This healthyish spin on Tom Kha Gai soup is made with a fragrant lemongrass, ginger and chili broth and a creamy coconut milk base. The soup is loaded with chunks of chicken and sliced mushrooms and takes just 30 minutes to make! 


Whole30 Tom Kha Gai



Tom Kha Gai is one of my favorite dishes to order at our local thai restaurant so I wanted to recreate a simple version that I could make at home. This simple spin on the traditional thai soup couldn’t be any easier to make, everything cooks in the broth, including the chicken! The coconut milk based broth is loaded with a puree of ginger, lemongrass and chili which gives it so much bold and vibrant flavour. The soup is packed with sliced mushrooms and chunks of chicken which you can swap with shrimp, or tofu to make it vegetarian. 


Why You Will Love This Tom Kha Gai Recipe

  • The flavours!The broth has a wonderful combination of creamy, spicy and salty. I can’t emphasize enough just has flavour packed the soup is. 
  • Quick & easy to make! Start to finish this soup takes just 30 minutes to make! It’s the perfect soup to make for an easy weeknight dinner or when you are feeling sick. 
  • No hard to find ingredients! This simpler spin on Tom Kha Gai has close to authentic flavor while using ingredients you will most likely be able to find at most grocery stores or a local asian market. If you can’t find fresh lemongrass, most stores have jarred lemongrass which works well too!
  • This delicious Thai coconut chicken soup is Grain Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo, Whole30, Keto and Specific Carbohydrate Diet Legal and can easily be made vegan and vegetarian too!
  • It tastes just like the Tom Kha Gai you might order at any local thai restaurant but can easily be made in the comfort of your home in under 30 minutes
  • This is an incredibly versatile recipe. You can swap the chicken for tofu or shrimp, make it more or less spicy or add in noodles if you prefer. 


Paleo Tom Kha Gai



What Is Tom Kha Gai 

First and foremost please note that this is in no way an authentic recipe for Tom Kha Gai, instead it’s my healthy spin on it using ingredients commonly found in most grocery stores. Authentic Tom Kha Gai recipes traditionally use chilies, lemon grass, fresh galangal root, kaffir lime leaves and have a creamy coconut milk based broth. For this simpler version of the soup I substituted galanga root which can be hard to find with fresh ginger and kaffir lime leaves with lime zest. The soup typically contains chicken, mushrooms, and a medley of herbs, adding depth and complexity to the dish. The chicken is often poached in the coconut milk broth and the mushrooms provide an earthy undertone, while the herbs infuse the soup with freshness.



Ingredients You Need to Make Tom Kha Gai Soup 

Lemongrass: It is one of the dominant flavors in this soup and an ingredient that can’t be skipped. Fresh lemongrass stalks can be found in the produce section of most grocery stores, but if you can’t find it fresh, lemongrass paste also works. 

Garlic: use garlic cloves rather than garlic paste 

Ginger: as someone who is obsessed with the taste of fresh ginger, I like to load this soup with a lot. 

Thai Chilis: Bird’s eye chilies (also known as thai chilies) are quite spicy. If you aren’t able to find them, other types of chili peppers such as fresno or serrano would also work. 

Coconut Oil: it is used to saute the paste, if you love spice you can substitute the coconut oil for chili oil.

Coconut Milk: I prefer using full fat coconut milk which will have that thick layer of coconut cream at the top, but light coconut milk also works. 

Chicken Stock: I like using chicken stock, but vegetable stock can also be used.  

Mushrooms: Feel free to use whatever type of mushroom you prefer. I like using shiitake mushrooms but button, chestnut or cremini can also be used. 

Chicken: I prefer to use skinless chicken breasts, but chicken thighs can also be used. Just be sure to cut the chicken into even thin slices so that they all cook in the same time in the soup. 

Limes: both fresh lime juice and lime zest are added to the broth to cut through the richness of the coconut and add some acidity. 

Fish Sauce: it is commonly used in thai cooking to add saltiness. Soy sauce can be used in its place for a similar salty flavor. 



Paleo Tom Kha Gai



How To Make This Tom Kha Gai Soup 

​This soup is incredibly easy to make and only requires a few simple steps

  1. Start by combining the garlic, ginger, lemongrass, onion and chilies in a high speed blender (I use my Nutribullet for this) and blend until smooth. You may need to add a splash of water if the blender is struggling to blend it into a paste. 
  2. In a large pot on medium heat add the coconut oil and once hot, add in the paste. Let it cook for a minute or two until it becomes very fragrant and then stir in the coconut milk and chicken broth. 
  3. Once the broth is simmering, add in the thinly sliced raw chicken and mushrooms and leave them to cook for approximately 10 minutes until all of the chicken is completely cooked through. 
  4. The final step is to add in the remaining ingredients (lime juice, lime zest and fish sauce). At this point I like to taste the broth to make sure I am happy with the flavour and adjust by adding more chilies, lime or fish sauce as needed. 
  5. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with more chopped chilies, fresh cilantro or green onions. 




​Can I Make This Soup Vegetarian or Vegan? 

Absolutely! Use vegetable broth in place of chicken broth and skip adding chicken to the soup and add extra mushrooms or tofu instead. In place of the fish sauce (which adds saltiness to the soup) use coconut aminos instead. 


Ways To Modify This Tom Kha Gai Soup Recipe 

  • Not a fan of chicken? Shrimp would be a delicious alternative! Add the raw shrimp to the soup at the same time as the mushrooms and leave them to cook in the simmering liquid for 5 minutes until pink. 
  • Adjust the spice: Not a fan of spice? Reduce the amount of birds eye chilies you add, or leave them out all together. Alternatively add more if you like your soup to have a real kick. 
  • Bulk it up: keep this soup Whole30 and Paleo but bulk it up by adding cauliflower rice. For anyone not on a grain free diet you could alternatively add rice or noodles (vermicelli or rice noodles)


What About Leftovers? 

Leftover tom kha soup will last for up to 4 days in the fridge stored in an airtight container. The soup can be reheated in the microwave or in a pot on medium heat until hot. Alternatively you can freeze the soup for up to 2 months.


Whole30 Tom Kha Gai

Here are a few more soup recipes that you might enjoy:

If you make this recipe let me know in the comment section below, I would love to hear what you think or take a photo and tag me (@everylastbite_) on Instagram, I love seeing your photos!

Tom Kha Gai (Coconut Chicken Soup) Recipe

Every Last Bite
This Whole30 spin on Tom Kha Gai soup is made with a fragrant lemongrass, ginger and chili broth with a creamy coconut milk base. The soup is loaded with chunks of chicken and sliced mushrooms and takes just 30 minutes to make!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Diets Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Keto, Paleo, Specific Carbohydrate Diet Legal
Servings 4
Calories 223 kcal


  • 1 stalk lemongrass (or 1 tbsp lemongrass paste)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 inch piece ginger
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 bird's eye chilies (or 1 Fresno chili pepper)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 (14oz) can full fat coconut milk
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 6 oz mushrooms
  • 2 large chicken breasts very thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce


  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 1 Fresno chili pepper thinly sliced


  • To make the paste, in a high speed blender or NutriBullet container combine the lemongrass, garlic, ginger, onion and chilies and blend into a paste. If your blender is struggling to blend everything smoothly, add a splash of water.
  • Melt the coconut oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add in the paste and cook for 2 minutes until it becomes fragrant and then pour in the coconut milk and chicken stock and bring too a gentle simmer.
  • Once the soup is simmering, add the raw chicken and mushroom to the pot and leave to cook for 8-10 minutes until the mushrooms are tender and the chicken is cooked through.
  • Finally add in the lime juice, lime zest and fish sauce and stir through. Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning as desired. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with slices of chili and chopped cilantro.
Calories: 223kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 30gFat: 8gCholesterol: 72mgSodium: 896mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3g
Tried this recipe?Leave a comment below and let us know how it was!