Soba Noodle Soup with Chicken and Bok Choy

DinnerQuick and Easy

This soba noodle soup with chicken and baby bok choy is speedy comfort food! Seasoned with ginger, lime, scallions, and herbs. A true 30-minute meal.

Photography Credit: Sally Vargas

While comfort cooking and speed don’t usually coexist, this mildly spicy soup is an exception to the rule.

If you made a New Year’s resolution to eat a little better this year, this soup will keep you on track. It’s not health food — just good, healthy food!

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Soba Noodle Soup with Chicken and Bok ChoyI give instructions for poaching chicken breasts in this recipe, but you also could just use leftover cooked chicken if you have it on hand. About two cups of shredded chicken – or any other meat – is perfect.

Slice the bok choy in pieces, or halve them lengthwise for a more dramatic presentation.

The recipe comes together so quickly, you will want to put it into your regular meal rotation!

Soba Noodle Soup with Chicken and Bok Choy Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

For an even speedier meal, substitute 2 cups shredded chicken meat (or any other meat) instead of poaching the chicken.

Look for fish sauce, red chili sauce, and soba noodles in the Asian foods section at your grocery store, or order online. (Look here for the fish sauce, here for the chili sauce, and here for the soba noodles.)


  • 8 cups chicken stock, or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast (about 12 ounces)
  • 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Thai sweet red chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 8 ounces soba (buckwheat) noodles
  • 4 baby bok choy, cut into 1-inch slices, or halved lengthwise
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  • A few sprigs Thai basil, mint or cilantro, for garnish
  • Lime wedges, to serve
  • Red pepper flakes, for garnish


1 Poach the chicken: Place a boneless skinless chicken breast in a saucepan and add enough stock to barely cover. Cover the pot and bring it to a simmer over medium-low heat.

Once simmering, place the lid slightly ajar and continue to simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat, cover completely with the lid again, and let the chicken rest for 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate, and shred into pieces with your fingers when cool enough to handle.

2 While the chicken cools, season the stock: Add the remaining chicken stock to the pot and bring to a simmer. Add the ginger, lime juice, fish sauce, chili sauce and brown sugar. Stir and taste for seasoning. Add more chili sauce if you wish to make a spicier broth. Simmer for about 10 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle.

Soba Noodle Soup with Chicken and Bok Choy

3 Meanwhile, cook the soba noodles: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until tender or according to package directions. Drain into a colander. (If the soup isn't quite ready yet, run the under cold water, drain, and toss with a little olive oil to keep the noodles from sticking together while you finish the rest of the soup.)

4 Add the bok choy and scallions to the soup broth. Return to a simmer. Remove from the heat after 1 minute. (If you kept the bok choy in halves, cook for a few minutes longer, or until tender.)

5 Assemble the bowls of soup: Divide the noodles among 4 large soup bowls and top with the chicken. Ladle the broth and vegetables over top and garnish with the basil, mint or cilantro, if desired. Serve with lime wedges and sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

Soba Noodle Soup with Chicken and Bok Choy

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Soba Noodle Soup with Chicken and Bok Choy

Sally Vargas

Sally Pasley Vargas is a freelance writer and the author of three cookbooks (Food for Friends, The Tao of Cooking, Ten Speed Press, and The Cranberry Cookbook). She currently writes the column The Confident Cook for The Boston Globe along with seasonal recipes for the Wednesday Food Section.

More from Sally

10 Comments / Reviews

No ImageSoba Noodle Soup with Chicken and Bok Choy

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Monique Patenaude

    Sadly, this was the first recipe from here that i did not like. Not bad seeing ghtat ive tried a couple of dozen. I didnt like the sourness the lime imparted, and the otherwise lack of flavor generally. Theres a lot going oh, but it just didnt add up in a pleasant way.

  2. Kelmac

    This was absolutey delicious. Came together easily and was inhaled by my family. I added some beautiful white enoki mushrooms. This recipe is going into the weeknight rotatation!


  3. Down Under

    I would not try pineapple as it is sweet and there is enough sweet in this, mellow vinegar like rice vinegar and add a bit at a time and taste . You could try to add tablespoon of lemongrass paste at step 2, since this is Asian style soup, and you might not need vinegar. I make a similar recipe with Miso paste instead of chicken broth.

  4. Rachael

    This sounds so delicious :)

  5. Sara @ Last Night's Feast

    Wow, this soup looks delicious! Thank you for sharing =)

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