Tom Yum Soup (Spicy Thai Soup with Shrimp) Recipe

Embrace the invigorating flavors of Thai cuisine with this traditional Spicy Thai Tom Yum Soup with Shrimp. This soup is a delightful blend of spicy, tangy, and savory flavors, accentuated by the succulence of shrimp. Its rich, clear broth is infused with aromatic herbs and spices, making it a comforting dish perfect for any season.

Tom Yum Soup (Spicy Thai Soup with Shrimp) Recipe
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The key ingredients that bring this soup to life are lemongrass, Thai bird's eye chiles, and fish sauce. Lemongrass imparts a citrusy flavor, Thai bird's eye chiles lend a fiery kick, and fish sauce adds a deep umami taste. These may not be commonly found in a non-Asian pantry but are readily available at Asian supermarkets or online. Fresh shrimp is another star of this dish, so ensure you select the freshest ones available.

Ingredients for Spicy Thai Tom Yum Soup with Shrimp

Shrimp: The main protein of the recipe, adds a distinct sea flavor and a succulent texture.

Lemongrass: A fragrant herb that adds a citrusy and slightly gingery flavor to the soup.

Garlic: Essential for any soup base, it provides a pungent depth.

Thai bird's eye chiles: These tiny, fiery chiles are what make the soup spicy.

Lime: Balances out the spiciness with its acidity.

Button mushrooms: Adds an earthy flavor and a chewy texture.

Ginger: Complements the lemongrass with its spicy, slightly sweet flavor.

Sugar: Slightly sweetens the soup and balances the heat.

Fish sauce: A traditional Thai ingredient, it adds the umami and depth to the soup.

Cilantro leaves: Used for garnish, its fresh, citrusy flavor lifts up the soup.

Lime wedges: Served on the side for extra tanginess as per taste.

One reader, Garrott Beeson says:

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This spicy Thai tom yum soup with shrimp recipe is a game-changer! The flavors are so vibrant and the shrimp adds a delightful touch. The lemongrass and chiles give it a perfect kick. It's a must-try for anyone who loves bold and authentic Thai flavors.

Garrott Beeson

Key Techniques for Authentic Spicy Thai Tom Yum Soup

How to prepare shrimp: Peel and devein the shrimp if not already cleaned. The shells can also be used to make shrimp stock for the recipe.

How to prepare lemongrass: Cut off about 1 inch of the bottoms and 5 inches of the tops. Peel off the tough outer layers up to the yellowish tender core. Gently smash the lemongrass with the back of a knife and tie each stalk into a knot to expose the various layers.

How to make shrimp stock: If using shrimp shells, place them in a pot with water, bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Strain the stock and use it in place of water in the recipe.

How to adjust seasoning: Taste the soup and add more chiles, lime juice, and/or fish sauce as desired to adjust the spice, acidity, and saltiness, respectively.

How to serve: Divide the soup among bowls and serve with cilantro leaves, more sliced chiles, and lime wedges.

How To Make Tom Yum Soup (Spicy Thai Soup with Shrimp)

This tom yum soup is packed with shrimp and mushrooms in broth that brims with the flavor of lemongrass and spices. Serve this Thai dish in 30 minutes!

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes



  • ½lbshrimp,peeled and deveined
  • 2stalkslemongrass
  • 6cupswater,or shrimp stock
  • 4clovesgarlic,minced
  • 2Thai (bird’s eye) chiles,sliced, or more to taste
  • 1lime,zested and juiced
  • 1cupbutton mushrooms,sliced
  • 1tspgrated ginger
  • 1tspsugar
  • 2tspfish sauce,or soy sauce, plus more to taste

For Serving:

  • cilantro leaves
  • lime wedges


  1. If not already cleaned, peel and devein shrimp. (Shells can be used to make shrimp stock to use in this recipe instead of water.)

  2. To prepare the lemongrass, cut off about 1 inch of the bottoms and 5 inches or so of the pointy tops. It should be about a foot long after trimming. Peel off the tough outer layers up to the yellowish tender core.

  3. Gently smash the lemongrass with the back of a knife, and tie each stalk into a knot to expose the various layers.

  4. Fill a medium pot with 6 cups water or shrimp stock. Add the lemongrass to the pot and cover. Place the pot over high heat, and bring to a boil.

  5. Reduce to a simmer and add the garlic, chiles, lime zest, mushrooms, ginger, sugar, and soy sauce (or fish sauce). Cook for 3 minutes.

  6. Add the shrimp to the pot and cook for about 3 minutes until pink and opaque. Add the lime juice.

  7. Taste the soup and add more chiles, lime juice, and/or soy sauce as desired to adjust the spice, acidity, and saltiness, respectively.

  8. Divide the soup among bowls and serve with cilantro leaves, more sliced chiles, and lime wedges.


  • Calories: 81.67kcal
  • Fat: 0.88g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.19g
  • Trans Fat: 0.01g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 0.13g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.29g
  • Carbohydrates: 10.67g
  • Fiber: 1.43g
  • Sugar: 3.20g
  • Protein: 9.49g
  • Cholesterol: 71.44mg
  • Sodium: 577.53mg
  • Calcium: 69.87mg
  • Potassium: 338.65mg
  • Iron: 1.57mg
  • Vitamin A: 58.72µg
  • Vitamin C: 42.58mg

Crucial Technique for Perfecting Spicy Thai Tom Yum Soup

When preparing the lemongrass, it's crucial to smash it gently with the back of a knife. This process helps to release the aromatic oils within the stalk, enhancing the overall flavor of the tom yum soup. However, be careful not to smash it too hard as it can lead to a bitter taste. Also, tying the lemongrass into a knot not only makes it easier to remove later but also exposes more surface area, allowing for more flavor extraction during the simmering process.

Time-Saving Tips for Making This Thai Shrimp Soup

Prep ahead: Chop and prepare all the ingredients in advance to streamline the cooking process.

Use store-bought stock: Save time by using pre-made shrimp stock or chicken stock instead of making it from scratch.

Quick-cooking shrimp: Opt for pre-peeled and deveined shrimp to cut down on prep time.

Organize ingredients: Arrange all the ingredients and utensils in order of use to avoid scrambling during the cooking process.

Multi-task: While the soup is simmering, prepare the garnishes and set the table to make the most of your time.

Substitute Ingredients For Tom Yum Soup (Spicy Thai Soup with Shrimp) Recipe

  • shrimp - Substitute with chicken: Chicken can provide a similar protein-rich and savory element to the soup, and it will absorb the flavors of the broth well.

  • lemongrass - Substitute with kaffir lime leaves: Kaffir lime leaves can impart a citrusy and floral aroma similar to lemongrass, adding a unique flavor to the soup.

  • garlic - Substitute with shallots: Shallots can provide a milder, slightly sweet flavor similar to garlic, enhancing the depth of the soup's base.

  • Thai (bird's eye) chiles - Substitute with serrano chiles: Serrano chiles can provide a similar level of heat and a bright, fresh flavor to the soup, complementing the other ingredients well.

  • lime - Substitute with lemon: Lemon can provide a similar level of acidity and citrusy brightness to the soup, balancing the flavors effectively.

  • button mushrooms - Substitute with oyster mushrooms: Oyster mushrooms can provide a similar meaty texture and absorb the flavors of the soup, adding a unique earthy note.

  • ginger - Substitute with galangal: Galangal can provide a similar pungent and citrusy flavor to the soup, enhancing its aromatic profile.

  • fish sauce - Substitute with soy sauce: Soy sauce can provide a savory umami flavor similar to fish sauce, adding depth and complexity to the soup.

  • cilantro leaves - Substitute with Thai basil: Thai basil can provide a similar fresh and aromatic element to the soup, enhancing its overall flavor profile.

Presentation Tips for a Stunning Tom Yum Soup

  1. Elevate the shrimp: Arrange the shrimp in a visually appealing manner on the soup, ensuring they are the focal point of the dish. This will showcase the star ingredient and create an enticing first impression.

  2. Garnish with cilantro leaves: Sprinkle fresh cilantro leaves over the top of the soup to add a pop of vibrant color and a touch of herbal freshness. This will enhance the visual appeal and provide a delightful aroma.

  3. Lime wedges for visual appeal: Place lime wedges strategically around the edge of the bowl to add a bright and citrusy visual element. This also allows the diners to customize the level of acidity in their soup.

  4. Use elegant serving bowls: Select beautiful, high-quality bowls that complement the vibrant colors of the soup and garnishes. The presentation should reflect sophistication and attention to detail.

  5. Artful arrangement of lemongrass: Place the knotted lemongrass stalks delicately on top of the soup, creating an eye-catching and aromatic presentation. This adds a touch of elegance and showcases the key ingredient.

  6. Attention to negative space: Ensure there is a balance of negative space around the bowl to allow the vibrant colors and textures of the dish to stand out. This will create a visually striking presentation.

  7. Incorporate edible flowers: Introduce edible flowers as a delicate and visually stunning garnish, adding a touch of elegance and sophistication to the overall presentation.

  8. Consider the placement of the mushrooms: Arrange the button mushrooms in a visually appealing manner, ensuring they are evenly distributed and add an element of texture and earthy tones to the presentation.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making Thai Soup

  • Cutting board: A flat board used for cutting and preparing ingredients.
  • Chef's knife: A versatile kitchen knife used for slicing, chopping, and dicing.
  • Medium pot: A cooking vessel used for simmering, boiling, and making soups or stews.
  • Grater: A kitchen tool used to grate ingredients such as ginger or lime zest.
  • Strainer: A device used for separating solids from liquids, often used for straining stocks or soups.
  • Mixing bowl: A bowl used for combining ingredients and mixing marinades or dressings.
  • Ladle: A long-handled spoon with a deep bowl, used for serving soups or stews.
  • Knife: A versatile kitchen tool used for cutting, slicing, and preparing ingredients.
  • Citrus juicer: A tool used for extracting juice from citrus fruits such as lime.

Storage and Freezing Guidelines for Tom Yum Soup

  • Let the tom yum soup cool completely before storing or freezing. This will prevent the shrimp from overcooking and becoming tough.

  • Store the leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. The flavors will continue to develop and intensify over time.

  • To reheat, simply pour the desired amount into a pot and heat gently over medium heat until warmed through. Avoid boiling the soup, as this can cause the shrimp to become rubbery.

  • If you plan to freeze the soup, it's best to remove the shrimp and store them separately. The texture of the shrimp can deteriorate when frozen and thawed.

  • Pour the soup into freezer-safe containers or resealable bags, leaving some space at the top for expansion. Label the containers with the date and contents.

  • Freeze the soup for up to 2-3 months. When ready to enjoy, thaw the soup overnight in the refrigerator.

  • Reheat the thawed soup in a pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once the soup is heated through, add the reserved shrimp and simmer until they are warmed through.

  • Adjust the seasonings as needed, as the flavors may have mellowed during storage. Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice, a pinch of sugar, or a dash of fish sauce to brighten up the flavors.

  • Garnish the reheated soup with fresh cilantro leaves, sliced chiles, and lime wedges before serving to refresh the presentation and add a pop of color and flavor.

How To Reheat Leftover Tom Yum Soup

  • Reheat the tom yum soup in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches a simmer. This method ensures that the flavors meld together and the shrimp are heated through without becoming overcooked or rubbery.

  • If you prefer to use a microwave, transfer the soup to a microwave-safe bowl and cover it with a damp paper towel to prevent splatters. Heat the soup in 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until it's heated through. Be careful not to overheat the soup, as this can cause the shrimp to become tough.

  • For a fresher taste, you can also reheat the broth separately from the shrimp and vegetables. Bring the broth to a simmer in a saucepan, then add the shrimp and vegetables, cooking just until they're heated through. This method prevents the ingredients from becoming overcooked and maintains their texture.

  • If the tom yum soup has thickened after refrigeration, you can thin it out with a little water or chicken broth while reheating. Adjust the seasoning with additional fish sauce, lime juice, or chili peppers to taste, as the flavors may have mellowed during storage.

  • For a quick and easy lunch, reheat the tom yum soup and serve it over jasmine rice or rice noodles. The starches will soak up the flavorful broth, making it a more substantial meal.

Interesting Trivia About Tom Yum Soup

The Thai tom yum soup is a popular dish in Thailand and is known for its spicy and tangy flavors. It is often served as a starter or as a main course and is enjoyed for its aromatic and refreshing taste. The soup is believed to have originated from Laos and has since become a staple in Thai cuisine. It is often made with a combination of ingredients such as lemongrass, chiles, lime, and shrimp, creating a unique and flavorful dish that is loved by many.

Is Making Tom Yum Soup at Home Cost-Effective?

This spicy Thai tom yum soup with shrimp recipe is fairly cost-effective for a household. The key ingredients, such as shrimp, lemongrass, and mushrooms, are generally affordable and widely available. The use of simple, fresh ingredients makes it a budget-friendly option. The overall verdict rating for this recipe would be an 8. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people would be around $20-$25, making it an economical choice for a flavorful and satisfying meal.

Is Spicy Thai Tom Yum Soup Healthy?

The spicy Thai tom yum soup with shrimp recipe is a relatively healthy dish, thanks to its nutrient-dense ingredients and low-calorie profile. Here's a breakdown of the recipe's health aspects:

  • Shrimp is a lean protein source, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, and selenium
  • Lemongrass, garlic, and ginger have anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties
  • Thai chiles contain capsaicin, which may boost metabolism and have pain-relieving effects
  • Lime juice provides vitamin C and aids in iron absorption
  • Button mushrooms are low in calories and offer dietary fiber, vitamin D, and various minerals
  • The soup is low in fat and carbohydrates, making it a suitable option for those watching their calorie intake

However, the recipe does contain some added sugar and fish sauce, which can contribute to increased sugar and sodium consumption if not used in moderation.

To further enhance the nutritional value of this tom yum soup, consider the following suggestions:

  • Increase the variety of vegetables by adding baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, or sliced bell peppers for added fiber, vitamins, and minerals
  • Replace the sugar with a natural sweetener like honey or coconut sugar to minimize processed sugar intake
  • Use low-sodium fish sauce or reduce the amount used to control sodium levels
  • Incorporate a small portion of whole grain noodles, such as brown rice noodles or whole wheat spaghetti, to provide complex carbohydrates and additional fiber
  • Garnish with fresh herbs like Thai basil or mint for extra flavor and potential health benefits

By making these minor adjustments, you can boost the soup's nutritional profile while maintaining its delicious taste and traditional Thai flavors.

Editor's Take on This Spicy Thai Soup Recipe

This Spicy Thai Tom Yum Soup with Shrimp recipe is a delightful blend of bold and vibrant flavors. The combination of lemongrass, chiles, and lime creates a refreshing and aromatic base, while the shrimp and mushrooms add a delightful textural element. The balance of heat, acidity, and umami from the fish sauce is spot on. The recipe's simplicity makes it accessible for home cooks, and the option to use shrimp stock adds depth to the dish. Overall, it's a fantastic dish that captures the essence of Thai cuisine.

Enhance Your Tom Yum Soup (Spicy Thai Soup with Shrimp) Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Steamed Jasmine Rice: Fluffy jasmine rice to soak up the flavorful tom yum soup
Crispy Spring Rolls: Golden brown spring rolls filled with vegetables and shrimp for a crunchy contrast to the soup
Mango Sticky Rice: Sweet and sticky dessert of mango and coconut-infused rice to cleanse the palate after the spicy soup

Similar Recipes to Spicy Thai Tom Yum Soup

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Mango Sticky Rice: Indulge in this classic Thai dessert made with sweet sticky rice, ripe mango slices, and a drizzle of rich coconut cream. It's a delightful combination of sweet, creamy, and tropical flavors that will satisfy your sweet tooth.
Pad See Ew: Enjoy this popular Thai stir-fried noodle dish made with wide rice noodles, tender slices of beef or chicken, crisp broccoli, and a savory soy-based sauce. It's a comforting and satisfying meal that's quick and easy to make at home.
Pineapple Fried Rice: Try this delicious and colorful fried rice dish featuring juicy pineapple chunks, tender shrimp or chicken, crunchy cashews, and a medley of vegetables. It's a sweet and savory combination that's sure to please your taste buds.

Appetizer and Dessert Pairings for Spicy Thai Tom Yum Soup

Savory Stuffed Mushrooms: Create a savory and indulgent appetizer by stuffing mushrooms with a flavorful mixture of herbs, cheese, and breadcrumbs. Bake until golden and crispy for a delicious start to any meal.
Spicy Thai Spring Rolls: Prepare a tantalizing appetizer by filling rice paper with a spicy mixture of vegetables, shrimp, and herbs. Serve with a zesty dipping sauce for a burst of flavor in every bite.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and velvety chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The smooth and creamy texture will melt in your mouth, leaving you craving for more.
Tiramisu: Savor the layers of delicate ladyfingers soaked in espresso and layered with a luscious mascarpone cream. Topped with a dusting of cocoa powder, each bite of tiramisu is a perfect balance of coffee, sweetness, and creaminess.

Why trust this Tom Yum Soup (Spicy Thai Soup with Shrimp) Recipe:

This recipe for Spicy Thai Tom Yum Soup with Shrimp is a delightful and authentic dish that captures the essence of Thai cuisine. The use of fresh ingredients such as lemongrass, Thai chiles, and ginger ensures an aromatic and flavorful broth. The addition of shrimp provides a delightful seafood element, while the balance of lime juice and fish sauce creates a harmonious blend of sweet, sour, and savory flavors. With its clear instructions and traditional ingredients, this recipe is a trustworthy choice for anyone seeking an authentic taste of Thailand.

Share your thoughts on Tom Yum Soup (Spicy Thai Soup with Shrimp) and your experience making this classic Thai dish in the World Cuisines forum section. Join the discussion and let us know your tips and tricks for creating the perfect balance of spicy, sour, and savory flavors in this iconic soup.
What is the best way to clean and prepare the shrimp for this recipe?
To clean and prepare the shrimp, start by peeling and deveining them. If you have the shrimp shells, you can use them to make a shrimp stock to enhance the flavor of the soup.
How do I prepare the lemongrass for the soup?
To prepare the lemongrass, trim about 1 inch from the bottom and 5 inches from the top. Peel off the tough outer layers to reveal the yellowish tender core. Gently smash the lemongrass with the back of a knife and tie each stalk into a knot to expose the layers.
Can I adjust the level of spiciness in the soup?
Yes, you can adjust the spiciness of the soup by adding more Thai chiles. Taste the soup and add more chiles as desired to achieve the level of spiciness you prefer.
What can I serve with the spicy Thai tom yum soup?
You can serve the soup with a side of steamed jasmine rice or enjoy it on its own. Garnish with cilantro leaves, more sliced chiles, and lime wedges for an extra burst of flavor.
Can I use something other than fish sauce in this recipe?
If you prefer not to use fish sauce, you can substitute it with soy sauce for a slightly different flavor profile. Adjust the amount to taste and enjoy the delicious soup!

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