Thai Chicken and Rice Soup

By Jeri Mobley-Arias
March 9, 2021 | Updated on August 25, 2023

Khao Tom Gai or Thai Chicken and Rice Soup, is a simple, low-commitment, yet flavorful recipe, and my go-to when craving a comforting bowl of chicken soup or when the beau is feeling under the weather. This soup comes together fairly simply and packed with flavor.

If you are looking for more Thai-inspired dishes, then check out Crab Fried Rice.

thai chicken and rice soup

What is Thai Chicken and Rice Soup?

Traditionally known as Khao Tom Gai, Thai Chicken and Rice Soup that is a Thai soup typically consumed at breakfast, but can be eaten at other times throughout the day.

The literal translation of the name is Khao -rice, Tom -soup, Gai -chicken and in markets throughout Chiang Mai, Thailand (and throughout the country), vendors all around sell their rendition of this comforting dish sold to customers in plastic bags that are doubled knotted and equipped with all the toppings.

I recall my visit to Chiang Mai and Korat, Thailand, and being shown around the city by my family. One of my favorite places to visit was the open markets, where there were what seemed like endless aisles of vendors selling delicious eats; aromatic sausages, pad thai, pad see ew, khao soi, and my morning favorite: Khao Tom Gai.

During our stay in Korat, my sister’s sweet mother-in-law would go to the open market quite early and return with enough food for a village. One thing she always had in hand was Khao Tom Gai with all the fixings on the side; fried garlic, green onion, fish sauce, and ginger. It was the perfect way to wake up and some days, the cure to hangovers.

Is it soup or porridge?

Thai Chicken and Rice Soup style is more like a soup, brothier than porridge. The Thai version of porridge is referred to as Jok and is similar in ingredients and even features meatballs and fresh toppings.

The key difference is that Jok is much thicker in texture, akin to that of the Chinese version, Congee or Filipino version, Arroz Caldo. All are super delicious!

Ingredients to make Khao Tom Gai

Making this delicious soup is quite easy and only takes 30 minutes!

To Make The Chicken Balls You Need:

  • Ground Chicken Thigh
  • Garlic
  • Cilantro Roots
  • White Pepper
  • Kosher Salt
  • Egg White
  • Fish Sauce

To Make The Rice Soup You Need:

  • Thin Soy Sauce
  • Chicken Broth
  • Fish Sauce
  • White Pepper
  • Jasmine Rice

Thai Chicken and Rice Soup toppings:

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that condiments and toppings are my jam. When it comes to this soup, the more variety in toppings, the more nuances in flavor–mmm, I’m getting hungry.

  • Cilantro – minced and contains a mixture of leaves and stems.
  • Green Onion – adds a nice bite in flavor
  • Fresh Ginger – cut into thin strips and added at the end. It’s slightly peppery and fresh pieces round out soup really well.
  • Fried Garlic is a boost of amazing garlic flavor and a lovely crunchy texture as well.
  • Fish Sauce just a dab’ll do you good as it is salty and oh-so necessary
  • Egg – this is optional, but traditionally a room temperature egg is added to at the end, while the soup is piping hot. The heat from soup cooks the egg just enough for the whites to cook through and the yolk is still jammy. You can omit this or add a soft boiled or poached egg.

How to make the meatballs

Unlike most chicken soups that call for cubed or shredded chicken, Khao Tom Gai calls chicken meatballs, comprised of ground chicken thigh that’s prepared with cilantro, fish sauce, white pepper, and egg whites. To make the meat mixture is fairly simple and only requires a few steps:

  1. Place chicken ball ingredients in a medium sized bowl and mixx well;
  2. Place chicken mixture in a reusable sandwich bag;
  3. Trim 1½ inch corner of the resealable bag and squeeze over the dutch oven;
  4. Squeeze until about one inch of mixture comes out, then use a butter knife to coax the mixture into the stock. Don’t worry about the shape of the chicken, it will form as it cooks.;
  5. Repeat until the resealable bag is empty;
  6. Cook until chicken balls float to the top–this usually takes 2-3 minutes;
  7. Proceed with adding rice.

Get to it! I hope you love this family favorite recipe!

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Loving This Thai Chicken and Rice Soup ?

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thai chicken and rice soup

Thai Chicken and Rice Soup

5 from 2 votes
Khao Tom Gai or Thai Chicken and Rice Soup, is a simple, low-commitment, yet flavorful recipe, and my go-to when craving a comforting bowl of chicken soup or when the beau is feeling under the weather. This soup comes together fairly simply and packed with flavor.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2
Author Jeri Mobley-Arias
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Asian


Chicken Balls

  • ½ pound ground chicken thigh
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon, ginger, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro roots, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1½ teaspoons fish sauce 

Rice Soup

  • 1½ tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 6 cups chicken broth, low sodium
  • 1½ tablespoons fish sauce
  • ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
  • 3¼ cups cooked jasmine rice, day-old

For Serving

  • ¼ cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup green onion, thinly sliced
  • Ginger, thinly sliced
  • Fried Garlic
  • Fish Sauce (optional)
  • Poached Egg

Fried Garlic

  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1½ tablespoon avocado oil


  • To make chicken ball mixture, combine all chicken ball ingredients into a bowl and mix with your hands. Be sure to mix the ingredients well. Once thoroughly mixed, check to see if the mixture is sticky in texture. Add meat mixture to a sandwich size resealable bag.
  • Add stock, soy sauce, fish sauce, and pepper to a dutch oven and bring to a boil.
  • While stock mixture is boiling, lower the heat to simmer. Trim the corner of the resealable bag and squeeze over the pot. Squeeze until 1½ inches of the meat mixture comes out, then use a butter knife to separate meat from the bag and allow meatball to fall into the soup. Cook until the balls float to the top.
  • Add rice and bring it to a boil. Cook for 4 minutes.
  • Taste soup and adjust seasoning with fish sauce and soy sauce if necessary. Ladle into 2-3 bowls and top with cilantro, green onions fried garlic, fresh ginger, and poached egg (optional).

Fried Garlic

  • Heat oil in a saucepan.
  • Add garlic and cook until golden brown.
  • Remove garlic from saucepan and place on paper towel-lined plate. Top soup when ready to eat.
Did you make this recipe?Leave a comment below and tag @whisperofyum on Instagram and hashtag it #whisperofyum!
thai chicken and rice soup



  1. Scott K says...

    5 stars
    Hi, I found you on Instagram via Food52! I tried this recipe over the weekend and my wife and I loved it! So flavorful and easy steps. We loved it so much, already planning to make it again soon. Thank you!

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Hey, I'm Jeri!

At Whisper of Yum, we explore ALL cuisines - comfort foods, classics, elevated originals. If you love food like me, I invite you to settle in to this place, where swoon-worthy food is attainable + inspo for your next meal awaits.

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