How to make hot pot broth at home, two versions included.

When it becomes cooler and cooler, I am happy with the fact that I can eat hot pot including my favorite spicy hot pot, nourishing seafood hot pot and warm lamb and beef hot pot. I love those ideas. I am living in China now and born in Chongqing a city originally from Sichuan province, where lots of hot pot restaurants providing excellent various hot pot options. In case, if you are interested in some hot pot culture , please move the eye to my page hot pot.

how to make hot pot at home|

Generally there are two types of broth for hot pot, one is spicy version (红汤 in Chinese ) and the other is clear (清汤 in Chinese)version.

The first step is to make the basic stock. 1000g chicken and 250g pork bones.

how to make hot pot broth|

Cut the chicken into large chunks. Clean chicken chunks, and pig bones. Break the ginger and cut scallion into large sections.

how to make hot pot broth|

Prepare a pot or wok with enough water (at least 4 L), add ginger, scallion, 8-10 white peppercorn,  chicken and pig bones.  Skin any floats on the surface and keep the soup clean.

how to make hot pot broth|

Bring all the content to a boiling and then turn down the fire to simmer for around 40 minutes to 1 hour. You can see the stock is very light.

how to make hot pot broth|

Mild Version

In your serving pot, add tomatoes, 2-3 shiitake mushrooms, red dates, scallion sections, celery and 3 sections of corns.  Season with 2 teaspoons of salt.

how to make hot pot broth|

That’s our mild hot pot broth.

how to make hot pot broth|

Mala Hot Pot Broth

Please note this is a very basic version of homemade mala hot pot soup base.  I have already simplified the ingredients and using only key ingredients.

In the picture blow, the left red paste is chopped chili pepper paste (糍粑辣椒), making from dried red peppers. You need to choose less spicy but red ones. Firstly cut the dried peppers into small sections and then soak in boiling water until soft or you can simmer it with low fire. Then they are mashed. The right one is common Sichuan Doubanjiang.

mashed chili pepper paste

Melt a beef tallow in a pot, fry ginger, scallion and cloves until aromatic.  Place in your store bought mala hot pot seasonings or all spices. Fry over slowest fire for 1-2 minutes. Pour in light stock prepared previously.

mala hot pot broth|

Simmer for 1o minutes over slowest fire and then continue with the hot pot.

how to make hot pot broth|

how to make hot pot broth|

how to make hot pot broth|

How to Make Hot Pot Broth

How to make hot pot soup base at home, two versions included.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Chinese
Keyword: hot pot
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Author: Elaine


Clear version (清汤)

  • 1 to mato cut into wedges
  • 1 long green onion cut the white part into small sections
  • 1 small bunch of bean sprouts
  • 2 celery sections cut into 1 inch sections
  • half of a corn cut into 2-3 cm thick pieces
  • 3 shiitake mushrooms remove the ends
  • 3 L light stock
  • 2 tsp. salt

Mala Hot Pot Broth

  • 3 tbsp. beef tallow
  • 2-3 slices of ginger
  • 4 long green onion sections
  • 5-8 garlic cloves
  • 3 L light stock

Seasonings for red version or note 1

  • 3 tbsp. Doubanjiang
  • 3 tbsp. chopped chili pepper 糍粑辣椒
  • 1 tsp. Sichuan peppercorn
  • 1 star anise
  • 12 to 25 dried chili peppers depending on how hot you want the soup base to be.
  • 1 tbsp. light soy sauce


Cook the light stock

  • In a large pot with water, add chicken, pig bones, white peppercorn, long green onion and ginger. Bring to a boiling and skim any floats on the surface. Slow down the fire and continue simmer for 1 hour.

Milder version (清汤)

  • In your serving pot, add tomatoes, 2-3 shiitake mushrooms, red dates, scallion sections, celery and 3 sections of corns. Season with 2 teaspoons of salt and load with 3 L light stock.

Red version (红汤)

  • Soak 50g dried chili pepper in hot boiling water for 30 minutes, covered please. Then transfer out and finely mashed.
  • Melt a beef tallow in a pot, fry ginger, scallion and cloves until aromatic.
  • Place in all the seasonings including doubanjiang, chopped red peppers and other seasonings (or a store bough package). Fry over slowest fire for 1-2 minutes until the oil turn red. Pour in light stock prepared previously and light soy sauce. Simmer for 15 minutes over slowest fire.


If you do not want to find those ingredients, you can purchase a spicy hot pot soup base from the store and skip all of the ingredients in "seasoning for red version" tab


Elaine wrote a e-cookbook with my hot pot dinner recipes where lots of advanced hot pot soup bases are included.  If you love to make some unique and yummy hot pot at home, this might be a helpful cookbook for you. More details, interesting ingredients and tips about Chinese hot pot soup base, dipping sauces and preparation process are all included.
Chinese hot pot e-cookbook

A master guide to Chinese hot pot including soup base, raw ingredients preparation, dipping sauces and tips.


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  1. hi Elaine

    I hope I know understand. I think you say I should make 5 liter of Clear Stock. Then mix about 2-2.5 liter of the Clear Stock with the 1/2 cup of Ma La Hot Pot seasonings and leave the other half of the Clear Stock unmixed. Then you serve the Hot Pot and I should keep the level of the Hot Pot at about 5-6 cm and add Clear Stock when needed. Is this right ?

  2. Or do you mean mix 2.5 Liter of stock with Ma La Hot Pot seasonings, serve that and mix another 1/2 cup of seasonings with the remainder of the stock for adding more soup base when needed ?

  3. hi, I enjoy reading your writing.
    I am currently working on the translation a few recipe about hot pot.
    Would you mind telling me how to put “原汤火锅” into English?


  4. 5 stars
    Nihaoma Elaine
    Thank you so much for this great website.
    Loving China, the culture and the food – this site inspired me a lot preparing authentic food by my own.
    Luckily we have some good Chinese shops here in Germany around my place so I can nearly get all the ingredients I need for the most of the recipes.
    Since I’ve visited HaiDiLao in China several times I became “addicted” to their tomatoe broth for hotpot.
    Can you recommend a good recipe for a delicious tomatoe broth?
    Btw. – do you run a site on WeChat too where I can follow you?


    1. Chris,
      Thanks so much for your kind words. Haidilao is a great hot pot brand. I will introduce tomato broth later. I do not run wechat currently. I have published all of my recipes on this blog.