Warm up with this Panera Thai chicken soup copycat recipe that tastes just like the original. It's the best comforting and nourishing meal for when that soup craving hits.
Soup season isn't soup season without the classics: chili, butternut squash soup, and of course, chicken noodle soup. But we're not talking the bland, overly salty canned stuff! This is my Thai inspired chicken soup, a copycat recipe for everyone's favourite at Panera Bread.
This Panera Thai chicken soup takes all the comforting features of an average chicken noodle soup and elevates it. It's filled with hearty chicken and veggies, and infused with Thai flavors from lemongrass, red curry paste, and fresh ginger and garlic. The creaminess from the coconut milk balances everything perfectly.
I've been a loyal fan of the original Panera soup for a while, and I think my copycat recipe tastes pretty dang similar. It's pretty great knowing that I've cracked the code and can enjoy it anytime! Now you can too.
Why This Recipe is Dietitian Approved
- Veggie packed. The original Panera soup has veggies already, but making it at home means you can really load up. I took advantage by adding extra spinach.
- Lower sodium. Soups can be a culprit for hidden sodium, especially at restaurants. Remaking our favorites at home gives us the opportunity to make low sodium swaps that are better for our long-term health.
- Nourishing and balanced. Protein, carbs and veggies all simmering in a warm broth. Now that's a meal that nourishes my body and spirit.
- Chicken breast
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Red bell peppers
- Red curry paste
- Fresh ginger
- Soy sauce
- Lemongrass paste
- Low sodium chicken broth
- Coconut milk
- Lime juice
- Brown sugar
- Green onions
- Rice noodles
Preheat oven to 400F. Prep rice noodles according to package instructions.
Season chicken breasts with salt and black pepper and bake for about 20 minutes, until fully cooked, once cooled use two forks or a stand mixer to shred chicken.
In a pot over medium-high heat, add olive oil. Once hot, add shiitake mushrooms and saute for about 2-3 minutes until soft.
Add bell peppers and shredded carrots, stir and cook for about 2 minutes.
Form a well in the center of the vegetables to add garlic, red curry paste, ginger and lemongrass. Allow to cook for about 3 minutes to release the flavour of the red curry paste. Stir.
Add chicken broth, coconut milk, and shredded chicken. Stir. Bring to a simmer and cover for about 7-10 minutes.
Stir in lime juice, soy sauce and brown sugar. Add green onions, cilantro and spinach and stir until spinach has wilted.
When you are ready to serve, stir in rice noodles and enjoy!
Substitutions and Variations
To make this gluten-free: Rice noodles are usually gluten-free, however soy sauce is not. Swap soy sauce for tamari or coconut aminos.
To make dairy-free: This recipe is naturally dairy-free.
To make vegan: Swap the chicken for tofu.
To make nut-free: This recipe does not contain peanuts, however it contains coconut and sesame.
I understand that some ingredients like lemongrass, coconut milk and red curry paste may be harder to find, but I highly recommend not skipping them. These are key ingredients in Thai cuisine, so do your best to source them at a local Asian grocery store if possible.
Thai chicken soup can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. For best results, I recommend storing the rice noodles separately from the soup and adding them while reheating.
This soup can be frozen and stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. However as mentioned, it's best to make the rice noodles fresh when you are ready to serve. Defrost in the fridge overnight, reheat on the stove, and add your rice noodles when serving.
To make this soup even easier, use a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken and pre-shredded carrots.
Frequently Asked Questions
You do not need to! I used shiitake mushrooms to keep this recipe as close to the original panera soup as possible, however feel free to leave them out.
This depends on your personal preference. I wouldn’t say this soup is overly spicy, but if you have a sensitivity to spice you can decrease the red curry paste to 2 tbsp. For an added kick, add thinly sliced Thai red chilis!
Banh pho! These are the square noodles traditionally used in pho. So delicious!
More Cozy Soup Recipes
Looking for more healthy soup inspo? Save these to try:
PS. I love seeing my recipes in action! If you decide to make this Panera Thai chicken soup, don't forget to snap a photo and tag me on Instagram- @nourishedbynic or leave a comment and rating below letting me know how you liked it!
Panera Thai Chicken Soup (Copycat)
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
- Black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup shiitake mushrooms thinly sliced
- 2 red bell peppers thinly sliced
- 2 carrots shredded
- 3 tablespoon red curry paste
- ½ tablespoon fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon lemongrass paste
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 400 mL can coconut milk unsweetened, full fat*
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon brown sugar
- 3 green onions thinly sliced
- ½ bunch cilantro chopped
- 2 cups spinach optional
- 200 g rice noodles half of standard 400g pack
- Preheat oven to 400F. Prep rice noodles according to package instructions.
- Season chicken breasts with salt and black pepper and bake for about 20 minutes, until fully cooked, once cooled use two forks or a stand mixer to shred chicken.
- In a pot over medium-high heat, add olive oil. Once hot, add shiitake mushrooms and saute for about 2-3 minutes until soft.
- Add bell peppers and shredded carrots, stir and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Form a well in the center of the vegetables to add garlic, red curry paste, ginger and lemongrass. Allow to cook for about 3 minutes to release the flavour of the red curry paste. Stir.
- Add chicken broth, coconut milk, and shredded chicken. Stir. Bring to a simmer and cover for about 7-10 minutes.
- Stir in lime juice, soy sauce and brown sugar. Add green onions, cilantro and spinach and stir until spinach has wilted.
- When you are ready to serve, stir in rice noodles and enjoy!
- You may use light coconut milk however please note the soup will be slightly thinner!