Hot and Sour Soup Recipe

Embark on a culinary journey to recreate the classic Chinese takeout favorite with this Hot and Sour Soup recipe. Unlike its varied restaurant counterparts, ranging from deliciously memorable to forgettable, this homemade version puts you in charge of crafting the perfect balance of heat and sourness.

With carefully selected ingredients and a step-by-step guide, you’ll bring to life a soup that stands out for its rich flavors and authentic taste.

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How to Prepare Hot and Sour Soup

  1. Pork Prep: Mix 4 oz. julienned pork shoulder with 1 tablespoon water until absorbed. Incorporate a pinch of salt, 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Set aside for later use.
  2. Dry Ingredients Ready: Halve dried chilies, discard seeds, and mince. Soak dried lily flowers, wood ears, and shiitake mushrooms each in 1 cup of water for 1-2 hours until hydrated. Post hydration, slice mushrooms, chop wood ears, and halve lily flowers after trimming tough ends.
  3. Tofu and Extras: Slice both spiced and firm tofu into 2-inch by ¼-inch pieces. Julienne bamboo shoots. Beat an egg in a bowl, and finely chop a scallion for garnishing.
  4. Soup Assembly: Boil 8 cups of chicken stock. Loosen pork clumps with water if necessary before adding to the stock. Skim off any foam. Incorporate salt, sugar, dried chili, white pepper, soy sauces, sesame oil, prepared dry ingredients, tofu, and vinegar.
  5. Thicken Soup: Create a cornstarch slurry with ⅓ cup cornstarch and ¼ cup water. While stirring the soup in a circular motion, slowly add the slurry until the soup thickens enough to coat a spoon. Adjust thickness as desired.
  6. Season to Taste: Adjust the heat with more white pepper and sourness with additional vinegar to suit your taste.
  7. Finish with Egg: Keep the soup simmering and swirling, then slowly drizzle in the beaten egg. Garnish with chopped scallions and serve hot.
hot and sour soupPin

Hot and Sour Soup

Savor the perfect blend of flavors with this authentic Hot and Sour Soup recipe, a homemade rendition of the Chinese takeout classic that lets you tailor the spice and sourness to your liking. Ready in steps that ensure a richly seasoned and heartily filled bowl, this soup promises a comforting and customizable experience in every spoonful.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 6 Servings


For the Pork and Marinade

  • 4 oz. pork shoulder
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

For the Soup

  • 1 to 2 dried red chili peppers
  • 0.3 ounce dried lily flower
  • 0.3 ounce dried wood ear mushrooms
  • 0.3 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 3 ounces spiced dry tofu
  • 4 ounces fresh firm tofu
  • 4 ounces bamboo shoots
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 scallion
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons fresh ground white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dark soy or mushroom soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce or seasoned soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/3 to ½ cup white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup water


  • Prepare Pork: Julienne 4 oz. pork shoulder and blend with 1 tablespoon water until fully absorbed. Add a slight salt pinch, mix in 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Keep aside.
  • Ready Dry Ingredients: Halve and seed dried chilies before mincing. Hydrate dried lily flowers, wood ears, and shiitake mushrooms in separate bowls using 1 cup of water each for 1-2 hours. After hydration, proceed to slice the mushrooms, chop the wood ears, and halve the lily flowers post trimming their tough ends.
  • Prepare Tofu and Other Ingredients: Cut the spiced and firm tofu into strips measuring 2 inches in length and ¼ inch in thickness. Bamboo shoots should be julienned. In a small bowl, whip the egg until beaten. Scallions should be washed, chopped, and set aside for later.
  • Assemble Soup: Heat 8 cups of chicken stock to a boil. If pork has formed clumps, add a tablespoon of water to separate them before introducing into the stock. After adding pork, eliminate any surface foam using a fine mesh strainer. Add in salt, sugar, dried chili, white pepper, soy sauces, sesame oil, the prepared dry ingredients, tofu, and finally vinegar to merge flavors.
  • Thicken with Slurry: Mix ⅓ cup cornstarch with ¼ cup water to form a smooth slurry. While continuously stirring the soup in a circular motion, gradually incorporate the slurry to avoid lumps, stopping once the desired thickness is achieved that allows the soup to lightly coat the back of a spoon.
  • Season Perfectly: Fine-tune the soup’s flavor with additional white pepper for heat and more vinegar for sourness, based on personal preference.
  • Final Touch with Egg: With the soup at a gentle simmer, create a whirlpool motion using a ladle, then slowly pour in the beaten egg to form silky threads. Garnish with the previously chopped scallions and serve your hot and sour soup warm.

How to Store Hot and Sour Soup

Hot and Sour Soup is best enjoyed fresh, but if you have leftovers, let the soup cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. It can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. For longer storage, freeze the soup in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat gently on the stove, adding a little water or broth if the soup has thickened too much during storage. Note that the texture of the tofu might change slightly upon reheating.

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