Easy Tom Yum Soup Recipe

The Perfect Easy Tom Yum Soup Recipe for Beginners

If you’re looking for an easy tom yum soup recipe, then you are in luck. Not only is this recipe easy, it’s authentic. The reason is that Tom Yum Soup, sometimes spelled Tom Yam or Tom Yum is one of the easiest Thai dishes to make at home. As long as you have the right ingredients, anyone can make this iconic Thai dish.

A Brief History of Tom Yum Soup

historic painting of tom yum

The origins of Tom Yum Soup can be traced back to the region that is now modern-day Thailand. Thailand’s cuisine has been influenced by various cultures, including Chinese, Indian, and indigenous Thai traditions. In ancient Thai cooking, a similar soup was made using local ingredients such as herbs, spices, and seafood. These early versions of Tom Yum were less complex than the modern variations.

Over the centuries, Thailand’s cuisine has been influenced by neighbouring countries and traders. The introduction of ingredients like chillies and lemongrass can be attributed to Chinese and Southeast Asian influences.

In the 19th century, during the reign of King Rama IV and King Rama V, Thai cuisine underwent significant refinement and transformation. The Thai royal court played a crucial role in shaping the country’s culinary traditions.

Tom Yum Soup, as we know it today, likely began to take shape during the 19th century. It is believed to have originated in central Thailand, particularly around the region of Ayutthaya.

The name “Tom Yum” derives from the Thai words “tom,” meaning “to boil,” and “yum,” referring to a spicy and sour salad. Thus, Tom Yum Soup essentially translates to “boiled spicy and sour soup.”

My Easy Tom Yum Soup Recipe

For my easy Tom Yum soup recipe, I’m using prawns which in Thai is called ‘Goong’. Tom Yum Goong is the classic version of this soup but you can just swap it out for chicken breast if you prefer. To be honest I usually make it with chicken.

There are two different types of Tom Yum soup, a clear version that is more watery called ‘Tom Yum Nam Sai’ and a creamier version called ‘Tom Yum Nam Khon’. This recipe is for ‘Tom Yum Nam Khon’ which is the more well-known version.

Easy Tom Yum Soup Recipe (Tom Yum Nam Khon)

A classic sour and spicy Thai soup that is eaten along with Jasmine rice. Don't make the mistake of trying to eat this as a soup in it's own!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time8 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: thai
Keyword: tom yum, tom yum goong, tom yum nam khon


  • 1 wok


  • 300 g of Prawns
  • 80 ml of Evaporated Milk
  • 15 g of Lemongrass
  • 15 g of Galangal
  • 30 g of Shallot
  • 3 Kaffir Lime Leaves
  • Handful of Coriander
  • 2 Spring Onions
  • 5 – 10 Birds Eye Chillies
  • 1 Tomato
  • 120 g Oyster Mushrooms
  • 3-4 tbsp of Lime Juice
  • 2 Cups of Water
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp of Fish Sauce
  • 1 tbsp of Chilli Paste If you don't have any Thai Chilli paste you can buy some Tom Yum paste online.


  • Prepare the lemongrass by cutting the ends, pulverize it with a pestle to release more flavour and then cut it into small pieces
  • Slice the galangal
  • Cut the shallots
  • Pull apart the kaffir lime leaves
  • Cut up the coriander
  • Slice the spring onions
  • Pulverize the chillies
  • Slice the tomatoes
  • Cut up the oyster mushrooms
  • Squeeze the limes into a bowl
  • Add 2 cups of water to your wok and turn up the heat
  • Add the lemongrass, shallot & galangal
  • Add half a tsp of salt and bring it to the boil
  • Let it boil for a minute or so then add the chilli paste
  • Let it boil for another minute then add your prawns
  • Let it boil for a couple of minutes before adding 80ml of evaporated milk
  • Bring it to the boil again then turn off the heat
  • Add the lime juice and fish sauce and stir them in
  • Add the coriander, tomatoes and spring onions and mix them in
  • Your Tom Yum Soup is now ready to serve


Visual Guide

Tom Yum Soup – FAQ

How is Tom Yum Soup typically served?

Tom Yum Soup is usually served as a hot and flavorful broth with the chosen protein and vegetables. It’s commonly garnished with fresh cilantro leaves. It can be enjoyed as an appetizer or a main course when served with rice.

Is Tom Yum Soup always spicy?

Traditionally, Tom Yum Soup is spicy due to the use of bird’s eye chilies or chili paste. However, the level of spiciness can be adjusted to your preference by adding more or fewer chilies. There are also milder versions of Tom Yum Soup available.

What is the difference between Tom Yum and Tom Kha Soup?

Tom Yum Soup is known for its spicy and sour flavor, while Tom Kha Soup is creamy and coconut-based. Tom Kha includes ingredients like coconut milk, galangal, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves, but it is less spicy than Tom Yum.

Can I make a vegetarian or vegan version of Tom Yum Soup?

Yes, you can make a vegetarian or vegan Tom Yum Soup by using vegetable broth and omitting animal-based proteins like shrimp or chicken. Tofu is a popular protein substitute in vegetarian and vegan versions.

What is the origin of Tom Yum Soup?

Tom Yum Soup is believed to have originated in central Thailand, specifically in the region around Ayutthaya, during the 19th century. It evolved from earlier Thai culinary traditions and was influenced by various cultures.

Can I customize the ingredients in Tom Yum Soup?

Absolutely! Tom Yum Soup is versatile, and you can customize it to your liking. You can add or omit ingredients based on your taste preferences. Some variations include seafood Tom Yum, chicken Tom Yum, and vegetarian Tom Yum.

What are some common side dishes to serve with Tom Yum Soup?

Common side dishes that pair well with Tom Yum Soup include steamed jasmine rice, Thai jasmine rice, or sticky rice. Additionally, some people enjoy Thai salads or fresh spring rolls as accompaniments.

Can I make Tom Yum Soup ahead of time?

While Tom Yum Soup is best enjoyed fresh, you can prepare the broth in advance and add the protein and vegetables when you’re ready to serve. This can help save time when you’re planning a meal.

Is Tom Yum Soup gluten-free?

Yes, check out the list of ingredients in the easy Tom Yum soup recipe above and you will see they are all gluten free.

What is the significance of the name “Tom Yum”?

The name “Tom Yum” comes from the Thai words “tom,” meaning “to boil,” and “yum,” referring to a spicy and sour salad. Therefore, Tom Yum Soup translates to “boiled spicy and sour soup.”

Easy Tom Yum Soup Recipe on the Taste of Thailand YouTube Channel

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