Greek Lemon Soup —Avgolemono

January 28, 2013

Test Kitchen-Approved

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.


Food52 Review: WHO: ChristineQ is from Bainbridge Island, Washington.
WHAT: An eggy, lemony, orzo-spiked bowl of goodness.
HOW: Cook orzo in stock, temper the eggs and lemon juice, simmer, and serve.
WHY WE LOVE IT: 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. 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.

Serves: 4 to 6



  • 8 cups homemade or store-bought chicken stock, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups orzo
  • 1 dash sugar

Lemon Egg Mixture & Garnish

  • 4 eggs (whites and yolks separated), room temperature, such as Eggland's Best
  • 3 large lemons, juiced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 dill sprig per serving (fresh thyme, mint, or chives may be used)
  • 4 to 6 paper-thin lemon slices (1 per serving)
In This Recipe


  1. To prepare the soup, bring stock to a boil in a large saucepan. Lower heat to a simmer and add salt, pepper, and orzo; cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Set aside 2 cups of stock.
  2. To prepare the lemon-egg mixture, beat egg whites in a medium-size bowl until soft peaks form. (You can do this with a handheld mixer [on medium] or with a stand mixer.) Beat in the egg yolks and lemon juice. Pour 2 cups of reserved hot stock slowly into the lemon and egg mixture, whisking continuously until all is incorporated. Return soup to medium-low heat and whisk in lemon-egg mixture. Add chicken stock back into the soup and simmer until thickened slightly, about 2–0 minutes.
  3. To serve the soup, ladle into warm bowls and garnish with white pepper, chopped dill, a dill sprig, and sliced lemon.

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Reviews (30) Questions (1)

30 Reviews

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?
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.
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!
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:<br />2. Beat egg whites till soft peaks form. BEAT IN egg yolks and lemon. <br /><br />Duh!
jlo3 April 3, 2014
Hi Christine,<br />Thanks for the post. <br />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.<br />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.<br />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.<br />Extra 1/2 lemons on the side allow each diner to squeeze in additional juice to taste, yum!<br />Cheers,
Piubellamiu January 26, 2014
Hi, I get also problem with this riecipe..., where go eggwhite?<br />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….
LaVonne M. November 6, 2013
This is not authentic Greek egg and lemon soup. For one thing, the authentic version uses rice. Also, there is no dill added.
Jessica March 12, 2014
Unnecessarily snarky.
mdinmn March 18, 2014
she's right...(LaVonne) and not snarky at all... I think helpful
suparna J. November 6, 2013
Where do the eggwhites go ??
Kathy S. October 29, 2013
I am also very confused. 8cups stock, divided - How?<br />Pour 2 cups reserved hot stock into egg mix. Add stock back into soup? Which stock? you mean the stock with the orzo? Please clarify steps…. I have read it 5 times and still can make no sense of it.
CMR October 29, 2013
I've made this soup a few times since I posted. I heat all 8 cups of the stock first, add the orzo, then take 2 cups of the stock from the pot, add it to the egg/lemon mixture, then add that back into the pot. I've had no problems doing it this way. Super yummy soup!
Ashley November 22, 2013
The directions are confusing. You set aside 2 cups from step one, then you add those two cups into the lemon mixture. You're two cups of reserve stock are now used. After the soup is on the heat again with the lemon mixture (which has the 2 cups of stock set aside) you're supposed to add the chicken stock back into the soup. The last step is either redundant or a typo. Please clarify
Brenda B. October 23, 2013
made for a supper date for a friend loved by all it was so sweet served in French onion soup bowls with a lemon slice on top<br />
CMR April 6, 2013
I agree with bgavin, I find step 2 VERY confusing. I assume I am taking 2 cups of stock from the soup to add to the lemon-egg mixture, and that I add that back to the soup once it's incorporated. But the last sentence says to add chicken stock back into the soup and simmer...I'm not sure what chickedn stock is left... Please help!
Paula G. March 27, 2013
Can this be made a day ahead?
Author Comment
ChristineQ March 29, 2013
Hi Paula, I wouldn't recommend it. This soup is best served, when made. I've had it the following day and it's just not quite as good. It seems to lose some of it's brightness(though it is still good.<br />
Author Comment
ChristineQ March 29, 2013
bgavin March 27, 2013
Regarding the stock...Wouldn't you drain the pasta, reserving it *all* and dividing it into two cups for egg tempering and the balance to add in after? Maybe all of Step 2 could be clearer?
Author Comment
ChristineQ February 8, 2013
Oops, my apology- Just realized recipe missing ingredient.<br /> 2 sprigs of thyme added to chicken stock, with salt & pepper. <br />Remove thyme sprigs before serving.
KellyDC November 15, 2015
Maybe you should just start over and edit the whole recipe to clarify the other questions people had.
Author Comment
ChristineQ February 3, 2013
Thanks so much!!