Avgolemono (egg and lemon) soup with chicken (Σούπα αυγολέμονο με κοτόπουλο)

Home » Greek Recipes » Greek Soups » Avgolemono (egg and lemon) soup with chicken (Σούπα αυγολέμονο με κοτόπουλο)

Thanks for sharing!

Home » Greek Recipes » Greek Soups » Avgolemono (egg and lemon) soup with chicken (Σούπα αυγολέμονο με κοτόπουλο)
Avgolemono (egg and lemon) soup with chicken/ (Σούπα αυγολέμονο με κοτόπουλο)

Avgolemono (egg and lemon) soup with chicken, is a classic Greek chicken soup made with rice and a rich egg-lemon sauce.

We love this soup.  We love making it today, and we love reminiscing about how much fun it was to help our parents make it when we were young.  It is relatively simple and in terms of active cooking time, this soup doesn’t require much; there is a lot of waiting around.  Waiting for the chicken to boil and for the stock to be made.  Then there is the waiting for the rice to cook.  One of the key steps however is preparing the egg and lemon mixture, the avgolemono.  This is what transforms a plain rice soup into a Greek classic.

When we were small, our parents had a rotary handheld egg beater.  How many of you remember having one of those?!  As kids we thought this gadget, with its wooden handle and simple, yet intricate mechanism, was simply amazing and so we happily accepted the task of being the first to use it to froth up the egg whites.  Our parents would watch our progress, tell us what a great job we had done, and then step in to finish the job. We would then be assigned to gingerly, upon their instruction, add to the egg whites some egg yolks, lemon juice and cooled broth.  

Once the handheld beater had successfully combined all of these, we would listen, with great anticipation  as either our mother or father slowly poured this beaten mixture into the pot of soup.  That’s right…we would listen.  As they poured, they would let out a long, drawn out kiss, right into the air.  They would explain that this was a crucial step, one that would ensure that their our soup turned out delicious.  When we were making avgolemono with them recently, recording the recipe and steps for posting here, we talked about this air smooch.  Our parents laughed and told us that this was really just silliness, an old wives tale not meant to be taken seriously.  But then, unable to resist, they proceeded to kiss the air when finishing up our soup, and it was delicious.

Helpful hints

It is easy to make your own chicken broth.

The chicken which will be boiled for this recipe serves two purposes.  First, the water used to boil your chicken, along with some vegetables, creates a delicious stock which is used as the soup base.  Second, the boiled chicken can be cut up into pieces and added directly into your soup, or eaten separately on the side, along with the boiled vegetables.  If you have never had plain, boiled chicken, sprinkled with nothing more than a bit of salt and pepper, you are missing out.  It’s true!  The flavour is so mild and so simple that it can sometimes be a welcome change for your palate.  The boiled vegetables as well, are deliciously comforting. If plain boiled chicken is not your thing, and you don’t want to add the extra protein to your soup (remember…you’ve got eggs in there),  you can also choose to use your chicken in other ways; maybe a filling for chicken salad sandwiches, part of a stir-fry, or as a special treat for your dog.

Watch us make Avgolemono soup!

Avgolemono (egg and lemon) soup with chicken/ (Σούπα αυγολέμονο με κοτόπουλο)

As  you will notice in the recipe below, we suggest that you boil your chicken in water for about 5 minutes and then discard that water.  Rinse your pot and start boiling your chicken again immediately with a fresh pot of water and the vegetables.  This is certainly an extra step, but one which our parents feel helps make the soup less fatty.  Given that the effort is minimal, we suggest  you follow their lead.  If you can save even a few calories, or a bit of fat…why not?

What is the best rice to use in avgolemono (egg and lemon) soup with chicken

When it comes to making avgolemono soupa, the use of arborio rice is pretty non-negotiable in our parents’ kitchen.  Few other types of rice (at least from those varieties available where we live) will create the thick and creamy soup you want to end up with.


Fresh lemons versus bottled lemon juice

Another key ingredient here is, of course, the lemons.  Use the freshest lemons you can find and try to avoid using bottled lemon juice unless you are certain that it is not diluted with water.  Even still, there is nothing like the smell of fresh lemons.  The quantity of lemon juice that our parents use will give you a tart, but not overly tart soup.  If you want your avgolemono to taste more lemony, adjust the quantity of lemon juice.  You can also add a squeeze of lemon to each individual serving plate if tastes differ around the table.

Avgolemono (egg and lemon) soup with chicken/ (Σούπα αυγολέμονο με κοτόπουλο)

Prevent your eggs from curdling

You will see that the directions below instruct you to remove some of the stock, set it aside to cool, and then add it slowly to the beaten eggs and lemon.  This is a critical step because if you add the beaten eggs directly into the very hot soup you risk having your eggs curdle.

Avgolemono (egg and lemon) soup with chicken/ (Σούπα αυγολέμονο με κοτόπουλο)
Avgolemono (egg and lemon) soup with chicken/ (Σούπα αυγολέμονο με κοτόπουλο)

Avgolemono tends to thicken as it sits.  If you have leftover soup in the fridge which has thickened up more than you would have liked, add a little bit of chicken stock or water while reheating it either on the stovetop or even the microwave.

Looking for some more comfort soups, try these:

Trahana with chicken
Fide soup

We love hearing from you!  If you have made our recipes, or if you have a question or comment, or simply want to say Hi!,  please leave a comment below!

Avgolemono (egg and lemon) soup with chicken/ (Σούπα αυγολέμονο με κοτόπουλο)
Avgolemono (egg and lemon) soup with chicken/ (Σούπα αυγολέμονο με κοτόπουλο)

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Avgolemono (egg and lemon) soup with chicken, is a classic Greek chicken soup made with rice and a rich egg-lemon sauce.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe Share on Facebook
5 from 4 votes

Avgolemono soup with chicken

Avgolemono (egg and lemon) soup with chicken, is a classic Greek chicken soup made with rice and a rich egg-lemon sauce.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time2 hours
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: Avgolemono, chicken soup, soup recipe,
Servings: 6 people
Author: Mia Kouppa


  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2-3 large carrots each carrot cut in half
  • 2-3 stalks celery each celery cut in half
  • 2-3 large potatoes each potato cut into 4 large chunks
  • 1/2 cup leek (white part only) chopped into large chunks
  • 1 3/4 cups (350 grams) arborio rice
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 eggs


  • Prepare chicken by removing excess fat.  Fill a pot with enough water to cover chicken and bring to a boil.  Boil for 5 minutes.  Remove chicken and pour out water.  Rinse pot.
  • Return chicken to pot and add enough water to cover chicken (at least 12 cups of water).  Add carrots, celery, potato and leek.  Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium. Cook, covered, for approximately one hour.  Check the pot approximately 10 – 15 minutes into the cooking and remove any froth that has come to the surface of the water.
  • Once the chicken has cooked remove it to a platter.  Set aside.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables from the chicken broth.  Set aside with the chicken.
  • Strain the broth into a large clean bowl using a fine sieve.  Measure the liquid that you have.  You will need 12 cups of liquid total.  Add enough water in order to reach 12 cups.
  • Pour this stock into a pot.  Rinse the arborio rice and then add it to the stock. Add salt.
  • At this point remove about 1 – 2 cups of the stock and keep it in a bowl, to cool slightly.  Set it aside.
  • Cook the rice over medium high heat, stirring regularly (especially during the first 5 – 10 minutes to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot) until the rice is cooked, about 20 minutes . If you find your soup is too thick, add some boiled water.
  • Remove pot from heat.
  • Separate eggs.  Using a hand held mixer, or a fork, (or, if you have it, a rotary handheld egg beater!) beat egg whites until frothy (you will NOT create soft peaks…that’s okay).  Once the egg whites are frothy and foamy, add the egg yolks.  Continue beating.  Then, add the lemon juice.  Beat together until combined and then slowly stream in the cup of stock that you had set aside, and which should have cooled so that it is warm but not hot.  Continue to beat the egg / lemon mixture until all of the stock has been incorporated.
  • Take this egg / lemon mixture and pour it slowly into the soup, stirring well. Give your pot of soup a few more good stirs after all the avgolemono has been added.
  • Serve in individual bowls.  At this point you can choose to place cut up pieces of chicken directly into the servings of soup or do as our parents always did; serve the chicken, cut into pieces, on a large platter along with the boiled vegetables.  Sprinkle lightly with salt.  It is then up to each person to decide how much chicken (if any) to add to their bowl.
  • Enjoy!

23 responses to “Avgolemono (egg and lemon) soup with chicken (Σούπα αυγολέμονο με κοτόπουλο)”

  1. […] to something grand.  Here, celery, pork, and avgolemono (an egg-lemon sauce, the same one used in avgolemono soup) combine to create a dish with strong flavours and delicate textures. As children, one of us loved […]

  2. […] contends, are not food.  Instead she lovingly filled thermoses and containers with things like avgolemono, pastitsio and these […]

  3. […] directly into the very hot soup you risk having your eggs curdle.As we described when we posted avgolemono soup, the addition of the egg lemon sauce is a bit ritualistic in our family (and from the feedback we […]

  4. […] directly into the very hot soup you risk having your eggs curdle.As we described when we posted avgolemono soup, the addition of the egg lemon sauce is a bit ritualistic in our family (and from the feedback we […]

  5. […] people love, including our families.  Although we enjoy roast chicken, youvetsi with chicken, avgolemono soup with chicken, and roasted chicken thighs, when chicken is prepared as a kokkinisto you get an […]

  6. […] to the roasting pan when they make roasted lemon potatoes and to the chicken stock when they make avgolemono soup.  When we were young, as we would head out to play, our parents would often pass us raw, peeled […]

  7. […] loukaniko hanging on homemade racks, and we would see them dry as time passed.  Watching them make avgolemono soup was another treat;  listening for that famous air smooch at the end always had us giggle with […]

  8. […] After portioning your chicken, you will be left with the carcass.  This is perfect for making a stock that you can then use for avgolemono soup. […]

  9. terrepruitt Avatar

    I went to make this last night and I knew there was a Greek blog I read, but I couldn’t find it. Had to make it my own. There are a lot of extras in this one. I kept it simple chicken and pasta!

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Hope you enjoy!!

  10. Fergy. Avatar

    I have been to Cyprus quite a few times and Greece as well but not so often and I remember being served this at Paska when everyone returned from Church after the midnight service. It was to do with breaking of the Lenten fast, I believe. I initially thought it would be odd when I was told what it was but I quite liked it when I tasted it.
    Efharisto poli.

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Parakalo poli!! 🙂 We love this soup, it’s one of our absolute favourites. It does sound a bit weird if you are not accustomed to it, but one taste, and you’re hooked! 🙂

  11. George Zurales Avatar
    George Zurales

    I was interested in trying this. Do you recommend a certain size chicken for the stock? I have no experience with making stock. I didn’t know if I should be looking at small cornish hens or something larger. Thank you!

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Hi George! Thanks so much for your comment and questions. We really do hope you try this recipe and love it as much as we do. A regular sized chicken would work just fine – 5 to 7 pounds or so would work. If you opt for cornish hens, consider using 2 or even 3 of them. There really is no right or wrong answer; just keep in mind that the more chicken , the more flavour 🙂 Enjoy! (and let us know how it goes!). xoxo Helen & Billie

  12. Michele Photis Avatar
    Michele Photis

    Happy New Year
    Wishing you all a year full of happiness and health
    I just wanted to let you know that I made your Vasilopita cake for the first time ever, never made one before, always had Vasilopita bread
    This year out of all the different versions of Vasilopita cake, I picked yours and let me tell you it’s a keeper
    It was delicious, moist and aromatic
    My family loved it even my picky eaters
    Thank you for your recipes

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Hi Michele! We are truly so happy that you selected our vasilopita recipe out of the many that are available on the internet!! And, especially that you all loved it! Thank you for letting us know, and thank you for trusting our recipe. We hope that you find many more recipes to love on our site. Happy New Year to you and to your family. xoxo Helen & Billie

  13. Haracopos, John Avatar
    Haracopos, John

    I’ve been making this for years, I learned how to from my YiaYia….. I never remove any of the fat when cooking the chicken, you get a thicker and more velvety soup…. can’t believe you used rice and not orzo, that’s so American to me. I always beat my egg whites until stiff, I’m very intrigued that you don’t…. I’m going to try your way……

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Hi John!! We actually never heard of using orzo before we started our website…and then people would comment that they always made avgolemono soup with orzo…we have always had it with rice, from our yiayia and our mom. Seems that different regions in Greece have their own take on things!! We bet it’s really good with orzo too actually – must be very smooth. We will definitely try it with orzo one day! xoxo Helen & Billie

      1. katinahughes2014 Avatar

        Hi, have you ever tried it with fithe? Flavor of the lemon comes thru cleaner and sharper. Now my favorite but my non Greek husband much prefers the rice. I will try Arborio next time. Makes sense that it would make a creamier soup. Thanks for the info.

      2. miakouppa Avatar

        Thanks Katina! Honestly, we have never had avgolemono soup with anything but rice, but we have learned that many make it with orzo, and now you told us about using fithe! We can see how it would give a different flavour, and texture. One day we will try it 😉 Thanks for taking the time to comment! xoxo Helen & Billie

  14. Bia Avatar

    Hi girls. I just like to know if you wash the chicken or any other meat before cooking? Thx girls.

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Hi Bia,
      That’s a great question. We don’t wash our chicken before cooking it. Washing your chicken is a bit of a risky practice; unless you are very careful you can actually spread bacteria all around your kitchen workspace and sink, contaminating counters, cloths, anything that may come into contact with errant chicken juice! Being sure to defrost properly, cook to the safe internal temperature, and refrigerate after cooking promptly, are more important that washing your chicken. Hope that helps! xoxo Helen & Billie

  15. […] Spanakopita (Σπανακόπιτα)… Tzatziki (Τζατζίκι)… Avgolemono (egg and lemon) soup with chicken (Σο… Red lentil and bulgur wraps with a tahini slaw… Green shakshuka… […]

Leave a Reply