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Slow Cooker Tom Kha Soup (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)

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.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Thai
Keyword easy to make, make ahead, soup season
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 10 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 391kcal


  • Crockpot or similar slow cooker
  • Slotted spoon


  • half of one onion sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • half of one red jalapeño pepper sliced; or a couple Thai chiles, halved
  • 3 quarter-inch long slices galangal or ginger
  • 1 lemongrass stalk pounded with the side of a knife, cut into 2-inch long pieces
  • 10 lime leaves torn, optional
  • 1 tablespoon red Thai curry paste
  • 4 cups chicken broth see Notes
  • 2 13.5-ounce cans full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream
  • 2 small chicken breasts approximately 1 pound, cut into bite-sized pieces; see Notes for alternatives
  • 8 ounces white mushroom caps sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons brown sugar or coconut sugar, see Notes
  • 2-3 tablespoons fish sauce plus more to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2-3 green onions thinly sliced
  • chopped fresh cilantro for garnish


  • Add onion, garlic, jalapeño or chile, galangal or ginger, lemongrass, red curry paste, and chicken broth to slow cooker. Stir to incorporate, then cover slow cooker with lid.
  • Cook on high heat for 2 to 3 hours, or low heat for 4 to 6 hours. After cook time is up, use slotted spoon to remove all aromatics, leaving broth behind.
  • 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 sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice. Taste and add more of each ingredient as desired. Ladle soup into serving bowls and top with sliced green onions and fresh cilantro. Serve warm.


  • Shrimp Variation: Use 1 pound of raw shrimp instead of the chicken. Cook until shrimp is pink, slightly curled, and no longer translucent.
  • Make it Vegan/Vegetarian: Use vegetable broth or a vegan chicken broth. Sub chicken with 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 fish sauce, or use a vegan fish sauce.
  • Make it Whole30: Use compliant chicken broth. Replace brown or coconut sugar with 2 tablespoons coconut aminos and use a compliant fish sauce without sugar (the only one I know of is Red Boat Fish Sauce).


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 391kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 1162mg | Potassium: 805mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 485IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 5mg | Net Carbs: 13g