Recipe first, tidbits second. Enjoy!Print
Greek Lemon Chicken Soup (Avgolemono Soup)
Excellent served hot or cold, this creamy yet citrusy soup is perfect any time of year. Tempered eggs lend the soup its rich texture while fresh squeezed lemon offers a delightful twist on this otherwise traditional chicken soup. Great as an appetizer or standalone meal when served with a hunk of fresh bread and one of the best “feel better” soups around thanks to the extra blast of vitamin C.
- Prep Time: 1/2 hour
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 1/2 hours
- Yield: 12 servings 1x
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stove
- Cuisine: Greek
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 4 large carrots, diced
- 3 large onions, diced
- 8 celery stalks, diced
- 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 2 cups cooked chicken, diced
- 12 cups homemade chicken stock
- 1 cup cooked rice OR 1/2 cup uncooked rice*
- 3/4 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- 3 tsp salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup lemon juice
- Heat oil in large dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat until warm.
- Add carrots, onions, celery, and garlic and cook until soft, about 15 minutes.
- Add chicken, chicken stock, rice, oregano, thyme, and salt and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
- Turn off burner and remove dutch oven or stock pot from heat.
- In a separate, large bowl, whisk eggs. Ladle hot soup into egg bowl one ladle at a time, whisking constantly, until the egg and soup mixture is the same temperature as the rest of the soup. If in doubt about the temperature, err on the side of adding more soup to the egg mixture.
- Add the egg and soup mixture back to the dutch oven or stock pot with the rest of the soup, stirring constantly.
- Add lemon juice.
- Serve warm or cold with sliced lemon wheels for garnish. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 days or up to 6 months in the freezer.
- Uncooked Rice – If using uncooked rice, add one extra cup of chicken stock or water in Step 3.
- Tempering the Eggs – Adding hot soup to the egg mixture one ladle at a time while stirring constantly prevents the eggs from scrambling when you add them to the soup. Do this correctly and your soup will take on a nice creamy texture; try to rush it and your soup will have a watery consistency with stringy egg whites.
- Best Eaten Fresh – The eggs and lemon are best enjoyed fresh and will taste sour after a couple of days in the fridge. If planning to make soup several days in advance, store the soup in an airtight container after completing Step 4 and wait to add the eggs and lemon until the day you’re serving. Just remember to heat the soup all the way through before tempering the eggs in Step 5.
- Freeze It! – This is a large batch recipe so you’ll have plenty of extra to store in the freezer for future use. Always good to have some homemade soup ready for when you’re feeling under the weather and not up to cooking.
Keywords: Greek Lemon Chicken Soup, Avgolemono Soup, Chicken Soup
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This Recipe’s Roots
The first time I ever ate avgolemono soup was on a lazy Sunday afternoon with my then boyfriend, now husband. We were bouncing around Seattle as we often did in those quiet-before-kids days and stopped in at a lovely little Greek café in South Lake Union. (Sadly the lovely little Greek café and lazy Sunday afternoons are no more.)
Being the born and raised Greek that he is, Mr. Carol the Cook knew just what to order (and how to read the non-English menu) – retsina, saganaki, fresh pita, and avgolemono soup.
It was a lunch to remember.
Nine happy years later and I’ve finally managed to perfect my own avgolemono soup recipe. I hope you love it as much as I do.
Taking a Closer Look
Aside from lemon and eggs, this Greek lemon chicken soup shares all of the same ingredients as a traditional chicken soup. Onions, carrots, celery, garlic – nothing exotic and yet still the end result is utterly satisfying.
This Tramontina enamel covered cast iron dutch oven is my go-to for all things soup. It’s no Le Creuset but it does the job marvelously at a fraction of the price. There’s just something about cooking with sturdy, stable cooking ware that I find incredibly grounding.
Add the carrots, onions, celery, and garlic for your mirepoix and you’re well on your way to making greek lemon chicken soup (avgolemono soup).
Once the vegetables have softened and become aromatic, add the chicken, rice, homemade chicken stock, and spices and simmer on low for thirty minutes. At this point you’ve essentially made chicken soup.
This is where things get exciting. Tempering the eggs takes a bit of practice – get it wrong once and you’ll understand how important it is to temper them correctly; no one likes stringy egg whites in their avgolemono soup.
Everyone’s style is different but for this step I like to use both hands – I ladle in hot soup with the left and whisk with the right. While it’s entirely possible to not add enough hot liquid to the eggs, it’s not possible to add too much. If you end up with all the soup in the egg bowl, that’s ok. Just pour it all back into the dutch oven or stock pot when you’re done.
(If you’re in the market for stainless steel mixing bowls this non-slip bottom nesting set looks pretty slick…)
Isn’t this texture just glorious? Tempered eggs really do work wonders in Greek lemon chicken soup.
Adding the lemon juice is the last step. While I’m sure bottled lemon juice would work, I highly recommend fresh squeezed lemon juice. You took such care preparing the ingredients and tempering the eggs, why take a shortcut in the home stretch? I like to use this little guy to juice my lemons – petite, effective, and dishwasher safe. Squeezing the lemons by hand obviously works too but I find the juicer more efficient and easier on my hands.
What I Like Most About This Recipe
My favorite part about this recipe is that it is fantastic any time of year. Sweltering summer day? Serve it cold with chilled white wine. Frigid winter night? Serve it steaming hot with fresh baked bread. Throwing a party in the spring? Serve it as an appetizer.
You get the idea.
Avgolemono soup is literally wonderful any time of year.
The name avgolemono comes from the Greek words for egg and lemon, avgó and lemono. Some people struggle to pronounce the word avgolemono (ahv-go-LEM-o-noh) and that’s ok – you can always refer to it as Greek lemon chicken soup and people will know what you’re talking about.
Whatever you call this soup, the most important thing is to enjoy its spectacular combination of flavors and nourishing qualities. Bon appétit!
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