Coconut Curry Chicken Soup
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!
Coconut Curry Chicken Soup is a Riff on a Restaurant Favorite
This Coconut Curry Chicken Soup recipe is my own take on a favorite soup at Noodles & Company called “Thai Hot Pot”. It’s lightly creamy with coconut milk and loaded with fresh goodness and warm curry flavor.
Thai Hot Pot is no longer on the Noodles menu, sadly. Which is why I made with my own version. I couldn’t stand to live without it…it was THAT good!
You can enjoy this soup as a light yet filling lunch, or serve it over rice or rice noodles for a heartier meal!
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!
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.
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!
Here’s how to make the soup!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
My Best Tips
- Prep. 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.
- Get the curry paste. Curry paste is essential to this coconut curry soup recipe. Do not omit or substitute for any form of curry powder.
- Taste test. 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.
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:
- Add noodles or rice. For more heartiness, ladle soup over cooked basmati rice or thin rice noodles.
- Change up the protein. Swap out the chicken for shrimp.
- Veggies & other fresh ingredients. 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.
- Adjust the creaminess. 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.
- Make it Vegetarian. To make it vegetarian, omit the chicken and use vegetable broth.
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
- 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
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 cups cooked and shredded chicken breasts or use deli chicken
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 green onions thinly sliced
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- 1 lime cut into wedges, to serve with finished soup
- * I highly recommend getting all the chopping, slicing, and juicing done before you get started.
- 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.
- Add chicken broth, coconut milk, fish sauce, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, and chicken. Stir to combine and cook until thoroughly warmed.
- 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.
- 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.
I updated this post in 2021, originally published in 2012. I made a small adjustment to the recipe, plus added new photos and text.