Coconut Curry Chicken Soup is easy to make and is filled with tender shredded chicken breast, bold flavors from the red curry paste, red bell peppers, fish sauce and various spices.
This delicious comfort food is ready in about 30 minutes, and is perfect for weeknight dinners!
It is officially soup season and while I like to make this soup any time of year, I love making it when the weather starts to cool down.
There’s nothing is better than wrapping up in a warm blanket, enjoying the savory flavors of this coconut chicken curry soup and watching a good movie.
This is one of my favorite soup recipes, but if you’re looking for more, I also really enjoy these easy soup recipes: Butternut Roasted Squash Soup, Creamy Bacon Corn Chowder, and Lemon Orzo Chicken Soup.
What is curry paste?
Thai red curry paste is full of flavor and goes well with many different curry dishes. It’s mainly made of spices like turmeric, chili powder, and cumin mixed with chili peppers and galangal. Red curry based is used as a base in various dishes.
If you don’t have any on hand, it’s pretty easy to make from scratch and has many health benefits. You can adjust the spiciness by how many red chili peppers you add.
Coconut Chicken Curry Soup Ingredients
Garlic cloves: minced garlic cloves add a delicious flavor to your recipe. I like to use garlic cloves instead of garlic powder for this recipe. Ground cloves add a more robust flavor.
Shallots: I like to use shallots instead of onions in this recipe to bring a sweeter flavor to the soup. Onions are a little too potent.
Roasted red peppers: roasted red peppers add a delicious charred flavor with a touch of sweetness to your chicken soup.
Rotisserie chicken: using rotisserie chicken is a quick and easy way to get your shredded chicken for this recipe.
Star anise: this spice pairs perfectly with the shredded chicken and chicken stock in this recipe. It adds a very mild licorice and peppery flavor.
Brown sugar: the brown sugar in this adds the perfect amount of sweetness to the recipe cutting some of the spice down.
Chili powder: this spice adds heat to your recipe; if you like your dishes a little spicier, you can add a pinch more.
Ground cloves: add warmth and a slightly sweet flavor to the recipe.
Red pepper flakes: this spice adds some heat to this recipe. You can add more or less depending on how much you enjoy heat.
Rice noodles: I like to use thin rice noodles for this recipe. They don’t get too soft and add texture to the soup.
Basil: fresh chopped basil adds a minty and peppery flavor to this dish.
Cilantro: brings a fresh and citrus flavor to the recipe. If you’re not a fan of cilantro, feel free to leave it out.
Lemongrass paste: I like to use lemongrass paste because it adds a light citrus flavor to this recipe. You can use fresh lemongrass, as well. You can usually find it in the produce section at your local grocery store.
Red curry paste: make sure you pick up the red curry paste, not green. The red curry paste is full of warm ginger and garlic flavors.
Ginger paste: ginger adds the perfect amount of zest to your soup. I recommend using ginger paste vs. ground ginger. Fresh ginger is a wonderful option as well!
Olive oil: I recommend using extra virgin olive oil for this recipe; however, you can use coconut oil if that is all you have.
Chicken stock: this is the main liquid for the soup. I like to use the stock for this recipe because the flavor is stronger than chicken broth. You can also use chicken bone broth for a low sodium option.
Coconut milk: I like to use full-fat coconut milk for this recipe instead of using cream. You can use low-fat if you prefer.
Soy sauce: I like to use reduced sodium soy sauce for this recipe. Regular soy sauce may make the soup a little too salty.
If you only have regular soy sauce, I would reduce the amount of salt you add in. You can also substitute this with coconut aminos.
Fish sauce: fish sauce is a staple for different Thai dishes. It brings the savory and salty flavor of umami to this recipe.
Lime juice: adds a citrusy flavor to the recipe. I like to use fresh lime juice and sometimes I’ll add a little bit of the zest.
How to Make Coconut Curry Soup
1. Prepare the lemongrass. If you are using fresh lemongrass, remove the tougher outer leaves and slice and discard the bulbs from the bottoms of the stalks. Thinly slice the bottom two-thirds of each stalk and reserve the top third for another use (such as flavoring soup).
2. Prepare the red curry sauce. Lace the lemongrass, red peppers, red curry paste, and ginger in a blender and pulse until a thick paste forms. If needed, stop the blender and stir to ensure the ginger and lemongrass blend thoroughly.
3. Prepare the soup. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot set over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots, and cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, scraping the brown bits off the bottom. Mix in the homemade curry paste, coconut milk, shredded chicken, star anise, soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, chili powder, ground cloves, and red pepper flakes. Simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Cook the noodles. Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to the package instructions.
5. Season the soup. Stir the basil, cilantro, and lime juice into the broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Serve. Divide the noodles between bowls, ladle in the broth, and garnish with desired toppings.
Tips when purchasing coconut milk
Coconut milk vs. coconut cream: many people confuse the two! Double check the label when you pick up the coconut milk because coconut cream looks similar.
The cream is heavy and is usually used while baking or making something extra creamy.
Sweetened vs. unsweetened: coconut milk is already pretty sweet naturally, so there is no need to purchase one with sugar in it. Sweetened coconut milk will make your curry way too sweet.
Full fat vs. low fat: this recipe calls for full-fat coconut milk but you can use low fat if you’d like. This is a personal preference.
I like to use full fat coconut milk because it helps create a delicious creamy texture. However, whether you’re using full fat or light coconut milk, the flavor will still pair well with the spiciness of your Thai coconut curry soup.
- Before pouring the creamy coconut milk into your mix, make sure to shake it. The coconut milk and cream can separate when it’s been in a can for a while. Giving it a good shake will help bring the two back together.
- If you’re not a big fan of spice or you’re cooking for kids, that is totally fine. You can still enjoy this Thai chicken soup. Just cut back on the chili powder and red pepper flakes. However, if you love spice, throw in some extra!
- This is a great recipe for meal prep. If you leave your red curry soup in the fridge for a few hours, the flavors will start to come out a little more. Plus, you don’t have to worry about what you’ll eat for lunch or dinner for the rest of the week.
Tip: if you’re saving some for later, store the noodles separately or make them fresh when you’re ready to have more soup.
How to Store Leftovers
Leftover Chicken Coconut Curry Soup makes great leftovers. You can put them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. You can also freeze your leftovers in freezer safe bags for up to 3 months.
Pro tip: portion out your creamy chicken soup before placing it in freezer bags. This is great when you want a small bowl or a whole dinner for your family.
These souper cubes are great for storing leftover soup!
What is coconut curry sauce made of?
Coconut curry sauce combines a handful of bold ingredients to make the perfect base for any curry dish. It’s mainly made of coconut milk, curry paste, soy sauce, and brown sugar.
There may be other ingredients like fish sauce, fresh ginger, and other spices to add to the flavor. The coconut milk and sugar add the perfect amount of sweetness, while the curry paste adds some heat.
You can also add chicken stock or veggie broth to thin out your sauce. This creamy sauce goes well on rice or noodles.
Why do Thai curries use coconut milk?
Coconut milk is one of the most common ingredients in many different kinds of curry. Using coconut milk keeps your curry from getting too watery while adding liquid.
The sweetness of the coconut milk pairs well with the spices in the curry, creating a nice happy medium. You can find coconut milk in a can, boxed, or even in a plastic container.
Just be sure not to pick up coconut cream because it is much thicker than coconut milk.
Coconut milk: if you’re looking to switch out coconut milk, there are a few substitutions that you can use. To keep the creaminess of the sauce, you can use heavy cream or oat milk.
If using heavy cream, you will want to use two parts cream and one part water to get the right consistency. If you use oat milk, substitute on a 1:1 ratio.
Vegetables: I love finding ways to incorporate more veggies into my meals. This recipe is perfect for that! You can add in potatoes or butternut squash, but I like to add chickpeas, red bell peppers, or zucchini to mine.
Protein: while I recommend sticking with rotisserie chicken for this recipe, there are a few other proteins that you can add in instead.
Spice: if you’re not the biggest fan of spicy foods, you can cut back on the red pepper flakes or chili powder. You can also change out the soy sauce for coconut aminos.
How to Serve Coconut Curry Chicken Soup
There are many different ways to serve Thai coconut chicken soup. I like to pair mine with naan bread or noodles. For this recipe, I use thin rice noodles.
You can also use rice, any kind is okay to use, but I like to use basmati or brown rice. If you’re looking to add more vegetables, you can add more on the side or pair your soup with a green salad.
Top with green onions, lime wedges, parsley or cilantro, and you have the perfect Thai coconut curry chicken soup!
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Coconut Curry Chicken Soup
- 1 tablespoon lemongrass paste or 2 stalks of fresh lemon grass roughly chopped
- 10 ounces jarred roasted red peppers, drained
- 3 tablespoons red curry paste
- 1 tablespoon ginger paste or 1-inch piece of fresh ginger
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 shallots, diced
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 13.5-ounce can full fat coconut milk
- 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
- 1 star anise
- 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 8 ounces thin rice noodles
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- If using fresh lemongrass, remove the tougher outer leaves and slice and discard the bulbs from the bottoms of the stalks. Thinly slice the bottom two-thirds of each stalk and reserve the top third for another use (such as to flavor soup).
- Place the lemongrass, red peppers, red curry paste, and ginger in a blender and pulse until a thick paste forms. If needed, stop the blender and stir to ensure the ginger and lemongrass blend thoroughly.
- Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot set over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots, and cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, scraping the brown bits off the bottom. Mix in the homemade curry paste, coconut milk, shredded chicken, star anise, soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, chili powder, ground cloves, and red pepper flakes. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to the package instructions.
- Stir the basil, cilantro, and lime juice into the broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Divide the noodles between bowls, ladle in the broth, and garnish with desired toppings.
- Naan bread is great to dip in the soup.
- Add more chili powder and red pepper flakes if you like your soup spicy.
- You can use low fat coconut milk if you prefer.