You’ll love this authentic Greek Avgolemono Soup Recipe. Ahvo-lemono, as the Greeks pronounce it, is a silky, rich, fragrant chicken soup, prepared Greek-style with avgolemono sauce (lemon-egg sauce.) Best part, this weeknight version comes together in just over 30 minutes.
A couple of important tips make all the difference, be sure to read through this post and watch my video for how to make Greek avgolemono.
Chicken soup is one of those nostalgic dishes known as a home remedy to comfort the sick or relief the cold chill in the air. It’s also one of those universal foods every culture, and every household, has some version of–noodles or not.
I’ll never pass up a warm bowl of homemade chicken soup, but one of my favorites for sure is the Greek version: the egg and lemon soup known as Avgolemono.
Avgolemono is no ordinary chicken rice soup. There is just something special, and extra luxurious, about Avgolemono. It’s a decidedly rich, comforting chicken soup with a silky broth that’s heavily scented with lemon. Delicious!
I’m telling you, if you have not tried Greek avgolemono soup, you are in for a treat!
What is Avgolemono?
Avgolemono, pronounced ah-vo-le-mo-no (the “g” is there, but it’s a lighter g…almost silent), refers to the tasty Greek sauce from which this chicken soup gets it’s name. Avgolemono sauce is a silky and fragrant sauce made of eggs, lots of lemon, and warm broth.
Greek cooks use avoglemono sauce to augment or dress a number of things from Avgolemono soup, to roast chicken, vegetables, and even dolmades (grape leaves.) Avgolemono sauce does make a difference, infusing a dish with richness and bright notes of lemon.
30-Minute Weeknight Avgolemono Soup
Avgolemono soup may start like any ordinary chicken soup–onions, carrots, celery, broth, chicken etc.
But–at the very end–is delightfully transformed into a silky, tangy, absolutely unforgettable bowl chicken rice soup, thanks to the addition of Greek avgolemono sauce (egg-lemon sauce.)
Now, to make traditional avgolemono soup, Greek yiayias would spend more than two hours–starting from scratch to make homemade chicken stock from a whole chicken, then shredding the chicken to be used in the soup.
But in my 30-minute weeknight version, I two major shortcuts: ready chicken stock or broth (low-sodium, preferred); and store-bought rotisserie chicken. Since I often have leftover rotisserie chicken on hand, avgolemono is a great way to put it to use.
This weeknight avgolemono never disappoints, and it is as comforting and authentic-tasting as the traditional version.
Two Important Tips for Making Avgolemono Soup:
So, it’s the avgolemono sauce that makes all the difference in this chicken soup, providing a silky thick consistency and adding that extra zing. Two important tips when it comes to this sauce and making avgolemono soup:
1. Make sure to temper the sauce. To make avgolemono sauce, you’ll need to whisk two eggs with 1/2 cup of lemon, and while whisking with one hand, pour in two ladles of the hot chicken broth from your soup. That’s really the trickiest part of this soup, but it’s not that difficult. And if you need to, ask someone to help you pour in the broth, while you do the whisking.
2. Add avgolemono sauce to the soup at the very end, and immediately remove from heat. This is your very last step in the process, be sure to remove the soup from heat immediately or the eggs might begin to cook and the soup separates (you’re not looking for an egg drop soup here.)
Let’s get to the step-by-step of how to make Greek avgolemono soup, and you’ll see how easy it is…
Step-by-Step for Greek avgolemono soup:
1- In a large pot or Dutch oven, saute carrots, celery and green onions…and, a couple minutes later, add garlic.
2- Add broth and bay leaves. Bring to a rolling boil, then add the rice (Tip: I like to soak rice in water for a few minutes before using, this helps it cook quickly and evenly.) Season with kosher salt and pepper.
Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender. Now, stir in shredded cooked chicken (I used rotisserie chicken.)
3- Prepare the avgolemono sauce (egg-lemon sauce). In a medium bowl, whisk two eggs with the lemon juice. While whisking, add in 2 ladles-full of the broth from your cooking pot (this is to temper the sauce.)
Add the sauce to the chicken soup and immediately remove from heat (this is important you do not want the eggs to cook and the soup to separate.)
Can you use orzo instead of rice in this Avgolemono recipe?
Yes, orzo is fine to use instead of rice in this recipe. You can use 1 cup orzo, and watch cooking time as orzo will cook more quickly (about 7 minutes or so)
Leftovers. Can You Freeze Avgolemono?
To store leftover avgolemono soup, make sure the soup cools to room temperature. Transfer to airtight containers and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Because this is a cream-free soup, you can also freeze avgolemono soup, particularly if you make a larger batch. Whether you freeze a large family-size amount or in small individual servings, be sure to leave enough room the freezer-safe containers to allow for soup to expand.
Thaw in the fridge overnight. Reheat on the stovetop over medium heat; it helps to add a little bit of liquid, broth or water. Heat until warmed through and be sure to stir regularly (it can tend to separate.)
What to Serve Along?
For a simple dinner, my family enjoys avgolemono soup and Greek salad. But this comforting chicken and rice soup can also be served as a warm starter to a special Greek feast! Browse our Greek Recipes collection for more delicious recipes!
Watch this Brief Video to See How I Make Avgolemono
Note: Greek pronunciation is ahvo-lemono (the “g” is there, but it’s quite lightly pronounced…almost slient)
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Greek Avgolemono Soup Recipe. Silky, rich, fragrant chicken soup, prepared Greek-style with avgolemono sauce, which is a Greek lemon-egg sauce with warm broth. Best part, this weeknight version comes together in just over 30 minutes.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I used Private Reserve Greek olive oil)
- 1/2 to 1 cup finely chopped carrots
- 1/2 to 1 cup finely chopped celery
- 1/2 to 1 cup finely chopped green onions
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup rice
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cooked boneless chicken breast pieces, shredded ( about 6 to 8 oz store-bought rotisserie chicken will work)
- 1/2 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 2 large eggs
- Fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
- In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat 1 tbsp olive oil on medium-high. Add the carrots, celery and green onions, toss together to saute briefly then stir in the garlic.
- Add the chicken broth and bay leaves then raise the heat to high. Once the liquid has come to a rolling boil, add the rice, salt and pepper. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender. Now stir in the cooked chicken.
- To prepare the egg-lemon sauce, in a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and eggs. While whisking add 2 ladles-full of the broth from the cooking pot (this helps temper the eggs). Once fully combined, add the sauce to the chicken soup and stir. Remove from the heat immediately.
- Garnish with fresh parsley, if you like. Serve hot with your favorite bread. Enjoy!
- Cook’s Tip for Rice: Be sure to rinse the rice well. And it helps to soak the rice in water for about 15 minutes or so or until you are able to break one grain of rice easily. The rice will cook quickly and evenly.
- Can you use orzo instead of rice? Yes, orzo is fine to use. You can use 1 cup orzo, and watch cooking time as orzo will cook more quickly (about 7 minutes or so)
- Important Tips: 1. Make sure to temper the sauce. To make avgolemono sauce, you’ll need to whisk two eggs with 1/2 cup of lemon, and while whisking with one hand, pour in two ladles of the hot chicken broth from your soup. That’s really the trickiest part of this soup, but it’s not that difficult. And if you need to, ask someone to help you pour in the broth, while you do the whisking. 2. Add avgolemono sauce to the soup at the very end, and immediately remove from heat. This is your very last step in the process, be sure to remove the soup from heat immediately or the eggs might begin to cook and the soup separates (you’re not looking for an egg drop soup here.)
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- Category: Soup
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Greek
Keywords: Avgolemono soup recipe, Greek lemon chicken soup
*This post first appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in January 2016 and has recently been updated with new information and media for readers’ benefit.