Greek Lemon Soup (Avgolemono)

It’s interesting, how food plays a part in the story of your life.

Back in November of 2018, I reconnected over dinner with a friend who was my high school exchange partner in 1959 (you know, back before we started naming generations like we do hurricanes) – the first we had reunited in person in 59 years.

Flash forward to July of 2019, and on “soup and sauce” day at Boot Camp at The Chopping Block in Chicago, Avgolemono was one of the soups we prepared. There were 12 of us ‘campers’, and when it came to Avgolemono, the reactions ran from “oh, yummy” to my own “I’ve never heard of that”. But we made it, and it was good!

Chatting with my exchange partner some time after that, and sharing my boot camp experience, he asked if I had a recipe for Greek Lemon Soup. Of course I did!!! Funny, how things like that happen. Then, this past week he reached out, as he had misplaced the recipe, so I sent it again. Reading it after sending, and liking all things lemon, I decided it was time to make it ‘out of class’. Why I had waited so long I’ll never know.

You can find my Avgolemono recipe here, and here. This is also The Chopping Block’s recipe.

But that’s not the end of it! My friend told me he liked his with chicken and parsley, and some online research (a/k/a Googling) revealed that most recipes do have chicken in them. Always up for meddling with a recipe, I made the recipe I had, ramping it up with chicken, added some parsley, and then topped it with some more parsley and a dusting of Feta. That’s what you see pictured above. But just imagine the variations! (see NOTE)


Start with the basic recipe. As soon as the rice is tender, add some shredded poached chicken breast and parsley. I poached a large chicken breast, and that balanced well, quantity-wise (1 large chicken breast per recipe), with the rice and stock. Let the chicken and parsley simmer in the stock while you whisk up the eggs and lemon juice. That way everything is hot when it comes time to serve.


Again, start with the basic recipe, only this time, add some pasta in place of the rice. Orzo would work well, though any of the smaller pasta shapes (pearl pasta or couscous) would do. Once the pasta is al dente, add the eggs and lemon juice. And don’t overlook the possibility of adding some chicken, too, and maybe some carrots and peas; you’ll get a lemony take on chicken noodle soup. What’s not to like?


Prepare the base. I’m tempted to leave the rice (or maybe orzo pasta) in it, adding some diced zucchini and yellow squash once the rice is tender (or the pasta al dente), giving it a chance to poach a bit while you prepare and temper the eggs and lemon juice. Rather than Feta on top, some grated Gruyere would add a new level of flavor, and would soften the bite of the lemon.


Parboil some pearl onions to remove the husks (instructions are on the package), cut them in half, and add them when you add the rice where called for in the recipe, giving the onions time to soften some. Then add the eggs and lemon juice in sequence. Again, some grated Gruyere on top would pair well.

AVGOLEMONO, the recipe:


4 cups chicken stock (homemade or store-bought)
1/4 long-grain rice
2 eggs
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (the juice of a good-sized lemon)
Salt and pepper to taste


Heat the stock in a sauce pan or dutch oven until boiling. Stir in the rice and cover it. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
Whisk together the eggs and lemon juice in a bowl. Once fully combined, gradually add a ladleful of the hot stock to the egg mixture, whisking the entire time to temper the mixture and keep the eggs from scrambling.
Whisk the tempered egg mixture back into the hot stock. Cook, stirring constantly, just long enough to thicken the soup. Do not let the soup come to a boil.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.


Given the uses possible with the basic recipe, I researched the possibility of freezing it, pulling it out when inspiration struck. As suspected, given the emulsion properties, more than likely the soup would separate when thawed, and while it might taste OK, you’d not like how it looks. The basic recipe makes 2-3 servings, which makes whipping up a batch when you need it a plausible option, with little waste.

2 responses to “Greek Lemon Soup (Avgolemono)”

  1. Sharall Grissen Avatar
    Sharall Grissen

    This sounds delicious. I will definitely try it. And it is so versatile!


  2. Cindy Henneberger Babel Avatar
    Cindy Henneberger Babel

    It does sound so good…will have to give it a try! Thank you for sharing the recipe!


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