This incredible Greek avgolemono soup is loaded with chicken, rice, vegetables, and lemon flavor for the ultimate comfort food. This is a family favorite and is in my regular recipe-making rotation throughout those cool fall and winter months.
Soup is such a great way to incorporate protein and vegetables into a hearty meal that the whole family can eat. If you are looking to try out some different soup recipes, then check out my ham and bean or ribollita.
Avgolemono is a Greek soup as well as a sauce. Both are made from chicken stock, egg yolks, and lemon juice. The main difference is that the soup has rice and vegetables added to it and is thinner than the sauce.
Avgolemono translates from Greek to English as egg-lemon. This soup recipe is finished off with egg and lemon juice to help thicken and flavor it up. There are some variations and nuances in this recipe depending on who is making it and its location in Greece. Like many classic ethnic recipes, it often came down to the availability of ingredients to make it.
Ingredients to Make Avgolemono
- Chicken – I prefer to use a whole chicken because I make stock from it and then use the meat.
- Onion – You will use both a red and a yellow onion to use in the soup as well as the stock.
- Celery – A few ribs are used for the stock and the soup.
- Carrot – Peeled and unpeeled carrots for the stock as well as in the soup.
- Bay Leaves – This will help add some great flavors to the stock.
- Leeks – These are optional but are found in many classic Greek avgolemono recipes.
- Garlic – Couple of cloves for the stock and a few for the soup.
- Rice – A short grain starchier rice like arborio is good, plus it will help thicken up the soup a bit.
- Eggs – Yolks are used in my recipe to help thicken the soup but there are some recipes out there that call for whole eggs.
- Lemon – I like to use the zest and the juice of lemons to get a lot of good lemon flavor into this soup.
How to Make Avgolemono Soup
Use the easy-to-follow instructions for making this amazing avgolemono soup.
Add the whole chicken, onion, celery, carrots, garlic bay leaves, parsley, and water to a large stockpot and simmer on medium heat for about 1 hour or until the chicken is completely cooked.
Remember to come back and skim the scum off the top of the stock and discard.
Strain the soup well through a fine-mesh strainer or chinois. Discard the vegetables and keep the chicken aside.
Add the stock back onto the burner and add in the rice and vegetables and cook over low heat for 5-7 minutes and then add the rice.
Prepare the chicken by removing the bones and skin, and roughly chop up the cooked chicken. You do not have to use all of this so feel free to store and freeze up to half of this cooked chopped-up chicken.
Add the chicken to the soup and turn the heat down to low.
In the meantime, whisk together egg yolks with lemon zest and juice in a bowl and whisk vigorously until combined and lightly frothy.
Add about a half cup of the chicken stock from the soup and add it to the bowl with the egg yolks and lemon while continuously whisking to help temper the eggs and bring them up to temperature without scrambling them.
Now, pour the egg mixture into the soup and gently stir it with a spoon.
Finish the soup with salt and pepper, and garnish with optional dill or parsley.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: You can make this recipe up to 1 day ahead of time. Keep it cold in the refrigerator before reheating it and serving it.
How to Store: Cover and keep cool for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating and serving.
How to Reheat: Add the desired amount of avgolemono to a medium-size pot and heat over low heat until hot. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper and serve.
Chef Notes + Tips
- You can use any sort of precooked or rotisserie chicken in this recipe and you will just need to use chicken stock instead of making it homemade like I did.
- Feel free to use whatever kind of rice you’d like; I’ve even seen orzo used in this recipe.
- You can also add things like turnips and potatoes to this recipe.
- The scum that collects on top of the stock are just impurities from the chicken and vegetables so it’s best to remove it using a spoon or ladle and discarding it.
- You do not have to use all the cooked chicken in this recipe, feel free to put it in a plastic bag and freeze up to half of it.
- If your eggs are not getting frothy while whisking, add them to a blender or a food processor and blend or process for about 10-15 seconds.
- You can also cook the rice separately and simply add some of it to the soup when ready to serve it.
More Soup Recipes
Homemade Greek Avgolemono Soup Recipe
For the Stock:
- 1 whole roasting chicken
- 1 roughly chopped yellow onion
- 2 roughly chopped carrots
- 2 roughly chopped celery stalks
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 sprigs of parsley
For the Soup:
- 1 gallon chicken stock
- 1 ½ cups short-grain rice
- 1/2 peeled and small diced red onion
- 2 small diced leeks
- 2 peeled and small diced carrots
- 2 peeled and small diced celery stalks
- 2 finely minced garlic cloves
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 egg
- juice and zest of 2 lemons
- salt and pepper to taste
- Stock: Add all the ingredients to a large stock pot along with 1 gallon of cold water.
- Put the stock pot onto the stove and cook over medium heat and simmer for about 1 hour or until the chicken is cooked through. You may need to go and skim some of the scum from the top of the stock.
- Strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer or chinois, discard the vegetables, set the chicken to the side, and put the stock back in the pot and back on the burner over low to medium heat.
- Soup: Add in the onions, leeks, carrots, celery, and garlic to the stock and cook for about 5-7 minutes and then add in the rice and cook until the vegetables are tender, and the rice is cooked, about 5-10 additional minutes.
- In the meantime, remove the meat from the cooked chicken and finely chop it. Add all the cooked chopped chicken or as little as half of it to the soup and turned the heat down to low. See note on leftover chicken.
- In a bowl whisk together the egg yolks, egg, lemon zest, and lemon juice until combined and frothy.
- Add about a ½ cup of chicken stock in the soup to the bowl with the egg yolks and lemon and continuously stir it while pouring in the stock to help temper the eggs.
- Once combined, add egg mixture to the pot with the soup and gently mix it in using a spoon.
- Season the soup with salt and pepper and serve it with optional chopped fresh parsley, or dill, or both.