Avgolemono Soup (Greek Lemon Chicken Soup)

This Avgolemono Soup recipe is an unforgettable silky, tangy, Greek Lemon Chicken Soup laced with fragrant rice, lemon and fresh herbs, that’s as equally cozy as it is refreshing!

Avgolemono Soup is a uniquely cozy, lemony, chicken soup loaded with refreshing, comforting, nutritious, feel-good ingredients. It’s made with juicy shredded chicken (or shortcut rotisserie), tender jasmine rice, carrots and celery, aromatic onions and garlic in a vibrant lemony broth infused with fresh dill and parsley. What sets Greek Lemon Chicken Soup apart, is it’s prepared Greek-style with avgolemono sauce (lemon-egg sauce) so the broth is extra silky, luxurious, vibrant and satisfying!  Serve your Avgolemono Soup with dinner rolls and a Greek salad for a complete feast!

Warming up to a big bowl of chicken soup not only fills the belly and warms the soul, but makes great meal prep and/or leftovers. Don’t miss some of our favorite comforting chicken soup recipes such as Chicken and Wild Rice Soup, Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup, Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, Lemon Chicken Tortellini Soup, Chicken Tortilla Soup.

How to Make Avgolemono Soup Video

a bowl of Avgolemono Soup (Greek Lemon Chicken Soup) with chicken, lemon and rice in a bowl garnished by dill
a ladle of Avgolemono Soup (Greek Lemon Chicken Soup) showing how silky it is

Greek Lemon CHicken Soup Ingredients 

Avgolemono Soup boasts rich and complex flavor, but it’s made with very basic ingredients you likely have on hand already! Let’s review what you’ll need to make this Greek soup (full recipe in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post): 

  • Chicken: I recommend juicier, more flavorful, boneless, skinless chicken thighs. They will make your soup far superior than using chicken breasts! However, you may swap out for chicken breasts (they’ll take longer to cook, but make sure not to overcook or they will be dry!) or better yet, use rotisserie chicken.
  • Rice: Use long-grain jasmine rice for the best results. The rice is measured and added to the soup uncooked so it can soak up all the delicious flavors of the soup.  You may also use long grain basmati rice but be aware it is distinctly nuttier.
  • Lemon: Use fresh lemons as you’ll be using both the juice and zest. You’ll need 1-2 lemons.  
  • Eggs: Using two whole eggs and two egg yolks makes the broth extra luxurious. The eggs are combined with the lemon juice then added to the soup to create the signature flavor and silky texture. 
  • Olive oil and butter:  The chicken is seared in olive oil, then butter is added to the drippings to sauté the vegetables.  Always use a high-quality extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor and unsalted butter so we can control the salt.  Or, use salted butter and salt the recipe to taste at the end of cooking.
  • Onion: Use one diced yellow onion. When a recipe doesn’t specify a certain kind of onion, use yellow onion.
  • Celery: You’ll need about 3 stalks of celery for this recipe chopped into a ¼-inch dice to equal one cup.   
  • Carrots: You’ll need about 2-3 medium carrots chopped into a ¼-inch dice to equal one cup.   
  • Garlic: Six garlic cloves bring the punch of flavor.  Use more or less as desired.    
  • Chicken broth: Take care your chicken broth is low sodium otherwise your soup will be too salty. Using low sodium broth also allows us to use chicken bouillon which is a flavor bomb.
  • Chicken bouillon: Use bouillon powder, bouillon cubes or better than bouillon. Add it to the soup without dissolving in liquid first. If using cubes, you will need 2, which you crush up and add directly to the broth.
  • Fresh herbs: Fresh dill and parsley are added at the end of the cook time to pump up the herbaceous flavor.  You may substitute with dried if needed (⅓ less the amount) and add them with the dried herbs.
  • Dried herbs and spices: Salt, pepper, dried oregano, dried thyme, dried basil, red pepper flakes and a bay leaf add layers of complex flavor.
serving Avgolemono Soup (Greek Lemon Chicken Soup) in a bowl with chicken and rice

HOW TO MAKE Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

  • Step 1: Sear the chicken. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and sear in sizzling hot oil just until golden. The chicken will not be cooked through at this point but will be added back to the pot later. Remove the chicken to a plate but leave the drippings behind – we want all that flavor gold!
showing how to make traditional Avgolemono Soup recipe (Greek Lemon Chicken Soup) by searing the chicken until golden
  • Step 2: Sauté the aromatics. Melt some butter in the drippings, then sauté the onions, carrots, and celery, followed by the garlic and red pepper flakes.
showing how to make traditional Avgolemono Soup recipe (Greek Lemon Chicken Soup) by sautéing onions, carrots and celery
  • Step 3: Add remaining ingredients.  Add the chicken broth, chicken bouillon, lemon zest and spices.
showing how to make traditional Avgolemono Soup recipe (Greek Lemon Chicken Soup) by adding the chicken, broth and spices to the soup pot to simmer
  • Step 4:  Simmer.  Cover and gently simmer until the chicken is tender enough to easily shred with two forks.
  • Step 5:  Combine the eggs and lemon juice. While the chicken cooks, whisk together the lemon juice, eggs, and egg yolks. I find a liquid measuring cup works well or you can use a medium mixing bowl.
a collage a collage showing how to make traditional Avgolemono Soup recipe (Greek Lemon Chicken Soup) by adding lemon juice and eggs to a bowl and whisking to combine
  • Step 6:  Add the rice.  Remove the chicken, then add the rice to the pot.  Simmer until the rice is cooked, stirring occasionally.   
  • Step 7: Temper the eggs. Once the rice is almost tender, use a ladle and slowly drizzle some of the hot soup into the egg and lemon mixture. Whisk constantly as the broth gets drizzled in.  Repeat with 3-4 ladlefuls to temper the eggs properly.  This will prevent the eggs from scrambling once they’re added to the big pot of soup.
showing how to make traditional Avgolemono Soup recipe (Greek Lemon Chicken Soup) by tempering the eggs by whisking broth into the eggs and lemon juice
  • Step 7: Add the eggs to the soup. Remove the pot from the heat before whisking the tempered egg-lemon sauce into the soup.
showing how to make traditional Avgolemono Soup recipe (Greek Lemon Chicken Soup) by whisking the avgolemono (lemon, eggs and broth) back into the soup
  • Step 8: Add the chicken and fresh herbs. Add the cooked shredded chicken, fresh parsley, and fresh dill to the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste, serve and enjoy! 
showing how to make traditional Avgolemono Soup recipe (Greek Lemon Chicken Soup) by adding shredded chicken, fresh dill and fresh parsley to the soup
  • For the juiciest chicken: This recipe will work with chicken breasts or chicken thighs, but for best flavor, use chicken thighs or shredded rotisserie chicken.
  • Rotisserie chicken hack: Stock shredded chicken or rotisserie chicken portioned into 2 1/2-3 cup freezer bags so you always have it ready to add to any soup.
  • Don’t burn the bits: When searing the chicken, you don’t want blackened bits, or they will make your soup taste burnt. If the chicken is browning too quickly, turn the heat down.
  • Cook the chicken at a gentle simmer: After you bring the soup to a boil, reduce to a gentle simmer so the chicken doesn’t become rubbery.
  • Simmer chicken until tender: Whether using chicken thighs or breasts, check the pieces individually for tenderness because they may cook unevenly. Be prepared to remove pieces of chicken at different times. The chicken is ready when it easily pulls apart with two forks, or reaches 165 degrees F. Thicker chicken breasts will take longer to cook than chicken thighs.
  • Vegetable size: Chop the carrots and celery into about 1/4” pieces so they will become tender with the onions.
  • Don’t overcook the rice: The rice should still have a little bite to it because it will continue to cook as the hot soup sits and the eggs are whisked in. So, make sure to test the rice early for doneness – every stove is different!
  • Temper the eggs with a few ladles:  The eggs need to be tempered (slowly diluted) with some of the hot soup so they don’t immediately scramble when combined with the soup. When tempering the eggs, SLOWLY whisk some of the soup into the egg-lemon mixture and don’t stop WHISKING until 3-4 ladles are incorporated. The more ladles you add off heat, the less likely the eggs are to scramble when combined with the soup.
  • Add the eggs off heat. Don’t cook the soup after adding the eggs or the soup may break and will lose its silky texture. 
  • Scale up or down: This recipe can easily be scaled up or down. You can scale down if you don’t have a large family and don’t want leftovers. 
  • Consistency: The thickness of this Avgolemono Soup is personal preference. For a less chunky soup, add additional broth at the end of cooking.
showing how to make make Avgolemono Soup (Greek Lemon Chicken Soup) by adding fresh parsley and dill

  • Add vegetables: There’s a lot of flexibility with this Avgolemono Soup recipe! You can use whatever veggies you have on hand or mix it up just for fun. Green beans, corn, zucchini, peas, bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, kale or spinach, etc. would all be delicious. Just be aware of different vegetable cooking times.
  • Different protein: Use any of your favorite proteins in place of the chicken – lean ground beef, ground turkey, ground chicken, etc. Ham would also be a tasty swap. Add ham at the end of cooking and heat through. Ham can be quite salty, so omit the salt in the recipe and add salt to taste.
  • Omit protein: Omit the chicken completely, and/or even the vegetables for a simple Avgolemono Soup recipe.
  • Add more or less lemon: As written, this recipe is heavily scented with lemon and quite tangy. You can start with less if you wish and add more to taste.
  • Add additional eggs: For an even richer, silkier soup, increase the eggs or add extra egg yolks.
  • Add beans: Add cannellini beans for their slight sweetness, creaminess and meaty texture. 
  • Brown rice: You can use brown rice, but it will take about 3 times longer to cook, so be prepared to add additional broth. Alternatively, use leftover cooked rice, cook it in your rice cooker or use microwavable packets and add it to the soup at the end of cooking.
  • Pre-cooked rice: Add any pre-cooked rice or grain to the soup after the eggs are tempered. You will need less broth because it won’t be absorbed by the rice when cooking. I suggest starting with 6 cups broth then adding more as needed.
  • Chicken Lemon Orzo Soup: Transform Avgolemono Soup  into chicken and orzo soup by swapping the rice for orzo pasta. Orzo pasta will take about 7 minutes to cook to al dente. 
  • Chicken Lemon Barley Soup: Pearl barley is another delightful swap for rice like in my Beef and Barley Soup. The pearl barley will need to simmer for a total of about 30 minutes, so you may need to add additional broth.
  • Chicken Lemon Quinoa Soup: For a higher protein option, you can swap the rice for quinoa, rinsed and drained and simmer for about 25 minutes
  • Chicken Lemon Potato Soup: Swap the rice for 3 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch chunks, or even sweet potatoes and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Chicken Tortellini Soup: Swap the rice for 12 oz. uncooked fresh cheese tortellini.  Tortellini only requires a couple minutes to cook, so watch them closely! 
up close of a ladle of Avgolemono Soup (Greek Lemon Chicken Soup) showing how creamy it is

top view of a serving a bowl of traditional Avgolemono Soup (Greek Lemon Chicken Soup) garnished with lemon slices
up close of a spoonful of Avgolemono Soup recipe (Greek Lemon Chicken Soup) showing how silky the broth is

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top view of a serving a bowl of traditional Avgolemono Soup (Greek Lemon Chicken Soup) garnished with lemon slices

Avgolemono Soup (Greek Lemon Chicken Soup)

Avgolemono Soup is a uniquely cozy, lemony, chicken soup loaded with refreshing, comforting, nutritious, feel-good ingredients. It's made with juicy shredded chicken (or shortcut rotisserie), tender jasmine rice, carrots and celery, aromatic onions and garlic in a vibrant lemony broth infused with fresh dill and parsley. What sets Greek Lemon Chicken Soup apart, is it’s prepared Greek-style with avgolemono sauce (lemon-egg sauce) so the broth is extra silky, luxurious, vibrant and satisfying!  Serve your Avgolemono Soup with dinner rolls and a Greek salad for a complete feast!
Servings: 6 -8 servings
Total Time: 50 minutes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, patted dry (OR see notes for breasts or rotisserie chicken)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2-3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch-¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons granulated chicken bouillon, cubes or bouillon better than bouillon (see notes)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp EACH dried basil, dried thyme, salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth

ADD LATER

  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain jasmine rice (see notes for brown)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (or 1 teaspoon dried)

Instructions

  • Sear chicken: Heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven/soup pot. Season chicken with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper then sear until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate but leave drippings.
  • Saute vegetables: Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat in the drippings. Increase to medium-high heat and add onions, carrots and celery; sauté until tender, scraping up the golden bits on the bottom of the pan. Add garlic and red pepper (if using) and sauté for 30 seconds.
  • Add ingredients: Add chicken back to the pot along with lemon zest, bouillon, all seasonings and chicken broth.
  • Simmer soup: Cover the soup to bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer. Simmer the soup (covered) until the chicken is tender enough to shred, about 12-15 minutes (longer for breasts). Meanwhile:
  • Make avgolemono: While the soup is simmering, whisk together the lemon juice, eggs and egg yolks in a medium liquid measuring cup or mixing bowl; set aside.
  • Shred chicken: Once chicken is tender, remove to a cutting board; shred once cool enough to handle, don’t add back to the pot yet.
  • Simmer rice: Add the rice to the soup, cover, and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently until rice is almost tender, about 8-10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. ***NOTE: Cooking time may vary depending on your rice and how long it takes to bring your soup to a simmer so I suggest checking the rice often until done. Don't cook until completely tender (should have a little "bite" to it) because the rice will continue to cook while the hot soup sits.
  • Temper eggs: Using a ladle, slowly drizzle some of the hot soup into the egg and lemon mixture while whisking CONSTANTLY in order to temper the eggs. Repeat about 4 times, whisking constantly.
  • Add eggs to soup: Off-heat, whisk the tempered egg mixture into the soup, whisking constantly.
  • Add chicken and herbs: Stir the shredded chicken, fresh parsley and dill into the soup. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if desired.

Video

Notes

  • Chicken: I recommend juicier, more flavorful, boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  However, you may swap out for chicken breasts (they’ll take longer to cook, but make sure not to overcook or they will be dry!) or better yet, use rotisserie chicken.  To use shredded rotisserie chicken, add about 3 cups of shredded chicken to the soup after you’ve added the egg-lemon sauce.  
  • Omit protein: You can also omit the chicken completely, and/or even the vegetables for a simple Avgolemono Soup recipe.
  • Brown rice: You can use brown rice, but it will take about 3 times longer to cook, so be prepared to add additional broth. Alternatively, use leftover cooked rice, cook it in your rice cooker or use microwavable packets and add it to the soup at the end of cooking.
  • Pre-cooked rice: Add any pre-cooked rice or grain to the soup after the eggs are tempered. You will need less broth because it won’t be absorbed by the rice when cooking. I suggest starting with 6 cups broth then adding more as needed.
  • Chicken bouillon:Use bouillon powder, bouillon cubes or better than bouillon. Add it to the soup without dissolving in liquid first. If using cubes, you will need 2, which you crush up and add directly to the broth.
  • Add more or less lemon: As written, this recipe is heavily scented with lemon and quite tangy. You can start with less if you wish and add more to taste.
  • Vegetables: Add any veggies you like!  See post for lots of variation ideas!
  • Prep ahead: The chicken can be trimmed, seasoned and refrigerated or seared, the vegetables can be chopped or and even sauteed, the lemons can be juiced and zested, the eggs can be whisked with the lemon juice and refrigerated and the herbs can be minced and refrigerated.
  • Storage: Let the soup cool to room temperature, cover and store in your Dutch oven or transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 4 days.  To freeze, transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.  Place in the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
  • To reheat: The eggs will not scramble when reheated! Just make sure to reheat gently over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until warmed through, adding additional broth as needed.  You can also microwave individual servings.

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10 Comments

  1. Robin Barr says

    This looks wonderful, and I know Greek Lemon soup is one of my mother’s favorites. What are your thoughts about using cauliflower rice instead of rice / brown rice / orzo / barley in the soup? Would you just add it later to keep the cooking time down?

    • Jen says

      It would work great! I would just add it the last 4-5 few minutes of cooking.

  2. Desiree says

    Hi Jen! Another winner of a recipe of yours! I made this exactly as you directed, just delicious!!

    Thank you 🙂 xo

    • Jen says

      That’s awesome you made it already, so pleased you loved it! Thanks Desiree!

  3. Natalia says

    Jen, I prepared tonight this soup and it is so delicious. I used 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and it was perfect. I highly recommend it. Thank you so much.

    • Jen says

      Thanks for your awesome review, Natalia! I am so pleased this soup was a winner!

  4. Valerie says

    I substituted lime for lemon, and the soup was still SO amazingly DELICIOUS! Thank you!

  5. Greg says

    Def a lot of work and def chop all veggies beforehand. This recipe requires a lot of prep. Having said that it’s the most delicious chicken soup I’ve ever made. If I were to change anything I’d add another half cup rice for sure.

    I have three quarts of leftovers and they will be amazing.

    Once again CC recipes just work.

    • Jen says

      Thank you Greg, I’m honored this is the best chicken soup you’ve ever made!!!!

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