The most popular Greek soup has to be the classic Chicken Avgolemono. It is made with an egg-lemon sauce known as avgolemono, homemade chicken stock, flavorful chunks of chicken, and lots of zesty lemon juice. We think of it as Greek penicillin, especially during the colder months.
Chicken soup is such a comforting food. The Greek version is silky, light, yet hearty a the same time. I add lots of lemon juice to my soup. You can control it and make it as lemony as you like.
Homemade chicken stock makes all the difference. It does take some time, about an hour and a half or more if you like yours with extra rich flavor, and it’s worth every bit of effort. I like to make a few batches at once, cool it then, I store it in the freezer where it keeps fresh for months.
If you’re craving this soup and are in a hurry, don’t worry! You can make the quick-weeknight version with some store-bought stock and either rotisserie chicken or any leftover baked chicken. This heartwarming soup can be on the table in under 30 minutes:
- Bring 8 cups of chicken stock to a boil.
- Add shredded/chopped chicken to the pot along with 1/2 cup rice or orzo.
- You may also throw some frozen diced carrots into the pot as well.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the rice/pasta is tender. 10-15 minutes.
- Juice the lemons and prepare the egg-lemon sauce.
- Add the lemon juice to the egg lemon sauce and temper it with some hot soup.
- Pour the lemon sauce into the pot and whisk together. Season with salt and pepper.
- Warm through for 4-5 minutes and serve!
There are 2 ways to make the lemon sauce for this soup: using the entire egg or just the yolks. Personally, I prefer the yolk only-method. The result is a silky smooth soup that is rich and creamy. Adding the egg whites to this soup creates a lighter texture but, it ends up not as smooth… I’ll leave it up to you and I will also say that both methods produce a very delicious soup. You cannot go wrong. Enjoy!
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- With the Yolks & Whites:
- The Stock Ingredients:
- 1 whole chicken, about 3 pounds
- 16 cups (4 liters) cold water
- 1 onion
- 2 carrots
- 2 celery stalks
- 6 garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1-2 cups Arborio rice
- 1-2 cups diced carrots
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, or more
- salt, to taste
- 8 eggs, separated
- garnish: fresh dill or parsley
- For the yolk version:
- Same stock ingredients
- 1 cup orzo or rice
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 heaping tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 cup lemon juice, or more
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Garnish: dill or parsley
- Make the stock: Combine all of the stock ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil.
- Skim the froth that rises to the top and discard.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the chicken is cooked. About 1-1 and 1/2 hours.
- Remove the chicken and vegetables from the pot and strain the broth. Discard the garlic and peppercorns.
- Allow the chicken to cool and chop or shred as much chicken as you would like to add to the soup. Store the remaining chicken in the refrigerator to use for chicken salad or for soup for another day.
- Pour the strained stock back into the pot and add the chicken, diced carrots, and rice into the pot. Season with a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the rice is tender. About 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, juice the lemons.
- Separate the eggs into 2 bowls. Whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add the yolks and whisk together. Add the lemon juice and whisk together.
- Add some hot soup to the lemon sauce and whisk together. Keep adding the hot soup to the lemon sauce mixture until the bowl is warm to the touch.
- Add the egg-lemon sauce to the soup and mix well.
- Warm through over low heat for 5 minutes.
- Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Serve with toasted bread, lemon wedges and garnished with dill or parsley.
- To make the yolk only-sauce:
- Pour the strained stock into the soup pot and add chicken, diced carrots, and orzo or rice. Season with a half teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 8-10 minutes.
- Prepare the egg-lemon sauce:
- Combine the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together until smooth. Add more water if needed.
- Add the egg yolks, lemon juice, and olive oil, and whisk together until smooth.
- Add some hot soup to the egg-lemon sauce and whisk together. Keep adding hot soup until the bottom of the bowl feels warm to the touch.
- Pour the egg-lemon sauce into the pot and warm through over low heat for 5 minutes.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Garnish with dill or parsley.
- Serve with toasted bread and lemon wedges.