Panera Bread Thai Chicken Soup Recipe (Copycat)

The book series, Chicken Soup for the Soul, topped the charts in the mid-90s for a reason – chicken soup can literally ‘cure what ails ya’. Enter 2022 and Panera Bread is here with a new twist on the beloved classic: Thai Chicken Soup.

Thai Chicken Soup is the ultimate comfort food, it checks every single box: soothing, warm, slightly spicy, filled with nourishing veggies and coconut milk. It contains a healthy dose and line-up of vegetables: red bell pepper, shitake mushrooms, onions, carrots, garlic and ginger.

This recipe includes the use of a pre-made Thai curry paste to make it a little more weeknight friendly however, you can easily make your own paste should you have the time and access to a well-stocked grocery store. 

Here’s Everything You’ll Need:

4 cups of cooked diced chicken 

2 cups of shitake mushrooms

1 carrot

1 red bell pepper 

1 yellow onion 

1 cup diced green beans

1 tablespoon yellow curry paste 

4 garlic cloves 

2 inches of ginger root

1 14 ounce can of coconut milk 

1 32 ounce carton of chicken stock 

Few sprigs of cilantro to garnish 

Half teaspoon turmeric 

2 teaspoons of sesame oil 

Optional:

1 teaspoon chili garlic paste (omit if you are sensitive to spice or cooking for children) 

Few sprigs of Thai basil julienned 

Equipment:

Cutting board 

Sharp knife 

Measuring spoons

Measuring cups 

Medium sized saucepan 

Microplane grater

Spoon for stirring 

Preparation Time: 20 minutes 

Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 4 – 6 

How to make it:

Step 1: Clean your Produce

Firstly, wash and rinse all of your vegetables to ensure any dirt, dust or grit has been removed. 

Step 2: Using a Sharp Knife Prepare your Vegetables 

Taking a very sharp knife, start to prepare the vegetables: remove the top from the pepper and remove the seedy core and stalk; once the pepper is sliced, remove the white membrane from the sides.

Wipe the mushrooms with a damp cloth (never wash mushrooms as they absorb the water and it will diminish their flavor) and finely slice. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the outer skin from the carrot and dice. Remove the tough outer skin from the onion and carefully dice.

Snip the top and bottom off the green beans and chop into small pieces. Try to ensure that all of your vegetables are around the same size as this will lead to even cooking. 

Step 3: Grate the Aromatics 

To prepare your aromatics, use a microplane grater and grate your garlic and ginger into a fine paste. A microplane grater is an excellent tool for this job but if your kitchen is lacking one of these, you can alternatively very finely dice both ingredients. 

Step 4: Add Oil, Aromatics and Vegetables to The Pan

Carefully pour the sesame oil into a medium size pan and add the carrot, green beans, bell pepper, onions and aromatics to the pan.

Keep the temperature at a low medium to ensure that the garlic doesn’t burn; burned garlic will add an unpleasant bitter taste. 

Step 5: Stir in the Chicken, Spices and Curry Paste 

Once the vegetables have softened slightly, add the prepared chicken, turmeric and the Thai curry paste. Continually stir until the paste has started to cook and all of the vegetables are well coated. 

Step 6: Tip in the Coconut Milk, Mushrooms and Chicken Stock

Add the coconut milk, sliced mushrooms and chicken stock to the pan and bring to a simmer.

Step 7: Let Soup Simmer

Cook for 25 – 30 minutes. 

Step 8: Ladle the Soup into Bowls

Once soup is finished cooking, ladle into bowls and garnish with cilantro. 

Optional:

  • Add chili garlic paste and julienned basil, if using.

Optional Serving Options and Modifications: 

This Thai chicken soup is a great recipe to amend for any dietary or allergen challenges that you may have.

  • Make this gluten-free by using gluten-free chicken stock and ensuring that the Thai curry paste is also gluten-free.
  • This soup is already dairy free! So, it is an excellent recipe for cooking for someone who is lactose intolerant.
  • Chicken soup in general is very healthy however, you can lower the fat content in this dish by substituting coconut milk with low fat coconut milk. 
  • This recipe can be made appropriate for those following a Keto-based diet by adding 1/3 can of coconut cream or heavy whipping cream to the final dish. By adding more cream, the spicy flavor of the soup might become slightly reduced. To remedy this, add more curry paste to compensate. 
  • If you are following a ‘heart-healthy’ diet and trying to eat less sodium, use a low sodium stock and make your own Thai curry paste to control the salt content. 
  • Cilantro is a herb that some people love to hate, if this is the case, cilantro can be substituted for finely diced green onions.
  • To make this recipe vegetarian or vegan, swap out the chicken for tofu and use vegetable stock in place of the chicken stock. 
  • Should your grocery store not stock shitake mushrooms, regular mushrooms will suffice. 

Pairings:

  • To bulk out this recipe for a hungrier appetite, include a serving of rice to be added to the soup bowls.
  • Soup is always perfectly accompanied by crusty buttered French bread. 
  • A simple salad is always a classic pairing for a well-rounded meal.

Can You Make This Recipe Ahead of Time?

This recipe is easy to prepare ahead of time! For an easy lunch cook the day before and simply reheat when needed. Alternatively, cook on the day needed and transfer to a slow cooker and keep on the warm setting.

However, if you choose to use the slow cooker, ensure that the soup is piping hot when decanted into the slow cooker to avoid unwanted bacteria. Soup, like chili and curry, will actually develop further flavor and depth when prepared in advance. 

How Do I Store And Can I Freeze This Soup?

Once cooled, store in the fridge for up to four days. Coconut milk will freeze better than regular cream but this recipe would be best frozen prior to the inclusion of the coconut milk.

You might want to check out our Juicy Chicken Farfalle Cheesecake Factory Recipe.

Health Benefits and Nutrition:

It’s more than an old wives tale that chicken soup is good for when you are feeling unwell. There is a plethora of research that shows that chicken soup can actually make you feel better.

  • Carrots and onions contain vitamin K and C which assists the body in fighting off viruses and aids recovery. 
  • Chicken stock contains sodium which can help replenish the electrolyte balance in the body following over exertion and sickness.
  • Although sodium often gets a bad rep, it is vital in replenishing the body and can trigger increased appetite and consumption.
  • Chicken contains high levels of tryptophan which kick starts the body’s production of serotonin, a known mood enhancer, which brings comfort and a sense of well-being. 
  • A steaming bowl of soup can also actually assist in clearing congested nasal passages.
  • Including the additional carbohydrates of rice and bread will aid recovery in providing some greatly needed energy.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Use a grocery store rotisserie chicken to save time 
  • Sub out the vegetables for an already prepared stir fry vegetable mix
Panera Bread Thai Chicken Soup Copycat

Panera Bread Thai Chicken Soup Copycat

Yield: 4-6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Warm, nourishing and using easily accessible ingredients, this cozy family-friendly soup will soon become a firm midweek favorite! The recipe is simple and straight forward but yields a delicious meal. The spice level can be easily amended to ensure younger tastebuds don’t find it too spicy. The vegetable selection is also very flexible to support use of whatever vegetables you might have available and on-hand. 

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of cooked diced chicken
  • 2 cups of shitake mushrooms
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced green beans
  • 1 tablespoon yellow curry paste
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 inches of ginger root
  • 1 14 ounce can of coconut milk
  • 1 32 ounce carton of chicken stock
  • Few sprigs of cilantro to garnish
  • Half teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
  • Optional:
  • 1 teaspoon chili garlic paste (omit if you are sensitive to spice or cooking for children)
  • Few sprigs of Thai basil julienned

Instructions

  1. Rinse and clean all produce 
  2. Prepare and trim all of the vegetables
  3. Grate the garlic and ginger into a fine paste 
  4. Add the sesame oil, diced vegetables and aromatics to the pan
  5. Tip in the cooked chicken
  6. Stir in the Thai paste and turmeric 
  7. Pour in the chicken stock, coconut milk and sliced mushrooms
  8. Simmer for 20-25 minutes 
  9. Ladle into bowls and serve

Notes

Optional:

  • Top with Thai basil and garlic chilli paste 

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 672Total Fat: 45gSaturated Fat: 25gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 134mgSodium: 754mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 4gSugar: 10gProtein: 44g
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