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Avgolemono (Greek Egg Lemon) Soup

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Adjust Servings:
1 whole chicken with excess fat trimmed (bone in, skin on)
16 cups water
3 carrots for fit, cut in half if necessary
3 celery stalks for fit, cut in half if necessary
1 large onion, peeled and cut in half
3 bay leaves
7 whole black peppercorns
2 teaspoons salt more to taste
¾ cup orzo pasta
3 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
juice of 2 lemons more to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper

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Avgolemono (Greek Egg Lemon) Soup

The most popular Greek soup


This is our favorite version out of the many recipes we've come across

  • 2 hours
  • Serves 8
  • Easy




Avgolemono soup is the most famous of Greek soups. Come to think of it, is there any other? Growing up our mother made this soup on a very regular basis. It is a favorite on those cold, winter days and therapeutic when you’re sick, but I even like it in the summer, served at room temperature. The lemon gives it that versatility.

I have tried many variations of this recipe, but this is my favorite version. Some people like really thick avgolemono, but I personally like extra broth and using orzo instead of rice. The rice tends to soak up too much of the liquid. And if you eat it as leftovers, like we do, you need the extra liquid when reheating. If you like it thicker, use less water, 12 cups is fine.

You can also make this vegetarian by making it with just a vegetable broth (no chicken).

Kali orexi!



Add first eight ingredients to a large stockpot. Bring the water to a rapid boil, lower heat to medium low and simmer partially covered for approximately an hour and a half.


Remove the chicken and vegetables to a bowl and carefully strain the broth through a fine sieve into a large bowl. Return the strained broth to the stockpot and bring to a boil.


Add the orzo pasta and cook, uncovered for approximately 10 – 12 minutes until tender.


While the pasta is cooking, prepare the egg-lemon mixture. Using a whisk beat the eggs until nice and frothy. Add the lemon zest and the lemon juice while continuing to whisk.


When the pasta has finished cooking, turn off the heat. Slowly ladle about two cups of the hot broth into the egg and lemon mixture while continuously whisking. Avoid adding any orzo. I use a measuring cup to remove the broth. It is very important to add the hot broth slowly and whisk while you add. This will temper the eggs and prevent them from curdling once they are added to the pot of soup.


Stir the egg and lemon mixture into the pot and heat over very low heat for approximately 5 -10 minutes until heated through. Be careful not to boil the soup once the eggs have been added.


Adjust your seasoning for salt, pepper and strained lemon juice. Add more as desired. Mix and let heat a few minutes if more lemon juice is added.


Traditionally, the chicken breast meat is added back into the soup when serving. I remove all the skin from the breast and then remove the bones from the meat and shred a little into each bowl.

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