Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

by Mar 5, 2024

This Thai-inspired soup can be yours in less that 30 minutes! Inspired by Thai it Up Chicken Soup by Rebecca Katz, Cancer Fighting Kitchen, and Bill McCarthy’s Tom Yom Gai and Tom Kha Gai from when we worked together at Draeger’s in 1997.

(recipe from 2014, edited 3/5/24)

Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

serves 4; adapted from recipes by Rebecca Katz and Bill McCarthy



  • 32 ounces chicken broth Imagine, Kettle & Fire, or Bare Bones
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 shallots, peeled and halved
  • 3 inches ginger or galangal, scrubbed and thinly sliced
  • 1 stalk lemon grass, use tender inner layers; bruise with heel of knife
  • 4 cilantro stems (gather leaves for serving)
  • 4 Kaffir lime leaves or substitute zest from one lime
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt or Kosher salt (omit if your broth is salty, taste and check)


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced ⅛-inch against the grain
  • 1 14–16-ounce can coconut milk, full fat Chaokoh, or 365
  • 1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1-inch peeled and finely minced or grated ginger
  • 2 Thai chiles, thinly sliced optional
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper

At Serving:

  • rice noodles, cooked al dente
  • juice from one lime
  • fish sauce, 1 tablespoon or to taste Red Boat
  • green onions, sliced on the diagonal
  • cilantro leaves


  1. Bring broth ingredients to boil and then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Scoop out all solids and discard.

  2. Add coconut milk, diced carrot, ginger, Thai chiles (optional), and pinch of cayenne pepper to broth and simmer 3 minutes. Add chicken slices and simmer until cooked through, about 5–7 minutes.

  3. Add cooked rice noodles so they warm with the soup. Remove from heat and add the lime juice and fish sauce. Serve with sliced green onions and cilantro leaves.

Recipe Notes / Tips

  • For easy chicken prep, pop the breasts in the freezer for 20 minutes before slicing 
  • Kaffir lime leaves—if you ever see them at your market, buy them! Keep in a baggie in your freezer.  
  • Thai chiles—same as the lime leaves, when you see them, buy them. Keep in a baggie in freezer.
  • Mushrooms are wonderful in this soup. Toss in some fresh or a drained can of straw mushrooms. Be sure they cook with the chicken, you don't want to eat raw mushrooms.
  • Add an extra can of coconut milk for a richer, creamier soup.  (Don’t feel too guilty, traditional Tom Kha Gai uses 4 cups of coconut milk and no broth.)

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