Avgolemono Soup (Greek Lemon Soup)
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Avgolemono Soup is a classic Greek soup made with chicken stock, eggs, lemon juice, shredded chicken, and rice. It’s a warm and comforting soup recipe that you can put together on a weeknight and it’s absolutely perfect for spring!
Greek Lemon Soup is seriously the best kind of comfort food.
It starts with humble ingredients like onions, carrots, celery, and a few chicken breasts or thighs. We’ll also need some dry rice that will simmer and cook right in the chicken stock. And right at the end we’ll do a little egg drop into the soup – Greek style and add plenty of lemon juice to make this one comforting yet spring-ready bowl of soup! This one checks all the cozy and comforting boxes!
This Greek Lemon Soup is actually what inspired my Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce. Sure, I took the liberty of swapping the shredded chicken for meatballs and opted to serve the orzo on the side. But this is the soup that inspired it all. So many of you had made and enjoyed that recipe that I’m confident you’re going to love this one too!
What is Avgolemono Soup?
Avgolemono (pronounced: aHv–go–LE–mon–o) literally translated means egg-lemon. ‘Avgo’ means egg and ‘lemono’ is pretty self-explanatory! Avgolemono is a silky and creamy soup or sauce made with eggs, lemon, and chicken stock. The addition of eggs helps thicken the soup or sauce without having to add flour, cream, or cornstarch.
Ingredients for homemade Greek chicken soup:
- Butter: I like to add a tablespoon of butter right at the beginning to saute the veggies before simmering the soup on the stove.
- Veggies: You’ll need a carrot, 2 pieces of celery, and an onion that’s peeled and cut in half. We leave the veggies whole so that they are easy to fish out later. The veggies actually play a two-part role in this recipe. The first is to add additional flavor to the quick homemade chicken stock. And the second is to add a deliciously golden hue to the greek lemon chicken soup.
- Garlic: You can add as little or as much garlic as you’d like for this recipe. I use about 5 cloves and it’s at that perfect sweet spot for us.
- Chicken: I prefer to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this recipe, however, chicken thighs would also work. If you like the flavor of dark meat, chicken thighs would undoubtedly yield better results when you’re making homemade chicken soup!
- Eggs: The egg mixture adds both a beautiful golden color and acts as a thickener in this soup. We’ll combine the eggs with the lemon before adding it to the soup towards the end. The egg yolks are what give this soup a vibrant yellow color.
- Lemon Juice: The lemon juice gets mixed with the eggs and added in towards the end of the soup. The lemon flavor is nice and pronounced making this soup taste silky and zesty!
- Water: For my Greek soup, I like to use water and a couple of bouillon cubes instead of chicken stock. This helps control the sodium content better as we’ll be simmering down the soup quite a bit as it cooks. However, you could also use a split of water and chicken broth.
- Bouillon: I like to use bouillon cubes to help control the amount of sodium in this soup. But you could also use 50:50 of water and chicken broth as well.
- Bay Leaf: Gets added in with the veggies and just adds a depth of flavor to the soup.
- Rice: You’ll need plain old long-grain white rice for this recipe. Keep in mind that using parboiled or even basmati rice may change the amount of simmering time required. Check the directions on the package and boil accordingly. Most brands I tested for this recipe required roughly 20 minutes to be cooked through.
- Fresh herbs: This is purely optional but I love adding something green on top of my bowl of soup! Dill goes really well with the flavors of this soup and is more traditional to Greek cuisine, but you can also use parsley if that’s what you have at home.
How to make Avogolemono:
- Saute the aromatics. Start by adding the butter to a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onions, and garlic, and let them brown in the butter for a couple of minutes. Then, add the water, chicken, bouillon cubes, and bay leaf.
- Simmer, simmer, simmer. When the soup is boiling, lower the heat and let the soup simmer until the chicken cooks through and the veggies soften. If there’s any white foam that rises to the top, use a slotted spoon to remove it and discard it. Allow the chicken to cook all the way through and then remove it to a plate and let it cool completely before shredding. Some people also like to use a whole chicken instead of pieces but that does take significantly longer, so I use boneless chicken and bouillon cubes for this recipe.
- Blend it all up. Transfer the softened carrots, celery, onions, and garlic to a blender. Kick the heat up don’t the stove and when simmering, add the rice and set a timer for 20 minutes. While the rice is simmering in the soup, add 1 cup of hot broth to the blender and blend this until smooth. Make sure you use a towel to hold down the lid so you don’t splatter hot soup everywhere! When the soup is pureed pour it back into the soup pot. You may need to pour it through a sieve if you have a conventional blender that may not have pureed the soup entirely smooth. For high powder blenders, I find I don’t have to strain this at all.
- Shred the chicken. Add the chicken to a stand mixer and shred using the paddle attachment, use two forks, or just shred with hands!
- Egg-lemon mixture. While the rice is boiling, whisk the eggs in a bowl. Slowly stream in the lemon juice while you whisk the eggs. Then, grab some of the hot soup in a ladle or measuring cup and slowly pour it into the egg mixture while you continue to whisk. This tempers the eggs so that they don’t scramble when you add them to the soup pot.
- Make soup. When the timer on the rice goes off, slowly stream in the egg-lemon sauce while you stir to combine the soup. Add the shredded chicken back to the soup and allow the chicken to heat through. Taste and adjust with additional salt if the soup needs it. I typically find it to be perfect once the lemon juice is added. Keep a close eye on the soup, you don’t want it to boil once you add the eggs. The soup is hot enough to where it will cook the eggs so they are safe to consume. Boiling may cause the soup to have tiny specks – it’s fine to eat, it just doesn’t look as pretty! Remove the bay leaf and ladle the soup into bowls. I like to top them with some fresh dill and a pinch of freshly cracked pepper.
FAQs about avgolemono soup:
- How long do leftovers last? Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Can you use orzo instead of rice in this recipe? I’m confident that the orzo could work, but you’ll need to cook it according to package directions and not 20 minutes like you would the rice.
- Is this soup high in protein? Yes! With the amount of chicken and eggs we’re using in this recipe I estimate there are about 22 grams of protein in 1 serving of this soup. Carbohydrates and other nutrition information is located at the bottom of the recipe card.
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- The Easiest Greek Grilled Chicken
- Greek Meatballs (Keftedes)
- Greek Spinach Puffs
- Herb-loaded Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
- Winter Lemon Chicken Barley Soup
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 large carrot, peeled
- 2 sticks celery
- 1 large onion, peeled and cut in half
- 5 cloves garlic
- 10 cups water
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 chicken bouillon cubes
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup white rice
- 3 large eggs, whisked in a bowl
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- Fresh dill, for topping
- SAUTE: Add the butter to a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add carrot, celery, onion, garlic, and saute for 2 minutes. Add the water, chicken, bouillon cubes, and bay leaf.
- SIMMER: When the soup is boiling, lower the heat to medium so that it maintains a simmer. If any white foam forms at the top, use a slotted spoon to skim and discard. Allow the chicken to cook all the way through, about 20-30 minutes. Check with a meat thermometer for doneness, remove chicken to a plate.
- BLEND: Transfer softened carrot, celery, onion, and garlic to a blender. Add 1 cup of chicken stock from the pot; set aside for now. Make sure the soup is simmering on the stove, stir in the rice, and set a timer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, blend the soup in the blender, with a towel on the lid until smooth. If you use a high-power blender, you don’t have to strain this. For a conventional blender, I suggest straining. Pour this into the soup pot as the rice cooks.
- SHRED: Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it using two forks.
- SOUP: When there are 3 minutes remaining on the soup timer, whisk the eggs in a bowl. Stream lemon juice into the eggs as you whisk. Grab ⅔ cup of chicken stock from the pot and stream that into the egg mixture as you continue to whisk. When the timer goes off, slowly stream the egg-lemon mixture into the soup pot while you whisk the soup to combine. Add the shredded chicken to the soup. Heat the soup for 2-3 minutes but make sure it does not boil. Discard bay leaf. Serve in bowls sprinkled with dill or parsley.
- BROTH: You can replace the water and bouillon with a 50:50 mix of water and chicken broth if you'd like. Make sure you don't use all chicken broth otherwise you run the risk of making the soup too salty!
Serving Size:1/6th of recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 213Total Fat: 5.8gTrans Fat: 0gCarbohydrates: 17.7gProtein: 21.8g
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