Khao soi is a rich and comforting Northern Thailand coconut curry chicken noodle soup that is everything. We crushed this bowl: just the right amount of spicy and creamy and full of the good stuff. The chicken is tender and hearty, the noodles chewy, the lime so bright and fresh.

Ever since I bought a little package of Thai red curry paste, I’ve been red currying all the things. I’ve done red curry potatoes, red curry chickpeas, and even red curry dipping sauce for fries. I’m surprised that Mike and I aren’t red from all the red curry paste we’ve been eating. I can’t get over how good it is. And really, it’s so much easier opening a package than getting out a mortar and pestle to make curry paste from scratch.

Thai red curry paste is the secret to how flavorful and rich this soup is while still somehow being done in 15 minutes whether you cook it on the stovetop or in an instant pot. One taste and I bet this will be a new weeknight staple. It’s that addictive.

While the egg ribbons and crunchy bits are completely optional, they add a lot of textural and taste contrast too. Maybe if you’re looking to do something new, give egg ribbons a try if you haven’t. They’re really simple but so satisfying.

What is khao soi?

Khao soi is a rich and comforting Northern Thailand coconut curry noodle soup. It’s also popular in neighboring countries Myanmar and Laos. The coconut curry soup base is creamy and packed with umami thanks to red curry paste, ginger, garlic, and fish sauce. Khao soi usually has chicken in it, but it can be found with beef as well.

khao soi recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

What is red curry paste?

Red curry paste is a seasoning paste made from dried chili, garlic, lemongrass, shallots, galangal, makrut lime, coriander, and cumin. It’s the base of many Thai dishes. You can make it at home by soaking the dried chilis then pounding everything together. Or, you can buy a tub of it from the grocery store. Red curry paste is incredibly flavorful and a super helpful back pocket ingredient that can level up your cooking game.

I love Aroy-D Thai red curry paste – it has a pretty simple ingredients list: chilis, garlic, lemongrass, shallots, salt, galangal, makrut lime, coriander, and cumin. Pretty much like what I would put into a curry paste if I were to be making it myself. Also incredibly popular is Mae Ploy brand.

red curry paste | www.iamafoodblog.com

Best noodles to use

Traditionally khao soi is made with fresh chewy Chinese egg noodles. You can find these egg noodles in the refrigerated aisle in the Asian grocery store. You can also use: chow mein noodles, dry egg noodles, instant ramen noodles, fresh ramen noodles, or even just spaghetti if that’s what you have.

Can I make khao soi without noodles?

You can totally make this without noodles. Technically it won’t be khao soi, but it will still be a very tasty coconut curry chicken soup. Add some root vegetables, leafy greens, or tofu to bulk it up and if you’re doing keto, use shirataki noodles for a keto khao soi.

khao soi noodles | www.iamafoodblog.com

Can I cook the noodles in the soup?

Please don’t cook the noodles in the soup! Fresh egg noodles need to be cooked in a large amount of roiling boiling water to properly cook. If you’ve ever had slimy, soggy noodles, it’s probably because someone cooked them in soup. Egg noodles release a lot of starch into the water they’re cooking in so it will change the soup texture and flavor.

How to make khao soi

  1. Fry the aromatics and curry paste. In a medium sized pot, add a little bit of oil. When the oil is hot, add the ginger and garlic and fry, stirring occasionally. When soft, add the curry paste and fry over medium high heat, stirring, until the oils start to separate.
  2. Add the stock and coconut milk. Stir in the chicken stock, coconut milk, and chicken.
  3. Simmer. Bring everything to a simmer over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until the chicken breast is cooked through.
  4. Cook the noodles. While the soup is simmering, cook the egg noodles and drain well.
  5. Season. Taste the soup and season with fish sauce and a touch of sugar.
  6. Assemble. When the chicken is done, remove from the soup and shred. Add the chicken to the bowls with the noodles and top with the soup. Finish off with lime and cilantro and enjoy!

khao soi | www.iamafoodblog.com

Instant pot khao soi

Instant pot khao soi isn’t actually much faster (if it is at all) but if you want the easy cleanup and no smells feature of the instant pot:

  1. Add chicken stock, coconut milk, red curry paste, garlic, ginger, and chicken to the insert.
  2. Set the pressure to high and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Cook and drain the egg noodles while the Instant Pot is doing its magic. Divide the noodles into deep bowls.
  4. Quick release when the Instant Pot is done, remove the chicken, and shred it. Divide the chicken between the bowls.
  5. Season the soup with fish sauce and sugar
  6. Assemble. Ladle the soup on top of the noodles and chicken. Top with lime wedges and cilantro, and enjoy!

Extra toppings for khao soi

The best part of khao soi are the extra toppings. So if you want a vibe, be sure to include these on the side to top your bowl:

  • Crispy noodles. The best part! Crunchy, crispy, nutty, rich deep fried egg noodles. This is pretty simple, just heat up a bit of oil in small pot and deep fry over medium heat until the egg noodles are crispy and brown. Drain on paper towels. You can also cut up some wonton wrappers and fry those too.
  • Sliced shallots. Sharp and sweet raw spicy heat.
  • Lime wedges & cilantro. A squeeze of tart acidity rounds out the flavors whlie the chopped cilantro adds freshness.
  • Egg ribbons. These aren’t traditional, but I like making egg ribbons to swirl into the noodles.
  • Extra chili paste. Have a little dish of prik pao (Thai chili sauce) so you can add some extra spice if needed

khao soi thai noodle soup | www.iamafoodblog.com

Dishes to serve with khao soi

Khao soi is hearty enough to be eaten on its own but what is life without variety? Here are a few dishes to serve alongside your khao soi;

Steph

khao soi | www.iamafoodblog.com

Khao Soi

A rich and comforting Northern Thailand coconut curry noodle soup that's done in 15 minutes!
Serves 2
4.88 from 8 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 15 mins

Ingredients

Khao Soi

  • 2 cups chicken broth no sodium preferred
  • 14 oz coconut milk 1 can
  • 1-2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 1/2 inch ginger thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 large chicken breast or 2 small ones
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce or to taste
  • 1 tbsp sugar or to taste, brown sugar preferred
  • 2 portions egg noodles or ramen noodles

Optional Toppings

  • 1/2 shallot sliced
  • 2 lime wedges
  • 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
  • 1 batch egg ribbons
  • 1/2 cup crispy wonton strips

Special Equipment

Instructions

  • In the Instant Pot insert, add the chicken stock, coconut milk, red curry paste, garlic, ginger, and chicken breast. Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
    instant pot khao soi | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • While the Instant Pot is doing it’s thing, slice the shallots, cut the lime, and wash the cilantro. If you’re using any extra toppings, prep them now. Cook and drain your noodles and divide them between two deep bowls.
    toppings for khao soi | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • When the Instant Pot is done, quick release the pressure. Carefully remove the chicken and shred. Add the chicken to the bowls with the noodles.
    Vietnamese Chicken Salad Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Stir the fish sauce and brown sugar into the soup. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with fish sauce, sugar, and curry paste if needed, then divide evenly between the two bowls. Finish with lime and cilantro and enjoy!
    khao soi | www.iamafoodblog.com

Notes

See the blog post for stovetop instructions.
Estimated nutrition assumes you are drinking all the soup.

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Khao Soi
Amount Per Serving
Calories 868 Calories from Fat 482
% Daily Value*
Fat 53.5g82%
Saturated Fat 43g269%
Cholesterol 64mg21%
Sodium 1239mg54%
Potassium 1026mg29%
Carbohydrates 63.7g21%
Fiber 7.1g30%
Sugar 12.3g14%
Protein 36.6g73%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

33 Comments

  1. Kyle says:

    This is pretty similar to the red curry ramen posted a few weeks back, right?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi kyle,
      absolutely, but without the sesame paste, mushrooms and peppers :)

  2. 5 stars
    This looks really good! I love all things red curry and this fits my need for weeknight instant pot dinners that are boyfriend approved as well. Thanks!

    1. Stephanie says:

      hope you get to give it a try odessa! :)

  3. Alyssa says:

    4 stars
    I love all these flavors, and of course noodles are always good ;). Can’t wait to try on a cold night!

    1. Stephanie says:

      :) these guys are perfect for a cold night!

  4. Krysty says:

    I’m new to your blog and everything looks really delicious. I wanted to ask, if I were to double the recipe how would that effect cook time?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi krysty,
      you don’t need to change the cooking time if you’re using an instant pot. if you’re doing it on the stove, it might need a bit more time, add an extra 5 minutes and start checking from there :)

  5. Val says:

    This is no Khao Doing, because the curry paste we use is totally different. However, it is a good try.

  6. Mel says:

    Can you substitute chicken thighs for the breast? How would the cooking time change?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi mel,
      you can use chicken thighs. in the instant pot, the time won’t change, for the stove, you might want to add a couple of minutes :)

  7. Hubs says:

    5 stars
    That was super tasty and easy. I used shrimp instead of chicken and added some mung bean sprouts for the crunch. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    1. Stephanie says:

      yay! shrimp was a good choice. imagine chicken and shrimp together?! so good :)

  8. Melissa says:

    Egg ribbons?

    1. Melissa says:

      Never mind, I googled it….should’ve tried that first!

  9. Anna says:

    Please do a tutorial for egg ribbons. I googled and the first hit is a person with a really strong desire to know how to make them, its the best read.

    1. Stephanie says:

      i’ll do it this month for sure :)

    2. Stephanie says:

      hi anna, here’s a tutorial!

  10. Amanda says:

    5 stars
    This was very tasty! I doubled everything else, but just used one can of coconut milk, so my broth was probably a little thinner. My family loved this. This is the fourth ramen soup recipe I’ve tried in the Instant Pot, and it was unanimously voted the winner. Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. Stephanie says:

      yay so happy your family loved it! warms my heart :)

  11. Vy says:

    5 stars
    This is probably the tastiest thing I’ve made in my Instant Pot! I used chicken thighs instead and it came out AMAZING! Do you have recommendations on what wonton strips to buy? Had to skip this topping since I didn’t have time to go to the Asian market. Thanks for posting this awesome recipe!

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi vy,
      yay!! chicken thighs are the best! it’s so funny, if i make stuff with breasts, people want to use thighs; if i use thighs, people always ask about breasts LOL

      as for wonton strips, i just deep fried wonton skins in a tiny bit of oil. any brand of wonton skins will do. if you want to go with a store bought crunchy, you can go with some of those deep fried noodles they sell too :)

    2. Mimi says:

      Nowadays American supermarkets may have a small section near the fresh veggies that you can find wonton skins, tofu, dairy free cheeses and stuff like that.

  12. MattSNZ says:

    5 stars
    Just made this, subbing in thighs because deliciousness. It was excellent, even my relatively picky 2 year old destroyed her share and was drinking the leftover broth from her bowl!

    1. Stephanie says:

      hey matt!
      so awesome that you guys liked it. so cute that your daughter finished off the broth too! :)

  13. Gardenia says:

    5 stars
    This looks delicious. If I wanted to double up the recipe do I cook for 10min and double the recipe?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi gardenia,
      yes, you can definitely!

  14. Aoife Kirwan says:

    Hey, thanks for the recipe..I don’t use an instant pot so just wonder how long to cook on the stove.

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi! the stove instructions are at the bottom of the recipe in italics :)

  15. Jenn says:

    What brand of ramen noodles do you use in this?

    1. Stephanie says:

      they’re sun noodles :)

  16. Priya says:

    If I am not a fan of chicken can I sub tofu or shrimp? Or will it not be as flavourful?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi priya,
      you can totally sub tofu or shrimp. you won’t have to cook them as long though, so after simmering everything together to meld the flavors, just add them at the last minute or so.

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Thanks for reading as always!
-Steph & Mike