Hot and Sour Soup

This Hot and Sour Soup is a one-pot, 30-minute vegetarian dinner! It’s tangy, spicy, hearty, and loaded with veggies, tofu, egg, and more. This soup is gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb with options for paleo and whole30!

how to make hot and sour soup

Easy Hot and Sour Soup Recipe

When Mike and I were in Toronto visiting family a few months back, our cousin Maggie made a hot and sour soup that absolutely blew my mind. It was hearty, flavorful, and totally veggie-packed. I immediately came home and got to creating my own hot and sour soup recipe! 

While there are many different recipes and versions of hot and sour soup, today we’re focusing on making a vegetarian version with tons of veggies. It’s also thickened slightly with a bit of arrowroot and then finished off with fine egg “ribbons”. I wanted to make this recipe easy, quick to prep, and accessible for all! 

This soup is comforting, hearty, healthy, and so incredibly delicious! And it makes great leftovers!

Easy hot and sour soup recipe in a pot

What is Hot and Sour Soup?

Hot and Sour Soup is a traditional Chinese soup that’s slightly tangy, a little bit spicy, and deliciously hearty! The “hot” in its name comes from the use of ground white pepper while the “sour” comes from the use of white vinegar. 

Our Version!

The soup is also made rich and flavorful from mushrooms. Traditionally this would be dried mushrooms (along with some other ingredients like dried lily buds) but we are trying to keep this really approachable using easy to find ingredients at the store, so we opted for fresh shiitake mushrooms. They’re cooked separately first to evaporate the water in them and concentrate their flavor.

Ingredients Needed

Our hot and sour soup ingredients are a colorful blend of veggies along with a few other basic ingredients! 

  • Avocado Oil: used to sauté the mushrooms before adding the rest of the soup ingredients.
  • Shiitake Mushrooms: traditional hot and sour soup is made using dried mushrooms but we’re keeping it accessible with fresh shiitake mushrooms. We’re cooking them first to get rid of excess moisture and concentrate their flavor. 
  • Veggies: we’re packing this soup with veggies using a combination of onion, matchstick carrots, brussels sprouts, napa cabbage, and zucchini.
  • Sea Salt: enhances the incredible flavors within the soup.
  • Aromatics: use freshly minced garlic and freshly grated ginger for the best flavor.
  • Broth: you can use chicken bone broth or veggie stock depending on your preferences.
  • Fish Sauce: leave this out if you’re making vegetarian hot and sour soup.
  • Arrowroot and Coconut Aminos: adds saltiness and creates a slurry that helps thicken the soup.
  • Eggs: swirled into the soup to create tender egg ribbons.
  • White Vinegar: the “sour” in our hot and sour soup. 
  • White Pepper: the “hot” in hot and sour soup. White pepper adds a kick of spice.
  • Cilantro: for garnish!
  • Tofu (optional): if you’re using tofu, be sure to use firm or extra firm so it holds up in the soup.
  • Red Pepper Flakes (optional): add to taste depending on how spicy you like your soup to be. 

Additional Options for this Easy Hot and Soup Soup

  • Add tofu (I generally avoid soy, but occasionally will use non-go tofu if it fits a recipe, like this soup!) You can omit or use another protein!
  • Red pepper flakes to add a bit more heat to it.
  • If you wanted to add more protein chicken or pork would work well here.
Two portions of cooked hot and sour soup recipe

How to Make Hot and Sour Soup

This hearty and healthy vegetarian soup comes together in just 30 minutes!

  1. Sauté veggies and aromatics: Heat a large pot on the stove, add in oil, then cook the mushrooms until the liquid is evaporated. Add onion and additional oil and cook until soft. Stir in garlic and ginger, then add the carrot, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and zucchini. Cook.
  2. Add soup ingredients: Pour in the broth and fish sauce if using, then lower the heat and simmer until the veggies are cooked through.
  3. Thicken the soup: In a bowl, whisk together arrowroot and coconut aminos. Add that into the soup and bring to a boil.
  4. Add the eggs: In a separate bowl, scramble the eggs, then pour them into the boiling pot. Immediately stir until they cook into ribbons.
  5. Finish and serve: Turn off the heat, then add in the vinegar, white pepper, scallions, cilantro, and tofu. Taste and season with red pepper flakes if desired, then serve and enjoy!

Our Approach to Hot and Sour Soup

Veggies make up the the bulk in this recipe, with carrots, shredded brussels sprouts (a fun unique addition), napa cabbage, and zucchini that are poached in the soup, but you can substitute whatever you have on hand.

The soup is slightly thickened using a bit of arrowroot and then some scrambled eggs are added in to make fine “ribbons”. Wait until the end to add white vinegar and ground white pepper so that those flavors really shine through!

Is Chinese Hot and Sour Soup Healthy?

Yes! This hot and sour soup recipe is packed to the brim full of veggies, herbs, seasonings, and protein from the eggs and the tofu. Nothing bad here!

Tips 

  • Cook the mushrooms first. Cooking the mushrooms first rids them of any excess moisture and creates better texture and flavor.
  • Use firm tofu. Firm or extra firm tofu holds up better than silken tofu. 
  • Stir the eggs immediately. When you pour the eggs into the hot soup, they will start cooking immediately. Make sure you stir them right away so you can create the egg ribbons rather than clumps.
  • Cut down on prep. Oftentimes you can find bags of already-prepped veggies at the store. If you’re lower on time and want to keep your soup prep incredibly quick, you can go that route instead of slicing the veggies yourself! 
  • Play with spice. Red pepper flakes are optional, but I like to add a sprinkle to taste for a kick of heat. 
  • Use another protein. Hot and sour soup would be great with cooked pork,beef, chicken, or even shrimp! 
Hot and Sour Soup recipe served in bowls

Serving Suggestions

This hot and sour soup makes a delicious vegetarian entree, but can also be served as a side dish next to fried rice, chicken stir fry, orange chicken, you name it! 

How to Store

Leftover hot and sour soup will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. I don’t recommend freezing it because the texture of both the eggs and the tofu will be affected.

More Easy Soup Recipes

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Easy Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup

This Hot and Sour Soup is a one-pot, 30-minute vegetarian dinner! It’s tangy, spicy, hearty, and loaded with veggies, tofu, egg, and more. This soup is gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb with options for paleo and whole30!

  • Author: Lexi
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Cuisine: vegetarian, whole30, paleo, gluten-free

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon avocado oil, divided
  • 5 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 onion, small dice
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1” ginger, grated
  • 2 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 cups shredded brussels sprouts (see note)
  • 1 cup napa cabbage, finely sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into matchsticks
  • 6 cups chicken bone broth or veggie stock
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional, leave out for vegetarian)
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 3 eggs, beaten and whirled in
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 scallions, sliced thin, for garnish
  • Cilantro, for garnish
  • 1 cup firm tofu, drained and diced (optional)
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat a large heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat and add oil.
  2. Cook mushrooms until all the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add onion, salt and 1 teaspoon avocado oil and cook until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and ginger, cook 1 minute.
  5. Add carrot, brussels sprouts, cabbage and zucchini and cook 5 minutes.
  6. Add bone broth / stock and fish sauce and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until vegetables are cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  7. In a small bowl whisk together arrowroot and coconut aminos. Add to soup and bring to a boil.
  8. In a bowl scramble eggs and add to boiling pot and immediately stir until the eggs have cooked into ribbons.
  9. Remove from heat and add vinegar, white pepper, scallions, cilantro and tofu.
  10. Taste to season (we like to add a touch of red pepper flakes for a bit more heat) and serve immediately with garnish of choice.

Notes

Looking to cut down on prep time? These days you can find prepped veggies in the grocery store and we were able to find shredded brussels, sliced cabbage and match stick carrots at our local grocery store.

I generally avoid soy, but occasionally like a soup with tofu in it. If adding tofu, make sure you buy a non-gmo one if possible! AND, if tofu isn’t your thing, you can totally leave it out or add a different protein of choice!

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4
  • Calories: 200
  • Sugar: 6.3g
  • Sodium: 848mg
  • Fat: 9.9g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.2g
  • Carbohydrates: 18.4g
  • Fiber: 4.9g
  • Protein: 12.7g
  • Cholesterol: 123mg

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16 comments
March 2, 2022

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16 Responses

  1. thank you for putting this recipe together, would’ve expected it would be so much more involved, great flavors and fun to make too. much appreciated!

  2. This soup hit the spot!! I had never dared attempt hot & sour until this recipe! My only advice would be (if you are not sensitive to soy) perhaps use tamari or soy sauce in equal parts (or in place of) the coco aminos. It tasted just a tad too sweet, which I always get with too much coconut aminos.

    Lexi– thank you for this recipe! I will be making again for sure!

  3. Holy moly!!! This satisfied my Asian soup cravings like no other!! All the flavors are mouthwatering! Yay for the best lunch for the next few days! PS I marinated tempeh in coco aminos and added to the pot!

  4. So I just made this, and not to sure. I should’ve used regular pepper. And maybe rice wine vinegar. It has a really funky taste. Disappointed. I’ll add some siracha

    1. Hi Paula, sorry to hear you are disappointed. Feel free to adjust to your liking, but what makes this soup hot and sour soup IS the white pepper and white vinegar!

  5. Can any other vinegar be substituted for the white vinegar and get similar results? Maybe unsesoned rice vinegar?

  6. Lexi, this soup was incredible! It was easy to make (I used the preshredded asian coleslaw and matchstick carrots) and my family loved it! They said it was better than any restaurant version they had had! Plus it is so filling and healthy!

    5.0 rating

  7. This soup was delicious. I chopped everything and it did take some time to prep, but I did it all in the afternoon and it was easy to make. I left out the tofu, but otherwise followed the recipe. A keeper!!

    5.0 rating

  8. I will totally agree that Hot & Sour Soup at night is really good for our body health and combination of vegetable and chicken look too amazing. So thank you for this recipe and keep posting!!!!

  9. This soup is awesome! I loved the flavors and it was super easy . Your Hot and Sour Soup add to our menu.
    This recipe and its test is very different , Our clints are like the test , thankyou so much for this recipe.

  10. After following the recipe, I realized the cabbage was not added! I don’t see it listed in the directions!

    1. Hi Pam! Kelli here, part of the LCK team. Sorry for that oversight on our part! We’ve updated the instructions to include placing the cabbage in with the brussels and other veggies.

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