Food & Drink

Slow Cooker Chicken Soup with Chiles, Coconut Milk, and Lime

This flavor-packed soup from chef Hugh Acheson is ready when you are

Photo: Courtesy of Hugh Acheson

I love the flavors of Thai food. Redolent with ginger, fish sauce, scallions, and lime, luxuriant in coconut milk, and fresh with mint and cilantro, it is a full-flavored cuisine. This recipe borrows a lot of that sensibility and translates it into a simple soup that is nourishing, spicy, and just downright tasty. Hugh Acheson


    • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

    • Kosher salt

    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

    • 2 shallots, minced

    • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

    • 2 tablespoons minced lemongrass, from the tender, pale inner layers (use the bottom 4 inches or so, from 1 or 2 stalks)

    • 1 teaspoon red curry paste

    • 2 Thai (bird's-eye) chiles, minced

    • 2 cups thinly sliced stemmed fresh shiitake mushrooms (½ pound)

    • 1½ quarts chicken broth

    • 2 tablespoons fish sauce

    • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk

    • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

    • Thinly sliced carrot rounds, for garnish

    • Thinly sliced scallions (white and light green parts only), for garnish

    • Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

    • Torn fresh mint leaves, for garnish


  1. Pat the chicken thighs dry and season them well with salt. Place a large skillet over medium heat and add the vegetable oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the chicken thighs, skin-side down, and cook for about 10 minutes, until they are very well browned. Flip the thighs over and brown them for 3 minutes on the other side. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

  2. Raise the heat under the skillet to high and add the shallots, ginger, and lemongrass to the pan. Cook for 1 minute, until fragrant, then add the curry paste, chiles, shiitakes, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook for 2 minutes. Then pour the contents of the skillet into the slow cooker and turn the setting to low.

  3. Add the chicken broth and fish sauce to a 4+ quart cooker, then add the chicken thighs. Cover with the lid and cook on the low setting for 4 hours.

  4. Remove the lid and stir in the coconut milk and lime juice. Add salt to taste. Portion the soup into individual bowls, making sure to allocate a piece of chicken to each one. Serve the soup with the carrot rounds, scallions, cilantro, and mint alongside.

Recipe from The Chef and the Slow Cookerby Hugh Acheson