Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup

Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup

The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Yield: 8 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
87 Calories
1g Fat
17g Carbs
4g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 87
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 970mg 42%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 7mg 36%
Calcium 29mg 2%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 540mg 11%
*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.)

Chinese hot and sour soup is a light meal or accompaniment that can be enjoyed at any time of day.

This soup recipe combines mushrooms, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, soy sauce, hot sauce, vinegar, garlic, green onions, and chili oil, resulting in an authentic dish that vegans and vegetarians (or anyone else for that matter) can enjoy. It's warm, nourishing, and oh-so-delicious.

Make a batch the next time you want to warm up with something hot on a cold day. It's especially welcome if you've got a head cold, as it can really help open your sinuses.

If you order hot and sour soup at a restaurant, it will often be made with meat stock and may contain shredded or minced pork or chicken. Vegan vegetable broth or stock is a great substitution, and the soup has plenty of flavor without meat. If you want to boost the protein or simply make the soup more hearty, add some fried tofu or seitan.

"This delicious, comforting soup comes together quickly and easily with the benefit of being not only vegetarian, but also vegan. You won’t miss the meat since the hearty mushrooms effortlessly replace it. The soup is well-balanced, and you can control the heat level by adding hot sauce and chili oil to your taste." —Diana Andrews

Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup tester image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 6 cups vegetable broth

  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms, such as Chinese wood ear mushrooms or shiitake

  • 1 (8-ounce) can sliced bamboo shoots, rinsed and drained

  • 1 (8-ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, rinsed and drained

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free), more to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, more to taste

  • 2 tablespoons vinegar, more to taste

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions, more for garnish

  • 1 teaspoon chili oil, more to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Vegetarian hot and sour soup ingredients

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  2. In a large pot, bring the vegetable broth to a simmer and add the mushrooms, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, soy sauce, pepper, hot sauce, vinegar, and garlic. Allow to simmer for at least 20 minutes.

    Soup ingredients simmering in a pot

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  3. Add the scallions to the pot and simmer for about 5 more minutes.

    Scallions added to soup pot

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  4. Stir in the chili oil.

    Chili oil added to soup pot

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  5. Add additional soy sauce, hot sauce, vinegar, and chili oil to taste. Serve garnished with scallions, if desired.

    Vegetarian hot and sour soup plus soy sauce

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg


Any mushrooms will do in this recipe, but Chinese wood ear mushrooms or shiitake work best. While shiitake mushrooms are readily available fresh in almost any grocery store, Chinese wood ear mushrooms may take a little more effort to procure. Also called Auricularia black fungus mushrooms, these mushrooms can be purchased dried from many online retailers. Just be sure to give the mushrooms time to soak if you are going to buy them dried.

Recipe Variation

  • Thicker Hot and Sour Soup: This recipe makes a thinner broth soup. If you prefer a thicker consistency, combine 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of cold water. Mix well and add to the soup after it has cooked for 20 minutes. Simmer the soup for 5 minutes, stirring as it thickens. Once thickened, add the green onions and simmer 5 more minutes.
  • Add in more veggies, such as carrots, broccoli, or peas, if you desire.

How to Store and Freeze

  • Refrigerate any leftover soup once it has cooled and leave at room temperature for no more than 2 hours. It will last in the fridge for up to three days.
  • You can freeze individual servings of the soup to keep on hand when needed.
  • Simply microwave or reheat any leftovers or frozen soup in a saucepan over medium heat and enjoy it hot.