Simple Classic Avgolemono Soup Recipe (Greek Egg Lemon Chicken Soup)
Avgolemono soup is a classic Greek soup that is nice and creamy and lemony. It’s made with a savory chicken broth, tart lemons and eggs. This one is made from scratch with homemade chicken broth, shredded chicken and rice, making this a very comforting and filling soup. The name of this classic soup comes from its two main ingredients: egg (avgo)and lemon juice (lemoni). It’s simple to make and I even have a 30 minute quick version of this recipe included in the recipe notes below. Each version yields a delicious soup great for a springtime dinner with fresh herbs and bright lemon, or the perfect remedy or comfort food for when you are feeling under the weather. It’s a great twist on the classic chicken soup. Classic Greek comfort food at its lemony best.
What is Avgolemono (av-gho-lé-mo-no)
Avgolemono is a Greek sauce made from eggs, lemon, and warm broth. It’s a staple in Greek cooking. It’s added to everything from soups to meat dishes, dolmathes, roasted veggies, and over fish. It’s a really nice base for any dish that will blend well with lemon. It’s simple to make and can be found widely in not only Greek, but also in general Mediterranean cuisine. It’s so versatile, that you can add it to just about anything - there are so many recipes out there that have been avgolemonized and I love seeing it as my love for avgolemono runs deep!
Common avgolemono mistakes/issues
This is an easy version of the classic Greek avgolemono soup that I love. I hope that this helps you make a no fail avgolemono soup every time. Many people shy away from making it because they are afraid their egg mixture will curdle - that does happen if the egg mixture isn’t tempered properly. Tempering means to bring two liquids you plan to blend together to a similar temperature before combining them completely. Tempering is what keeps eggs from cooking when they’re added to a hot sauce or broth like in this soup. Specifically in this recipe it’s the process of adding a small amount of the hot broth to the egg and lemon mixture while whisking vigorously. You’ll slowly raise the temperature of the eggs enough to add them to the soup without the eggs curdling.
Tips on making delicious no fail avgolemono every-time
- Always make sure your eggs are room temperature
- Remove the soup from the heat before you begin tempering and never bring the soup back to a boil once the eggs have been added.
- Reserve enough broth to add to the egg mixture to bring up the temperature of the eggs enough to add into the whole pot of soup. I usually ladle out and reserve 1-2 cups of it
- It’s important to whisk your eggs vigorously so they get nice and light and frothy - I often use my stick blender to do this part - makes it easy and quick.
There are so many versions of this recipe out there. Each family has their own way of doing it. This is mine and I think it’s quite an easy recipe to follow and enjoy. Some definite no no’s I would say although I’m not one to criticize is adding cream or corn starch to this avgolemono soup. It’s rich enough without the cream and if you want a thicker soup I would reduce the amount of broth in the soup by 2-3 cups. The soup gets its richness from the lemon egg sauce - I wouldn’t change that with the addition of the cornstarch. I prefer mine brothy but others like my dad like it more porridge like in consistency - so my mom would always reduce the amount of broth and up the amount of Arborio rice to suit. You can do the same to achieve one or the other texture or somewhere in between. Enjoy and I look forward to sharing more avgolemono based recipes here on the blog in the near future.
- 1 whole chicken (approx 3 ½ lbs., with excess fat and skin from breast removed)
- 10 cups water
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut in half
- 2 celery stalks, cut in half
- 1 large onion, peeled and cut in half
- 2 cloves of garlic peeled and left whole
- 1 small bunch of fresh herbs I like to use parsley and thyme (or 1 tsp each if using dried)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1-2 teaspoons of salt and pepper to taste plus more for seasoning after
- ¾ cup Arborio rice (or rice of choice or even orzo pasta)
- 2 eggs or 3 for richer soup (room temperature)
- Juice from 2 large lemons, plus more for serving
- Prepare Broth: In a large stockpot place the whole chicken, carrots, celery stalks, onion, bay leaves, salt and pepper, fresh herbs and water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer partially covered for 1-1 ½ hours until chicken is cooked through and flavours in the both have developed nicely, skimming off any foam if needed.
- Carefully remove the chicken and vegetables (and reserve) to a bowl and strain the broth through a fine sieve into a separate large bowl. Return the strained broth to the stockpot and bring to a boil.
- Cook Rice: Add the rice and cook, uncovered, for approximately 10 to 12 minutes or until tender.
- Prepare the Lemon Egg Mixture: While the rice is cooking, beat the eggs in a medium size bowl vigorously until nice and frothy in a bowl. You can use a whisk or I love using my immersion stick blender on low which gets them extra frothy. Once eggs are frothy add the lemon juice in a steady stream while continuing to whisk/blend.
- Tempering the Lemon Egg Mixture: When the rice is done cooking, turn off the heat. Ladle approx 1-2 cups of broth into a bowl or large measuring cup. Slowly add the hot broth to the egg-lemon mixture while continuing to whisk. This will prevent them from curdling once they are added to the hot broth. Ladle the lemon egg mixture into the soup slowly while stirring the soup then turn back the heat on low and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes until heated through but DO NOT bring to boil. Shred your chicken and add it back to the pot and you can also slice your reserved carrots and celery and add those back to the pot too if you would like. Season the soup as needed with salt and pepper then serve.
- QUICK 30 min VERSION AVGOLEMONO SOUP: If you would like a quicker version of this recipe I would keep the recipe ingredients the same but I would use precooked shredded chicken (approx 3-4 cups), store bought or pre made chicken broth instead of water, chop your carrots, celery, onions and garlic and sauté them with some fresh or dried herbs (omit bay leaves) of choice until softened. Then add your broth and bring it to a boil. Add rice and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until rice is cooked through. Then proceed with making the lemon egg sauce as directed in recipe and finishing it off by stirring in the shredded chicken.
- STORAGE: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat on the stove over low heat, making sure not to boil the soup.