What’s better than the Chinese take-out favorite Hot and Sour Soup? An easy Hot and Sour Soup Instant Pot recipe that’s ready in minutes and tastes better than the original.
Hot and Sour Soup is a classic Chinese soup that’s a delicious balance of tangy and spicy. The soup gets its mouthwatering tanginess from rice vinegar, and the heat comes from a blend of red pepper flakes and ground white pepper. Soy sauce and shiitakes add umami flavor, while tofu and bamboo shoots add heartiness to this warming and comforting soup.
This soup is ready in 30 minutes using the high pressure “Manual” function on the Instant Pot — faster than if you had it delivered! — and makes a quick and delicious addition to any weeknight recipe repertoire.
“The soup was absolutely delicious, perfect for a cold night. I will probably make a double batch next time and freeze it so I can have it whenever I get a craving for some good hot and sour soup.”
– Stephanie F.
The stove-top version of this soup was featured in January as part of our meal plan service and received tons of positive reviews. So with the help of our member-run Cook Smarts Instant Pot community (who love sharing their Instant Pot smarts by the way), we converted this recipe for use in the Instant Pot — with amazing results.
When the soup is ready, top with cilantro leaves and serve with a side of fried rice. Freeze leftovers for a lightning-fast dinner when your schedule gets tight!
Want to learn how to the make the Simple Fried Rice that goes with this recipe? Get access to our full meal plan recipe plus 9 other Instant Pot recipes in our Free 10 Instant Pot Recipes download:
Instant Pot Tip:
The unique wisps in hot and sour soup are made when whisked eggs are stirred in at the end of cooking. When making this soup in the Instant Pot, you’ll want to cook the soup and then do a quick release before removing the lid to whisk in the eggs.
(For more Instant Pot tips, check out our article here.)
- Quick-prep tip: Use pre-sliced mushrooms to save time!
- Prep tofu ahead of time with the help of our video below. If tofu is packaged in water, squeezing out the water will allow the tofu to absorb more flavors of the soup.
How to Prepare Tofu
Learn how to prep and cook tofu the right way with this short video.
- Instant Pot — does all of the cooking thanks to its multiple cooking functions; sauté your veggies in the pot before adding in the liquids to cook the soup
- Whisk — used to mix cornstarch and water together for a soup thickener, as well as to stir up the eggs that get added to the soup at the end of cooking
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- Tofu, extra firm - 12 oz, cut into 1/2” cubes (vacuum-packed preferable)
- Mushrooms, shiitake - 4 oz, sliced (look for pre-sliced to save time)
- Bamboo shoots, canned - 3 oz, sliced into thin strips
- Eggs - 2, whisked
- Cilantro - 2 Tbsp, leaves torn
- Oil, toasted sesame - 1 Tbsp
- Stock, any type - 5 cups
- Soy sauce - 3 Tbsp
- Vinegar, rice - 2 Tbsp
- Sugar - 1/2 tsp
- Ground white pepper (opt) - 1/4 tsp (sub black pepper)
- Red pepper flakes - 1/2 tsp
- Cornstarch - 2 Tbsp
- Water - 3 Tbsp
- Lemon juice - 2 tsp
- Tofu — If tofu is packaged in water, press out liquid first. Then slice into 1/2” cubes. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
- Mushrooms — Slice, if not pre-sliced. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
- Bamboo shoots — Drain and rinse. Most come pre-sliced, but slice them down further into small strips. (They will be easier to eat in the soup that way.)
- Eggs — Whisk eggs.
- Cilantro — Chop cilantro leaves.
- Add toasted sesame oil to the Instant Pot and turn on the “Sauté” function. Add mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms are tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Pour stock over mushrooms and bring to a simmer. Add soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, white pepper, red pepper flakes, tofu and bamboo shoots to soup.
- Set for 5 minutes on the “Manual” function. When time is up, do a quick release.
- Whisk together cornstarch and water and add to soup while stirring. Simmer for 5 minutes on “Sauté” function to let soup thicken and flavors develop.
- While stirring soup in one direction, slowly pour in whisked eggs. Stir in lemon juice. Season with some salt and pepper.
- Divide soup between serving bowls. Top with cilantro leaves.
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