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This Greek Lemon Chicken and Rice Soup (AKA Avgolemono) is as nourishing for the soul as it is for your body. It’s unbelievably delicious, super easy to make and impossibly creamy without a drop of dairy. It’s also gluten-free and can easily be adjust to be grain-free. My advice: grab a big pot and double this recipe because you’ll want to eat it several days in a row. It’s just that good!

Greek Lemon Chicken Rice Soup (Avgolemono Soup) with fresh dill and black pepper

Ingredients You Need for the Greek Lemon Chicken Rice Soup

  1. Chicken: For the best flavour, I recommend making the chicken broth from scratch using bone-in and skin-on pieces. You can use thighs, drumsticks, wings, breast or a combination of each. I personally like to use bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs because they give the broth a deeper flavour than breasts. They also yield more meat than just drumsticks.
  2. Aromatics: A combination of yellow onion, celery, carrot, garlic and bay leaves form the aromatic base for the soup. Some people remove the vegetables after they’ve had a chance to flavour the broth. I prefer to keep them in and serve the soup with the vegetables. My family prefers it that way and it makes the soup much more hearty and filling, not to mention less wasteful and more nutritious!
  3. Rice or Orzo Pasta: Traditionally, avgolemono soup is made with rice, but you can also use orzo pasta for a slightly different texture. I recommend using a neutral-flavoured, short-grain rice such as arborio because it holds its shape as it cooks and won’t impart too much aroma into the soup. To keep this recipe grain-free, you can use Jovial Cassava Flour Orzo or simply omit the rice altogether for a lighter, yet still delicious soup.
  4. Eggs: Eggs are a key component of avgolemono soup, providing that characteristic creaminess, colour and richness to the broth. The trick to getting that super velvety and creamy texture is to separate the yolks from the whites and whisk the whites until frothy before adding the yolks back.
  5. Fresh Lemons: Skip the bottled stuff and grab a couple of fresh lemons. The juice adds a bright and tangy flavour that is essential for achieving the characteristic taste of avgolemono. I also like to add the lemon zest for an extra pop of lemony flavour and aroma.
  6. Salt and Pepper: Season the broth with the salt to taste and reserve the black pepper for garnish. It will float beautifully overtop of the soup.
  7. Fresh Herbs: I love to garnish the soup with fresh dill for added flavour and colour.
chopped carrots, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaves and rice on a cutting board

How to Cook the Lemon Chicken Rice Soup

  1. Boil the chicken for 45 minutes or until tender. Transfer it to a plate and let it cool before shredding it into ribbons.
  2. Add the vegetables, garlic, bay leaves, rinsed rice and salt to the broth.
  3. Separate the egg whites and yolks into two bowls. Whisk the whites until frothy before adding the yolks back along with the lemon juice and lemon zest.
  4. Temper the eggs by slowly adding a ladle of the hot broth to the egg mixture and whisking to incorporate.
  5. Pour the tempered eggs into the pot and whisk to combine. Do this part slowly so that the eggs do not curdle.
  6. Return the shredded chicken back to the soup, taste for seasoning and adjust with salt as desired.
  7. Ladle the soup into individual serving bowls and garnish with a few cracks of black pepper and some fresh dill, if desired. Serve with extra lemon wedges for an added squeeze of citrus.
Bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs being boiled to make the base of the avgolemono soup
boiled chicken thighs being shredded for avgolemono soup

What is Avgolemono Soup?

Avgolemono soup is a traditional Greek soup that is made with chicken broth, rice or orzo pasta, eggs, and lemon juice. The name “avgolemono” is derived from the Greek words for egg (avgo) and lemon (lemono), which are two key ingredients in the soup.

Every household has it’s own technique for making their version of this Greek Lemon Chicken Rice Soup (Avgolemono). Sometimes the aromatics are first sautéd in olive oil before the meat is boiled. Other times, the chicken is first boiled before the vegetables are added tot the pot. There are also versions that call for using pre-made broth and leftover roasted chicken, which cuts back on a lot of the cooking time.

The one thing that all avgolemono soup recipes have in common is that the eggs are separately beaten to create a light and airy consistency. The eggs are then tempered with some of the hot broth to prevent them from curdling. Lemon juice is then added to brighten up the flavours and add some tang to the soup. The egg mixture is slowly poured back into the soup while stirring constantly, which results in a creamy and velvety broth with an off-white, yellowish colour.

Avgolemono soup is often garnished with fresh herbs such as dill and freshly-cracked black pepper. It’s a comforting and incredibly delicious dish that’s perfect for any time of the year.


Short on time? Save around 45 minutes by using a pre-made chicken broth and leftover rotisserie or poached chicken. Homemade chicken broth is always best and you can easily make a large batch and freeze it for recipes like this Lemon Chicken Rice Soup. But if you’re in a pinch, you can use Kettle & Fire Chicken Broth or Chicken Bone Broth for added nutrients and collagen.

Egg yolks with lemon zest and lemon juice in a bowl

Why Do You Have to Temper the Eggs?

Tempering eggs is a culinary technique used to gradually raise the temperature of eggs without causing them to curdle or scramble when added to a hot mixture. This process is commonly used in recipes such as custards, sauces, and soups to thicken and enrich the texture without creating lumps or altering the consistency.

In the case of this Lemon Chicken Rice Soup, tempering is an important step to ensure the eggs don’t scramble and curdle in the soup. To temper the eggs, you start by whisking the eggs in a separate bowl. Then, a small amount of the hot broth is gradually added to the eggs while continuously whisking. This slowly increases the temperature of the eggs and prevents them from cooking too quickly or curdling.

Once enough hot broth has been incorporated into the eggs, the tempered egg mixture is added back into the soup while stirring constantly. This helps to evenly distribute the eggs throughout the mixture and create a smooth, thickened texture.

Tempering the eggs is an extra step but it’s essential to create the creamy and velvety texture that makes avgolemono soup so delicious.

tempering eggs for avgolemono soup


is Avgolemono soup freezer-safe?

Yes, you can definitely make a batch of this Lemon Chicken Rice Soup and freeze it for a later date. I recommend waiting for the soup to cool first before adding it to freezer-safe containers and placing it in the freezer. Be sure to leave some head room at the top to account for expansion as the liquid freezes. You can let the soup defrost in the fridge overnight before reheating it in a pot on the stove.

Do You have to temper the eggs first?

Unless you want to eat scrambled eggs soup, it’s important to take the extra step of tempering the eggs with some of the hot broth before adding it to the soup. Not only will this step prevent the eggs from curdling, but it will also add a velvety and creamy texture to the soup.

is this soup gluten-free?

Yes, this Lemon Chicken Rice Soup is naturally gluten-free and uses white rice as the starch. If using regular orzo, the soup will not be gluten-free.

Is this soup Paleo and whole30?

No, because the soup contains rice it is neither Paleo nor Whole30 compliant. However, you can easily make it both Paleo and Whole30 by simply omitting the rice. Another Paleo option is to substitute the rice with grain-free orzo from Jovial.

can i sauté the vegetables first?

This recipe does not call for sautéeing the vegetables before poaching the chicken. It’s true that sautéing the vegetables in olive oil first would add a layer of flavour and you can definitely do that if desired, but I don’t find it necessary at all in this particular soup because.

The reason is simple: I prefer to serve this avgolemono soup with the vegetables so that it’s more hearty and nutritious. If you sauté the vegetables first, they will become very soft (mushy in fact) by the time the chicken and rice have finished cooking.

Most recipes that call for sautéing the vegetables first will either use a pre-made chicken broth (which does not need to cook for 45 minutes) or they will call for discarding all of the vegetables before adding the rice and avgolemono sauce. These versions are neither better nor worse, they’re just different techniques that yield different results.

I encourage you to play around with the different variations to see which you and your family enjoy the most. That’s exactly how I came to love this version so much.

Can you make avgolemono Soup vegetarian?

Yes. If desired, you can substitute vegetable broth and omit the meat to keep this recipe vegetarian.

Greek Lemon Chicken Rice Soup (Avgolemono Soup) with fresh dill and black pepper
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Greek Lemon Chicken and Rice Soup (Avgolemono)

This Greek Lemon Chicken and Rice Soup (AKA Avgolemono) is as nourishing for the soul as it is for the body.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings


  • 4 bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs
  • 3 quarts water
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ cup white rice, rinsed until the water runs clear
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 large eggs
  • Zest of 1 lemon, around 1 teaspoon
  • Juice of 2 lemons, plus extra for serving, around ½ cup lemon juice
  • Freshly-cracked black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup roughly torn fresh dill, for garnish


  • Add the chicken to a stockpot and cover with 3 quarts of cold water. Set the pot over high heat and bring the water to a steady simmer. Using a small sieve or ladle, scoop off any foam that rises to the surface, around 10 minutes. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer, cover with a lid and cook until the chicken is easily falling off the bone, around 45 minutes. Reserve the broth and transfer the chicken to a plate. Let the meat cool then shred it with your hands or two forks. Discard the bones and set the meat aside.
  • To the broth, add the carrot, celery, onion, garlic, rice, bay leaves and 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Raise the heat to a steady simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the rice is cooked, around 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, separate the egg yolks and whites into two different bowls. Whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add the yolks to the whites and whisk to combine. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice and whisk to combine. While continuously whisking, slowly ladle in 1.5 cups of the hot chicken broth into the egg mixture.
  • Remove the pot of soup from the heat. While continuously whisking, slowly pour the tempered egg mixture back into the soup. Return the shredded chicken to the soup and stir through to combine. Taste the soup for seasoning and adjust with salt and lemon juice as desired.
  • Ladle the soup into individual serving bowls. Garnish with freshly-cracked black pepper and fresh dill and serve with extra lemon wedges for squeezing.



Calories: 308kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 19g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 149mg, Sodium: 1300mg, Potassium: 354mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 3711IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 55mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Leave a comment below!

About the Author

Hi, i’m Ronny! In 2013, after a lifetime of struggling with my weight and body issues, I rehabilitated my relationship with food, lost over 40 pounds and completely changed my life.

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