Authentic Thai Coconut Soup Recipe

by | Oct 19, 2023

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Ever get tired of eating the same thing every night and want to try something new? Well this Thai coconut soup is probably the exact recipe you’re looking for – especially if you want something warm and cozy, easy to make, and so so delicious.

The trick to getting this Thai coconut soup recipe right is choosing the right ingredients. Beyond that the cooking is actually really easy – just a few steps!

To help, I’ll break down the unique ingredients first with some tips and tricks. Plus substitutions in case you can’t find them in your grocery store.

Bowls of Thai coconut soup with shrimp

Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup Ingredients

Some of these can be substituted, some can’t. I do recommend trying to get as close to the recipe as possible if you want an authentic Thai flavour, though.

  • Coconut oil, for frying – do not substitute.
  • 2 spring onions – there are some differences but overall green onions, green shallots, and scallions are the same or close enough to be used interchangeably here.
  • Red pepper – readily available so don’t substitute.
  • Galangal – if you’ve never heard of this one you’re not alone. It’s very similar to ginger so while galangal is better, use ginger in a pinch.
  • Lemongrass stalk – a key to that authentic flavor. These are available at most larger grocery stores but if you can’t find it 1/2 a teaspoon of lemon zest will also work.
  • Red Thai curry paste – don’t substitute.
  • Chicken broth – any brand is fine. I like low sodium.
  • Shiitake mushrooms – cremini also works.
  • Shrimp – buy it with tails and veins removed to make life easier.
  • Full-fat coconut milk – do not substitute. If you opt for lower fat your soup will probably be fine but less creamy, so be cautious there. There’s no other fat besides this and the oil in this recipe.
  • Fish sauce – keep, but see below for my seafood-free changes if you can’t eat fish.
  • Coconut sugar – best to keep but brown sugar will work in a pinch.
  • Fresh lime juice – fine, you can the store bought lime juice if you want, but fresh is best.
  • Fresh cilantro – optional if you think it tastes like soap.
  • Fresh lime slices – optional, for garnish and extra flavor.

Make it Vegan or Shellfish Free

I can’t eat seafood myself so I try and re-create recipes that involve it to something that’s sea-food free. This variation omits the shrimp and swaps the fish sauce so it’s allergen free.

First of all, simply omit the shrimp from your recipe to make it shellfish free and vegan. It will change the flavour a bit, but not enough to ruin the taste. Second, substitute the fish sauce with soy sauce one for one.

Finally, vegans will also want to swap the chicken broth with a vegetable broth.

Finished Thai soup in a bowl

How to Make Thai Coconut Soup

  1. Add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to a medium pot to and heat over medium heat.
  2. Thinly slice 2 spring onions.
  3. Slice half of a red pepper and one medium galangal (approximately 2″ long).
  4. Pound 1 lemongrass stalk with a the side of your knife then cut into 2-inch long pieces.
  5. Once oil has heated, add cut spring onions, red pepper, galangal, and lemongrass plus 1 teaspoon of of red curry paste into the pot. Fry for bout 5 minutes, until veggies are softened.
  6. Add 2 cups of chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  7. Simmer for 30 minutes uncovered.
  8. Meanwhile, prep 1/2 pound of medium shrimp by peeling and removing tails and veins (if applicable) and slice 1/4 pound of shiitake mushrooms.
  9. Once soup is done simmering remove the galangal, onions, and lemongrass with a slotted strainer spoon.
  10. Add 2 cups of coconut milk, shrimp, and mushrooms.
  11. Cook for an additional 1-3 minutes until shrimp changes from translucent to opaque.
  12. Add 1 tablespoon of fish sauce, 1 teaspoon of coconut sugar, and 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice. Stir.
  13. Garnish with fresh cilantro and/or lime wedges. Serve hot!
How to garnish soup

Thai Coconut Soup With Shrimp

Thai Coconut Soup With Shrimp

This authentic Thai coconut soup has complex flavour but is super easy to make! Definitely try it next time you're craving Thai. It's made with shrimp but we also have a shellfish free and vegan option too.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • Half of one red pepper, sliced
  • 2 inch slices galangal
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, pounded with the side of a knife and cut into 2-inch long pieces
  • 1 teaspoons red Thai curry paste
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ¼ pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cups canned full-fat coconut cream
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped


    1. In a medium pot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat.
    2. Add the onion, red pepper, galangal, lemongrass, and red curry paste and cook for 5 minutes, or until onions are softened. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes.
    3. Strain out the onions, lemongrass, and galangal and discard. Add in coconut milk, shrimp, and mushrooms. Simmer until shrimp is no longer translucent.
    4. Next, add fish sauce, coconut sugar, and lime juice. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve hot!


Omit the shrimp and substitue fish sauce with soy sauce to make this shellfish or seafood free. Also swap chicken broth with vegetable broth to make this recipe vegan.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving:Calories: 690Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 26gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 122mgSodium: 1442mgCarbohydrates: 93gFiber: 2gSugar: 80gProtein: 17g

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