15 Nourishing Chinese Soup Recipes - The Woks of Life (2024)

As a middle-aged Chinese woman, I’ve picked up some useful do’s and don’ts throughout the years. One major DO I’ve learned is to have more nourishing soups in one’s diet this time of year. We all love autumn for its beautiful foliage and comfortable weather, but as temperatures drop, the chill in the air is palpable. These Chinese soup recipes quickly warm and nourish the body when it’s under duress in the cold.

Perhaps it’s the mom in me. Bill and I were watching TV after dinner this week, and I startled him by abruptly leaping off the couch with an urgent need to tell The Woks of Life community (and my own daughters) to cook more soup!

Below, you’ll find 15 satisfying Chinese soup recipes, along with the average cooking time for each, allowing you to choose a recipe according to the time you have to spend in the kitchen.

A handful of these recipes harken back to grandma’s kitchen––long simmering traditional soups full of nourishment. Others call for just a handful of ingredients and give you all the benefits without hours of cooking. I’ve put them in order by cooking time, from shortest to longest!

1. Tomato Egg Drop Soup

Total time: 15 minutes

This has been a staple of weeknight family dinners for years. It’s a spin on everyone’s home-cooked favorite: Tomato and Egg Stir-fry, but in a feather-light soup. When you learn how to properly do an “egg drop,” the result is gossamer-like egg strands that go perfectly with tangy tomatoes and a simple chicken broth.

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2. Chicken Corn Egg Drop Soup

Total time: 25 minutes

This is another easy and nutritious soup for fall. It’s a bit heartier than Tomato Egg Drop Soup, as Bill made this one with more of a Chinese takeout consistency. Use frozen corn for ease and chicken breast for extra protein.

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3. Shepherd’s Purse Tofu Soup

Total time: 25 minutes

This is one of my favorites for when the weather turns cold, because it’s a great light soup to round out a full dinner table of other Chinese dishes. Made with flavorful Shepherd’s purse (a wild Chinese leafy green vegetable), it also has silky tofu and egg white to add body and texture. You can find Shepherd’s purse in the frozen section of your local Asian grocery store.

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4. Easy Fish Tofu Soup

Total time: 35 minutes

This Chinese Fish Tofu Soup is something we often eat out at restaurants, but it’s easier than you think to get a rich-tasting fish broth at home—and with fillets, not a whole fish! It doesn’t get much better than that. You’ll be shocked at the rich flavor you can accomplish with this soup in just 35 minutes.

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5. Chinese Rice Cake Soup

Total time: 45 minutes

Chinese Rice Cake Soup is one of our new favorites. Despite the shorter cooking time, and the simple add-ins of napa cabbage, carrots, scallions, and shredded pork, the result is a full-bodied soup that tastes like you simmered the stock all day. With vegetables, protein, and starch all in one, this soup is a full meal that warms the belly!

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6. Chinese Winter Melon Soup with Meatballs

Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes

This hearty and warming soup is a little bit like an Italian Wedding Soup, with tender pork meatballs and nutritious winter melon—a healthy late summer and fall staple. With the addition of glass noodles, it makes for a light meal, but one that still manages to be hearty and satisfying.

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7. Hot and Sour Soup

Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

You may be surprised to know that it’s actually pretty easy to make this Chinese takeout classic at home! Our version is (and I say this as humbly as possible) one of the best we’ve tasted. It’s no wonder, since Bill’s family used to own a Chinese takeout restaurant! Full of spicy, warming white pepper, this soup is perfect for a cold weather dinner.

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8. Chinese Chicken and Mushroom Soup

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

You do need to do some pre-work to prepare this recipe (soaking dried shiitake mushrooms for 6 hours or overnight), but once you’ve done that, this richly flavored soup comes together in just 90 minutes. With just 10 ingredients, you’ll have a delicious soup and juicy chicken that you can serve as a complete meal.

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9. Simple Wonton Soup

Total time:2 hours

There are few things more comforting than a hot bowl of wonton soup. You may be surprised to know that you only need 10 ingredients to cook up this tasty classic. It takes a couple hours from start to finish, but the best part is, you can freeze the wontons and have soup ready in minutes any time the mood strikes!

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10. Shanghai Style Red Vegetable Soup (罗宋汤 – Luo Song Tang)

Total time: 2 hours 10 minutes

This classic recipe is a Chinese adaptation of a European beef and vegetable soup. Though it takes just over 2 hours to make, simmered oxtails create an incredibly flavorful broth. It is the ultimate comforting soup for chilly nights and another complete meal in one bowl.

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11. Chinese Watercress Soup with Pork Ribs (Sai Yeung Choy Tong)

Total time: 3 hours 40 minutes

If you grew up in a Cantonese family, chances are you’ve had this soup at the dinner table before. This Hakka recipe only requires 6 ingredients. It’s beauty in simplicity at it’s finest.

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12. Ching Po Leung Cantonese Herb Pork Bone Soup

Total time: 5 hours

Another Cantonese recipe, this is Bill’s favorite soup to have when it’s cold out. Rehydrated dried ingredients embody the essence of this soup, and many of those ingredients will require some searching at your local Chinese market. But the result is worth it!

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13. Asian Vegetable Stock

Total time: 5 hours 15 minutes

Sometimes, a simple broth sipped from a mug can be just as warming and satisfying as soups that can be served as a full meal. And we know that our vegan and vegetarian readers will appreciate how simple it is to achieve the full-bodied flavors in this vegetable stock.

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14. Lotus Root & Pork Soup

Total time: 7 hours

This lotus root and pork soup with give your Qi (energy) a boost! Healthy lotus root and goji berries come in a rich broth flavored with pork ribs or neck bones. While this recipe takes some time, it only requires 8 ingredients to make!

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15. Simple Chinese Oxtail Soup

Total time: 7 hours 5 minutes

This Chinese oxtail soup is another long simmering recipe with few ingredients––6 ingredients, to be exact. It’s incredible what a pot of water can turn into by adding some oxtails, onions, and daikon radish! Our family makes this soup throughout the fall and winter!

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We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of our favorite Chinese soup recipes, and they help nourish you and your family/friends through the fall season!

15 Nourishing Chinese Soup Recipes - The Woks of Life (2024)


What is the most famous soup in China? ›

The most famous soup in China is probably Hot and Sour Soup (酸辣汤). It is a popular dish in Chinese cuisine and is known for its unique combination of flavors.

What Chinese soup is good for health? ›

Try making a Chinese chicken soup to give your body the nutrients to fight your cold. For best results, include a mixture of these super ingredients: goji berries (wolfberries), red dates, Chinese yam, ginseng, angelica root, and cordyceps.

What Chinese soup cools down your body? ›

Winter melon soup is a popular Chinese soup that is believed to have cooling properties and can help to reduce body heat during the summer months. Winter melon itself is rich in vitamins and minerals, and can help to promote overall wellbeing. For a seafood option, you can try winter melon and shrimp soup.

What is the best Chinese soup to eat when sick? ›

A big bowl of beef pho is ideal. The broth is light but full of flavor, the noodles slip easily down a sore throat and the flavor of the fresh herbal garnishes come through even if your nose is completely stuffed up.

What is the number 1 soup in the world? ›

According to the Taste Atlas Awards, the international food database, the Filipino favorite, Sinigang, is hailed as the best soup in the world.

Why do Chinese drink soup before eating? ›

Drinking soup before dinner is a big part of Cantonese culture, we believe that hot soup can nourish one's beauty (all that collagen), strengthen physical health, and even prevent diseases. #chinesecooking #homecooked #familymeals #soup.

What is the healthiest thing to eat in Chinese food? ›

13 Healthiest Chinese Food Takeout Options
  1. Steamed dumplings. Dumplings offered at a Chinese restaurant are pockets of dough filled with seasoned meat and vegetables, usually pork and cabbage. ...
  2. Hot and sour soup or egg drop soup. ...
  3. Moo goo gai pan. ...
  4. Beef and broccoli. ...
  5. Chop suey. ...
  6. Chicken and broccoli. ...
  7. Baked salmon. ...
  8. Happy family.

What Chinese soup is good for energy? ›

Not only is Chicken Soup with Chinese Yam delicious, but it is also believed to have various health properties that can improve the immune system, boost energy, and aid digestion.

Is Chinese soup good for weight loss? ›

The best weight loss plan, make your belly SO flat! Abdominal fat is drained by the Chinese Fat-Burning Soup. If you are looking for vegetarian recipes, here you are. This Chinese Fat-Burning Soup made from a variety of healthy vegetables.

What do Chinese people eat when they have a cold? ›

Chicken congee, a classic Chinese rice porridge, is an ideal choice for those feeling ill. The dish is easy on the stomach while offering sufficient protein from the chicken. A notable aspect of chicken congee is its adaptability.

What do Chinese people drink when sick? ›

In China, not only is water best served piping hot, drinking it is also seen as a cure-all for ailments from the common cold to cholera.

What is the healthiest soup to eat when sick? ›

Chicken and wild rice may be the best soup for a cold as each ingredient provides a number of health benefits. Chicken and rice are a great source of protein, onions are known to have antiviral properties, carrots support antibody production, and research has shown that garlic may reduce the severity of cold symptoms.

Is Chinese soup good when you're sick? ›

In Chinese medicine, green onions are a key ingredient in a famous cold-fighting soup. Much of the immune-boosting properties of garlic and onions come from their sulfur-containing compounds, which also give them their distinctive smell.

What is Chinese national soup? ›

Patriotic soup (simplified Chinese: 护国菜; traditional Chinese: 護國菜; pinyin: hùguó cài; lit. 'protect the country dish', Teochew :hu gog chai) is a vegetable soup originated by Teochew people. It was developed during the final year of China's Song dynasty as an improvisational dish.

What is the Chinese soup called? ›

Here are some popular traditional Chinese soups: Hot and Sour Soup (酸辣汤): A spicy and tangy soup made with vinegar, soy sauce, mushrooms, tofu, bamboo shoots, and sometimes meat. Egg Drop Soup (蛋花汤): A simple and comforting soup made by stirring beaten eggs into a seasoned chicken or vegetable broth.

Is snake soup popular in China? ›

Snake soup is a traditional dish that is popular in Hong Kong and other parts of China.


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