Soto Ayam: Indonesian clear chicken soup

Soto Ayam Indonesian clear chicken soup

Soto Ayam is a savoury chicken broth with shredded chicken and rice vermicelli. It is the Indonesian version of chicken soup that offers heartwarming deliciousness. 

Soto Ayam

Of all the variety of soups in Indonesian cuisine, Soto Ayam is probably one of the most popular ones across the country. 

Although every region has its own version of Soto Ayam, they all have similarities in ingredients.

The recipe I’m sharing here is based on Soto Ayam from Jakarta. 

Indonesian clear chicken soup- Soto Ayam

This soup with shredded chicken and cellophane noodles is often served with hard-boiled rice cake aka Lontong, or with plain rice. 

But of course, you can always have the chicken soup on its own if you like. 

And chilli lovers, you can enjoy the soup with a spoon or two of freshly-made chilli sambal. 

It is not the same as Mee Soto

Do not get confused with another type of soup called Soto Mie/ Mee Soto. Because it is different from Soto Ayam. 

Mee Soto uses beef and beef broth. Also, it uses egg noodles in it. 

And Soto Ayam uses chicken and chicken soup with rice-based noodles/ rice vermicelli in it. This vermicelli is called Bihun in Indonesian. And you enjoy it either with hard-boiled rice or rice. Though you can always have it as it is without adding more carbs.

So, Soto Ayam is not the same as Mee Soto/ Soto Mie..

What to serve it with

If you’re having a party, this Indonesian chicken clear soup with rice noodles is a good choice for the starter. 

When you serve it as an appetizer, you don’t have to serve it with rice cakes/ Lontong. The soup and rice noodles on their own are enough. 

The ingredients you need

There are two groups of ingredients that you need to make this Soto Ayam. One is the essential ingredients as follows:

  1. Whole chicken with bones.
  2. Onion.
  3. Ginger.
  4. Garlic.
  5. Ground white pepper.
  6. Lemongrass.
  7. Salam leaves.
  8. Spring onions.
  9. Vinegar/ lime juice.
  10. Salt.
  11. Sugar.

The other ones are optional ingredients as follows:

  1. Hard-boiled eggs.
  2. Cellophane noodles/ rice vermicelli.
  3. Hard-boiled rice cake/ Lontong. 
  4. Beansprouts.
  5. White cabbage. 
  6. Tomato.
  7. Flat-leaf parsley.
  8. Fried shallots/ onions.

How to make it

First of all, you want to boil the chicken in hot boiling water until the poultry is just cooked through. 

As you do so, you make the spice paste using a pestle and mortar. Or you can use a spice grinder or a small food processor.

Once the chicken is boiled, drain it and place it in another pan with fresh boiling water. Then add the spice paste and all the herbs. Let it simmer for at least half an hour. Just like any chicken soup, the longer you cook the better flavour it tastes. So feel free to cook longer. 

When you’re happy with the soup, take the chicken out and shred its meat. 

Take a serving bowl and place the rice vermicelli, beansprouts, shredded cabbage and boiled egg slices in it. Add some shredded chicken and pour the soup over everything. 

Then garnish your Soto Ayam with fried shallots, sliced parsley, and tomato slices. 

Indonesian soto ayam with all garnish

Top tips to make the best Soto Ayam

  • Boil the chicken before you make the soup. You may wonder why you have to boil the chicken twice. Literally.

Let me explain.

Because the water from the first boil will have all the impurities of the meat. You can see there is dirty foam on top of the water. And you don’t want that in your soup.

  • Grind your spices until really smooth. This will make your soup more flavoursome without the grittiness of coarsely ground spices. 

Storage matter

Once it’s cool down, your Soto Ayam keeps well in the fridge for almost a week. 

You can also freeze it for up to 2 months. Take it out of the freezer and leave it in the refrigerator overnight to thaw. And reheat the soup until it is piping hot before serving.

Once it thaws, you must not refreeze it. 

More comfort food from the Indonesian kitchen

Thank you for checking this Soto Ayam recipe. Hope you now want to try making it. If you do, please share what you think about it in the comments below. 

And please follow me on Facebook, Instagram and/or Pinterest. To sneak a peek at what’s cooking in my kitchen. 

Before you go, check out more comfort food from my Indonesian kitchen that you may like.

Thank you for reading.

All the best.

Yield: 10

Soto Ayam - Indonesian clear chicken soup

Indonesian clear chicken soup recipe - Soto Ayam

Soto Ayam is one of the most popular soups among Indonesian culinary. This clear chicken soup is often enjoyed with cellophane noodles and hard-boiled rice cakes.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 1 chicken (approximately 1 kg/ 2.2 lb.).
  • 1 medium brown onion.
  • 5 cloves garlic.
  • 1-inch ginger.
  • 1 lemongrass, cut in an inch-lengths.
  • 2 salam leaves.
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper.
  • Salt to taste ( I put 1 ½ tsp).
  • 1 tsp white vinegar or 1 tbsp lime juice.
  • 1 tsp sugar.
  • Optional:
  • 100 cellophane noodles, soaked in hot boiling water for 2-3 minutes until softened and drain.
  • 300 gr hard-boiled rice cakes/ lontong, cut into small pieces.
  • 50 gr fried-onions.
  • 3 spring onions/ scallions, finely sliced.
  • 30 gr flat-leaved parsley, finely sliced..
  • 4 eggs, boiled, peeled and sliced.
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced.
  • Onion crackers or pawn crackers.


  1. Peel and chop the onions, garlic, and ginger. 
  2. Using a pestle and mortar or a food processor, grind the chopped onions, ginger, and garlic into a paste. Set aside
  3. Clean and cut the chicken into small pieces or into 4 big pieces. 
  4. Boil one litre of water in a pot, and put the chicken pieces in when the water reaches its boiling point. Boil the poultry until it’s just cooked through. Drain the chicken and set it aside. 
  5. In another pot, boil 2 litres of water and add the onion paste, lemongrass, salam leaves, vinegar, pepper and salt. Let the water simmer with all the herbs and spices for about 5 minutes. 
  6. Then add the chicken into the spiced water and let it cook and simmer for at least 30 minutes. The longer you cook the more savoury your soup will be. 
  7. Once you’re happy with your soup, take the chicken out and shred its meat. Set aside. 
  8. Arrange your Soto Ayam in a serving bowl. Starting with Lontong pieces (if using), cellophane noodles, beansprouts, shredded cabbage, shredded chicken and boiled egg slices. 
  9. Then pour the soup over until it covers everything. 
  10. Garnish your Soto Ayam with chopped tomatoes, sliced spring onions, parsley, fried onions slices, and some crackers.
  11. Enjoy.


  • Soto Ayam is nice to have it with cellophane noodles and hard-boiled rice cakes as mentioned above. However, this clear chicken soup is nice to have with plain rice or even on its own.
  • If you like spicy chilli, you can enjoy your Soto Ayam with Indonesian sambal/ chilli sauce. 
  • You can also drizzle a little bit of Indonesian sweet soy sauce over your soup. I personally like it with sweet soy sauce if I have the Soto with a bit of chilli sauce.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 1813Total Fat 11gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 194mgSodium 454mgCarbohydrates 412gFiber 3gSugar 2gProtein 11g

The nutrition calculation you find here is just a guide provided by online nutrition calculator. You should not use to substitute advice from nutritionists or health practitioners.

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