Avgolemono Soup

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Warm up with a bowl of creamy avgolemono, the Greek classic that combines lemon, egg, chicken, and rice into a simple, comforting soup.

Avgolemono soup in bowl with gray striped dish towel, olive oil, and lemon wedges.

Every culture has its favorite chicken soup—from classic American chicken noodle soup to cozy Jewish matzo ball soup. In Greece, it’s avgolemono soup, a light yet satisfying blend of rich chicken broth, bright lemon, silky eggs, tender chicken, rice, and fresh dill.

Avgolemono is surprisingly simple to prepare. The only part of the recipe that might seem a bit “cheffy” is tempering the eggs, a process that gently acclimates them to the hot broth to ensure a creamy, rich texture—if you add them directly in, you’ll end up with scrambled bits. But don’t worry, I’ve streamlined this step with a blender, making it foolproof and ensuring the eggs blend smoothly into the soup.

Before serving, I like to add a splash of heavy cream to the soup, which introduces a subtle richness that balances the lemon’s tang. This addition isn’t traditional, so feel free to omit it if you prefer a lighter, more lemon-forward version. Round out the meal with souvlaki and a fresh Greek salad.

“I couldn’t believe I wasn’t at a restaurant. This had the most delicious taste with the perfect amount of lemon. I’m in heaven! Thank you!”

Denise

What You’ll Need to Make Avgolemono

ingredients to make avgolemono
  • Chicken tenderloins or breasts: Provides the soup with its main source of protein and flavor.
  • Chicken broth: Forms the base of the soup, adding depth and richness.
  • Long grain white rice: Provides substance to the soup; a portion is blended in to help thicken the soup and stabilize the consistency.
  • Fresh Dill: Imparts a unique, aromatic flavor that’s characteristic of Greek cuisine.
  • Bay leaf: Adds a subtle layer of flavor complexity to the broth.
  • Fresh lemon juice: Brings a bright, acidic balance to the creamy soup.
  • Eggs: Used to thicken the soup and provide a creamy, rich texture.
  • Heavy cream: Though not traditional in avgolemono, this ingredient lends delicious richness and helps soften the lemon’s acidity.
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

Step-by-Step Instructions

Place the chicken on a plate and season all over with the salt. Let sit for 15 minutes.

seasoned chicken tenders on plate

Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring the broth, rice, white pepper, dill sprigs, and bay leaf to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the rice is al dente, about 5 minutes.

broth, seasoning, and aromatics in pot.

Remove the pot from the heat and add the chicken.

chicken simmering in broth.

Cover and let sit until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.

chicken sitting in broth in covered pot.

Discard the dill sprigs and bay leaf. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, let cool slightly, then chop into bite-sized pieces.

diced cooked chicken on cutting board.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer about 3/4 cup of the rice to a blender. Add the lemon juice, eggs, and yolks to the blender as well. Process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Using a soup ladle, transfer about 3/4 cup of the broth to the blender and process until smooth, 10 seconds. Add another ladleful of broth to the blender and process again.

blended broth and egg yolks in blender

Slowly pour the egg mixture into the pot, stirring until evenly combined.

thickened avgolemono broth in pot

Add the cream and bring to a gentle simmer over low heat. Do not boil. Taste the rice to see if it’s cooked through. If it needs a few more minutes, gently simmer the soup until the rice is cooked.

simmering avgolemono in pot.

Right before serving, stir in the chopped dill and the chicken, then taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. If the soup is too lemony, add more cream. If the soup is too thick, thin it with a bit of water.

Avgolemono soup in Dutch oven with gray striped dish towel.

Serve immediately, as the soup thickens up quite a bit as it sits.

Video Tutorial

Frequently Asked Questions

What does “avgolemono” mean?

Avgolemono combines the Greek words “avgo” (egg) and “lemono” (lemon), forming a creamy and tangy mixture often used as a sauce in Greek cuisine. But, when you add chicken broth, rice, and pieces of chicken to it, this blend transforms into avgolemono soup, turning the simple sauce into a rich and comforting meal.

Can avgolemono soup be made ahead and/or frozen?

No, I don’t recommend making this soup ahead. The texture and flavor may change when refrigerated or frozen, especially due to the egg-lemon mixture, which can separate or curdle upon reheating. Additionally, the rice in the soup tends to absorb the broth, thickening it beyond the desired consistency. For best results, prepare the soup fresh.

Avgolemono soup in bowl with gray striped dish towel, olive oil, and lemon wedges.

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Avgolemono Chicken Soup with Rice

Warm up with a bowl of creamy avgolemono, the Greek classic that combines lemon, egg, chicken, and rice into a simple, comforting soup.

Servings: 4 to 6
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Total Time: 35 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken tenderloins (or chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch strips)
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • ¾ cup long grain white rice
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • 3 sprigs fresh dill, plus 2 teaspoons chopped (see note)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from 2 lemons
  • 2 large eggs plus 2 large yolks
  • ½ cup heavy cream, plus a bit more if necessary (optional; see note)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, for serving

Instructions

  1. Place the chicken on a plate and season all over with the salt. Let sit for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring the broth, rice, white pepper, dill sprigs, and bay leaf to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the rice is al dente, about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, add the chicken, cover, and let sit until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  3. Discard the dill sprigs and bay leaf. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, let cool slightly, then chop into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer about ¾ cup of the rice to a blender. Add the lemon juice, eggs, and yolks to the blender and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Using a soup ladle, transfer about ¾ cup of the broth to the blender and process until smooth, 10 seconds (be sure to leave the hole in the lid open and cover with a kitchen towel to allow the steam to escape). Add another ladleful of broth to the blender and process again.
  5. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the pot, stirring until evenly combined. Add the cream and bring to a gentle simmer over low heat. Do not boil. (The soup will be a bit frothy at this point; don’t worry, the froth will settle as it simmers.) Taste the rice to see if it’s cooked through. If it needs a few more minutes, gently simmer the soup until the rice is cooked. Right before serving, stir in the chopped dill and the chicken, then taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. If the soup is too lemony, add more cream. If the soup is too thick, thin it with a bit of water. Serve immediately, as the soup thickens up quite a bit as it sits.
  6. Note: A sprig of dill is one “branch.”
  7. Note: Heavy cream is not traditionally added to avgolemono soup, but I like how it balances the tanginess of the lemon. It's fine to omit it if you'd like to make the soup a bit lighter and/or more lemony.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 428
  • Fat: 26 g
  • Saturated fat: 9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 25 g
  • Sugar: 6 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 23 g
  • Sodium: 1,048 mg
  • Cholesterol: 191 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Comments

  • I’ve tried 3 other recipes so far and this is the best version. Perfectly balanced. This is the one that’s going in to my recipe tin! Thanks so much for another delicious recipe

    • — Zoe on June 7, 2024
    • Reply
  • This soup is amazing! I love all soups and this has to be the best I’ve ever tasted. I was intrigued by the ingredients and the cooking method – pureed rice & tempered eggs? I made half, exactly as written, and we loved it. My husband and daughter are looking forward to having it again, which will be soon! I can’t wait to share it for girlfriend and wine night. It is light and lemony, the chicken is tender and the dill shines through. Served it with salad and a baguette. Absolutely delicious. (Now I just need to figure out how to pronounce it, lol) Another dinner winner, thanks, Jenn!

    • — Julia on May 21, 2024
    • Reply
  • Love this!! SO easy, so delicious. The lemon is in perfect balance with the other ingredients. Not overpowering. Made it exactly as is in recipe. Sharing the recipe with my friends!

    • — Millie on April 13, 2024
    • Reply
  • Jenn, I love this soup! I just made a big pot and wondering if it can be frozen- without the cream? Many thanks for your fabulous recipes, every one a winner!

    Chris

    • — Chris on April 4, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Chris, so glad you like the recipes! Unfortunately, I don’t think this would freeze well — sorry!

      • — Jenn on April 5, 2024
      • Reply
  • Fantastic!! Spring-y and fresh and hearty at the same time. How do you recommend reheating leftovers?

    • — MC on March 27, 2024
    • Reply
    • So glad you liked it! You can either reheat it on the stove or in the microwave. Just keep in mind that it will have thickened up quite a bit in the fridge — you can thin it out with a bit of water or broth.

      • — Jenn on March 28, 2024
      • Reply
  • Delicious. Hearty and elegant at the same time. The chicken was so tender that I will use this method in other soups. I used a little less lemon juice and would do so again. Company worthy.

    • — JoAnn W. on March 19, 2024
    • Reply
  • This sounded so good, and it was! This went right into our keeper recipes. The flavor was just amazing. The lemon amount was perfect. Every time we try one of your recipes it usually goes into our keeper list. Our temps went from spring back to winter today, so it was the perfect time to try it. Thank you for all your great recipes. We made it exactly as the recipe called for.

    • — Joyce on March 18, 2024
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Love all your recipes!!! For this soup if I don’t have white rice available could I substitute orzo? Also is there any issue in using chicken from a store bought rotisserie chicken?

    • — Kathleen Yutchishen on March 17, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Kathleen, So glad you like the recipes! I haven’t made this with orzo, but think it should work. And it’s fine to use rotisserie chicken if you have that on hand. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 19, 2024
      • Reply
  • I make a version of this soup that includes chicken thighs, orzo, carrots, celery, and either leeks or onions. Non-traditional, apparently, but it is my favorite chicken soup.

    Your version would be much quicker to prepare, so I’ll give it a go sometime (probably when pressed for time).

    My rule of thumb is one more lemon than however many eggs I am using. I usually use four lemons & three eggs. Tempering the egg/lemon mixture is easy, once you understand the concept.

    • — Mark on March 17, 2024
    • Reply
  • Jenn, I have made other versions of this soup but yours is superior to them all. I think this is the quintessential comfort soup – knocks chicken noodle soup off the pedestal! I did use less cream because the puréed rice made it creamy enough for us. I make something from your cookbooks or website nearly everyday – always no fail and delicious! Many thanks!

    • — Chris Skerlong on March 14, 2024
    • Reply
  • This recipe was perfect for the Thanksgiving leftover turkey and it went together so quickly. The lemon level was just right and I agree with adding the cream.

    • — Jeane Allison on December 4, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made this today and it’s nothing short of amazing!!! The dill and lemon are a perfect blend in this and rice is a nice change from noodles. I used my immersion blender and it worked great. I am keeping this recipe on hand for the winter. I didn’t want to wait because your soups are always so delicious!!!

    • — Rebecca D. on October 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • Delicious. Turned out perfect. I added a little extra lemon to taste. This is a keeper!

    • — Georgia on February 8, 2023
    • Reply
  • I have leftover very flavorful liquid from some preserved lemons I made for a Moroccan Chicken Dish. What about adding some of this flavorful (but salty) liquid to this soup?
    I love all of your recipes! And I look forward to making this one.

    • — Phyllis on February 1, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure, that sounds like a tasty addition — I’d just cut back on the salt in the recipe. You can add it to taste at the end if necessary. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 2, 2023
      • Reply
  • I’m Greek and this soup is simply amazing especially in the winter. My recipe differs slightly by using orzo rather than rice, boneless, skinless thighs and whipping egg whites and folding them in for extra richness.

    • — John on January 16, 2023
    • Reply
  • Egg Bites and now this soup with several eggs. Been to the grocery store lately and seen the price of eggs! Just kidding. I intend to make both recipes, despite the cost of eggs!

    • — Pearl McElheran on January 15, 2023
    • Reply

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