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Authentic Tom Kha Gai Soup (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup) - a healthy, delicious and easy recipe that can be made in an Instant Pot or on the stove top. Vegan Adaptable! #tomkha #thaisoup #tomkhagai #paleo #keto #thaichickensoup #galangal #coconutsoup #traditional

Tom Kha Soup ( Thai coconut soup)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.8 from 66 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 cups ( 4 servings) 1x
  • Category: soup, gluten-free, vegan-adaptable
  • Method: instant pot, stove top, pressure cooker
  • Cuisine: Thai


This Tom Kha Recipe (Thai Coconut Soup) is authentic and delicious! Make it with chicken, tofu, or shrimp on the stovetop or Instant Pot.


Units Scale
  • 12 shallots, diced
  • 1/4 cup ginger, sliced into 1/8 inch thick disks, skins ok ( 2 inch piece)
  • 1/4 cup galangal root, sliced into 1/8 thick disks, skins ok ( 2 inch piece)
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped lemongrass- or use lemongrass paste.
  • 8 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 cups chicken broth or veggie broth
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken- whole breasts or thighs (or sub 1 pound crispy Tofu or shrimp)
  • 8 ounces mushrooms (oyster, shiitake, cremini, or straw mushrooms) or sub other veggies like bell pepper, snow peas, etc.
  • 24 fresh Thai Chilies, or add chili paste to taste at the end
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce (or sub vegan fish sauce)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt


  • 2 x 14ounce cans of coconut milk (full fat)
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice ( 12 small limes) to taste
  • 2 teaspoons palm, coconut or brown sugar

Serve this on its own, over rice or rice noodles!


Stovetop Cooking instructions:

  1. Slice the chicken into thin bite-sized pieces (across the grain) and season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
  2. In large heavy bottom pot or dutch oven, saute shallot in a little oil over medium heat. Add ginger, lemongrass, lime leaves and galalagal and 2 cups broth and simmer gently for 5 minutes, letting the broth infuse. Add the chicken (or tofu) and mushrooms and gently poach, simmering for 3-4 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked through.
  3. Stir in the coconut milk, fish sauce, chilies, and salt and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the lime juice and sugar. Taste. Adjust salt and lime and the spice level by adding more chili paste.

Instant Pot Instructions:

  1. Place everything in the instant pot except lime juice, coconut milk and sugar – leaving the chicken thighs or breasts whole. Don’t forget the salt. Give a stir.
  2. If using chicken breasts, pressure cook on high pressure for 7 minutes, or 10 minutes for thighs. If using tofu, pressure cook 4 minutes.
  3. Naturally, release for 10-15 minutes. Shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces using two forks and add the coconut milk, sugar, and lime juice. Taste- adjust salt, lime and spicy heat. Serve with a lime wedge.


When making the stove top version, sometimes I’ll poach whole chicken breasts in the infused broth (covered) then shred with 2 forks- a little longer cooking time, but no pre-cutting required. Then add the remaining ingredients. 🙂

Boiling coconut milk will take some it’s lovely sweetness away, so don’t over boil it or over cook it, just simmer gently and not for too long. 🙂

To make a vegan version, sub veggie broth for the chicken broth. Add cubes of raw tofu or  crispy tofu ( pan- sear cubes of tofu in a skillet first, with olive oil, salt and pepper). Add other veggies if  you like! Sub vegan fish sauce for regular fish sauce. 

If using shrimp, peel and devein, and drop into the simmering soup, cooking until tails curl. 

Feel free to serve over rice or rice noodles.

The soup freezes well!

RECIPE UPDATE: I changed the Instant Pot version, to add the 2 cans of  coconut milk AFTER pressure cooking. Some folks had issues with the coconut milk curdling during the pressure cooking.


  • Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups using chicken breast
  • Calories: 461
  • Sugar: 3.4 g
  • Sodium: 1123.7 mg
  • Fat: 33.9 g
  • Saturated Fat: 28.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 9.5 g
  • Fiber: 0.7 g
  • Protein: 25.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 66.2 mg