Hot and Sour Soup

Hot and sour soup may be something you’re used to ordering from your closest Chinese restaurant. But this easy and authentic version, filled with ground pork, tofu, and mushrooms, is done in less time than it takes to order takeout. And, quite honestly, it’s the best we’ve ever had.

A ceramic bowl filled with hot and sour soup.

This is, quite frankly, the loveliest hot and sour soup we’ve ever experienced. The author, Joanne Chang, isn’t kidding when she says this easy soup, which she learned how to make from her mother, Mama Chang, has “none of the glop,” referring, of course, to that characteristic gloppy texture prevalent in the Americanized hot and sour soup renditions found in many Chinese carryout restaurants. With its pronounced sour tang, this is a hot and sour soup recipe we’ll be turning to again and again and again. Many thanks to Joanne and to Mama Chang for sharing the recipe. Renee Schettler

How to make hot and sour soup with everyday ingredients

A few words from the author, Joanne Chang, on how this easy incarnation of hot and sour soup came into existence and how you can still make it even if you don’t have all the traditional ingredients.

“My mom used to whip this up as a fast lunch for my brother and me. Ground pork isn’t traditional, but it makes the preparation of this soup ultra quick. Wood ear mushrooms, sometimes labeled “tree fungus” (appetizing, yes?) are a traditional ingredient but they can be hard to find unless you live near an Asian grocery store. I substitute easy-to-find button mushrooms, which don’t have the same crunch but add a nice earthy flavor. Egg, not flavorless cornstarch, acts as the thickener, allowing the flavors of pork, sesame, vinegar, and pepper to come shining through.”

Hot and Sour Soup

  • Quick Glance
  • (15)
  • 20 M
  • 20 M
  • Serves 4
4.9/5 - 15 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Flour, Too cookbook

Want it? Click it.



In a saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the vegetable oil. Add the garlic, ginger, scallions, and pork and cook, stirring occasionally to break up the pork, for about 1 minute. Don’t worry about cooking the pork through.

Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Add the tofu, mushrooms, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, black pepper, sesame oil, and Sriracha sauce and bring the soup back to a simmer over medium-high heat. Taste the soup. If you want it hotter, add more Sriracha sauce; if you want it more sour, add more vinegar.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until blended. 

With the soup at a steady simmer, slowly whisk in the eggs so they form strands. Bring the soup back to a simmer. Divide the soup among 4 bowls and garnish each with a little sesame oil, scallion, and white or black pepper. Serve immediately. (Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. The reheated hot and sour soup may take on a slightly different appearance but will taste just the same.) Originally published June 19, 2013.

Print RecipeBuy the Flour, Too cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

Although this hot and sour soup isn’t quite what I’ve had at some Chinese restaurants, it’s a great one to make and enjoy at home. I love that it uses ingredients that are easy to find.

We enjoyed the addition of ground pork, but I think it would also be good with ground chicken, turkey, or even beef.  I opted to add an additional teaspoon Sriracha since we like ours on the spicy side. It tasted good when I tasted to check for more hot sauce or vinegar, but it was even better once it was in the bowls with the addition of a little more sesame oil. I’ll be making this one again when we’re craving hot and sour soup and can’t get to a Chinese restaurant.

This hot and sour soup uses readily available hot sauce instead of the hard-to-find canned Szechuan mustard, which my recipe calls for (why didn’t I ever think of that?), so I’ll probably be making this version of hot and sour soup more often.

The flavor is good, but the button mushrooms don’t give the same flavor that the Chinese dry mushrooms do, and I miss the bamboo shoots and tiger lilies. I used Marie Sharp’s Habanero Pepper Sauce that my daughter brought back from a trip to Beliz. I also used slivered raw chicken breast instead of the ground meat.


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


  1. I use chicken feet to get that silky texture to the broth. Remove before eating. Hot and sour soup is my go-to when I feel a cold coming on. Eat it hot! Drink hot sake with it, and sweat the cold right out! Dang, I don’t have a cold, but I’m making this tonight with slivered pork. Adding cabbage.

    1. Love everything about this, Andi. The chicken feet. The booze. The cabbage. Everything! Appreciate you sharing your tips and tricks! And looking forward to hearing what you think of it…

  2. I have made this soup per the recipe instructions twice now (in two weeks!) and it is so good. I’m thrilled with how easy it is as well and how many of the ingredients are pantry staples. This will be a regular meal at my house!

    I did lower the amount of rice vinegar the second time around but I’m positive this is due to personal preference.

  3. I’ve made this multiple times. As-is is terrific. But I also find the recipe easily adapted to what I have in the house. Ground turkey, carrots, celery, Thai peppers, veggie broth, extra mushrooms in lieu of tofu…thanks for such a reliable, flavorful base.

  4. Our family’s review is a bit more mixed than the others posted. We found the quantity of vinegar to be overwhelming, basically making enjoyment of the soup difficult. We added sriracha, sesame oil, green onions, and cilantro at the table to taste, which did improve things, but still didn’t quite fix the issue. I recommend adding half of the ⅔ cup and tasting, working from there. More vegetables would also be a welcome addition. The speed at which the soup comes together once the prep is done is fantastic.

    1. Sandy, sorry to hear that it was too sour for you but I’m relieved you were able to tweak it to your liking. I so appreciate you taking the time to let us know. I find it to be a very personal thing, how sour one likes things, and I’m not crazy about stuff being too sour, either. I tweaked the amount of vinegar in the recipe so that it starts with a lesser amount and more can be added to taste. Again, thank you!

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Attach it below. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

Rate this recipe!

Have you tried this recipe? Let us know what you think.

Upload a picture of your dish