Greek Avgolemono Soup Recipe

Soup often doesn't get enough credit. Unless you're sick or have been snowed in during a winter storm, it tends to be a bit of an afterthought. But hearty soups like this Greek avgolemono can be the perfect one-pot meal for any time you want to fill up. "This avgolemono soup is the ideal crowd-pleasing soup to prepare for friends and family," says recipe developer Ashley Altan. "It's creamy yet not too heavy. The lemony base adds just the right amount of brightness, and the freshly made broth imparts that distinctive homemade taste." 

If you're not familiar with avgolemono soup, there's no need to worry about whether or not you'll like it. A creamier twist on chicken and rice soup, this is pretty much guaranteed to please anyone. Just don't confuse the soup with the sauce by the same name. "Avgolemono is a sauce as well as a soup. They're both prepared with chicken broth, eggs, and lemon juice," Altan explains. "The key distinction is that the soup contains chicken and rice, and the sauce is thicker in texture." 

And while avgolemono soup takes about 1 ½ hours to make, much of that time is spent simply allowing the ingredients to cook and the flavors to meld, so it's an easy option when you want to serve up something special and homemade.

Gather the ingredients for Greek avgolemono soup

You don't need anything fancy to make this chicken soup; simply check your kitchen to see what you have on hand and pick up any missing ingredients from your favorite grocery store. You'll need a whole chicken, carrots, celery stalks with leaves, an onion, salt, dried oregano, fresh thyme, long-grain white rice, eggs, and a lemon. 

Make the soup stock

Part of what makes this soup special is the completely homemade chicken stock. Grab a large soup pot and place the chicken, carrots, celery, onion, salt, oregano, and thyme inside. Cover the ingredients in water and bring it all to a boil. 

Once things are boiling, reduce the heat and cover the pot, allowing the stock to simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the meat is ready to fall off the bone. This should take about an hour. 

Strain the broth, returning all but 1 cup of the liquid to the large pot (you'll combine that reserved liquid with the eggs later on). Other than the chicken, you don't need to save the stock ingredients. But if you don't want to toss them completely, Altan says you can dice up the carrots and add them to the finished soup during the final step.

Soak the rice

With the broth ready to go, add the rice to a bowl of water and let it soak for 10 minutes. "Soaking rice before cooking prevents it from becoming too mushy. As the rice grains soak, water is absorbed and excess starch is rinsed away. In this case, soaking the rice will prevent the soup from thickening excessively," Altan explains. 

Shred the chicken

While the rice soaks, shred up the chicken, removing all the meat from the bones, and set it on a plate. If the chicken is still hot, be sure to use gloves to help protect your hands during this step. 

Cook the rice in the broth

When the rice's soaking time is complete, bring the pot of broth back to a simmer. Add the rice to the pot and cover it with a lid, cooking it completely. This should only take about 7 minutes.

Temper the eggs

While the rice cooks, it's time for what could be considered the most important step of making avgolemono soup: tempering the eggs. Place the eggs and lemon juice in a bowl or measuring cup and whisk them together. Slowly pour the reserved cup of hot broth into the eggs, whisking as you pour. "The secret to this creamy soup is the method of whisking together the lemon juice and eggs, then gently tempering it into a savory, hot broth. The result is a creamy broth without adding a drop of cream," Altan explains.

Add the eggs and chicken to the pot

The soup is almost ready to go. Simply add in the egg mixture and shredded chicken, and stir well. 

Cook until warmed through, season, and serve

With all the ingredients in the pot, kick the heat on the stove up to medium and cook the soup until the chicken heats through — about 5 minutes. The soup is now ready to enjoy — just taste it first and add more salt if it's not seasoned to your liking. Spoon the avgolemono into bowls and garnish with fresh thyme, if desired. 

"This avgolemono soup has a sour yet creamy base without the cream. It serves perfectly during cold wintry days with artisan bread, a wedge of lemon, and a garnish of fresh thyme," Altan says. "During the summer, serve this soup with a Greek salad for a quick, light lunch." 

Like most soups, avgolemono keeps well. If you don't eat it all in 1 night, allow the pot to cool to room temperature, then store the leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days in a lidded container. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave. 

Greek Avgolemono Soup Recipe
5 from 59 ratings
A creamier version of chicken and rice soup, this classic Greek dish is satisfying in every season.
Prep Time
Cook Time
greek avgolemono soup in bowl
Total time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
  • 1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds)
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 stalks celery (with leaves)
  • 1 onion, peeled but left whole
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup white long-grain rice
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  1. Make the stock by adding the chicken, carrots, celery, onion, 2 teaspoons salt, oregano, and thyme to a large soup pot. Add enough cold water to cover the ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid, and cook the stock until the meat falls off the bone, about 60 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat and strain the broth, discarding the carrot, celery, onion, and thyme stems and reserving the chicken for later. Reserve 1 cup of broth for later, then return the rest of the broth to the pot.
  4. Add the rice to a bowl, cover it with water, and soak for 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, shred the chicken and set it aside on a plate.
  6. Bring the chicken broth back to a simmer over medium heat. Add the soaked rice to the broth and cook, covered, for about 7 minutes until the rice is cooked through.
  7. While the rice is cooking, whisk the eggs and lemon juice in a bowl to combine. Gradually whisk in the reserved cup of broth to temper the eggs. The result should be a creamy, frothy liquid.
  8. Stir in the egg mixture into the large pot of broth and add the shredded chicken. Cook over medium heat until the chicken warms through, about 5 minutes.
  9. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt if desired.
  10. Garnish avgolemono with additional thyme, if desired, and enjoy while hot.
Calories per Serving 600
Total Fat 32.8 g
Saturated Fat 9.4 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 207.5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 31.0 g
Dietary Fiber 2.3 g
Total Sugars 2.5 g
Sodium 967.9 mg
Protein 43.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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