Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup

Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup

The Spruce 

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
124 Calories
5g Fat
15g Carbs
7g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 124
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 7%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1172mg 51%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 5%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Protein 7g
Calcium 66mg 5%
*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 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're in need of warming 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 in some fried tofu or seitan.


  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups mushrooms (sliced, Chinese wood ear mushrooms or shiitake are best)
  • 1 (8-ounce) can bamboo shoots
  • 1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (use tamari to keep it gluten-free if needed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 cup scallions (green onions, sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons chili oil

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup Recipe ingredients
    The Spruce
  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
  3. Add the scallions to the pot and simmer for about 5 more minutes.

    Scallions added to soup pot
    The Spruce
  4. Stir in the chili oil.

    Chili oil added to soup pot
    The Spruce
  5. Add additional soy sauce, hot sauce, or vinegar to taste.

    Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup and soy sauce
    The Spruce
  6. Serve and enjoy.

    Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup
    The Spruce


Any mushrooms will do in this recipe, but as noted, 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 the route of purchasing them dried.


  • Refrigerate any leftover soup once it has cooled, being sure not to leave it out for more than 2 hours.
  • You can freeze individual servings of the soup to keep on hand when needed. Simply microwave any leftovers or frozen soup and enjoy it hot.

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 it as it thickens. Once thickened, add the green onions and simmer 5 more minutes.