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Avgolemono Soup (Greek Lemon Chicken Soup)

Avgolemono Soup (or Greek Lemon Chicken Soup) boasts rich, thick broth, hearty vegetables, tender chicken, comforting rice, and eccentric lemon for a unique and delicious soup recipe.

Two white bowls of Greek soup.

Shredded chicken, rich creamy broth with just the right amount of lemon flavor with classic onion and garlic undertones is what this luscious soup has to offer.

Because I’ve been on a soup kick lately, I have had my eyes open to new and exciting soup recipes. 

As I mentioned in my Creamy Tuscan Chicken Soup article, I’ll use any excuse to try a new and exotic soup!

I stumbled upon Avgolemono soup, which is also known as Greek Lemon Chicken Soup, which is essentially an upgraded version of our classic feel-good favorite: chicken and rice soup.

Before I get ahead of myself, I’ll fill you in on the basics. The origin of Avgolemono soup was new to me the first time I made it, so I figured I would provide some context.

What is Avgolemono Soup?:

Avgolemono soup is a traditional Greek soup that translates literally to “egg lemon.” Avgo means “egg” in Greek, and Lemono means “lemon.” 

You can probably guess where we’re going with this based on the title. If you assumed the soup contains both eggs and lemon, you would be correct!

You see, eggs thicken the soup and provide richness, similar to egg drop soup. This traditional Greek lemon chicken soup is also considered a sauce (avgolemono sauce) in addition to a soup.

Lemon brings bright citrus flavor for a unique spin on classic chicken soup. 

What is Avgolemono soup made of? Let’s discuss all of the simple ingredients, as each one serves an important purpose.

Two white bowls of Greek lemon chicken soup with fresh dill and cut lemons to the side.

Ingredients for Avgolemono Soup:

Chicken: One of the all star ingredients here, we need some form of chicken. I like using boneless skinless chicken breasts and poaching the meat to shred it. You can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs.

As opposed to shredding the chicken, you can easily chop the raw chicken  before adding it to the pot for chunks of chicken rather than shredded.

Lemon: The “lemono” portion of Avgolemono soup! Fresh lemon juice brings vibrant citrus flavor to the soup. Use the juice from one large lemon or add lemon juice to your personal taste.

Egg Yolks: A few egg yolks are added in to provide richness to the soup as well as thick creamy texture. Save the egg whites to add to scrambled eggs or an omelet! 

Chicken Broth: Used for the liquid, we need chicken broth or chicken stock. I love using chicken bone broth or homemade chicken broth for added nutrients and richness.

White Rice: The traditional Greek Avgolemono soup recipe includes either orzo pasta or rice.

Because I eat a gluten-free diet, I use rice instead of orzo, but feel free to swap the rice for 1 cup of uncooked orzo. I use long-grain white rice such as jasmine rice.

Avocado Oil: Used to sauté the vegetables, we need a quality high-temperature cooking oil.

I prefer using avocado oil over olive oil because olive oil has a tendency to burn when used at high temperatures.

Nevertheless, olive oil works here too. Just be careful to keep the heat at a manageable level.

Yellow Onion, Carrots, and Celery: This holy trifecta is used in many cuisines worldwide to produce wonderful flavor.

Fresh Garlic: Minced fresh garlic cloves add a burst of flavor to the soup. Increase or decrease the amount based on your personal taste.

Bay Leaves and Fresh Dill: Adding more herby flavor to the soup, we need some fresh sprigs of dill and a bay leaf. If you don’t already have bay leaves on hand, it’s completely fine to skip it.

Sea Salt and Black Pepper: Season the soup with sea salt and pepper to your personal taste.

Recipe Customizations:

  • Save time by using 4 cups of shredded rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken.
  • Use a whole chicken rather than using boneless pieces. This creates more depth of flavor and results in incredible tender chicken. If you use a whole chicken, consider cooking the chicken for 1 hour to 90 minutes before adding the rice.
  • Some people prepare the soup with whole eggs, which works too! If you don’t mind curdled egg yolks, feel free to use two full eggs. Otherwise, stick with egg yolks for silky texture.
  • You can use brown rice or wild rice instead if white rice if you’d prefer, but note that you’ll need to increase the cooking time to about 40 minutes with the rice added in, rather than 15-20. 
  • In addition to using pre-cooked chicken, you can also save time by using 2 cups of cooked rice.
Large Dutch oven full of chicken lemon soup with rice.

Now that we have covered the essential ingredients for Greek chicken soup, let’s make it!

How to Make Avgolemono Soup:

Heat the avocado oil in a large thick-bottomed pot such as a Dutch oven over medium-high heat on the stove top. Add the chopped yellow onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to soften, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Onions sautéing in a large pot.

Stir in the chopped carrots, celery, and garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes to soften the veggies.

Onion, garlic, celery, and carrots cooking in a large pot.

Place the chicken breasts on top of the vegetable medley and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.

Two raw chicken breasts on top of sautéing vegetables in a Dutch oven.

Pour in the chicken broth into the pot and add the bay leaves. Cover the pot and bring it to a full boil.

Pouring chicken broth into the pot with the chicken and vegetables.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes to poach the chicken, or until the chicken is cooked through. Chicken breasts are fully cooked once they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove the chicken breasts from the pot and place them on a cutting board.

Ladle a small amount (about ½ cup) of the broth into a small bowl and set it aside. This hot broth will be used to temper the egg yolks.

Pour the uncooked white rice into the pot, cover, and return the soup to a boil. Reduce to low heat and continue cooking for 15 minutes. 

While the rice is cooking in the soup, transfer two egg yolks to a small bowl and whisk them together. Pour the reserved broth into the bowl with the egg yolks along with the fresh lemon juice and mix well to temper the yolks.

Egg yolks mixed with broth in a bowl to temper the yolks.

Pour the egg mixture into the pot with the rest of the soup and stir well. Continue cooking the soup with the egg-lemon mixture until the rice is fully cooked and the 15 minutes is up.

Use two forks to shred the chicken and add the chicken back into the pot with the soup once it is all shredded.

Shredded chicken on a cutting board.

Taste the soup for flavor and add sea salt, black pepper, or more lemon juice to taste.

Remove the bay leaves and discard. Stir in the fresh chopped dill. 

Serve soup in big bowls with crusty bread or a side salad.

Large pot of Greek lemon chicken soup.

Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. You can also freeze soup in a large freezer bag (or ziplock bag) in the freezer for up to 3 months.

The next time you’re craving a big bowl of soup, whip up this classic Greek soup!

Hot soup is the ultimate comfort food for a delicious springtime dinner. 

Big white bowl of lemon chicken soup with a gold spoon and fresh herbs around the bowl, ready to serve.

If you enjoy hearty soup recipes like this, also try these reader favorites:

More Healthy Soups:

Best chicken soup, let’s go!

Two white bowls of Greek soup.

Avgolemono Soup (Greek Lemon Chicken Soup)

This hearty Greek soup recipe features tender chicken, silky rich broth, hearty veggies, fresh herbs, and a burst of vibrant lemon. A unique and delicious take on classic chicken soup!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
6 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped (about 1 medium-sized carrot)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.25 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, 2 large breasts
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • cup uncooked rice
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 sprigs fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt, to taste
  • ¼ tsp black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Heat the avocado oil in a large thick-bottomed pot such as a Dutch oven over medium-high heat on the stove top. Add the chopped yellow onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to soften, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the chopped carrots, celery, and garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes to soften the veggies.
  • Place the chicken breasts on top of the vegetable medley and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.
  • Pour in the chicken broth into the pot and add the bay leaves. Cover the pot and bring it to a full boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes to poach the chicken, or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken breasts from the pot and place them on a cutting board. Ladle a small amount (about ½ cup) of the broth into a small bowl and set it aside. This hot broth will be used to temper the egg yolks.
  • Pour the uncooked white rice into the pot, cover, and return the soup to a boil. Reduce to low heat and continue cooking for 15 minutes.
  • While the rice is cooking in the soup, transfer two egg yolks to a small bowl and whisk them together. Pour the reserved broth into the bowl with the egg yolks along with the fresh lemon juice and mix well to temper the yolks. Pour the egg mixture into the pot with the rest of the soup and stir well. Continue cooking the soup with the egg-lemon mixture until the rice is fully cooked and the 15 minutes is up.
  • Use two forks to shred the chicken and add the chicken back into the pot with the soup once it is all shredded.
  • Taste the soup for flavor and add sea salt, black pepper, or more lemon juice to taste.
  • Remove the bay leaves and discard. Stir in the fresh chopped dill.
  • Serve soup in big bowls with crusty bread or a side salad.

Notes

Save time by using 4 cups of pre-cooked chicken such as rotisserie chicken or leftover shredded chicken.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving (of 6)Calories: 378kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 40gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 173mgSodium: 664mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4g
Course: Chicken Main Dishes, Main Dishes, Soups, Stews, & Chilies
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Avgolemono soup, chicken soup, chicken soup recipes, gluten free soup, Greek lemon chicken soup, Greek soup, healthy soup recipes
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories: 378kcal
Author: Julia

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Recipe Rating




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Jo Anna Bonner

Sunday 17th of March 2024

Definitely am going to try this sounds very tasty.

Julia

Sunday 17th of March 2024

Thanks, Jo Anna! I hope you enjoy it! xo

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