Coconut Curry Chicken Soup is fragrant, fresh, and flavorful. Enjoy as a light yet filling lunch, or serve over rice or rice noodles for a heartier meal!

a black bowl full of soup made of coconut milk, curry, chicken, red pepper, and mushrooms

Coconut Curry Chicken Soup is a Riff on a Restaurant Favorite

Our family has always liked eating at Noodles & Company. And one of my favorite dishes, which is no longer on their menu, was their “Thai Hot Pot”. It was a gorgeous coconut curry soup that I found myself craving. Often!

When the restaurant removed that soup from their menu many years ago, I knew I needed to come up with my own version. I missed it way too much! And when I shared my coconut curry soup recipe here nearly ten years ago, the soup gained many loyal followers.

I’ve since tweaked the recipe just a bit, after a reader shared how she removed the curry powder and added toasted yellow curry paste instead. I was intrigued to try her suggestion. And she was right. That change did make the soup better, and even more like the original soup from Noodles!

So I just had to bring this Coconut Curry Chicken Soup recipe back around, and let you know how wonderful it is. It’s lightly creamy with coconut milk, loaded with fresh goodness and flavor. I love it all over again!

Hungry for more soup? Try these family and reader favorites! The most-made soup recipe on this site, people LOVE this Lasagna Soup. This Broccoli Cheddar Soup is loaded with vegetables and so much flavor – and there’s bacon! Homemade Ginger Chicken Soup is comfort in a bowl. And have you tried my Slow Cooker Chili? It’s awesome!

ingredients on a counter, to make chicken soup with coconut milk and curry

Here’s What You’ll Need

If you’re not familiar with some of the ingredients, well I was too at one time – and now we always have them on hand. You can find these items or good substitutions in the Asian section of your grocery store, your local Asian grocer, and Amazon. I’m sharing links to the products we use below. Please seek them out – your taste buds will be forever grateful!

  • Vegetable oil & butter: For sautéeing the vegetables and toasting the curry paste. I like the richness that the butter adds to the soup!
  • Curry paste: I use both green and yellow curry pastes in this recipe, for added depth. But if you want to use just one, the soup will still be great.
  • Fresh produce: Garlic, ginger, red bell pepper, mushrooms, green onions, limes, cilantro.
  • Chicken: Use shredded chicken, chicken breasts, or rotisserie chicken.
  • Pantry items: Chicken broth, coconut milk, fish sauce, brown sugar, crushed red pepper flakes (as little or as much as you like!), salt, and pepper.

What is Curry Paste?

There are many kinds of curry paste and you’ll find them named by color. The most common traditional curry pastes are red, green, and yellow.

Curry pastes are made from blends of fresh ingredients – think chiles, ginger, lemongrass, galangal, garlic, citrus zest – that are ground together to a make a thick purée. The paste is sizzled in hot oil to bring out their aromatic qualities, and then thinned with liquids like coconut milk and broths to create a sauce or soup base.

Here are links to some of the specific items that we use for this soup:

  • green curry paste – My favorite kind of curry paste, this variety is packed with flavor from a blend of green chilis, ginger, and cumin.
  • yellow curry paste – The yellow variety contains turmeric and lemongrass, also quite wonderful.
  • coconut milk – Fragrant and creamy, coconut milk adds just the perfect touch of delicious comfort to this soup. I prefer regular coconut milk over light, for its added creaminess and flavor, but feel free to substitute with light.
  • fish sauce – An essential ingredient in many Asian curries and sauces, fish sauce lends a subtle salty flavor that is hard to duplicate. Feel free to reduce the quantity if you like.
a wood chopping board and chef's knife, full of fresh vegetables being cut to add to the soup

How to Make Coconut Curry Chicken Soup

Because this soup is loaded with fresh produce, chopping is obviously involved. But it’s an easy soup to make. And your house smells absolutely amazing while you’re making it!

a collage of two photos showing sauteeing curry paste and vegetables in a big white pot

Here’s how to make the soup!

  1. Sautée the vegetables & curry paste: In a large heavy pot over medium heat, heat the oil and butter. Add onion and sauté until softened. Stir in the green curry paste and the yellow curry paste, followed by the garlic, ginger, red bell pepper, and mushrooms. Cook until vegetables are softened.
  2. Add liquids & chicken: Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, fish sauce, and chicken. Season with a little brown sugar and red pepper flakes. Cook until thoroughly warmed.
  3. Finish & serve: Stir in lime juice, green onions, and cilantro. Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste. Offer additional lime wedges to squeeze over the top of individual bowls, if desired.
a big white pot of coconut curry soup with chicken

My Best Tips

  • I recommend that you first prepare and measure out all the ingredients. Get all the chopping, slicing, and juicing done before you get started, so that you can just quickly add ingredients per the directions.
  • Curry paste is essential to this coconut curry soup recipe. Do not omit or substitute for any form of curry powder.
  • I do not consider this soup to be spicy, as written with the specific ingredients that I use and linked to in this post. But there are many different brands of these ingredients, and they will all be different. So always be sure to taste test and adjust to your own liking.
coconut curry soup in a black bowl, with chicken, mushrooms, and red pepper

Can I Use Different Ingredients?

One of this soup’s greatest strengths is its versatility with ingredients. You can easily substitute a bit of this for a bit of that. Mellow out the heat or amp it up. Or make it vegetarian. It’s all up to you – here are some suggestions:

  • For more heartiness, ladle soup over cooked basmati rice or thin rice noodles.
  • Swap out the chicken for shrimp.
  • If you don’t like any of the vegetables listed in the recipe, simply leave them out.
  • Feel free to add carrots, snow peas, shredded cabbage, cauliflower, zucchini, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, frozen peas, edamame, minced hot red or green chili, spinach, kale, or fresh mint leaves.
  • For full creaminess, use two cans of regular coconut milk. For a medium level, use one can of regular + one can of lite coconut milk. And for a completely light version, use two cans of lite coconut milk – just know that the overall coconut flavor and body of the soup will be significantly reduced.
  • To make it vegetarian, omit the chicken and use vegetable broth.
a black bowl full of coconut curry chicken soup

How to Serve Coconut Curry Chicken Soup

You know me. I love me some fresh lime. So I absolutely recommend having extra lime wedges on hand for squeezing over individual bowls.

Also, if your soup is on the tame side (not spicy), yet there are some people who like heat – do have some options available for those spice lovers. Make available extra dried red pepper flakes and/or slices of green or red chilis.

When I used to enjoy a bowl of Thai Hot Pot soup at Noodles, they served it with a piece of their soft, warm flatbread. It’s really quite wonderful for dipping. I highly recommend.

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coconut curry chicken soup in a black bowl

Coconut Curry Chicken Soup

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

This soup is fragrant, fresh, and flavorful. Enjoy as a light yet filling lunch, or serve over rice or noodles for a heartier meal!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons green curry paste
  • 3 tablespoons yellow curry paste
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced and cut into 1" long pieces
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, very thinly sliced
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans coconut milk
  • 1.5 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups cooked and shredded chicken breasts (or use deli chicken)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges, to serve with finished soup

Instructions

* I highly recommend getting all the chopping, slicing, and juicing done before you get started.

  1. In a large heavy pot over medium heat, heat the oil and butter. Add onion and sauté just until the onion is softened, stirring occasionally. Add the green curry paste and the yellow curry paste, and stir to combine. Then add the garlic, ginger, red bell pepper, and mushrooms, and stir to combine. Cook until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add chicken broth, coconut milk, fish sauce, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, and chicken. Stir to combine and cook until thoroughly warmed.
  3. Before serving, stir in lime juice, green onions, and cilantro. Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste. Offer additional lime wedges to squeeze over the top of individual bowls, if desired.

Notes

  • For more heartiness, ladle soup over cooked basmati rice or thin rice noodles.
  • Swap out the chicken for shrimp.
  • If you don’t like any of the vegetables listed in the recipe, simply leave them out.
  • Feel free to add carrots, snow peas, shredded cabbage, cauliflower, zucchini, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, frozen peas, edamame, minced hot red or green chili, spinach, kale, or fresh mint leaves.
  • For full creaminess, use two cans of regular coconut milk. For a medium level, use one can of regular + one can of lite coconut milk. And for a completely light version, use two cans of lite coconut milk – just know that the overall coconut flavor and body of the soup will be significantly reduced.
  • To make it vegetarian, omit the chicken and use vegetable broth.

recipe inspired by the "Thai Hot Pot" soup at Noodles & Company (no longer available on their menu)

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 294Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 1117mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 20g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.

Did you make this recipe?

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soup in a black bowl, consisting of coconut milk, curry, chicken, mushrooms, and red pepper
coconut curry chicken soup in a black bowl

I updated this post in 2021, originally published in 2012. I made a small adjustment to the recipe, plus added new photos and text.