Khao Tom Gai (Thai Chicken and Rice Soup)

Asian Soups

Khao tom gai, a very simple Thai chicken and rice soup, is not that different than a typical chicken soup your grandmother would make. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that your grandparents might actually like this recipe!

That is if you could get them to try it. I don’t know about you but my grandparents wouldn’t have tried Thai food in a million years. Seriously, I couldn’t have paid them to try Thai food. They were of Italian descent and rarely ventured away from Italian food.

Khao tom gai, a very simple Thai chicken and rice soup, is quite similar to a chicken soup your grandmother would make. And it's super easy to make at home.

But this recipe is not what you’d typically associate with Thai cuisine or even other Southeast Asian soup recipes which have a reputation for being quite complex. It’s a great example of many Thai soups which are very simple and utilize only a handful of ingredients.

These soups never appear in Western Thai restaurants because they just wouldn’t sell very well. People go to Thai restaurants for colorful curries and all the exotic flavors. But not all Thai food is like that. That’s one of the reasons I wrote my book, The Thai Soup Secret. I wanted to showcase the simpler side of Thai cuisine, a side that can easily be recreated at home!

Thai Soup Secret cover

Transform Your Health with Thailand’s #1 Superfood!

Includes 40 restorative recipes for broths, congees, and soups. All gluten and dairy-free!

And don’t let the chiles in the cover picture below fool you. They’re optional and more often than not this is a very plain soup (albeit still flavorful) served without chiles.

Though it resembles a congee, the rice here is not cooked into porridge, and that’s why Khao Tom Gai is one of my go-to recipes when I come home and don’t have anything planned for dinner. Within 20 minutes I can have this ready from start to finish.

Why I Love This Recipe

Beyond its simplicity, there are several more reasons I love making Kha Tom Gai. The first is the lemongrass and galangal-infused broth. This gives the broth a wonderfully fragrant, earthy, citrus flavor that is so characteristic of Thai cuisine.

Next, you can make Khao Tom Gai as basic or complex as you want.  If you’re battling a cold or digestive issue, make it more broth-based and keep the seasonings to a minimum. If you want something more hearty, add more chicken and rice and go crazy with the seasonings. In particular, fried onions and garlic are my favorite additions as they add that wonderful crunch and smoky flavor that can make any plain soup really come alive.

More Thai Soup Recipes to Try

Finally, if you would like to learn more simple, healthy Thai soups, just like Khao Tom Gai, check out my new book, The Thai Soup Secret!

It includes 40 gluten and dairy-free recipes for broth-based Thai soups. My purpose was to expose Thai soups to a wider audience. In my travels in Thailand, I found there were tons of simple soups that are relatively unknown outside Thailand.  

Here’s a list of some that you can find here on my blog…

Khao Tom Gai Recipe (Thai Chicken and Rice Soup)

Thai Chicken and Rice Soup

Khao Tom Gai

Khao tom gai is a very simple Thai chicken and rice soup. From start to finish it can be whipped up in about a half hour!
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
CourseMain Course, Soup
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings4 people
AuthorCraig Fear


  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 cup jasmine rice uncooked
  • 1 stalk lemongrass cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 inch piece galangal peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 cups chicken cooked or raw, chopped into cubes or rough pieces

Additional seasonings, to taste, optional


  • Bring broth, rice, lemongrass and galangal to a boil and simmer, covered, until rice is cooked about 10-15 minutes. Add raw chicken pieces, if using, until cooked through. If using pre-cooked chicken, add in the last minute to heat up.
  • While rice is cooking in broth, fry the garlic and shallots or onions in oil and set aside.
  • Ladle soup into individual bowls and add additional seasonings, in any amount and in any combination you prefer, to taste.


Serving: 2cups (1 bowl) | Calories: 303kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 2099mg | Potassium: 549mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 16IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 1mg
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Khao Tom Gai (Thai Chicken and Rice Soup)

About the Author

Craig Fear is the creator of Fearless Eating and the author of three books, The 30-Day Heartburn Solution, Fearless Broths and Soups and The Thai Soup Secret. After years helping clients with digestive issues, Craig decided to pursue writing full-time. He intends to write many more books on broths and soups from around the world! Click here to learn more about Craig.