Chinese Hot and Sour Soup

This Hot and Sour Soup is a Chinese restaurant classic which takes only 30 minutes!

hot and sour soup with fresh mushrooms on chopping board

Chinese New Year

As a child, my mother went to great lengths each year to prepare a Chinese New Year feast which could feed our entire neighbourhood.

The menu always featured a sticky rice cake filled with mung beans and pork, a Chinese Turnip Cake, endless platters of spring rolls (egg rolls), roast pork with gorgeously seasoned crackling – all served with fresh vermicelli noodles, picked carrots and daikon, and an abundance of fresh salad and herbs. 

There was always a soup on the menu, too; often a light chicken broth with bamboo shoots.

Each dish had a significance and the ingredients were always carefully chosen to welcome luck and prosperity into the family.

hot and sour soup with fresh ingredients on wooden board

Chinese Hot and Sour Soup

I make a Vietnamese Chicken Pho throughout the year, so to do something a bit different for Chinese New Year, I like to make a Chinese hot and sour chicken soup, which includes bamboo shoots to symbolise wealth.

You might recognise this soup from many Chinese restaurants – there is something addictive about the tangle of hot, sour and spicy notes in this soup, and I find it to be a nourishing and comforting soup no matter the time of the year.

hot sour soup with chillies in bowl

Hot and Sour Soup Recipe

You could add whatever vegetables you like to this hot and sour soup, although I like to keep it simple by using a mixture of mushrooms – the type and how many depends on what I can find at the markets.

You could even make a vegetarian version of this soup by using vegetable stock and adding cubes of silken tofu towards the end of cooking.

If you are serving this soup to children, I would suggest leaving the chillies out and to, instead, serve some freshly chopped chillies on the side for the adults.

I would suggest using the recipe below merely as a blueprint as you will find that it can accommodate a lot of variation here and there.

hot and sour soup with fresh ingredients

More Chinese Recipes

If you are looking for more Chinese recipes, perhaps even for Chinese New Year, you might like:

Asian Braised Beef Short Ribs

Chinese Almond Cookies

Chinese Barbecue Pork (Char Siu Pork)

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Satay Chicken Stir Fry


Chinese Hot and Sour Soup

5 from 2 reviews

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 50 mins
  • Yield: Serves 3 to 4
  • Category: Soups
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Chinese

This Hot and Sour Soup is a Chinese restaurant classic which tastes even more delicious homemade!


  • 12 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 2 small chicken breast fillets (about 200-300g (7-10oz) total weight)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 23 red chillies (or to taste), finely chopped
  • 100g (3.5oz) fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 100g (3.5oz) oyster mushrooms, sliced
  • 1.5 litres (6 cups) chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine
  • 6 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 46 tablespoons rice vinegar (or to taste)
  • 200g (7oz) tinned & sliced bamboo shoots
  • 34 tablespoons cornflour (US: cornstarch)
  • spring onions (scallions), finely sliced
  • coriander (cilantro), finely chopped


  1. In a large saucepan which will take all of the ingredients later, heat the oil.
  2. Cook the chicken breast fillets until lightly golden on each side.
  3. Remove the chicken from the pan and leave to rest on a plate.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium and add the ginger, garlic and chillies.
  5. Stir-fry for a few minutes until fragrant.
  6. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook for a few minutes until they have softened.
  7. Add the chicken stock, Chinese cooking wine, soy sauce and rice vinegar.
  8. Bring the mixture to a boil and then let it simmer gently for 10-15 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, shred the chicken breast fillets and add them to the soup, along with the sliced bamboo shoots.
  10. Mix the cornflour (cornstarch) with some cold water to make a slurry.
  11. Slowly add slurry to the soup while stirring the soup at the same time to avoid lumps in the soup. The soup should have a slightly thickened consistency. Keep adding more slurry to the soup until you have the desired thickness; if your soup is too thick, simply thin it with some boiling water from a kettle.
  12. Taste the soup for seasoning. You may wish to add some more soy sauce and/or rice vinegar.
  13. Serve with a generous sprinkle of spring onions and coriander (cilantro).

Kitchen Notes

As mentioned above, you can add whatever vegetables you like to this soup. Some suggestions include finely shredded Chinese cabbage, sliced green beans, or diced capsicums (bell peppers).

For a vegetarian version, simply replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock, and omit the chicken. Fresh or firm tofu is a delicious alternative to meat in this recipe.

For a more substantial soup, beat 1 egg in a small bowl. While the soup is simmering, slowly pour in the beaten egg, but make sure you stir the soup quickly so that the egg forms thin ribbons in the soup.

For a quick short-cut, replace the chicken breast fillets in this recipe with shredded rotisserie chicken (barbecued chicken). Add this to the soup in Step 9.


  • Serving Size: Serves 3 to 4
  • Calories: 287
  • Sugar: 9.6g
  • Sodium: 1289.1mg
  • Fat: 9.5g
  • Carbohydrates: 24.4g
  • Fiber: 2.1g
  • Protein: 25.3g
  • Cholesterol: 47.3mg

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment below and share your photos by tagging @eatlittlebird on Instagram and using #eatlittlebird


This recipe was first published on 3 February 2016. It has been updated with more comprehensive recipe notes.

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  1. My boyfriend absolutely loves this soup and I think I might need to make this for him! I’m a real mushroom-phobe, will this still be as good if I leave them out? Or add in button mushrooms instead (I can tolerate those ones).

    If they’re essential I’ll leave them in and eat round them 🙂

    Happy Chinese New Year for the 8th!

    • Eat, Little Bird 4 February 2016

      This soup is pretty versatile so you can leave out the mushrooms or indeed use button mushrooms instead. Not all restaurants make this soup with mushrooms. I happen to LOVE mushrooms so I bulk up this soup with a lot of them 🙂 Also, the restaurant versions usually have more broth than vegetables, so you can add as little or as many vegetables as you please. I hope your boyfriend will enjoy this recipe!

  2. Vy 12 February 2016

    Beautiful styling! Glad to see you posting more!

  3. Gabriella 17 January 2017

    This soup looks so tasty and so perfect for the chilly winter months! I love a good broth-y soup and will definitely be bookmarking this one 🙂

    • Eat, Little Bird 17 January 2017

      Thanks, Gabriella! It’s indeed a great soup to enjoy when the weather is cold. I hope you will enjoy this recipe!

  4. At our local Chinese/Thai place, this is our favorite soup! My Hubster would love this <3 Can't wait to try it

    • Eat, Little Bird 18 January 2017

      I hope you will enjoy this recipe! I always try to order this soup whenever we go to a Chinese restaurant, but it’s also great to know that you can make it quickly at home 🙂

  5. Rose 19 March 2018

    This is such a delicious soup! Tastes so much fresher than at my local Chinese restaurant, plus I know what goes into it. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. Julia 13 April 2018

    This Soup is one of the most loved in my family! We especially love it during the cold winter months. Pinned for later!

  7. mobasir hassan 15 October 2019

    excellent i am fond of such a healthy soup like this, love the you you used mushrooms for the recipe. Thanks.

  8. Mobasir Hassan 18 October 2019

    Thank you the authentic recipe I was looking for. In place of shitake mushroom, can I use button mushroom? As it is readily not available in our local stores.

    • Eat, Little Bird 21 October 2019

      Yes, of course you can use button mushrooms. You can actually use whatever vegetables you like in this recipe. I often use a variety of mushrooms for different textures. Enjoy the recipe!