Hot and Sour Soup (20 Minutes!) (Video)

5 from 166 votes
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As popular as my Egg Drop Soup is (I think at this point, it’s gotten over 100M views on social media!), Hot and Sour Soup has been the recipe that is more requested! Every Chinese restaurant has their version and so just about everyone has grown up eating it. This budget friendly, quick and easy Chinese classic dish is going to be your new favorite recipe to make at home!

hot and sour soup in a pot

Watch the Hot and Sour Soup Recipe Video Below!

Hot and Sour Soup is a classic Chinese Takeout recipe that feels like comfort in a bowl (for an equally comforting soup – try my authentic Wonton Soup as well)! I love my recipe because it’s flavorful with a variety of mushrooms and tofu, seasoned perfectly with a little spice and tanginess, and has the layers of silky egg ribbons that everyone loves!

Ingredients for Hot and Sour Soup

Here is what you’ll need for the recipe. The list of ingredients may seem long but you’ll be happy to see that making it is actually very simple.

  • 8 cups chicken stock – You can use chicken stock or bone broth, depending on your preference. You can also substitute with vegetable stock or broth.
  • 3 tbsp distilled white vinegar – This is what adds the ‘sourness’ you expect from a good Hot and Sour Soup. You can substitute with rice vinegar or rice wine vinegar, but I prefer white vinegar.
  • 1 tsp white pepper – This is a Chinese cooking pantry staple and one of my favorite ingredients! White pepper adds an earthiness and spiciness that sets apart Chinese restaurant dishes. If you don’t have this, you can substitute with black pepper.
  • kosher salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar – A little bit of sugar balances the soup’s savory flavors!
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce – Use light soy sauce (not low sodium) or all purpose soy sauce.
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce – I like adding a little bit of dark soy sauce for the color and sweetness it brings.
  • 1/2 tsp MSG – this is always optional!
  • 1 tsp sesame oil – A little drizzle of sesame oil adds a nuttiness to the soup.

Vegetables

  • 12 oz assorted mushrooms – You can use any combination of mushrooms you prefer. I love using an assortment for the different flavors and textures – in the video and photos below, I used sliced wood ear, shiitake, and king oyster mushrooms. If you can’t find all of these mushroom types, I would say dried shiitake mushrooms will lend itself to making your Hot and Sour Soup taste the most authentic!
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 3 dried red chili peppers – This adds spice to the soup. You can also substitute with 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.
  • 6 oz firm tofu cut into 1″ pieces – This must be firm or extra firm tofu; otherwise, the tofu will disintegrate into your Hot and Sour Soup!
  • 4 oz bamboo shoots sliced – These are sold in cans; I like to get mine from my local Chinese grocery (99 Ranch). If you cannot find them, you can substitute with another vegetable that a similar texture and can be sliced into strips (such as the stalks of broccoli or cauliflower or even carrots.)
  • 1/2 tbsp neutral oil – my go-to neutral oil in recipes is avocado oil, but you can use canola or vegetable oil.
  • 3 eggs – Eggs make the beautiful silky egg ribbons that is a signature of Hot and Sour Soup!

Cornstarch Slurry

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch – This is the KEY ingredient to thickening the soup base. The cornstarch slurry will help thicken the stock to the consistency you like! If you like the soup thinner, add less, but if you like an extra thick soup add a little more! This is my ideal ratio based on an 8 cup batch of Hot and Sour Soup.
  • 1/2 cup water

Hot and Sour Soup: Recipe Instructions

1. Prep The Ingredients

This soup does not take long to make, and most of the work is prepping the ingredients. Slice the tofu, mushrooms, and bamboo shoots into strips; set aside. In a bowl, beat 3 eggs along with a tablespoon of water. In a second separate bowl, create a cornstarch slurry by mixing together 1/4 cup of cornstarch and 1/2 cup of water.

For spice, I’m using 3 dried red chilis – you can omit them or adjust the spice level to your preference.

prepped ingredients on a cutting board

2. Fry the chilis

In a heavy bottomed pot, heat 1/2 tbsp of neutral oil over medium heat and add the chilis. Infuse the chilis in the oil for about a minute until they release their flavor into the oil, then remove the chilis from the pot.

3. Add the chicken broth and season the soup

Next, add 8 cups of a high quality chicken broth or stock. Turn the heat up to high and season with white pepper, salt to taste, sugar, msg, light & dark soy sauce, and sesame oil. The broth with turn a dark brown color like the photo below.

4. Add the mushrooms, tofu, and bamboo shoots

To the chicken broth, add in your sliced mushrooms, tofu, and bamboo shoots. Mix those in and cover to bring the soup to a boil.

5. Add the cornstarch slurry

Once the soup comes to a boil, give your cornstarch slurry a final mix to pick up any cornstarch that has sunk to the bottom of your mixture, then pour in the slurry. Mix until the broth has thickened to your preference.

6. Form the egg ribbons

Now that the soup has thickened, turn the heat to low. Slowly pour in the beaten egg in a thin stream while simultaneously mixing the soup and egg with a ladle or spoon in a circular motion. If done correctly, you will begin to see the egg form silky egg ribbons throughout the soup that gives Hot and Sour soup its signature look!

PRO TIP

Forming Perfect Egg Ribbons

To ensure silky, long egg ribbons, it’s very important that the broth is slightly cooled and not boiling. If the broth is too hot, the eggs will become cloudy and the egg ribbons will not form. Let the soup cool down for a few minutes, then slowly pour the egg around the broth and use a ladle to stir the soup to create the ribbons. Try a little bit first – if the egg becomes cloudy you’ll know you need to let the broth cool more before adding the egg!

7. Garnish and serve!

To finish the soup, add the white vinegar along with freshly chopped scallions. Give the soup a final mix and adjust for any seasoning if needed. Serve it up and enjoy!

hot and sour soup in a bowl

PRO TIPS

Expert Tips and Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where do you find bamboo shoots / what if I can’t find bamboo shoots? I like to get mine from my local Chinese grocery (99 Ranch). If you cannot find them, you can substitute with another vegetable that a similar texture and can be sliced into strips (such as the stalks of broccoli or cauliflower or even carrots.)
  • Can I use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth? Yes!
  • What should I serve with Hot and Sour Soup?
  • You can store this soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I do not recommend freezing it because it uses cornstarch to thicken up – the consistency when defrosted won’t be the same.

If you tried this Hot and Sour Soup or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below!

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5 from 166 votes

Hot and Sour Soup (Video)

Servings: 6
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
hot and sour soup in a pot
Better than takeout Hot and Sour Soup! This rich and flavorful soup is packed with wood ear mushrooms, tofu, and silky egg with a bit of spice and tang to make for an incredible comfort meal!

Ingredients 

Vegetables

  • 12 oz assorted mushrooms, I used sliced wood ears mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, and king oyster mushrooms
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 3 dried red chilis, or 1 tsp of red pepper flakes
  • 6 oz firm tofu, cut into 1" pieces
  • 4 oz bamboo shoots, sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp neutral oil
  • 3 eggs

Cornstarch Slurry

Instructions 

  • Slice vegetables and tofu and set aside. Mix together cornstarch slurry and beat eggs in two separate bowls.
  • Heat wok or heavy bottomed pot on high and add 1/2 tbsp of oil. Add chilis and saute for 1 minute and remove once the chilis have infused in the oil.
  • In the pot, pour in 8 cups of chicken stock and season with white pepper, sugar, msg, light soy sauce and dark soy sauce, and sesame oil. Mix and season with salt to taste.
  • Add sliced mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and tofu and mix well. Cover and bring to a boil.
  • Uncover the pot and mix in the cornstarch slurry and stir until the broth has thickened to your preference.
  • Turn heat to low, then pour in the beaten egg in a steady stream into the soup while simultaneously mixing the soup with a ladle to form egg ribbons throughout the soup
  • Add 3 tbsp of white vinegar and additional sesame oil to taste. Mix together, garnish with green onions and serve.

Notes

If you are using dried shiitake mushrooms, be sure to rehydrate them in hot water until they’re soft before slicing the mushrooms.
For the egg ribbons, my key tip here is to stir the soup in a circular motion and slowly pour in a thin, steady stream of egg. Ensure the soup is not too hot (test a small amount of egg to see if the ribbons form correctly) – this is another reason for less than ideal egg ribbons!

STORAGE

You can store this soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I do not recommend freezing it because it uses cornstarch to thicken up – the consistency when defrosted won’t be the same.

Nutrition

Calories: 211kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 15gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 91mgSodium: 996mgPotassium: 412mgFiber: 1gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 171IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 66mgIron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Soup
Cuisine: Chinese
Tried this recipe?Mention @cj.eats_ or tag #cjeatsrecipes!

About CJ

I’m a third generation Chinese-American home cook who has always loved cooking & eating! Welcome to my food blog, where you can find trusted, tested, easy & approachable recipes for the everyday home cook that taste delicious! I am so glad you're here!

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147 Comments

  1. Nothing beats this recipe on a cold winter night when you are exhausted and just want some comfort food. Easy to make and served hot helped me just relax