Traditional & Comforting Thai Coconut Soup Recipe (Tom Kha Gai)

May 13, 2020

5 from 11 votes
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This traditional Thai Coconut Soup Recipe (Tom Kha Gai) is always on my Thai takeout order. However, it is incredibly easy to make at home and I have to admit, my recipe is better than most of the Thai Coconut (Tom Kha Gai ) soups I’ve tried at restaurants. I really enjoy creating this recipe in the Instant Pot as pressure cooking often enhances the flavors of your soups and also makes the chicken nice and tender. With Tom Kha Gai, letting the flavors seep into the broth is key. If you do not own an Instant Pot, you can also use a slow cooker for 6 hours or simmer on the stove for 45 minutes to an hour.




I’ve always found this soup to be incredibly comforting, even more so than chicken noodle soup. It can also be made with or without coconut milk, by substituting the coconut milk for more chicken broth. Tom Kha Gai is Thai soup with coconut milk and Tom Yum Gai is Thai Soup without the coconut milk often referred to as Sweet and Sour Soup.

Thai Coconut Soup or Tom Kha Gai, is traditionally made with chicken, but you can also make this recipe with shrimp. If you decide to use shrimp just be sure to add the shrimp at the very end. Shrimp only takes about 5 – 10 minutes to cook and most shrimp already comes pre-cooked so it just needs to be reheated. When I cook with shrimp, I add it at the very end when I add the coconut milk.


Thai Coconut Soup Recipe


Thai Coconut Soup Recipe ( Tom Kha Gai) Ingredients

My Thai Coconut Soup Recipe uses a handful of traditional Thai ingredients which are great to have on hand for making Thai soups, curry, and pad thai.

  • Chicken Breast, Mushrooms, and Peas (you can also add other vegetables like broccoli)
  • Chicken Broth & (Light) Coconut Milk
  • Red Curry Paste
  • Fish Sauce (yes fish sauce, don’t be afraid!)
  • Fresh Lemongrass and Lemongrass Paste
  • Chili Garlic Sauce ( A must-have ingredient for all of my Asian cuisine recipes)
  • Fresh Garlic & Ginger
  • Lime & Cilantro (you’ll find that most Thai dishes are garnished with fresh lime and cilantro)


As I mentioned earlier, this recipe is so incredibly simple to make. You will first saute your garlic and grated ginger with butter or coconut oil in the instant pot. Then add your chicken and saute for another 1-2 minutes (the chicken does not need to be browned or cooked all the way). Then in a separate bowl mix your red curry paste, fish sauce, lime juice, chili garlic sauce, and lemongrass paste.  Then add this to the instant pot along with your chicken broth, fresh ginger, and lemongrass slices. Turn off your saute setting and pressure cook on high for 20 minutes.

Once your soup is done pressure cooking you will want to turn your Instant Pot completely off. Then add your Coconut Milk, thinly sliced mushrooms, frozen organic peas, cilantro, and green onions. If you are adding broccoli, you’ll want to turn on the saute setting to light, add your broccoli and saute until the broccoli is tender. Then turn off your Instant Pot and let it cool slightly before adding the Coconut Milk and other ingredients. Remember not to add coconut milk to boiling broth so it does not curdle.




How to Adjust and Personalize This Thai Coconut Soup Recipe (Tom Kha Gai)


  • Skip The Coconut Milk: If you want to reduce the calories even further or avoid using coconut milk, you can simply omit it and add extra chicken broth instead. This is how you would make the equally popular Tom Yum Gai soup.
  • Add Some Extra Spice: I don’t make my dishes very spicey, but if you want a little more heat, just add more Chili Garlic Sauce
  • Add Additional Ingredients: Other ingredients you can add include tofu, shrimp, Julien carrots, broccoli, and different types of mushrooms.


I always garnish this dish with fresh cilantro and serve it with freshly sliced limes on the side. This can be eaten alone or with Jasmine Rice or Brown Rice Medley.



Chicken Thai Coconut Soup Recipe (Tom Kha Gai) for the Instant Pot

This traditional Thai Coconut Soup recipe, also known as Tom Kha Gai is incredibly easy to make in the Instant Pot. You can also make this in a slow cooker or stove top. This is a fantastic low calorie, low carb soup you can serve for dinner or along with another dish. I find this soup especially comforting and wonderful for fighting colds.
5 from 11 votes
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Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Servings4 servings
Diet :
Traditional & Comforting Thai Coconut Soup Recipe (Tom Kha Gai) 1
Gluten Free
icon low calorie
Low Calorie
Traditional & Comforting Thai Coconut Soup Recipe (Tom Kha Gai) 2
Low Carb


  • 1 lb Chicken Breasts 2 whole breasts sliced into 1" pieces
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup peas frozen organic
  • 1 quart chicken broth 1 large carton
  • 17 oz light coconut milk 2 cans
  • 1 tbsp butter or coconut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/4 cup ginger sliced
  • 1 tbs ginger fresh grated
  • 1/2 cup lemongrass sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tsp lemongrass paste
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 tsp red curry paste
  • 1/2 tsp garlic chili sauce
  • 2 tbsp lime juice fresh
  • 1/2 tsp salt pink himalayan
  • 1/2 cup cilantro fresh
  • 1/4 cup green onions


  • In a separate bowl mix your chicken fish sauce, garlic chili, red curry paste, lemongrass paste, lime juice and set to the side.
    Then turn your Instant Pot onto the saute feature "more" and once heated, add your butter or coconut oil. Then add your garlic and grated ginger. Saute for 1-2 minutes and then add your chicken and saute an additional 1-2 minutes.
    Next, add your chicken broth, sauce that was set to the side, sliced ginger, and sliced lemongrass. Turn off the saute feature and turn the Instant Pot to pressure cook on high for 20 minutes.
    Once finished, quick release your steam and turn the Instant Pot completely off. Then add your coconut milk, mushrooms, peas, cilantro and green onions.
    Serve with extra chopped cilantro and fresh lime slices.


  • If you want your dish spicier, add more garlic chili paste
  • you can create Tom Yum Gai by skipping the light coconut milk and adding more chicken broth instead
  • if you decide to add carrots or broccoli, once your soup is done pressure cooking, turn the saute feature back on the low setting and simmer until the broccoli and carrots are tender. Then proceed with the coconut milk and other ingredients.
  • Make this soup a heartier meal by serving with Jasmine Rice or Brown Rice Medley
Nutrition Facts
Chicken Thai Coconut Soup Recipe (Tom Kha Gai) for the Instant Pot
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 320 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 11g69%
Cholesterol 80mg27%
Sodium 2543mg111%
Potassium 852mg24%
Carbohydrates 15g5%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 28g56%
Vitamin A 1049IU21%
Vitamin C 31mg38%
Calcium 49mg5%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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