Make Tom Khaa, Easy Tom Yum Soup with Coconut Milk

Easy tom yum soup with coconut milk tom khaa

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Servings: 2 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
576 Calories
30g Fat
68g Carbs
23g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 576
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 30g 39%
Saturated Fat 26g 129%
Cholesterol 28mg 9%
Sodium 2369mg 103%
Total Carbohydrate 68g 25%
Dietary Fiber 10g 37%
Protein 23g
Calcium 328mg 25%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Aside from being the most famous of all Thai soups, Tom Yum offers many health benefits due to its potent combination of herbs and spices. With its collection of ingredients like lemongrass, garlic, lime leaves, and coriander, this Thai favorite is said to have both immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties. Making it a wonderful go-to option when fighting off a cold or stomach ailments.

This version of the soup includes coconut milk (which officially makes it "Tom Khaa"), adding both richness and flavor while still keeping the soup super healthy. 


  • 3 to 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (lower 1/3 finely minced and upper part kept whole)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed chili or to taste
  • 3 makrut lime leaves (available fresh or frozen at Asian food stores)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms (sliced thinly)
  • 12 to 14 medium or large raw shrimp (shelled)
  • 1 green and/or red bell pepper (sliced)
  • Optional: a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 can coconut milk or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon brown sugar or a squeeze of lime juice
  • Garnish: 1/3 cup fresh coriander (roughly chopped)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for easy tom yum soup
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  2. Pour chicken stock into a deep cooking pot and turn heat to medium-high. Add prepared lemongrass to the pot, including upper parts of the stalk you didn't mince. Boil 5 to 6 minutes, or until fragrant.

    Lemongrass in pot
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  3. Reduce heat slightly to achieve a nice simmer. Add garlic, chili, lime leaves, and mushrooms to broth. Continue simmering for another 5 minutes.

    Add garlic, chili, lime leaves
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  4. Add shrimp, bell pepper, and cherry tomatoes (if using). Simmer 5 to 6 minutes, or until shrimp are pink and plump.

    Add shrimp
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  5. Turn down the heat to low and add coconut milk and fish sauce. Taste-test the soup for spice and salt, adding more chili and/or fish sauce (instead of salt) as desired. If too sour for your taste, add 1 teaspoon brown sugar; if too salty, add a squeeze of lime juice. Add more coconut milk if you want your soup richer or creamier, or if it's too spicy for your taste.

    Add soup
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  6. Serve in bowls with fresh coriander sprinkled over. 

    Easy tom yum soup
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack


  • Spoon the soup over steamed white rice, which is how the dish is traditionally eaten in Thailand.
  • Use a gentle hand when stirring coconut milk to avoid clumping or curdling. Avoid bringing the coconut milk to a full boil.
  • If you can't find makrut lime leaves, use fresh lime juice instead. It will alter the taste slightly.

Recipe Variations

  • Vegetarian version: Use vegan fish sauce, eliminate the shrimp, and substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock.
  • Chicken variation: Add bite-sized pieces of chicken breast instead of the shrimp.
  • Version without coconut milk: Coconut milk is optional in this tom yum kung recipe.