How to Make an Authentic Avgolemono Soup Recipe in 6 Simple Steps

This avgolemono soup recipe is a bright and cozy dish from Greece that's food for the soul.

Ah-vō-lemō-nō…av-glō-man-an-yō…av-gho-lé-mo-no? If you’re thinking it all sounds Greek to you, you’re right.

While the name may be tricky to pronounce if you didn’t grow up eating traditional Greek food, the recipe itself couldn’t be simpler. A quintessential Greek dish, this avgolemono soup recipe is made using pantry staples and results in a meal that’s pure comfort food.

What Is Avgolemono Soup?

Avgolemono soup (for the record, it’s pronounced ah-vō-lemō-nō) is a classic Greek recipe that has been prepared with love by yia-yias and passed down to their children and grandchildren for generations. As with most beloved family recipes, countless variations and adaptations of this recipe exist. However, classic avgolemono soup is, at its core, Greek chicken soup.

What sets this apart from other chicken soups is the addition of its namesake avgolemono sauce. Avgolemono, which literally translates to lemon-egg, is a silky, rich sauce, made from lemons, eggs and warm chicken broth. The sauce functions as a thickening agent in many Greek dishes and is what gives avgolemono soup its distinct taste, color and consistency.

How to Make Avgolemono Soup

Yield: 4-6 servings

ingredients avgolemono soup recipeLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and/or legs
  • 1 medium white onion, quartered
  • 2 large carrots, cut into chunks
  • 2 stalks of celery, cut into chunks
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup long-grain white rice, rinsed and drained
  • 1 egg white, room temperature
  • 3 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
  • Fresh parsley, dill and oregano, for garnish (optional)
  • Additional fresh lemon zest, for garnish (optional)

Directions

Step 1: Prepare the chicken broth

Prepare the chicken broth avgolemono soup recipeLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

In a large soup pot, combine the water, chicken, onion, carrots, celery and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce to a simmer. Let cook for 2-3 hours, skimming foam from the top, as needed, until a rich chicken broth forms. (Learn more about making chicken broth, if this is new to you.)

Step 2: Remove chicken and vegetables

After 2-3 hours, discard the veggies and bay leaves and remove the chicken from the broth. Separate the chicken meat from the skin and bones, shred and set aside.

Step 3: Cook the rice

Cook the rice avgolemono soup recipeLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Remove 1 cup of broth from the stockpot and set aside. Then, bring the remaining broth back to a boil and add the rice. Reduce to a simmer and cook the rice until tender, about 15-20 minutes.

simmer and cook the rice until tender avgolemono soup recipeLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Editor’s tip: You may be tempted to skip rinsing your rice, but please, don’t. Rinsing the rice removes surface starch from individual grains, which can cause them to become gummy as they cook and clump together. For fluffy rice with a better texture, always rinse!

Step 4: Prepare the avgolemono

Prepare the avgolemono avgolemono soup recipeLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

While the rice cooks, prepare the avgolemono. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites to soft peaks; it will take 2-3 minutes.

beat the egg whites to soft peaks avgolemono soup recipeLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Then, add the egg yolks and beat for another 1-2 minutes until frothy. Slowly add the lemon juice and zest and stir to combine. Then, temper the lemon-egg mixture by gradually adding the reserved cup of hot broth to the mixer in a slow, steady stream while whisking continuously. Continue to beat the mixture until well-blended; 1-2 minutes.

Continue to beat the mixture until well-blended avgolemono soup recipeLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Step 5: Add avgolemono to soup

Add avgolemono to soup avgolemono soup recipeLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Slowly transfer the avgolemono to the pot of broth and fully cooked rice on the stove. Stir to combine and then bring the soup to a simmer. Add salt and pepper and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the soup thickens.

Stir to combine and then bring the soup to a simmer avgolemono soup recipeLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Step 6: Serve

Serve avgolemono soup recipeLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a bit of the reserved shredded chicken, if desired. Garnish with fresh parsley, dill, oregano and lemon zest, and serve with crusty bread.

Editor’s tip: It may not be traditional, but we absolutely love this soup served in a homemade bread bowl, too!

Avgolemono Soup Tips

What kind of rice is used in avgolemono?

Traditional avgolemono soup typically calls for long-grain white rice. However, it’s not uncommon to see arborio rice (risotto rice) used in recipes, too.

Can I use store-bought chicken broth?

You can save a lot of time by opting for a high-quality store-bought chicken broth rather than making your own. Simply pick up this recipe at Step 3 if using store-bought broth.

Traditional avgolemono doesn’t typically include pieces of chicken; however, many recipes suggest adding shredded pieces of chicken before serving. Grab a rotisserie chicken from your grocer’s deli section if you’re using store-bought broth.

Can I add other ingredients?

The beauty of Greek avgolemono lies in its simplicity. However, if you want to add some color and extra “bulk” to this soup, feel free to add 1/2 cup of finely diced sauteed onions, carrots and celery to this soup in Step 3 of the recipe.

How do you temper eggs in soup?

The trickiest part of making this recipe is tempering the eggs correctly so you end up with avgolemono soup and not Chinese egg drop soup. For best results, slowly and gently raise the temperature of the eggs when preparing the avgolemono. To do this, gradually add a bit of the hot broth to the eggs and lemon in a slow stream while whisking constantly. This will ensure the egg mixture heats evenly and slowly enough to prevent it from curdling. Once the eggs are tempered properly, you’ll be able to successfully add the avgolemono to the hot broth and rice on your stovetop so the soup can thicken and finish cooking the eggs.

How to store avgolemono soup

Leftovers of this soup can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 days. For best results, cool down the soup to room temperature before storing.

Avgolemono soup can also be frozen effectively. Store in a freezer-safe, airtight container for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, let the soup thaw in the fridge overnight.

How to reheat avgolemono soup

For best results, reheat avgolemono soup on the stovetop over medium-low heat until warmed through, stirring occasionally to avoid separation. If needed, add a bit of broth or water to the soup as it warms to thin it back to the desired consistency.

You can also reheat avgolemono soup in your microwave. Just keep in mind you’ll want to do it low and slow. Reduce the power of your microwave to 30-50% and heat in 1-minute increments, stirring after each to prevent separation. You may also need to add a few tablespoons of water or broth using this method to return the soup to the desired consistency.

If you loved this lemony chicken soup recipe, then you’ll also love our copycat version of Panera’s Lemon Chicken Soup!

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Lauren Habermehl
Lauren Habermehl is a recipe developer, food photographer and creator of the blog, Frydae. She is a prolific quoter of FRIENDS, lover of weekend DIY projects and procrastinating fitness enthusiast who enjoys exploring the Milwaukee-area with her husband, daughter and ugly mutt named Tyson Doodles.