Tom Yum Soup is a popular hot and sour soup from Thailand that is loaded with herbs and spices and lots of shrimp simmered in a flavorful broth. Make it at home with this recipe. So easy to make!
We're cooking up a classic Thai dish in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen today, my friends. If you're a spicy food lover who enjoys soup, this is one you'll want to have in your recipe collection.
It is called Tom Yum Soup, and it is the perfect blend of flavors to please the spicy food lover's palate.
Authentic Tom Yum Soup is a well known hot and sour soup from Thailand made with lots of spices and herbs, and plenty of spicy chili peppers. It is usually made with shrimp, though pork is also a popular option. It is essentially a broth soup, the broth simmered with ingredients like smashed Thai peppers, kaffir lime, lemongrass and more.
You may also see it called Tom Yam, Tom Yum Goong (the clear version of the soup) or Tom Yum Khon (a creamier version).
I love it for it's flavor and spiciness, but also because it is very easy to make. You can have a steaming bowl of Tom Yum Soup on the table in under 30 minutes, and that's great for busy people who don't want to compromise great flavor for something quick.
Let's talk about how we make Tom Yum Soup, shall we?
Tom Yum Soup Ingredients
- Chicken stock (or use shrimp stock) - See the recipe tips and notes section below on how to make your own shrimp stock.
- Thai chili peppers - or use any spicy pepper available to you.
- Fish sauce
- Nam prik pao (Thai chili paste) - sub in other chili pastes as needed.
- Chili oil - sub in vegetable oil or make your own chili oil.
- Lemongrass - fresh is great, but sub in a paste or use green onion with lemon zest.
- Kaffir lime leaves - kaffir lime is very unique. Skip if you'd like, or sub in cilantro with lime zest.
- Galangal - sub in ginger if you can't find galangal.
- Straw mushrooms - sub in other mushrooms to your preference.
- Lime juice
- For Garnish/Finish - Chopped fresh cilantro, fish sauce, chili oil, chili flakes
How to Make Tom Yum Soup - the Recipe Method
Make the Stock Soup Base. Add the chicken stock (or shrimp stock) to a large pot along with the peppers, fish sauce, chili paste, chili oil, lemongrass, galangal, garlic, and kaffir lime leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. You can simmer longer if you'd like to develop more flavor. Strain, if desired.
Mushrooms. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes.
Shrimp. Add the lime juice and shrimp. Simmer for 2 minutes, or until the shrimp is cooked through.
Serve. Serve into bowls and top with chopped fresh cilantro, a drizzle of fish sauce and chili oil, and chili flakes (if desired).
Boom! Done! Tom Yum Soup is ready to serve. It looks wonderful, doesn't it? I love to include extra peppers and seasonings in mine, as I do love it spicy, as you know. So easy to make, isn't it? And easy to customize to your own flavor preferences.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- The Chili Peppers. Use Thai peppers for this recipe if you can, though will achieve excellent results with other chili peppers. Go with heat levels of your choice, like spicy jalapeno, fiery serrano peppers or cayenne, or even extra hot peppers like habaneros, 7 pot peppers or ghost peppers for some real heat.
- The Stock. You can make this recipe more quickly with store bought stocks, like chicken stock, shrimp stock or seafood stock and vegetable broth or stock. I often make my own stocks and freeze them for later use. You'll definitely get more flavor from a homemade stock.
- Make Your Own Shrimp Stock. If you'd like to make your own shrimp stock for this recipe, start with shell on shrimp, preferably with the shrimp heads. Peel the shrimp, then add the shells and the shrimp heads to a pot with 4 cups of water. Add in lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, smashed ginger or galangal and garlic, shallot and Thai chilies. Bring to a boil then simmer at least 10 minutes to let the flavors develop. 1 hour or longer is better. Strain, then use to make your Tom Yum Soup! So delicious. The soup is more authentic this way.
- Other Ingredients. You can use other flavors to your preference. I have seen this recipe made with soy sauce, bay leaves, cherry tomatoes to finish, sugar or brown sugar, honey and more.
- Creamy Version. You can make more of a creamy version of Tom Yum Soup, called Tom Yum Nam Khon, by adding evaporated milk or coconut milk to the soup base.
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy this amazing Tom Yum Soup recipe. Let me know if you make it. I'd love to hear how it turned out for you. Keep it spicy!
If you enjoy cooking Thai and other Asian food, I recommend this book for a lot of easy and iconic recipes. I'm learning a lot from it.
- 101 Asian Dishes You Need to Cook Before You Die: Discover a New World of Flavors in Authentic Recipes - by Chef Jet Tila
Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes
- Thai Shrimp Curry
- Spicy Thai Curry Chicken Soup
- Coconut Chicken Curry
- Khao Soi – Northern Thai Coconut Curry Soup
- Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao)
- Spicy Ramen Noodles
- Hot and Sour Soup
- Check out all of my Soup Recipes
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Tom Yum Soup Recipe
- 4 cups chicken stock or use shrimp stock
- 4 Thai chili peppers or use any spicy pepper available to you - see recipe notes
- 4 tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons Thai chili paste nam prik pao
- 1 tablespoon chili oil
- 3 lemongrass stalks chopped and smashed
- 3 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 garlic cloves smashed
- 1 teaspoon fresh chopped galangal
- 15 ounces straw mushrooms I used canned, drained, but you can use fresh
- 12 medium shrimp peeled and deveined
- Juice from 1 small lime
- For Garnish/Finish: Chopped fresh cilantro fish sauce, chili oil, chili flakes
- Add the chicken stock (or shrimp stock) to a large pot along with the peppers, fish sauce, chili paste, chili oil, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, garlic and galangal. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. You can simmer longer if you'd like to develop more flavor. Strain, if desired.
- Add the mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the shrimp and lime juice. Simmer for 2 minutes, or until the shrimp is cooked through.
- Serve into bowls and top with chopped fresh cilantro, a drizzle of fish sauce and chili oil, and chili flakes (if desired).