Hot and Sour Soup Recipe: Better Than Takeout
This hot and sour soup recipe is super easy to make and full of flavor and satisfying textures! It’s spicy, tangy, savory, and better than takeout!
What is Hot and Sour Soup?
Hot and sour soup is a classic Chinese dish that is spicy, savory, tangy, and has so much umami.
Not only is it super flavorful but it is also full of different textures which makes it so satisfying and addictive to eat.
It can be enjoyed on its own, as an appetizer, or a side soup.
It consists of mushrooms, bamboo shoots, tofu, and silky ribbons of whisked eggs in a slightly thick and flavorful broth.
Hot and sour soup is on the menu at almost every Chinese restaurant and also undoubtedly a popular takeout staple.
This is one of my most requested recipes and I’ve finally found the perfect combination of ingredients and balance between flavor and simplicity for the best quick and easy hot and sour soup!
And dare I say, it’s better than takeout?
Ingredients for Hot and Sour Soup Recipe
Before you begin making this hot and sour soup recipe, you’ll need to gather the following ingredients:
- Chicken Broth: Store-bought chicken broth is a pantry staple for me and the key to quick and easy soups! Of course you can make homemade broth as well. Substitute for veggie broth to make this vegetarian.
- Mushrooms: Fresh or dried shiitake and woodear mushrooms (or black fungus) are the best for this soup. These can be found at your local Asian grocery store. You can also use king oyster, baby bella, enoki, or whatever your favorite mushrooms are.
- Shiitake: Shiitake adds a wonderful umaminess and flavor to the broth.
- Woodear or Black Fungus: Adds a nice texture and crunch. You can purchase these whole or in pre-cut strips (pictured below).
- Bamboo Shoots: Bamboo shoots don’t have a strong flavor but they add a nice texture and crunch. I purchase the canned strips which can be found at your local Asian grocery store like 99 Ranch Market or H Mart.
- Tofu: For this hot and sour soup, use firm tofu cut into small strips.
- Cornstarch Slurry: Cornstarch acts as a thickener, giving the soup that signature thick and glossy consistency. Create a slurry with water so that it blends seamlessly into the broth. You can leave this out, the broth will just be thinner and more liquidy.
- Eggs: Drizzling in whisked eggs creates the beautiful silky ribbons in hot and sour soup.
- Sesame Oil: An essential finishing touch that makes the soup nutty and fragrant.
- Green Onions: Sliced green onions adds a fresh and mild onion flavor which is the perfect garnish.
Seasonings for Hot and Sour Soup
- Pepper: The hot in hot and sour soup is from red chili flakes and white pepper. Red chili flakes make it spicy while ground white pepper gives it a nice warmth. You can use different varieties of dried chilies but note that the spice level will vary.
- Soy Sauce: Regular or low-sodium soy sauce adds a salty, savory, and umami flavor. I like to use the Kikkoman brand. Dark soy sauce has a similar but deeper flavor and is added mainly for color. You can use regular soy sauce only but the soup will be lighter in color.
- Sugar: Add just a little bit of sugar to balance out the saltiness of the soy sauce.
- Vinegar: The sour in hot and sour soup is from vinegar. For this recipe, use distilled white vinegar.
How to Make Hot and Sour Soup
Next time you’re craving hot and sour soup, skip the take out, and try this recipe instead!
It only takes 20 minutes to throw together and it’s just as delicious, if not better than takeout!
Once you have all the ingredients, you can make this recipe in just a few easy steps so you’ll be enjoying this Chinese takeout staple in no time.
I’ll walk you through this hot and sour soup recipe step-by-step so you can easily recreate it and satisfy those cravings at home!
As always, there is a recipe card at the end that you to print out, pin to Pinterest, or save for later!
Step 1: Prep the Ingredients for Hot and Sour Soup
Now that you have all the ingredients, it’s time to prep them!
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs. Set it aside for later.
In a separate small bowl, create a slurry with cornstarch and cold water.
Mix until it is well combined and set aside.
Dry cornstarch powder can be clumpy when added directly to hot liquids.
Therefore, we make a cornstarch slurry so that it is easier to incorporate and smoothly blend into the broth.
Wash & Rehydrate
Next, wash the mushrooms and green onions.
If using dried mushrooms, rehydrate by soaking them in hot water until softened.
I used fresh shiitake mushrooms and dried woodear mushroom slices.
The woodear mushrooms are small pieces so it only takes 5 minutes to rehydrate.
Thinly slice green onions, mushrooms, tofu, and bamboo shoots if you didn’t buy it already sliced.
Step 2: Make the Broth
In a medium-sized pot on medium heat, pour in the chicken broth.
Add in the mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and tofu.
Season the broth with chili flakes, white pepper, regular soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and sugar.
Afterwards, bring the broth to a rolling boil over medium heat.
Step 3: Thicken the Broth
Mix the cornstarch slurry really well again right before you add it into the broth.
Pour the cornstarch slurry mixture into boiling broth. The soup will not thicken if the broth is not hot enough.
As you pour, continuously stir to evenly incorporate the cornstarch into the broth and to keep it from clumping together.
Allow the broth to boil for a few minutes until it is thickened.
The consistency should be slightly thick and glossy but not as thick as a gravy.
Step 4: How to Get Silky Egg Ribbons
Once the broth has thickened, reduce the heat so that it is just gently simmering.
If the broth is boiling aggressively, this will cause the egg to break into small bits and become cloudy instead of turning into beautiful silky ribbons.
Use chopsticks or a cooking spoon to stir the broth vigorously in a circular motion. I like to call this a tornado.
Stop the vigorous stirring right before you add the eggs.
Slowly drizzle the beaten eggs into the swirling broth. The eggs will cook instantly, forming delicate silky ribbons.
Stir gently for a few seconds to further separate the eggs and create thin strands.
However, if you stir too hard or too fast, the eggs will break up too much and the soup will become cloudy.
Do not whisk it like you are making scrambled eggs.
In contrast, if you don’t stir enough, the eggs will clump together.
Keep your eye on it and control the stirring speed based on the texture you want to achieve.
Let it simmer still for 1-3 minutes so that the egg ribbons can fully cook and set.
Step 5: Finishing Touches
Lastly, turn off the heat and add vinegar, sesame oil, and green onions.
These ingredients are added last to maximize flavor and potency. Cooking tends to make them more mild.
Gently mix together to incorporate.
Taste test and adjust it to your liking.
Ladle the hot and sour soup into bowls and enjoy!
Leftover Storage & Reheating
Got some leftover hot and sour soup? No problem!
To keep it fresh, place the soup into a sealed container and store in the fridge.
Hot and sour soup keeps well for about 3-4 days in the fridge.
When you’re ready to eat, gently reheat the soup on the stovetop over low heat.
If you’re in a hurry, you can also use the microwave. Heat slightly covered to avoid evaporation while also allowing it to vent.
A few minutes should be sufficient but time will vary depending on the method and equipment.
The soup will taste just as good, however the reheated leftovers will not maintain the original thick consistency.
Dishes to Serve with Hot and Sour Soup
You can serve hot and sour soup on its own, as an appetizer, or a side soup.
It goes perfectly with other classic Chinese takeout dishes like the following:
Save This Hot and Sour Soup Recipe!
I hope this step-by-step tutorial for this hot and sour soup recipe was helpful and that you try to recreate this Chinese takeout classic at home!
Homemade is always better and this is super quick and easy to make.
Be sure to save this so you can make it whenever the craving hits and share this recipe with your family and friends!
Please leave a rating and comment below if you try it. I’d love to know what you think!
Did you make this recipe? I would love to see! Tag me on IG @feedmi_ or TikTok @feedmi
Hot and Sour Soup Recipe
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 3 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- ¼ cup woodear mushrooms, sliced
- ¼ cup bamboo shoots, strips
- 4 oz firm tofu, strips
- ½ tsp red chili flakes
- ¼ tsp white pepper
- 2 tbs soy sauce
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce
- ¼ tsp sugar
- 2 tbs cornstarch
- 3 tbs water
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbs vinegar
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- 1 green onion, sliced
- In a pot on medium heat, add chicken broth, shiitake mushrooms, woodear mushrooms, bamboo shoots, tofu, chili flakes, white pepper, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and sugar.
- In a small bowl, mix together cornstarch and water to create a slurry. Bring the broth to a boil then slowly pour in the slurry while stirring at the same time to evenly thicken the soup.
- Lower the heat so that the broth is just gently simmering. Stir quickly in a circular motion to create a tornado. Stop stirring, then immediately pour the whisked eggs slowly into the swirling broth. Gently stir in the same direction to create thin silky egg ribbons.
- Turn off the heat and finish it off with vinegar, sesame oil, and green onions. Gently stir to combine.
- Taste test, adjust it to your liking, and enjoy!