Tom Kha Gai Recipe: A Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

Tom kha gai recipe - Dr. Axe

Have you ever tried making a tom kha gai recipe, or maybe another Thai coconut curry soup recipe? When you think of Thai recipes, you probably think of stir fries, but this soup is one of my Thailand favorites!

Feeling under the weather or just generally run down? This Thai coconut soup is a hearty and uplifting choice that gives you another option in addition to a more traditional chicken soup recipe. This tom khai gai recipe is the most delicious and comforting blend of sweet, salty and spicy. With a warm, rich and nutrient-dense broth made from chicken stock, coconut milk and fresh lime juice, you’re going to want to make this recipe again and again.

What is Tom Kha Gai?

Tom kha gai recipe - Dr. Axe

This tom kha soup is a spicy hot coconut soup. It typically includes key ingredients like coconut milk, limes, ginger, chili peppers, lemongrass, chicken, chicken broth, cilantro and mushrooms. (1) Authentic tom kha gai recipes include galangal and kaffir lime leaves. These are two ingredients that can be hard to find, but you may find a red chili paste that includes both of these delicious ingredients — or try an Asian market as opposed to a conventional grocery store. If not, no worries, because while this isn’t the traditional galangal-lemongrass take on the authentic Thai dish, this tom kha gai recipe is truly bursting with flavor.

Nutrition Facts

This recipe contains approximately six to eight servings. One serving of this tom kha gai recipe contains about: (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)

  • 178 calories
  • 14 grams protein
  • 11.7 grams fat
  • 4.8 grams carbohydrates
  • 1 gram fiber
  • 3.3 grams sugar
  • 259 milligrams sodium
  • 688 IUs vitamin A (76 percent DV)
  • 25 milligrams vitamin C (28 percent DV)
  • 0.1 milligram riboflavin (7.7 percent DV)
  • 1.3 milligrams iron (7.2 percent DV)
  • 1.4 IUs vitamin D (7 percent DV)
  • 8 micrograms vitamin K (6.7 percent DV)
  • 1 milligram niacin (6.3 percent DV)
  • 9 micrograms folate (2.3 percent DV)

Some of the healthy and delicious ingredients used in this tom kha gai recipe worthy of highlighting:

Tom kha gai recipe ingredients - Dr. Axe

Coconut milk: A Thai coconut soup like this one always includes rich and creamy coconut milk. Choose unsweetened coconut milk, and you’ll keep the sugar content of this Thai coconut milk soup super low (only around 3 grams!). If you can go one step further, choose fresh coconut milk to take the flavor to a whole new level.

Chicken bone broth: If you have the time, you can make my homemade chicken bone broth recipe to use in this soup.

Lemongrass: A key citrusy flavoring in Thai cuisine, this soup recipe would not be the same without the inclusion of lemongrass.

Chicken: Opt for organic free-range chicken in this tom kha gai recipe, and you’ll get the highest-quality version of this protein source.

Cilantro: Thanks to red bell pepper and cilantro, this recipe is impressively high in vitamin A.

How to Make This Tom Kha Gai Recipe

First, you’re going to really up the flavor of this soup by letting the fresh ginger and lemongrass steep in the chicken broth. Next, you’ll do some minimal chopping of a few fresh herbs and vegetables. Then everything will go into one pot, and after some cooking time, you’ll have yourself an incredible homemade tom kha gai.

Tom kha gai recipe step 1 - Dr. Axe

Crush the lemongrass stalks.

Tom kha gai recipe step 2 - Dr. Axe

In a large pot over medium-low heat, combine broth, lemongrass and ginger. Let it steep for 25 minutes.

Tom kha gai recipe step 3 - Dr. Axe

Chop the fresh cilantro.

Tom kha gai recipe step 4 - Dr. Axe

Cut the red pepper into length-wise slices.

Tom kha gai recipe step 5 - Dr. Axe

Slice the shallot into rounds.

Tom kha gai recipe step 6 - Dr. Axe

Remove the ginger and lemongrass bits with a strainer.

Tom kha gai recipe step 7 - Dr. Axe

Add the chicken, shallots, peppers, mushrooms and chili paste and then bring it all to a boil.

Tom kha gai recipe step 8 - Dr. Axe

Remove from heat and add coconut milk.

Tom kha gai recipe step 9 - Dr. Axe

Add the fresh lime juice and cilantro.

Tom kha gai recipe - Dr. Axe

Serve warm, topped with fresh cilantro.

Tom kha gai recipe - Dr. Axe

This recipe feeds about 6–8, so enjoy it with the whole family or have plenty of delicious leftovers.

Tom kha gai recipe - Dr. Axe


  • 3 lemongrass stalks
  • One 16-ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon red chili paste
  • 1½ cups mushrooms, chopped
  • ½ small lime, juiced
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 8 cups chicken bone broth
  • 1 inch ginger, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • ½ shallot, sliced into rounds
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped


  1. Crush the lemongrass stalks.
  2. In a large pot over medium-low heat, combine broth, lemongrass and ginger.
  3. Steep for 25 minutes.
  4. Remove the ginger and lemongrass bits.
  5. Add chicken, shallots, peppers, mushrooms and chili paste. Then bring to a boil.
  6. Simmer on low for 20 minutes until chicken is cooked and veggies are soft.
  7. Remove from heat and add coconut milk, lime juice and cilantro.
  8. Serve warm.

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  1. Natfosp on

    Hi!! Isn’t coconut milk the canned one unhealthy ?? I always assume anything canned is a no no for anti inflammatory diet??

  2. Erin Davis on

    This recipe is beyond delicious! Made this last night, and I may have even convinced my husband who is not a coconut fan.

    I actually added in a package of shirataki noodles as well.

    Highly recommend!!


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