Appetizers, Entree, Meat and Poultry, Mediterranean Diet Recipes

Greek Egg Lemon (Avgolemono) Soup with Chicken, a comforting alternative to Mayiritsa

April 14, 2012

If you have been reading about the Greek Easter, you know by now that it’s a very food centered event. One of the most important meals is the one that breaks the long fast: the celebratory post midnight meal on the Saturday night before Easter, Greeks traditionally eat Mayiritsa, a soup made with lamb offal as the main course.

To me eating soup made from organ meats doesn’t sound too appetizing, and so for as long as I can remember, my mom would make an alternative soup; Egg Lemon Soup with chicken known as Soupa Avyolemono me Kota. Apart from having mayiritsa, the tradition is to have some sort of soup for this midnight meal, and so in our home we had this one.

Kids could eat it and it is pretty healthy. Made mainly with chicken and rice, the egg lemon soup only contains two eggs (for 4-6 servings) and there is no additional fat apart from the fat in the broth and the eggs. It is accompanied by carrots, so you get your vegetables too.

The word Avgolemono means Egg- Lemon and it is a preparation used with other types of meats and dishes…

This is a relatively light meal, as it should be considering that you are eating after midnight after a long fast from animal products, and it’s good for sick days too, an alternative to the traditional chicken noodle soup.

So, if you can’t stand even the thought of eating lamb offal (like me) consider Chicken Egg Lemon Soup. Here is my mom’s recipe:

Mom's Greek Egg Lemon Soup with Chicken-Avgolemono

Servings: 6 -7 servings
Author: Elena Paravantes RDN
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  • 1 whole chicken You can use a ½ chicken or pieces of chicken for less servings, if half chicken used, only 1 egg and 1 lemon needed
  • Short grain rice amount varies, please see recipe
  • Celery leaves
  • 2-3 Carrots
  • 1 Onion
  • White wine for washing chicken
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Lemons
  • Salt/Pepper as needed


  • Wash chicken with water and wine.
  • Boil the chicken in a large pot with celery leaves, 2-3 carrots and one whole onion. Add enough water (measure how much water you add so you can calculate how much rice you will add later) to cover the chicken. Ideally the water should already be hot as it helps maintain the juices of the chicken. Boil for about 1 ½ hour.
  • Once boiled remove and place on a plate with the vegetables. Save broth.
  • Bring broth to a boil and add salt to taste, add 2 tablespoons short grain rice per 1 cup broth. Lower heat and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes, it should look like soup.
  • Separate the broth from the rice. Place rice back into pot and save broth in another bowl.
  • Separate egg yolks and whites. In a small bowl add only the yolks and the juice of 1 lemon-do not mix.
  • In another large bowl add the whites, whip with a mixer until stiff, add the yolks to the egg whites and mix on low.
  • Add the broth gradually to the egg mixture while mixing on low-make sure broth is not hot otherwise it will cook the egg, it should lukewarm. Add about 2 tablespoons at a time.
  • Add the egg lemon broth mixture back in the pot to the rice. Mix with a wooden spoon and ideally let it come to a boil only once so that the egg is cooked a bit.
  • Remove immediately from heat.


The soup is served in bowls with lemon, pepper and salt on the table and the chicken on a separate dish. I like it with small pieces of chicken mixed in the soup, just like I had it when I was a little girl.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Leave a comment or share on instagram and mention @greekdiet

Photo Credit: Avgolemono by Alyssa Sison

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  • Reply How to use fresh herbs in the Greek Mediterranean Diet | Olive Tomato April 30, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    […] is used usually in tzatziki, savory pies filled with greens- pites, spinach, artichokes, avgolemono (egg lemon sauce) dishes and lettuce […]

  • Reply Nick Pantazis July 9, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Do not read these recipes on empty stomach!
    Great job Elena. Bravo !!!

    Μου θυμίζεις την μάνα μου (εννοώ οι συνταγές σου)!!!

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD July 10, 2013 at 6:25 am

      Thanks Nick! Να σαι καλά!

      • Reply John Baener November 22, 2015 at 10:36 am

        I was going to make your recipe until I noticed you don’t ever specify how much broth to use. Read your recipe, it really makes no sense. The only measurement you give is 2 eggs and 2 lemons but to what ratio should the broth be to those two items!? That’s the most important part of this entire dish!

        • Reply Elena Paravantes RD November 22, 2015 at 10:52 am

          The amount of broth depends on how much water you add initially to cover your chicken, for an average chicken 2 eggs corresponds to the amount of broth you will have left after boiling the rice. If you use a half chicken than just one egg. However in our updated format of the recipe we have included the amounts of carrots etc. that were initially also in the directions.

          • John Baener November 22, 2015 at 8:48 pm

            But chickens can be different sizes and pots can be different sizes too. It’s a very inaccurate measurement. If you made this dish then calculated how much broth is going in with the egg and lemon mixture it would give people more of idea of how the ratios should play out. I’m not Greek, I’ve never had this dish before but I have left over chicken broth; that’s how I found this recipe on your website. It sounds delicious but I don’t know how it should taste and what the consistency should be like. I don’t want to upset the Greek Gods and shame them with my attempt! haha!

          • Elena Paravantes RD November 23, 2015 at 5:48 am

            No worries. Just to get an idea, you would be using the broth leftover after boiling the rice, which is about 3-4 tablespoons, so not a huge amount.

  • Reply Geoff March 21, 2018 at 11:26 pm

    This looks like a great recipe. Would it be possible to use lamb instead of the chicken? If so, how much should be used?
    Thanks so much,

    • Reply Elena March 22, 2018 at 6:11 am

      Hi Geoff, yes lamb is often made aygolemono. I would use the same amount.

  • Reply Dominique S Dipini November 6, 2018 at 2:42 am

    Hello! Your soup was yellow and mine came out white and still frothy. Did I do something wrong ?

  • Reply Kathy Webster December 1, 2020 at 6:42 pm


    I am planning today on making this soup…Just a quick question what do you mean when you say to water and wine wash a chicken?

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN December 1, 2020 at 8:05 pm

      Hi Kathy,
      Chicken was typically rinsed with wine to remove any odors, but you are ok to just rinse it with water.

  • Reply kathy webster December 2, 2020 at 7:08 pm

    Thank you Elena, I learned some new things! The soup was still delish even though it wasnt executed perfectly!!

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