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thai soup in a blue bowl
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5 from 8 votes

Thai Rice and Meatball Soup

With tender meatballs and fragrant rice, Thai Rice and Meatball Soup (Khao Tom) is a cozy soup that makes a great stand-in for chicken noodle soup if you want something hearty and aromatic.
The soup can be simmered briefly for a more broth-y texture or slightly longer to create a rice porridge (jok or congee).
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Thai
Keyword: easy Thai soup, family friendly, freezer friendly, gluten free, meatball, pork
Servings: 4
Calories: 282kcal
Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $9.00


  • Mixing Bowls
  • Saucepan or Dutch Oven
  • Rolling Pin or Meat Tenderizer
  • Slotted Spoon


For the Meatballs:

  • 8 ounces Ground Meat (use ground pork, chicken, or turkey)
  • 3 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha or other Hot Sauce (optional)

For the Soup:

  • 1 3 inch piece Ginger, sliced
  • 2 large cloves Shallots
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 2 Lemongrass Stalks (just use the lower 6 inches of the stalk)
  • 2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoons Soy Sauce (use Tamari for gluten-free)
  • 6 cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock / Broth
  • 2 cups Cooked Jasmine Rice
  • 2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
  • Chopped green onions and / or cilantro, for serving


  • Make meatballs: Combine ground meat, 3 tablespoon fish sauce, and Sriracha in a medium bowl. Roll into small meatballs (about 2 rounded teaspoons each; you should have about 24 meatballs). Spread out on a small sheet pan or plate and refrigerate for 15 minutes while making the broth. (Refrigerating the meatballs will help them to hold their shape when added to the broth.)
  • Make broth: Using a rolling pin or meat tenderizer, smash the ginger, shallot, garlic, and lemongrass stalks just to open them up. (You want these aromatics to stay intact so that you can easily remove them later, but smashing them open will help them to release their flavors.) In a saucepan or Dutch oven, combine ginger, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, fish sauce, soy sauce, and stock. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove aromatics from broth (you can discard them), leaving the broth at a simmer. Add meatballs to simmering broth and simmer until nearly cooked through, ~10 minutes.
  • When meatballs are nearly cooked through, add jasmine rice to soup and continue simmering until soup reaches your desired consistency, 5 minutes (for a more broth-y soup) or 15 minutes (for a consistency that is more like rice porridge / jok).
  • Remove soup from heat and stir in lime juice. Taste and add more fish sauce or soy sauce if you’d like the soup to be more salty.
  • Ladle into bowls and top with green onions and / or cilantro. Enjoy!


Meatballs - These freeze well, so if you want to prepare ahead for another meal, double the meatball recipe and freeze half to make another batch of soup down the road.
If you are making this meal ahead for yourself or someone else, prepare stock and rice as directed. Store separately. Refrigerate for up to 3 days. Freeze for up to 4 months. Print and attach the label below so cooking instructions are ready when you are!
thai rice and meatball soup freezer label


Calories: 282kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 3520mg | Potassium: 294mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 761IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 2mg