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An overhead shot of two black bowls of the best tom kha gai Thai chicken coconut soup with limes, lemongrass, chiles, cilantro, and chicken in a coconut broth

Best Ever Tom Kha Gai - Thai Coconut Soup

This tom kha soup (Thai coconut soup) is absolutely perfect. Rich and creamy yet tangy and salty, this Thai soup is filling but light and positively bursting with flavor. The very best recipe I've ever made or tried. Whole30, paleo, and vegan options offered.

Course Main Course, Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine Thai
Keyword coconut, soup, thai
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 bowls
Calories 668 kcal


  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1/2 onion sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1/2 red jalapeno pepper sliced, or a couple Thai chiles, halved
  • 3 quarter-inch slices slices galangal or ginger
  • 1 lemongrass stalk pounded with the side of a knife and cut into 2-inch long pieces
  • 2 teaspoons red Thai curry paste
  • 4 cups chicken broth see Note 1 if vegan or on Whole30
  • 4 cups canned coconut cream or coconut milk
  • 2 medium chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces, see Note 2 for vegan/vegetarian or to use shrimp
  • 8 oz. white mushroom caps sliced
  • 1-2 Tbsp. coconut sugar if on Whole30, see Note 3
  • 1 1/2 - 2 Tbsp. fish sauce plus more to taste, see Note 4 if on Whole30 or vegan
  • 2-3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2-3 green onions sliced thin
  • fresh cilantro chopped, for garnish

Wine Pairing


  1. In a medium pot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeno or chile, galangal or ginger, lemongrass, and red curry paste and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until onions are softened. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce head and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.

    Sauté aromatics then add chicken stock and simmer
  2. Strain out the aromatics (the garlic, onions, lemongrass, and ginger) and discard. Add in coconut cream or milk, chicken breast (or tofu or shrimp), and mushrooms. Simmer until chicken breast pieces are just cooked through, then add fish sauce, coconut aminos, and lime juice, plus more of each to taste. 

    Simmer chicken, mushrooms, and coconut milk
  3. Cook 2 minutes, then ladle into serving bowls and top with sliced green onions and fresh cilantro.

    Ladle into serving bowls and garnish

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1
If on a Whole30, make sure your chicken broth is Whole30 compliant. If vegan, use vegetable stock, preferably an Asian variety.

Note 2
If vegan or vegetarian, use a 1-pound block of firm or extra firm tofu cut into bite-sized cubes. You can use regular or silken. To use shrimp, simply stir in 1 pound of raw shrimp instead of chicken. Simmer until just cooked through, pink, and no longer translucent. 

Note 3
If on Whole30, use 2 tablespoons coconut aminos instead of coconut sugar.

Note 4
If you're on a Whole30, use Red Boat Fish Sauce. This is the only fish sauce I know of that does not include sugar. If vegan, use soy sauce to taste instead of fish sauce.

Wine Pairing

Try a lighter white or rosé here. I recommend:

Nutrition Facts
Best Ever Tom Kha Gai - Thai Coconut Soup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 668 Calories from Fat 540
% Daily Value*
Fat 60g92%
Saturated Fat 51g319%
Cholesterol 48mg16%
Sodium 975mg42%
Potassium 1081mg31%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 24g48%
Vitamin A 335IU7%
Vitamin C 22.2mg27%
Calcium 40mg4%
Iron 4.6mg26%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.