facts about Greek Cuisine

Image of Greek Lemon Rice Soup with garnishGreek lemon chicken soup, also known as Avgolemono soup,  is bright and warming.  With the addition of a green salad, it makes a delicious satisfying dinner.  I love soup in the winter and this one is both hearty and light.  I’ll explain. It has plenty of chicken and rice and a rich creamy texture, despite having no cream in it.  The lightness comes from the lemon.  I think lemon juice makes all foods taste lighter and brighter, like a sunny day on the beach on a Greek Island.  Ok, I’m getting carried away – I clearly need a vacation!

making chicken broth for Avgolemono soupPlain old chicken soup has lost a little of its glamour in my house because I’m always making it as soon as someone gets sick.  Avgolemono is just a few eggs and 2 lemons away from Jewish penicillin, yet it has a whole different gestalt. The egg-lemon mixture clouds, thickens and enriches the broth. The rice and chicken add body.  Every spoonful is lemony and substantial. Try this from scratch as I do here or, if you’re in a rush, use your favorite store-bought chicken broth (I recommend Swanson’s low salt) and a rotisserie chicken.

How to whisk the eggs and lemon juice for Greek Lemon Chicken SoupThe key to this recipe is adding the eggs to the soup so they create a creamy thickness rather than a broth with scrambled eggs floating in it.  Eggs cook quickly and easily when they come into contact with heat.  They must be tempered before they are added to the hot soup pot. Tempering means bringing the temperature up…slowly. By combining the eggs with lemon juice and whisking them first with just a small amount of hot broth to heat them, they are then able to be whisked into the hot soup pot, without curdling. Be sure to avoid boiling when you reheat the soup.

Avgolemono Soup

Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Greek
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-5
Lemony chicken soup with rice
  • 1 small chicken (about 3½ pounds) cut into 8 parts
  • 1 carrot, chunked
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced into thirds
  • ½ bunch parsley, washed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 12 cups cold water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1½ or 2 lemons)
  • 3½ cups cooked rice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Note: If using store bought chicken broth, you will need 8 cups of broth for this recipe.
  1. Put the chicken, carrot, onion, celery, parsley, and salt in a large Dutch oven or stock pot. Add 12 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Lower to a gentle simmer and cook uncovered. After 10 minutes, skim the white solids that rise to the top. (this will ensure a clearer broth) Simmer gently for an hour more. Remove the chicken from the pot. Take the meat off the bones. Shred or cut into bite-sized pieces and set aside. Pour the soup and vegetables through a strainer, reserving the broth. (The cooked vegetables will not be needed for this recipe). Using a large spoon, skim the fat that pools on top of the broth. If you have time to make a broth a day early, a night in the fridge makes it easy to remove the fat. The fat becomes a thin hard layer, sitting on top. Return broth to the pot and heat to a simmer. Remove from heat.
  2. Whisk the eggs and lemon juice in a small bowl until fully mixed. While whisking, slowly pour one cup of hot broth into the egg-lemon mixture. Then pour egg-lemon-soup mixture into the heated pot of broth while whisking to combine. Reheat gently but don't allow the soup to boil or the eggs will curdle.
  3. Scoop ½ to ¾ cup of hot rice into the bottom of each soup bowl. Add some shredded chicken. Pour in 1 to 1½ cups of broth. Season, to taste, with salt and fresh ground pepper. Garnish with a lemon slice and some parsley, if you like. Enjoy!



  1. marisa smith says

    Want to make this right now, it looks so perfect for a cold day, especially when we are all so tired of the same old chicken soup!

  2. Donna says

    This looks yum. I like the idea of using canned broth because I never seem to budget my time well. I poach the chicken in the broth and it makes for a quick and easy alternative to homemade stock.

  3. Sarah says

    My boyfriend is Greek so I am super excited to try this recipe. Curious- does it hold well if frozen? I would love to make a big batch of it to save for future sick days!

    • Lisa Goldfinger says

      Hi Sara, you can definitely freeze the chicken broth. I do it all the time. I don’t recommend freezing it with the rice because you risk the rice getting soggy and disintegrating. I’ve never tried freezing it with the eggs and lemon mixed in. The safest would be to freeze the broth and add the egg-lemon mixture and the rice just before serving. Lisa

    • says

      Do not freeze the soup after you add the eggs and lemon. It does not freeze well. Just make the broth and finish it after you take it out of the freezer. I Make the avoglemono in the blender. Add the eggs and beat then add the lemon and beat keep the blender going and add the hot soup to the mixture. add as much hot soup the blender will hold. Then quickly pour it into the pot of soup and stir. Hope this helps. Mary

  4. Jac Fin says

    Having been struck down with a horrible cold this weekend, I was craving Chicken Soup for comfort. Delighted I found this recipe. It worked exactly as written…..and provided the comfort I was looking for. Thank you

  5. Matt down the hill says

    Made your Aleppo Pepper Chicken last week and it was a big hit with the family. Looking forward to this tomorrow on a cold early winter Sunday before the Pats game!


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