kha gai recipe I’ve ever made or tried and is so creamy, easy, and delicious.
What Makes Slow Cooker Tom Kha Gai So Good
- This recipe is based on my Best Ever Tom Kha Gai Soup, which is one of my most popular recipes for a reason. It’s creamy, yet light, tangy, yet sweet. It’s the perfect soup when it’s getting cooler outside (or just downright cold), or when you’re craving spicy Thai goodness. And it’s soooo good.
- Slow cooker Tom Kha Gai is full of delicious ingredients. And sure, I’ll admit, this soup was already easy… but the slow cooker makes it even easier! I really love slow cooker recipes. Just toss everything in and come back in a few hours to a delicious meal!
- This recipe can fit a variety of dietary needs! We’ve included specific dietary variations below, but you can adapt this slow cooker Tom Kha Gai to be Whole30-compliant, paleo, vegan, or vegetarian. You could also sub in shrimp for the chicken if you don’t eat poultry!
Key Ingredients for Slow Cooker Tom Kha Gai
Red Thai Curry Paste – Made from red chilis, this paste is a little sweet, spicy, and savory and adds a major punch of flavor to your Crockpot tom kha gai.
Lime Leaves – Kaffir lime leaves are traditional to Thai cooking and add a delicious citrus and floral aroma.
Galangal or Ginger – Galangal is citrusy, while ginger is sharp and spicy. If you can’t find galangal, ginger will work just fine.
Lemongrass – Citrusy and tangy, lemongrass gives the slow cooker tom kha gai a lemony, minty flavor.
Coconut Milk or Cream – Rich, sweet, and creamy, coconut milk or cream makes this tom kha light, filling, and full of flavor.
- If you’re vegan or on Whole30, sub the chicken broth with 2 more cans of full-fat coconut cream or coconut milk.
- For vegan or vegetarian slow cooker tom kha, sub out the 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.
- If you’re on Whole30, use 2 tablespoons of coconut aminos instead of coconut sugar. You’ll also want to make sure you use fish sauce that doesn’t have sugar. The only one I know of is Red Boat Fish Sauce.
- You can also 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).
- 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.
- Refrigerate any leftover slow cooker tom kha gai in an airtight container. It’ll keep up to a week (it usually disappears way faster than that at my house, though!).
- While the lime leaves are optional, I hiiiiighly recommend using them if you can! They add a ton of this incredible lime flavor to tom kha that’s slightly different than the flavor you get from lime juice alone. Just make sure not to actually serve the leaves – they’re tough and not pleasant to eat.
More Delicious Asian-Inspired Recipes to Try
- Tom Yum Soup
- Hibachi Steak with Fried Rice and Vegetables
- Tofu and Broccoli
- Delicious Baked Tofu
- Hibachi Chicken with Fried Rice and Vegetables
- 15 Minute Spicy Ramen
- Kung Pao Beef
- Keto Ramen
- Whole30 Sushi – Spicy Salmon Roll (Low Carb, Paleo, Keto Friendly)
- Keto Egg Drop Soup
- Beef Pad Thai
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Slow Cooker Tom Kha Soup (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)
- Slow cooker or Crockpot
- Slotted spoon
- ½ of one onion sliced
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- ½ of one red jalapeño pepper sliced, or a couple Thai chiles, halved
- 3 slices galangal or ginger quarter-inch long slices
- 1 lemongrass stalk pounded with the side of a knife and cut into 2-inch long pieces
- 10 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
- Add onion, garlic, jalapeño or chile, galangal or ginger, lemongrass, red curry paste, and chicken broth to slow cooker. Cover with lid.
- Cook on high heat for 2 to 3 hours, or low heat for 4 to 6 hours. After cook time is up, sieve out everything with a slotted spoon.
- Add in coconut cream or milk, chicken breast (or tofu or shrimp), and mushrooms. Cook on high heat 1 hour or low heat 2 hours, or until chicken breast pieces are cooked through. After cooking, add fish sauce and lime juice, plus more of each to taste. Ladle into serving bowls and top with sliced green onions and fresh cilantro.
- 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 fish sauce without sugar (the only one I know of is Red Boat Fish Sauce).
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Cheryl Malik is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind the healthy, flavorful, family friendly recipes at 40 Aprons. She’s been a blogger for 10+ years and is known for her delicious recipes and detailed recipe instructions. Cheryl is a mom of three who lives in Memphis, TN.