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Avgolemono – Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

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Avgolemono – Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

What is Avgolemono? Avgolemono is a traditional Greek soup that combines chicken, lemon, and eggs to create a creamy, tangy, and comforting dish. It’s a staple in Greek cuisine, loved for its rich flavor and soothing properties.

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Why is Avgolemono unique? Unlike many other soups, Avgolemono uses a mixture of eggs and lemon to thicken the broth, giving it a unique, velvety texture without the use of cream or flour. This technique not only adds a distinctive tang but also makes the soup incredibly rich and satisfying.

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Brief history of Avgolemono The origins of Avgolemono can be traced back to the ancient Greeks, who valued the combination of eggs and lemon for their culinary versatility and health benefits. Over the centuries, this soup has evolved, becoming a beloved dish in Greek households and restaurants alike.

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Substitutes and variations If you’re out of short-grain rice, you can use long-grain rice or even orzo. For a vegetarian version, substitute chicken with vegetable broth and add more vegetables like carrots and celery.

Health Benefits of Avgolemono

Nutritional profile Avgolemono is not only delicious but also nutritious. It’s high in protein from the chicken and eggs, rich in vitamins C and B6, and provides essential minerals like zinc and iron.

Health advantages This soup is excellent for boosting the immune system, thanks to its high vitamin C content from the lemons. The combination of protein and healthy fats from the eggs and chicken makes it a balanced and wholesome meal.

How to Make Avgolemono

Preparation steps

  1. Start by preparing your ingredients: chop your chicken, juice the lemons, and measure out the rice.
  2. In a large pot, bring the water or chicken broth to a boil.

Cooking instructions

  1. Add the chicken to the pot and cook until fully cooked through, about 25-30 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside to cool.
  2. Add the rice to the pot and cook until tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, shred the cooled chicken and set aside.

Choosing the Right Chicken

Fresh vs. frozen chicken Fresh chicken is always preferable for the best flavor and texture, but frozen chicken can be a convenient and affordable alternative. Just make sure to thaw it completely before cooking.

Organic vs. conventional chicken Organic chicken is often more flavorful and free of antibiotics and hormones, making it a healthier choice. However, conventional chicken can also be used if organic is not available.

Preparing the Broth

Making homemade broth For the most authentic Avgolemono, make your own broth by simmering chicken bones with vegetables and herbs for several hours. This will yield a rich, flavorful base for your soup.

Using store-bought broth If you’re short on time, store-bought broth is a convenient option. Just be sure to choose a high-quality brand with low sodium to control the seasoning.

Adding the Rice

Types of rice to use Short-grain rice is traditional, but long-grain rice or even orzo can be used as substitutes. Each type of rice will give the soup a slightly different texture.

Cooking the rice Add the rice to the simmering broth and cook until tender. This usually takes about 20 minutes for short-grain rice.

The Avgolemono Sauce

Combining egg and lemon In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and lemon juice until well combined. This mixture will give the soup its creamy texture.

Tempering the eggs To avoid curdling, temper the eggs by slowly adding a ladleful of hot broth to the egg mixture while whisking continuously. This gradually raises the temperature of the eggs without cooking them.

Bringing It All Together

Combining the broth, rice, and sauce Slowly pour the tempered egg mixture back into the pot, stirring constantly. Add the shredded chicken back into the soup.

Final cooking steps Heat the soup gently, stirring occasionally, until it thickens slightly. Do not let it boil, as this can cause the eggs to curdle. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serving Suggestions

Traditional garnishes Garnish your Avgolemono with fresh dill or parsley for a burst of color and flavor. A drizzle of olive oil can also enhance the richness of the soup.

Pairing with other dishes Avgolemono pairs well with a simple Greek salad, crusty bread, or a side of roasted vegetables for a complete meal.

Variations of Avgolemono

Vegetarian avgolemono For a vegetarian version, use vegetable broth and add more vegetables like carrots, celery, and spinach. You can also use chickpeas or tofu for added protein.

Avgolemono with orzo Orzo, a type of small pasta, can be used instead of rice for a different texture. Cook the orzo according to the package instructions before adding it to the soup.

Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Avgolemono

Common mistakes to avoid

  • Don’t add the egg mixture too quickly, or it will curdle.
  • Avoid boiling the soup after adding the eggs to maintain its creamy texture.

Enhancing the flavor

  • Use fresh, high-quality ingredients.
  • Add a splash of white wine to the broth for extra depth of flavor.

Cultural Significance of Avgolemono

Avgolemono in Greek culture Avgolemono is more than just a soup; it’s a symbol of Greek hospitality and comfort. It’s often served at family gatherings and special occasions, embodying the warmth and generosity of Greek cuisine.

Modern adaptations Today, Avgolemono has been embraced by chefs around the world, who put their own spin on this classic dish by adding unique ingredients or serving it in new ways.

Avgolemono in Restaurants

Popular places to try Avgolemono If you want to taste authentic Avgolemono, visit traditional Greek restaurants or tavernas. Places like Ouzeri and Estiatorio in Athens are renowned for their Avgolemono.

Avgolemono in Greek restaurants worldwide From New York to Melbourne, Greek restaurants around the world serve their version of Avgolemono, allowing you to experience this delightful soup no matter where you are.


Avgolemono is a beloved Greek dish that combines simple ingredients to create a rich, flavorful, and nutritious soup. Whether you’re making it from scratch or using store-bought shortcuts, the key to a perfect Avgolemono lies in the balance of flavors and the careful preparation of its unique egg-lemon sauce. This soup not only offers comfort and satisfaction but also a taste of Greek heritage and tradition.


How do you store leftover Avgolemono? Store leftover Avgolemono in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stove, adding a little water if it thickens too much.

Can Avgolemono be frozen? Yes, Avgolemono can be frozen. However, the texture may change slightly upon reheating. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months and thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

What are some common substitutes for rice in Avgolemono? You can use orzo, quinoa, or even small pasta shapes like acini di pepe as substitutes for rice in Avgolemono.

How can you make Avgolemono more flavorful? To enhance the flavor of Avgolemono, use homemade chicken broth, fresh lemons, and high-quality chicken. Adding a splash of white wine or a pinch of herbs like thyme or oregano can also boost the taste.

Is Avgolemono suitable for special diets? Avgolemono can be adapted for various diets. Use vegetable broth and extra vegetables for a vegetarian version, or substitute rice with cauliflower rice for a low-carb option.

Yield: 4

Avgolemono - Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

Avgolemono - Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

Avgolemono is a traditional Greek soup that combines chicken, lemon, and eggs to create a creamy, tangy, and comforting dish. It's a staple in Greek cuisine, loved for its rich flavor and soothing properties.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 2-3 celery stalks, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 chicken breasts (about 12 oz / 350 g total)
  • 6 cups (1.5 liter) chicken stock
  • ¾ cup (175 g) orzo
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 egg yolks
  • A handful fresh dill
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven and cook the onion, carrot and celery for 8-10 minutes over medium heat until softened.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, then add the bay leaves, chicken and chicken stock.
  3. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low, cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Take out the chicken breasts and bay leaves. Add the orzo to the pot and continue to cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Shred the chicken with two forks and add it back to the pot.
  6. While the orzo is cooking, whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice in a bowl. Take out 1-2 ladles of soup and pour it over the egg-lemon mixture to temper it. Add this mix to the pot and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Stir in the fresh dill, adjust the seasoning and serve immediately, with some extra fresh dill on top if you like.
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