Vegetarian Hot And Sour Soup Recipe

Riding the perfect balance between spicy and tangy, this vegetarian hot and sour soup will make you feel like you're eating out at your favorite Chinese restaurant — in under 30 minutes of work. Food blogger Ksenia Prints of At the Immigrant's Table always turns to hot and sour soup whenever she is eating out in Chinese restaurants. This Sichuan classic is eaten year-round and in any weather, but its bold flavors make it perfect after a big meal or as a hangover cure.

But because traditional hot and sour soup contains hard-to-find ingredients like day lily buds and wood ear fungus, the classic recipe feels beyond reach of many home cooks. The fact that the typical version of this soup also has pork blood-flavored broth means it's often not approachable for everyone.

Our easy, quick and vegetarian hot and sour soup recipe seeks to remedy all that. It's made in under 30 minutes, and though inspired by Sichuan classics, it uses many ingredients you likely already have on hand. So next time you're craving some Chinese food, make our vegetarian hot and sour soup recipe, and fall in love with this reinvented classic.

Gather the ingredients for hot and sour soup

To make the base of this soup, you will need mushroom broth (make sure it's actual broth and not cream of mushroom soup). Alternatively, you can also use vegetable broth. You will also need sliced mushrooms (go for a mix if you want, but be sure to include shiitake mushrooms), a can of sliced bamboo shoots, soy sauce or tamari, rice wine vinegar, garlic, ginger, chili garlic sauce, cornstarch, an egg, soft tofu, green onions, and sesame oil.

Flavor the mushroom broth

Before we get started, reserve ¼ cup of the broth. We will need it later to make a roux to thicken our soup.

To a large stock pot, add the remaining broth along with mushrooms, bamboo shoots, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce or tamari sauce, garlic, ginger, and chili garlic sauce. Stir the ingredients until they are well combined. Cover the pot with a lid, set it to medium-high heat, and bring the mixture to a simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. This will help to infuse the flavors of the ingredients into the broth, resulting in a savory and aromatic base for your soup. Just keep an eye on the pot to ensure that it doesn't boil over or burn! 

Once the mixture has reached a simmer, we can begin to thicken the mixture.

Thicken the soup

It's time to make our soup-thickening roux. In Chinese cooking, a roux is often a mix of cornstarch and water — what many would call a slurry. This is different than the traditional French roux, which is often a mix of flour and fat that is cooked and thickened with some liquid.

In a small bowl, add a tablespoon of cornstarch to the reserved ¼ cup of the broth. Immediately whisk the mixture until it forms a smooth and runny paste. This step is important because it will help to thicken the soup and give it a rich and velvety texture.

Once the soup has been simmering for about 10 minutes and the ingredients have had a chance to meld together, it's time to add the cornstarch slurry. Pour the slurry into the pot while stirring continuously to prevent lumps from forming. Continue stirring for approximately 1 minute until the soup thickens to your desired consistency.

Make egg ribbons and add finishing touches

If you're looking to give your hot and sour soup a classic touch, you'll want to infuse it with egg ribbons. It's a simple process that involves slowly adding beaten eggs to the simmering soup and stirring it until they form long, thin ribbons in the soup. 

To start, make sure your soup is at a low simmer. Using a ladle or large spoon, stir the soup in a circular motion to create a gentle vortex. While you're stirring the soup, slowly pour in the beaten eggs, being careful not to add them too quickly. As you pour the eggs into the soup, they will cook and form thin ribbons that float on the surface of the broth. This technique not only adds a unique texture to the soup, but it also enhances the overall richness.

After you've added the eggs, it's time to add the tofu, half of the green onions, and a drizzle of sesame oil. Stir the ingredients until they're well combined. The tofu adds a subtle and delicate flavor to the soup, while the green onions provide a fresh and pungent touch. The sesame oil brings a nutty and rich flavor to the soup, elevating the overall taste.

Please note that using fresh soft tofu in this soup will result in a more traditional, but also more gooey, texture. Firm tofu will give the soup a bit more firmness.

Serve the vegetarian hot and sour soup

Congratulations — your soup is ready! But before digging in, take the time to taste the soup and adjust the seasonings to your liking. This step is crucial to ensure that your soup has the perfect balance of hot and sour flavors. 

If you prefer a tangier soup, add a splash more of rice wine vinegar, which will give it a bright and acidic note. If you want a spicier kick, add a bit more chili garlic sauce, which will provide the dish with the satisfying heat characteristic to Sichuan cooking.

Once you've adjusted the seasonings to your liking, it's time to serve the hot and sour soup. Ladle it into bowls and garnish each one with additional sliced green onions, adding a pop of color and freshness to the dish. If you have any leftover soup, transfer it to an airtight container or jar, and refrigerate it for up to 5 days. 

Vegetarian Hot And Sour Soup Recipe
4.9 from 28 ratings
Mushroom stock is the backbone of this vegetarian spin on a Chinese takeout favorite. Simply omit the egg to make it vegan!
Prep Time
Cook Time
bowl of soup with scallions, spoon and pot in background
Total time: 25 minutes
  • 6 cups mushroom broth
  • 3 cups sliced mixed mushrooms, including shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 (8-ounce) can sliced bamboo shoots, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 large egg, whisked
  • 1 (8-ounce) package soft tofu, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  1. Set aside ¼ cup of the broth.
  2. In a large stock pot, combine the remaining broth, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, soy or tamari, rice wine vinegar, garlic, ginger, and chili garlic sauce. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the ¼ cup of reserved broth with the cornstarch until a smooth, water paste is formed. Once the soup is simmering, add the cornstarch mixture and stir for approximately 1 minute until the soup thickens.
  4. To make the egg ribbons that are typical to hot and sour soup, stir the soup in a circular motion while slowly pouring in the beaten egg. Add the tofu, half of the green onions, and sesame oil, and stir.
  5. Taste the soup and correct seasonings, adding more rice wine vinegar for a tangier soup or more chili garlic sauce for a spicier kick.
  6. Remove pot from heat and serve hot and sour soup immediately, garnishing with additional green onions.
Calories per Serving 85
Total Fat 3.4 g
Saturated Fat 0.6 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 31.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 9.4 g
Dietary Fiber 1.8 g
Total Sugars 2.1 g
Sodium 350.9 mg
Protein 5.6 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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