Instant Pot Tom Yum Gai || Thai Hot and Sour Chicken Soup (Paleo, Whole30, AIP)

Instant Pot Tom Yum Soup

I love Thai food and it is really one of my favorite cuisines because the food is hot, spicy and tangy – the lemongrass smell is so therapeutic for me and there is nothing like a Tom Yum chicken soup when you are feeling a little under the weather.  Slurp this delicious soup when its steaming hot and all your ailments will go away ! Believe me, this hot and sour soup will really make you feel better by clearing your sinuses if you have a cold.

I first had this soup about 15 years ago now – my first experience of Thai food. This place was really a very nondescript joint in a plaza close to our apartment complex and my husband and I had once bumped into it by chance during one of our evening strolls. But that first experience of having that steaming hot and spicy soup served in a huge pot , is something that I can still distinctly remember.  As I had the soup, I just instantly fell in love with that flavor of lemongrass and kaffir lime although I did not know at that time what those were.  So thus began my foray into the world of Thai food and over the years I have had this soup in numerous places but I still feel that the one served in that small joint was really the best :).  I have tried over the years to create this soup at home and have been making a decent version now for the last few years.  Sadly, that joint went out of business many years ago or I would surely have gone back to get the recipe from the owner!

Before I used to use ready made Tom Yum paste which has sugar and tamarind both of which I avoid now. So now , I have created a Paleo and AIP version which is still equally delicious if not more!  Check the recipe to see what I use as a substitute for tomatoes!  The Kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass in this recipe are what really gives this soup the distinct aromatic flavors. Making this now in the Instant Pot has made it super easy! Everyone in my house loves it –  Tom Yum is just Yum!

Sharing this recipe at the Paleo/AIP Recipe Roundtable hosted by Phoenix Helix.

Tom Yum Chicken soup || Thai Hot and sour soup (Paleo, AIP)
Recipe type: Soups
Cuisine: Thai, Fusion
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
Hot and sour Thai chicken soup with flavors of kaffir lime leaves and lemon grass. This tomato free version uses cranberries to give it the tanginess!
  • 1.5 lbs chicken thighs
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • ½ cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 by 2 inch fresh ginger, chopped
  • 2 tsp galangal pow
  • 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 serrano chillies, chopped ( optional; omit for AIP)
  • ½ cup chopped lemongrass (you can also use canned )
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • ¼ cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup water (optional)
  • fresh Cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 Scallions chopped
  1. Add all the ingredients till water to the insert pot of the Instant Pot.
  2. Close the lid and turn valve to sealing position.
  3. Press 'Pressure cook' button and change time to 10 mins.
  4. After 10 mins is done, let pressure release naturally and then open the lid.
  5. Take the chicken pieces out using a ladle and place in a bowl. Add the ½ cup water to it so it becomes cold enough to handle. Shred the chicken and add back into the pot along with the cilantro and scallions. Serve hot!


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    • yes this is delicious and quite similar in taste to Tom Yum without the tomatoes. Hope you can try it!

  1. Why is water listed twice? You have 6 cups of water, 1 tsp sea salt, and then another 1/2 cup of water.

    • Hi Sue
      Sorry about that. I use the additional 1/2 cup of cold water to add to the chicken pieces in the bowl so that I can easily shred the chicken ( bcos its do hot out of the pot!) I missed writing that in the recipe. Thanks for catching that!

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