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Tom Yum Goong Recipe (Thai Hot and Sour Soup)

by wsg team

Thai Hot and Sour Soup (Tom Yum Goong) Recipe

One of the most renowned Thai dishes is the Tom Yum Goong (ต้มยำกุ้ง). Known for its mix of spices, tangy kick of bold flavors and aromatic broth, this hot and sour shrimp soup is a favorite for many. The combination of lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and fresh Thai chilies, really amp up its taste and creates a dish that is both refreshing and invigorating.

There are a few popular versions of Tom Yum, like the shrimp (Tom Yum Kung aka Tom Yum Goong) which we’ll make today, chicken (Tom Yum Gai), and seafood (Tom Yum Talay) varieties. They all pack a spicy punch thanks to plenty of red chilies.

Now, if you’re into Thai food, you might already know about Tom Kha soup. It’s a bit different from Tom Yum—it’s creamier and has a hint of tanginess, thanks to coconut milk. Usually, it’s made with chicken, though there are other versions out there. Tom Kha is less spicy but just as satisfying, offering a cozy option for enjoying those rich Thai flavors.

One evening in Bangkok, I discovered the captivating blend of tangy lime, fiery chilies, and tender shrimp in Tom Yum Goong at a bustling street stall. Deff made me want to recreate its unforgettable flavors at home.

That’s what i did and it turned out pretty delicious. To share the joy, today I’m going to share my version of this Thai soup with you.

10 Reasons to Try Tom Yum Goong Thai Soup

Tom Yum Goong is a famous Thai soup that’s bursting with flavors and goodness. Here’s why you should give it a go:

1. Flavor Explosion

This soup is a crazy blend of spicy, sour, salty, and sweet all at once. It’s basically like having a flavor party in your mouth!

2. Healthy Stuff

3. Low-Calorie Option

It’s delicious and won’t mess up your calorie count. Perfect for a tasty yet light meal.

4. Good for Your Gut

Lemongrass and galangal (a ginger-like root) help with digestion. They’re like a little tummy-soothing miracle.

5. Smells Amazing

The aroma is super inviting and can totally perk up your senses and make you hungry.

6. Taste of Thai Culture

Eating Tom Yum Goong is like taking a mini trip to Thailand. It’s a big part of their food culture and tradition.

7. Flexible Recipe

Traditionally made with shrimp, but you can switch it up with chicken or tofu if that’s more your style.

8. Easy to Find and Make

You can get it at most Thai restaurants or make it at home. The ingredients are pretty easy to find nowadays.

9. Great All Year Round

It’s warming and comforting in the winter but also light and refreshing for the summer.

10. Fun Food Adventure

If you love trying new things, Tom Yum Goong is a must. It’s an exciting way to expand your taste horizons.

Tom Yum Goong isn’t just another soup, it’s a delicious, healthy, and exciting dish that gives you a taste of Thailand. Whether you’re a foodie or just looking for something new, this soup is definitely worth a try.

Now, I bet you’re convinced. So, let’s dive into the details of making this iconic Thai soup.

Here we go.

thai tom yum soup ingredients

Essential Ingredients:

  • 2 liters of water
  • 4 stalks of lemongrass, sliced diagonally
  • 1-inch chunk of galangal, sliced
  • 10 kaffir lime leaves, torn
  • 10 Thai bird chilies, crushed
  • 5 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • ½ kilogram of shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 300 grams of oyster mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 medium-sized white onions, quartered
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 8-12 tablespoons of fish sauce (adjust to taste)
  • 8-12 tablespoons of lime juice (from about 10-15 limes)
  • A handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

Optional Ingredients for Creamy Version:

  • 3 tablespoons of nam prik pao (Thai roasted chili paste)
  • 10 tablespoons of evaporated milk


  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Extra lime wedges
  • Thai bird chilies, sliced (for extra heat)

Recipe Variations

Tom Yum Goong can be enjoyed in two main variations: the clear broth version (Tom Yum Goong Nam Sai) and the creamy version (Tom Yum Goong Nam Khon). The clear version is known for its pure, sharp flavors, while the creamy version is richer and slightly milder, thanks to the addition of evaporated milk.

Steps to make the soup

Prepare the Ingredients:

  1. Lemongrass: Remove the outer leaves, then slice the stalks diagonally into 1-inch pieces.
  2. Galangal: Slice the galangal into thin rounds.
  3. Kaffir Lime Leaves: Tear the leaves to release their aroma.
  4. Chilies: Crush the chilies lightly to release their heat.
  5. Shrimp: Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tails on for presentation if desired.

Peel and devein the shrimp

Make the Broth:

  1. In a large pot, bring the water to a boil.
  2. Add the lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, chilies, and garlic to the pot. Let it boil for about 10 minutes to infuse the water with the aromatic flavors.

Cooking Instructions

  1. Simmering the Soup: Reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the shrimp to the pot and cook until they turn pink and opaque, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Adding Vegetables: Add the mushrooms, tomatoes, and onions. Let them simmer until tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Seasoning: Stir in the fish sauce and sugar. Adjust the quantities based on your taste preference.

simmer ingredients for the tom yum goong soup

For the Clear Broth Version:

  1. Lime Juice: Turn off the heat and add the lime juice. Stir well and taste. Adjust the seasoning with more fish sauce, lime juice, or sugar as needed.
  2. Final Touches: Sprinkle with fresh cilantro before serving.

For the Creamy Version:

  1. Adding Creaminess: After seasoning with fish sauce and sugar, stir in the nam prik pao and evaporated milk. Let it simmer for an additional minute.
  2. Lime Juice: Turn off the heat and add the lime juice. Stir well and taste. Adjust as needed.
  3. Final Touches: Garnish with fresh cilantro before serving.

Taste and Flavor Profile

Tom Yum Goong is renowned for its harmonious balance of sour, spicy, salty, and slightly sweet flavors. The clear version offers a sharp and refreshing taste, while the creamy version provides a rich and mellow depth. The aromatic herbs and spices create a fragrant broth that is both soothing and exhilarating.

Recipe Variations and Customizations

  • Proteins: Swap shrimp for chicken, mixed seafood, or tofu for a different protein base.
  • Vegetables: Add baby corn, carrots, or spinach for extra texture and nutrition.
  • Spices: Increase or decrease the number of chilies to adjust the heat level.

Freezing and Storing Tips for Tom Yum Goong

Tom Yum Goong is so tasty that you might want to make extra and store it for later. Here are some handy tips to help you freeze and store your soup so it stays delicious:

Storing in the Refrigerator

  1. Cool It Down: Let the soup cool to room temperature before storing.
  2. Use Airtight Containers: Store the soup in airtight containers to keep it fresh and prevent it from absorbing other fridge odors.
  3. Consume Quickly: Refrigerated Tom Yum Goong is best eaten within 3-4 days.


  1. Cool Completely: Make sure the soup is completely cooled before freezing to prevent ice crystals from forming.
  2. Portion It Out: Divide the soup into individual portions using freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. This makes it easier to thaw just what you need.
  3. Leave Room: Leave a little space at the top of containers or bags as the soup will expand when it freezes.
  4. Label and Date: Label the containers with the date so you know when you froze them. Frozen Tom Yum Goong is best enjoyed within 2-3 months.
  5. Avoid Freezing Shrimp: If possible, add the shrimp fresh when you reheat the soup. Shrimp can get rubbery when frozen and reheated.

Thawing and Reheating

  1. Thaw in the Fridge: For best results, thaw the soup in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Quick Thaw: If you’re in a hurry, you can place the sealed freezer bag in a bowl of cold water to thaw faster.
  3. Reheat Gently: Reheat the soup on the stove over medium heat until it’s hot. Avoid boiling it as this can make the shrimp tough.
  4. Add Fresh Ingredients: If you kept the shrimp out before freezing, add fresh shrimp to the soup as you reheat it. You can also add a splash of fresh lime juice and some fresh herbs to brighten up the flavor.

Tips for Best Results

  • Freeze Without Dairy: If your recipe includes coconut milk or cream, add it after reheating. Dairy can separate when frozen.
  • Fresh Herbs: Add fresh cilantro or basil just before serving for a fresh taste.
  • Broth First: Consider freezing just the broth and adding fresh ingredients like shrimp, mushrooms, and tomatoes when reheating for the best texture and flavor.

By following these tips, you can enjoy the delightful flavors of this authentic Tom Yum Goong recipe even on your busiest days. Happy cooking and eating!

Tom Yum Goong Recipe

Tom Yum Goong Recipe

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  • 2 liters of water
  • 4 lemongrass stalks sliced diagonally
  • 1- inch galangal sliced
  • 10 torn kaffir lime leaves
  • 10 crushed Thai bird chilies
  • 5 smashed garlic cloves
  • ½ kg shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 300 g sliced oyster mushrooms
  • 2 quartered Roma tomatoes
  • 2 quartered white onions
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 8-12 tbsp fish sauce to taste
  • 8-12 tbsp lime juice about 10-15 limes
  • Fresh cilantro chopped
  • Optional for Creamy Version:
  • 3 tbsp nam prik pao Thai roasted chili paste
  • 10 tbsp evaporated milk
  • Garnishes:
  • Fresh cilantro chopped
  • Lime wedges
  • Sliced Thai bird chilies for extra heat


  • Preparing Ingredients:
  • Lemongrass: Remove outer leaves, slice diagonally.
  • Galangal: Slice into thin rounds.
  • Kaffir Lime Leaves: Tear to release aroma.
  • Chilies: Crush lightly.
  • Shrimp: Peel and devein, leave tails on for presentation if desired.
  • Making the Broth:
  • In a large pot, boil 2 liters of water.
  • Add lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, chilies, and garlic. Boil for 10 minutes.
  • Cooking Instructions:
  • Simmering the Soup:
  • Reduce heat to simmer. Add shrimp and cook until pink and opaque (2-3 minutes).
  • Add mushrooms, tomatoes, and onions. Simmer until tender (5 minutes).
  • Stir in fish sauce and sugar. Adjust to taste.
  • For Clear Broth Version:
  • Lime Juice: Turn off heat, add lime juice, and stir. Adjust seasoning.
  • Final Touches: Sprinkle with fresh cilantro before serving.
  • For Creamy Version:
  • Adding Creaminess: After fish sauce and sugar, stir in nam prik pao and evaporated milk. Simmer for 1 minute.
  • Lime Juice: Turn off heat, add lime juice, and stir. Adjust seasoning.
  • Final Touches: Garnish with fresh cilantro before serving.

You can experiment and wow your guests by serving the soup in coconut shells like I did in the photo below.

Tom Yum Goong thai soup served in coconut shells

For more delicious recipes and cooking tips, be sure to check out our other posts.

Have you tried making Tom Yum Goong at home? Do you prefer the clear or creamy version? Share your thoughts and variations in the comments below.

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