A few months ago, we were visiting my parents in Chicago and decided to get takeout from the little Greek hole-in-the-wall spot around the corner from their apartment. OMG… best decision ever. I’ve seriously been dreaming of the classic Greek lemon chicken soup ever since and have been determined to recreate it!
Avgolemono is a classic Greek soup, and it’s cozy enough for winter, but bright & zesty enough to eat all year round. I mean, I personally love soup every month of the year, but this one especially is fitting for even the warmer months.
It’s loaded with fresh ingredients like garlic, lemons, dill & parsley, and comes together really quickly and easily. It’s also really filling due to the chicken and rice! You could make this vegetarian by omitting the chicken and subbing chicken broth, but the savoriness of the chicken is really something else.
The main component of classic Greek Lemon Chicken Soup is the creamy broth… that actually doesn’t have any dairy in it. How, you may ask?! Well, thanks to a little trick of adding in eggs & egg yolks, you get an extremely creamy consistency without any cream. It’s key to classic Avgolemono.
The Base of the Classic Greek Lemon Chicken Soup
Begin making the soup by sautéing a classic mirepoix of carrots, celery and onion. You can even buy this pre-chopped from most grocery stores if you’re really going for ease here! Next, you’ll want to add your minced garlic and sauté just for 30 seconds before adding in your broth and salt.
Once your broth has been brought to a low boil, add the whole chicken breasts into the broth. Turn your heat down to medium-low, and simmer the chicken breasts in the broth for 25-30 minutes until they are fully cooked. You can then put them on a plate, let them cool for a few, and easily shred them.
Achieving the Dairy-Free Creamy Broth
Now, the only tricky part about this classic Greek lemon chicken soup is adding the eggs to the broth. When you have your eggs yolks in a bowl and your 1 cup of broth removed, you want to make sure that your soup has been turned very low (no longer boiling). This way, when you add the tempered eggs, it doesn’t scramble them in the soup. I love egg drop soup, but that’s not what we’re going for here!
You’ll want to add the warm broth to the eggs very slowly, whisking the entire time. The goal of this is to heat the eggs so slowly that they don’t actually scramble, but instead create a super creamy mixture that you then pour into your soup.
Ready to Eat!
Now that that’s done, you can add your shredded chicken back in, adjust any seasonings, and simmer on LOW for 4-5 minutes to thicken it up. You just don’t want to bring it back to a boil once the eggs have been added.
I chose to garnish mine with fresh dill and parsley and another squeeze of lemon for good measure. Make sure to have some bread on hand, you’re going to want to soak up any of this broth that you have left!
Craving more soup?! Check out the recipe for my Secret-Ingredient Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup!
Classic Greek Lemon Chicken Soup (Avgolemono)
- 1 large stock pot, such as a dutch oven
- cutting board
- rice cooker
- 2 tbsp avocado or olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 3 medium carrots chopped
- 3 celery stalks chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 chicken breasts
- 2 large lemons juiced
- 1/2-1 cup white rice for a thicker soup, add 1 cup white rice
- 2 eggs yolks
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
- 1/3 cup chopped parsley
- Prep all of the ingredients by washing produce, chopping and mincing.
- Heat a large stock pot over medium heat. Add oil and allow to heat for 30 seconds-1 minute.
- Add chopped celery, carrot, onion to the pot. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add your minced garlic and continue to cook for 30 seconds.
- Pour in chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add chicken breasts to the pot with tongs. Turn heat down to medium-low.
- Season with salt and pepper. Cover and continue simmering the soup for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove the chicken breasts and set aside on a plate. Add the rice to the pot.
- Add the 2 eggs yolks to a medium-sized bowl. Remove 1 cup of the broth from the soup, and 1 tbsp at a time, slowly whisk in the soup broth to the egg yolks, whisking the eggs the entire time. This is called tempering the eggs, and it allows them to be added to the soup without scrambling them. Once tempered, add the egg and broth mixture to the soup.
- Shred the chicken using two forks. Add the shredded chicken back to the soup.
- Allow the soup to sit on low for 4-5 minutes to thicken. Just be very careful not to bring it back to a boil now that the eggs have been added.
- Right before eating, stir in the fresh dill and lemon juice. When serving, garnish with fresh parsley!