Step into the realm of culinary delight with this classic Chinese hot and sour soup recipe that effortlessly balances a myriad of flavors, creating a symphony in your bowl. With a mere 5-minute prep time and a swift 15-minute cook time, this recipe stands as a testament to the notion that exquisite, restaurant-quality dishes can be conjured up in the comfort of your own kitchen. The generous yield of 6-8 servings makes it ideal for gatherings or as a savory centerpiece for a family dinner.

The ingredient list reads like a culinary adventure, featuring earthy shiitake mushrooms, the optional crunch of bamboo shoots, and the protein-rich allure of firm tofu. The broth, the soul of any good soup, is crafted from a harmonious blend of chicken or vegetable broth, rice vinegar, low-sodium soy sauce, ground ginger, and a touch of chili garlic sauce. The aromatic symphony created by these ingredients as they come to a simmer in a large stockpot is the prelude to a sensory journey.

A clever addition to the recipe is the cornstarch mixture, which not only lends its thickening magic to the broth but also imparts a luscious silkiness. As the soup thickens, the introduction of whisked eggs transforms it into a visual spectacle with delicate ribbons dancing in the simmering liquid. The cubes of tofu, the vibrant green of sliced green onions, and the finishing touch of toasted sesame oil elevate this soup to a culinary masterpiece.

Navigating through the instructions is a breeze, and the flexibility to switch tofu for a half-pound of cooked pork provides an inviting opportunity for personalization. For those new to the bold flavor of white pepper, the recipe advises a cautious start, ensuring the perfect balance without overwhelming the palate. A generous garnish of extra green onions is the final brushstroke, adding a burst of freshness and visual appeal to this already captivating dish.

Whether served as a starter, a light lunch, or a comforting dinner option, this hot and sour soup embodies the fusion of simplicity and sophistication. Its ability to rival any Chinese restaurant version attests to the prowess of homemade cooking, where each bowl becomes a canvas for creativity and a celebration of flavors. Embark on this culinary journey, and let the fragrant aromas and complex tastes transport you to the heart of Chinese culinary excellence.


  • prep time: 5 MINUTES
  •  cook time: 15 MINUTES
  •  total time: 20 MINUTES
  •  yield: 6 -8 SERVINGS 


This classic Chinese hot and sour soup recipe is quick and easy to make, full of delicious flavor, easy to make vegetarian (with tofu!) or with pork, and it totally rivals any soup I’ve tried at a Chinese restaurant!



  • 8 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms (or baby bella mushrooms), thinly-sliced with stems discarded
  • 1 (8-ounce) can bamboo shoots, drained (optional)
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar, or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 8 ounces firm tofu*, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Kosher salt and white pepper (or black pepper)


  1. Set aside ¼ cup of the chicken or vegetable broth for later use.
  2. Add the remaining 7 ¾ cups chicken or vegetable broth, mushrooms, bamboo shoots (if using), rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, ginger and chili garlic sauce to a large stock pot, and stir to combine.  Heat over medium-high heat until the soup reaches a simmer.
  3. While the soup is heating, whisk together the ¼ cup of broth (that you had set aside) and cornstarch in a small bowl until completely smooth.  Once the soup has reached a simmer, stir in the cornstarch mixture and stir for 1 minute or so until the soup has thickened.
  4. Continue stirring the soup in a circular motion, then drizzle in the eggs in a thin stream (while still stirring the soup) to create egg ribbons.  Stir in the tofu, half of the green onions, and sesame oil.  Then season the soup with salt and a pinch* of white pepper (or black pepper) to taste.  If you’d like a more “sour” soup, feel free to add in another tablespoon or two of rice wine vinegar as well.  Or if you’d like a spicier soup, add in more chili garlic sauce.
  5. Serve immediately, garnished with the extra green onions.


Pork option: Or, you’re welcome to make this with pork instead of tofu.  Just add in a half pound of cooked pork — ground pork, or you can thinly-slice pork chops or pork loin — in place of the tofu.

White pepper: I prefer using a pinch of white pepper in this soup instead of black pepper.  But if you are new to cooking with white pepper, heads up that it has a much stronger (and slightly) different flavor than black pepper!  I recommend starting with a small pinch, then you can always add more to taste.