Avgolemono Chicken Soup with Rice
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If ever there were a soup to banish the winter blues, it’s avgolemono, the classic Greek soup made with lemon and eggs.
Every culture has a version of comforting chicken soup. In Greece, it’s avgolemono, the classic egg and lemon soup with chicken and rice. Avgolemono is easy enough to whip up on a busy weeknight. The only “cheffy” part of the recipe is tempering the eggs, a cooking technique used to gradually raise the temperature of eggs before adding them to the soup to prevent the eggs from scrambling (you don’t want egg drop soup!). I make the process easy by blending the eggs with some of the rice, broth, and lemon juice in a blender; this tempers the eggs and creates a creamy, stable base that never curdles. Before serving, I like to add a splash of heavy cream to the soup – it’s not traditional but I love how it balances the tanginess of the lemon. It’s fine to leave out the cream if you’d like to make the soup a bit lighter and/or more lemony.
What You’ll Need to Make Avgolemono
Place the chicken on a plate and season all over with the salt. Let sit for 15 minutes.
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 and add the chicken.
Cover and let sit until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Discard the dill sprigs and bay leaf. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, let cool slightly, then chop into bite-sized pieces.
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 (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.
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.
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Avgolemono Chicken Soup with Rice
If ever there were a soup to banish the winter blues, it’s avgolemono, the classic Greek soup made with lemon and eggs.
- 1 pound chicken tenderloins
- 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
- Place the chicken on a plate and season all over with the salt. Let sit for 15 minutes.
- 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.
- Discard the dill sprigs and bay leaf. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, let cool slightly, then chop into bite-sized pieces.
- 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.
- 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.
- Note: A sprig of dill is one “branch.”
- 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.
- 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.
Could I cook this a day in advance and reheat it?
p.s. love all your recipes! you‘re a life saver.
So glad you like the recipes, Nicole! You can get away with making it a day ahead. I’d cook the rice separately according to the package instructions. You can blend the 3/4 cup of cooked rice into the egg/lemon mixture in the blender (before adding the hot broth) and stir the blended mixture back into the pot (so the base of the soup will be done); then just wait to add the remaining rice and chicken to the soup until right before serving. If the soup seems a little thick upon reheating, you can thin it with a little more broth or water. Hope that helps!
I made this soup for dinner today and it was amazing. I live in Turkey and they make a very similar soup (vermicelli instead of rice and thickened with a combo of eggs and a roux), however I’ve never seen it with dill. Since I don’t like dill I tried it the way my mother in law seasons it which is to “fry” some oregano in butter or olive oil to drizzle on top like a garnish. It was delicious and the whole family loved it! Thanks so much for this recipe!
Jenn, I love your recipes! Is this a soup I can make a day or two ahead of serving as long as I refridgerate it? Any adjustments you’d make to the recipe?
Hi Anne, so glad you like the recipes! You can get away with making it a day or two ahead. I would cook the rice separately according to the package instructions. You can blend the 3/4 cup of cooked rice into the egg/lemon mixture in the blender (before adding the hot broth) and stir the blended mixture back into the pot (so the base of the soup will be done); then just wait to add the remaining rice and chicken to the soup until right before serving. If the soup seems a little thick upon reheating, you can thin it with a little more broth or water. Hope that helps!
Being Greek I have made this soup for many, many years. Never thought to add cream but I am always willing to try something new. I just might enjoy this new addition because it’s will add a little bit of heft to the soup, similar to the consistency of Tomato soup.
The only difference, I start with a 4 pound chicken and water but I will try this recipe as written.
I love Jen’s recipes. Every recipe has been so good, but this was the first miss. The soup was so pale and unappetizing. I followed recipe exactly but but won’t make it again.
I have yet to try this recipe but hope to do so next week. Thankfully I have never been disappointed with any of your recipes and the directions are so precise. Thank you so much for the extra tips. Quick question, can you use rotisserie chicken ? If so, would it change the flavor and when would you advise to add it? Any help would be appreciated!
Hi Staci, So glad you find the recipes easy to follow! Yes, it’s fine to use rotisserie chicken here and shouldn’t change the flavor much. You can just skip the step of poaching the chicken off the heat and simmer the rice until it’s cooked through. Hope you enjoy!
This is our fav soup! I make my own chicken stock from scratch. The name is difficult to remember but when I say I’m making the soup from the blog, my husband knows exactly which one 😅 It’s absolutely delicious 😋
I have made a few recipes from Once Upon a Chef, and this might be the most successful one I have made. I will make it again, it is really very good, hoping it is as good after refrigerating as well. Thank you!
The soup is easy and delicious! I like learning about different methods and styles of cooking. Thanks! I will make this again.
OMGOSHOLA!!! 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!
Do you know if this soup would freeze well? Staci
Hi Staci, I don’t think this is a great candidate for freezing — sorry!
Can I replace rice with another grain (e.g. barley, bulgar, farro)?
Sure, though the cook time for the grain may be a bit different, so I’d check it for tenderness as it’s cooking.
I don’t eat animal flesh, but I’m ok with broth. would it screw up the recipe if I withheld the tenderloins?
Not at all, Shannon – it will still be delish.
Spur of the moment decision to cook this because it sounded delicious, I had the ingredients on hand, and I was restless on this rather bleak morning. I’m so glad I did as it made for a wonderful change-of-pace breakfast! I will definitely make this again and again… maybe I can even hold out for dinner next time, lol!
Fantastic soup with excellent flavor! The instructions were very detailed and helped me to be willing to work with emulsifying the eggs. My batch turned out a little thin, but I might not have let it simmer long enough. Hoping to add a little more chicken and rice next time so it is more filling, but beyond that, this soup was perfect! Thank you so much!
Thank you Jen, for another wonderful recipe! I loved the flavour of this soup – but for some reason mine came out watery (which really surprised me, given that you warned about the soup thickening up too much). It is definitely worth trying again, but I feel that next time I should probably double the rice. I am not sure whether that will require tweaking the components that give the soup its flavour, so that the larger quantity of rice doesn’t make it bland.
Thank you again for the awesome work that you do. I am a keen cook with a humungous cookbook collection – yet there is not one chef whose recipes I have cooked as much as I have yours. As well as your cookbook, I love your website beyond measure – it is simply perfect in every single aspect. As an incorrigible foodie, you totally enrich my life!
Such a great recipe! Love the creamy silky texture with a kiss of lemon! I was concerned it was not thick enough so ! added more cooked rice that I had on hand and after it sits for awhile it does thicken so don’t be impatient! I did thin it a bit by adding a little more broth and a splash of lemon. The addition of fresh dill gives the soup a nice subtle flavor so don’t omit it! I agree Jenn–the cream balances out the flavors. I looked at several recipes for this soup and I decided to go to with this recipe which I am glad I did!
Wonderful soup! So easy to make. I didn’t have chicken, so I used chicken apple sausage, which turned out delicious. No dill either, so I added the bay leaves with Italian seasoning, then used a sieve to remove the seasoning. I had leftover cooked rice in the refrigerator and that worked out perfectly & it cut down the cooking time. I used black pepper instead of white, cut the lemon juice in half (and later hubby & I added more to taste individually to our bowls of soup, since the kids don’t like it too sour). DELICIOUS!
Absolutely delicious! I first saw it on ATK but could NEVER get the recipe. Thank you so much because this soup is wonderful. I was hesitant about tempering but I did it. Topped it with homemade croutons. Cannot wait to take some to my mother.
This was delicious, even better than expected!
I made this recipe today! I used to work at a restaurant that always had this soup. I ate it all the time. This recipe is great. My only mistakes were that I should have trimmed out the tenders and didn’t cook the rice long enough – but it is still very good!
I loved this recipe. It brought me back to a small Greek restaurant my grandpa used to take me to. I would suggest to anyone cooking this recipe to make sure you get the long grain rice and even use more lemons / less cream if you love lemons! I think I added more cream than I would have.
I loved this recipe. It brought me back to a small Greek restaurant my grandpa used to take me to. I would suggest to anyone cooking this recipe to make sure you get the long grain rice and even use more lemons / less cream if you love lemons! I think I added more cream than I would have. Beginners problems!
I’ve seen this item on menus in Greek restaurants, but never made it. It was easy to make, and has a nice flavor, but to be honest, it just wasn’t what I thought it would be. I think next time I would add some carrots/onions or even broccoli or chopped spinach. It just seemed to be missing something, but since I’ve never had it before, don’t know if there’s a right or wrong way to do it!
This recipe is a nice twist to a traditional Greek Lemon Soup. I really enjoy the incorporation of chicken because it adds protein which isn’t common in the traditional soup. I also like the soup quite lemony, so I doubled the lemon and did not put the cream in because it’s already creamy in nature. The dill also added some unique flavor which I really enjoyed, but I only put the springs in when simmering the broth and did not chop up any additional dill to put in when serving! A very strong new recipe 🙂
This recipe was popping with flavor! So smooth and creamy! We enjoyed it so much and I will be making this again for sure!!!
Very easy to make and love the subtle flavor of the lemon and dill!!
The wet and blustery weather put me in the mood for a warm, comforting, creamy soup. This avgolemono was the perfect choice! It came together easily and the step by step instructions made it a snap to make. The flavors are simple, but the lemon and dill kick it up a notch, from a standard creamy chicken soup. We added a generous sprinkling of crumbled feta on top and a drizzle of chili oil for some heat. I paired it with a cucumber avocado salad with greek vinaigrette and warm naan bread for dipping.
This avgolemono was the perfect winter warmer!! We will definitely be adding this to the recipe rotation.
Delicious and easy to make. I made this soup twice in the last week exactly as written. I wouldn’t change a thing. I shared it with a friend of mine, saying that I could simply drink the broth. Another winner from my favorite chef!
This soup was great! I enjoyed this soup a lot spending time in Greece and this rivaled the avgolemono I had there. We left out the heavy cream as we prefer a tarter avgolemono and did not miss it. Jenn is right – make this meal whenever you are wanting something bright to eat during the winter months!
This soup is delicious and very easy/quick to make. I will make 2 changes next time: 1) eliminate the heavy cream because think the soup is silky and tastes wonderful before the cream is added and 2) decrease the amount of chicken – one pound was a bit too much for our liking.
I made the soup tonight and it was delicious. One thing I wasn’t sure about in the recipe, it says to add 3/4 cup of the rice to the blender….but the amount of rice in the recipe is 3/4 cup….so I wasn’t sure if that meant add all the rice. I didn’t think so – I just put about half of the cooked rice into the blender. And it worked. I will definitely make this again!
Perfect! Very authentic taste great instructions!
Outstanding for several reasons: creative and easy to make, savory and tart, yet smooth. True comfort food.
This soup was quite a hit with my family! I had all ingredients on hand when I first read this recipe and had been wondering what to make that night! It is simple, requires few ingredients, and is so delicious and filling that I served it simply with hot rolls. I did not have fresh dill so substituted dried to taste, eventually using about 1 tsp. dried dill. I also did add some extra lemon juice because I like it that way. It is so delicious and I think orzo would also work instead of rice, but I do like that the rice won’t expand as much as orzo with any leftovers you might end up with. Thanks for another winner, Jen!
Quick and easy soup. I may have added a little too much lemon juice! Great with some crusty sour dough. Wish it had a little more veggies of some kind.
This soup is delicious! It brings back fond memories of my childhood.
I made this last night, it was delicious!! The only thing I did differently was to cut the chicken up before I put it in the broth which made it easier. The whole family loved it
I have no history with ever eating this soup but it sounded good and the reviews were good. I followed the recipe exactly and both my husband and I thought it was easy to make and very good. I was missing some veggies in it and might try adding broccoli next time (this is probably sacrilege to anyone Greek). This will be a soup I make a few times per year.
I love making this soup and I add some chopped carrots to give it a little more veggie oomph. I saute the carrots for a few minutes right before adding the broth.
I had an abundance of lemons and when I saw this recipe I thought it would be a great way to use some of them. I love this soup – the creamy texture with the tart lemon is perfect. We ate this for dinner and I hid the leftovers so that I could enjoy them for my lunches the next couple of days. I will definitely be making this again soon.
One of the best soup recipes in every sense and requirement, I have ever tried.
Thanks for sharing.
Yep, perfect and yummy! Exactly what we all need to make our bodies feel taken care of. Give it a try! I might add fresh ginger next time to see!
I made this a recently and loved it. I had made this soup before but never processed it. Made it come together really nicely!
Love this! Super creamy and enjoyable. I would maybe add a little bit of spices for an extra kick. But it’s already great!
I make this with a Greek spinach pie for an easy, quick weeknight dinner. This blender method is the easiest way to temper the eggs and not end up with scrambled eggs!
I do cook the rice in broth separately and add to bowls when serving. This allows leftovers that aren’t a thick gummy stew…and doesn’t compromise flavor. And I find this soup great with or without the cream! Depending on my pantry, I often exchange orzo pasta for the rice. Again, both versions are very good.
This recipe combines letting the chicken cook for a perfect amount of time and adding heavy cream which makes for a fantastically delicious version of this soup. 10/10 will make again
I made this dish and it was a hit. I used long grain brown rice, and it upped the cook time from 5 minutes to about 20, but it worked perfectly. Another recipe to go into rotation!
There’s a Greek restaurant near where my mom works that makes avgolemono soup, but this recipe leaves them in the dust! The scent of the lemon brightens my day as I cook, and I love the freshness the chopped dill adds; I’ve tried this both with and without the heavy cream – excellent both ways! The only thing I’ve changed is shredding the chicken with two forks instead of chopping it into chunks.
Growing up in a city that borders Thessaloniki, supa me oriz (that is what we called it) has always been a staple at my home. I grew up with my great aunt cooking it for me each time I got sick as I was growing up. I really like the step by step guide, it makes it easy to follow. Delicious!
I love your recipes but this one failed. It just was not good. First time I’ve made a soup like this one
This is awesome!!! I love how tasty and creative this soup is! It’s not bland or watered down! I love how I can easily swap out from dairy milk to full fat coconut milk for paleo style. Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe!