Chinese-Inspired Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup Recipe

Hot and sour soup
Melanie Acevedo / Getty Images
  • 40 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 4-6 servings
Ratings (19)

Chinese hot and sour soup is a light meal or accompaniment that can be enjoyed any time of day. In fact, my Taiwanese roommate in college used to prepare this vegetarian hot and sour soup recipe for breakfast on occasion, and I heartily ate it up!

This recipe combines mushrooms, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, soy sauce, hot sauce, vinegar, garlic, green onions, and chili oil, resulting in an authentic dish that vegans and vegetarians (or anyone else for that matter) can enjoy. It's warm, nourishing and oh-so-delicious. Make a batch the next time you're in need of warming up with something hot on a cold day.

What You'll Need

  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced (Chinese wood ear mushrooms or shiitake are best)
  • 1 small can bamboo shoots
  • 1 small can water chestnuts
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (use tamari to keep it gluten-free if needed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup scallions (green onions), sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chili oil

How to Make It

  1. In a large pot, bring the vegetable broth to a simmer and add the mushrooms, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, soy sauce, hot sauce, vinegar, and garlic. Allow to simmer for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Add the scallions to the pot and simmer for about 5 more minutes.
  3. Stir in the chili oil.
  4. Add additional soy sauce, hot sauce or vinegar to taste.

Enjoy your vegetarian hot and sour soup!


  • Any mushrooms will do in this recipe, but as noted, Chinese wood ear mushrooms or shiitake work best. While shiitake mushrooms are readily available fresh in almost any grocery store, Chinese wood ear mushrooms may take a little more effort to procure. Also called auricularia black fungus mushrooms, these mushrooms can be purchased dried from many online retailers, such as Amazon. Just be sure to give the mushrooms time to soak if you are going the route of purchasing them dried.
  • Hot and sour soup is somewhat light, so feel free to add in some fried tofu or seitan for a boost of protein.