Greek Lemon Soup —Avgolemono

October 11, 2021
13 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

The name of this classic Greek soup emulsion of lemon and eggs comes from its two main ingredients: egg (avgo) and lemon juice (lemono). The key to this soup is tempering the egg and lemon mixture by slowly adding hot stock and then whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from curdling. You then stir the mixture into the soup, which becomes all velvety lush lemony goodness. A Greek salad and warm pita bread are wonderful accompaniments to this soup. —ChristineQ

Test Kitchen Notes

If you've never tried this Greek soup before, you shouldn't hesitate to make it as the temperatures drop and the leaves start to fall. ChristineQ, who developed this amazing soup recipe, is from Bainbridge Island, Washington, and knows a thing or two about cold weather recipes. Avgolemono is an eggy, lemony, orzo-spiked bowl of goodness. All you have to do is cook the orzo in some stock, temper the eggs and lemon juice, simmer, and serve. Instead of orzo, you can use rice if you'd like. Thanks to the magic of lemon and eggs, in just 30 minutes you've got a bowl of soup that's both easy and complex. It tastes creamy and hearty yet requires no dairy. We'd eat a bowl of this any season, but it's particularly perfect for early spring. Pantry meals just got a lot brighter—and a lot more special.

Because the soup can be delicate, it's best served when it's made; it'll lose some of that spectacular taste the longer it sits in the fridge. If you'd like, you can throw in some shredded chicken for an even heartier soup. Feel free to adjust the amount of lemon juice depending on your individual palate. Dill is the traditional garnish for avgolemono, but you can use any bright green herbs you have on hand, such as thyme, mint, even chives. You won't find an easier, more luxurious, soul-warming soup than this one, trust us! Give it a try and let us know how it goes for you below. —Food52

What You'll Need
  • Soup
  • 8 cups homemade or store-bought chicken stock, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups orzo
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 dash sugar
  • Lemon-Egg Mixture & Assembly
  • 4 large eggs, whites and yolks separated, room temperature
  • 3 large lemons, juiced
  • White pepper, for serving
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dill
  • 4 to 6 dill sprigs (1 per serving)
  • 4 to 6 paper-thin lemon slices (1 per serving)
  1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the stock to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the orzo, salt, pepper, and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes, until al dente. Reserve 2 cups of the stock.
  2. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. (You can do this by hand or with a stand mixer too.) Beat in the egg yolks and lemon juice until combined. Slowly pour 2 cups of the reserved hot stock into the egg mixture, whisking continuously, until incorporated.
  3. Return the soup to medium-low heat and whisk in the lemon-egg mixture. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until thickened slightly.
  4. Ladle the soup into warm bowls. Garnish with white pepper, chopped dill, a dill sprig, and lemon slices.
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48 Reviews

Erin R. January 27, 2023
How does it work to double this recipe? Is it recommended to make two separate batches?
Lauren B. November 27, 2022
I absolutely love this recipe. Avgolemono soup has been my comfort food since I was little, but I’ve never found a recipe as good as the Greek restaurants of my youth until now.
I’ve made the dish as written many times but recently substituted Arborio rice for the orzo because I was hosting someone with celiac. I actually thought it was even better and I’m now choosing Arborio over orzo. Made the soup even thicker - which I like.
Lauren B. November 27, 2022
I also always add diced or pulled cooked chicken breast in Step 3
tastysweet November 27, 2022
How mucho Arborio rice did you use. Precooked?
Lauren B. December 13, 2022
I tend to forget and just use the same amount that it calls for of the orzo. It’s very very thick at that point. Almost more like an amazing porridge or stew. I’m sure that reducing the amount would make it less thick.
Cristina September 9, 2022
Sorry but this soup is way to sour! I think the writer needs to clarify the amount of lemon juice needed by expressing it in cups not lemon sizes. A big lemon could mean anything. Thank you
Lisa December 14, 2020
I frequently went to Greek Town in Chicago for delicious Greek food. This recipe comes the closest to my memory of soup in Greek Town. Better yet, it doesn't necessarily require homemade stock. One slight change....I wouldn't leave it on a low heat for 20 min at the end. It doesn't curdle but it loses some of it's smooth look. Delicious!
EdgedInBlue October 8, 2020
I love this soup. I use left-over rice instead of orzo and often serve it chilled with dollop of lemon juice mixed into creme fraiche.
Katie B. March 23, 2020
Sorry, might be a silly questions, but in step 2, what does simmer for 2-0 minutes mean? did the author intend to write 20? or 2?
Katie B. March 23, 2020
*whoops, question!
LaVonne M. March 23, 2020
At this point the rice is cooked and the soup has been tempered. Simmer just to keep it warm but don't ever let it boil.
lori November 11, 2019
I'm guessing rice would work just fine? Being g.f., wheat isn't an option for me.
Connie B. November 10, 2019
Love, love, love this soup!
Connie B. November 10, 2019
I have quite a bit of leftover soup....assume it wouldn't freeze well and still be good at a later time?
LaVonne M. November 10, 2019
I wouldn't freeze it for later. It'll keep in the refrigerator for more than a week.
Bethany S. August 15, 2018
This ended up being a little tinny/metallic tasting. What could I have done wrong with the eggs -anyone know?
Jennifer N. February 22, 2019
A little late on this, but did you use tools/pans that were non-reactive? The lemon can take on a metallic taste if they are cooked/whisked with reactive materials.
Nancy M. August 3, 2018
My Greek relatives use a blender to prepare the lemon/egg emulsion. Start with the whites and then the other ingredients in the order given. When adding the hot broth, keep the blender running continuously while you drizzle the stock in.
Jocelyn October 23, 2022
Are you pureeing the Orzo with the Hot Broth in the Blender ? I would think that would make for a silky delicious variation.

Nanny L. December 31, 2016
This is by far one of my all time favorite soups. It gives you the richness of cream without any dairy! I have always devieated a bit by adding shredded chicken breast and some sort of greens (spinach, or arugula) at the bottom of each bowl, just to make it a complete meal!
Eleanor November 13, 2019
Your suggestions sounds great making it a little more filling & I love spinach and arugula; even without the chicken!!!
jencordes February 19, 2016
I see how that can be confusing. It's the same reserved 2 cups of stock once the eggs and lemon are added. Not sure why it was worded that way. So, egg whites are whipped first (makes soup thicker and velvety), then egg yolks and lemon, then the 2 cups of stock are added. Then it all goes back in the soup pot (the one with stock and orzo). Good luck! It's great! I do add a bit more lemon though!!
tastysweet February 19, 2016
Thank you for clarifying. Now it is understood.
tastysweet August 4, 2018
Thank you for explaining this. I must have read this four times and still was confused. Wish they would rewrite it.
tastysweet February 19, 2016
I too was a little confused with recipe. If the reserved 2 cups,of warm stack that was saved goes into the egg mixture and then added to the soup with the orzo, what other stock are we talking about where you say add the chicken stock back to the soup. What am I missing? Read three times. Please help,me out so I can make this. I really love this kind of soup. Though I have had chicken in it many times.
jencordes January 1, 2015
Egg white answer:
2. Beat egg whites till soft peaks form. BEAT IN egg yolks and lemon.

jlo3 April 3, 2014
Hi Christine,
Thanks for the post.
Avgolemono is one of those recipes that is easiest to follow and understand when you've seen a demo in action. Easy for us who have grown up with it to understand exactly what you're talking about. Well done on your explanation of a technique that would ideally benefit from step by step images or even better, a video.
I must say I prefer the delicateness of rice over orzo for this soup but if people prefer orzo, I don't think anyone we need to be avgo'lemono snobs about it.
It's correct that the soup isn't quite as light in texture the next day but I actually love the flavour, even if it's a tad thicker-I compensate for this by using less rice in the first place.
Extra 1/2 lemons on the side allow each diner to squeeze in additional juice to taste, yum!
Piubellamiu January 26, 2014
Hi, I get also problem with this riecipe..., where go eggwhite?
The autror forgot to write it, and Im affraid my soup was not well done. Christine Please clarify this for me. Thank you
Eleanor B. January 16, 2014
I don't see any problem with the the directions in the lemon egg mixture. It's very plain-follow directions for eggs & add to 2cups reserved chicken stock(which should be lukewarm)than slowly stirring into the soup & simmer on low heat til thickened slightly. Serve as in 3rd step!!
Joyce January 8, 2014
Orzo is pasta, not rice. I wouldn't put it in anyway, just my preference. I never met a recipe I couldn't modify!
Kathy S. November 6, 2013
So??? I am not a rice person so that is fine with me….