Greek Chicken Lemon Soup with Orzo “Avgolemono”

by Mary Papoulias-Platis

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This Greek Lemon Chicken Soup is the greatest comfort food of all traditional dishes from Greece. From home to home this recipe varies in so many different ways, you could not count them all!  A simple soup, with a unique sauce and combination of flavors that will wow your family and guests.   I make this soup at least every other week, depending who’s sick in the family, how cold it is outside, or who needs some good ‘ol comfort! Check out Mary’s free range organic chickens at Whole Foods . So clean and delicious, they are fed a vegetarian diet and air chilled for freshness. An alternative is Rosie chickens found at Sprouts stores in San Diego County.

If you need more instruction and techniques for this soup, look for them here: Cooking Techniques for Greek Lemon Soup

Greek Chicken Lemon Soup with Orzo "Avgolemono"

Of all the soups in the Greek cuisine this is the number one most popular soup! Better the next day!
Course Soup
Cuisine Greek
Keyword avgolemono, chicken, Greek, lemon, soup
Author Mary Papoulias-Platis


  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stock
  • 1 1/2 cups orzo
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon for juice before serving

Egg-Lemon Sauce

  • 3 eggs
  • Juice of 2-3 lemons, strained strained
  • 1 cup broth from chicken broth


  1. Wash chicken and remove the inside parts. Rinse with cold water. Add whole chicken to a large pot. Place enough cold water in the pot to cover the chicken and 2 more inches of water. Add 1/2 of an onion, and one carrot cut in thirds, plus one celery stalk.
  2. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer and cover. Skim off any foam as it appears. Simmer for 2 hours. Remove chicken and place in a bowl.
  3. Strain broth and return to the pot. If serving with the egg-lemon sauce, remove 1 cup broth and set aside.
  4. Add 2 teaspoons salt to the broth and bring to a boil.
  5. Add the orzo, and cook on medium-high for twenty minutes or until orzo is ready.
  6. Peel and clean the chicken. Cut 1/2 the chicken in small pieces and add to the broth.
  7. Remove broth from the heat. Make the sauce.
  8. Gently add the sauce to your broth, and serve.
  9. Serve with a dash of pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon.
  10. Place remaining chicken on a platter and serve with the soup.

Egg-Lemon Sauce

  1. Beat eggs until thick and light yellow, at least 5 minutes. ( I put mine in the blender, or a hand-mixer, or food-processor)
  2. Continue to blend and slowly add lemon juice.
  3. Continue and slowly add broth.
  4. Add to soup. Do not re-boil soup.

Recipe Notes

Note: This soup can be made a day ahead, and reheated. Add a little water if needed.

You can serve the soup with the chicken on side or on top as below.


Here are a few of my many soups:

My Mother’s Lentil Soup

Greek White Bean Soup

Roasted Pumpkin Soup

Stay Well and Enjoy!





© 2011 – 2023, Mary Papoulias-Platis. All rights reserved.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nancy Cherry Eifert

Hi Mary,
What would you suggest serving with this soup? A certain bread, salad or ????

2 Mary Papoulias-Platis

I often serve a vegetable, broccoli or cauliflower,string beans. Salad is always a great compliment,but a simple one-greens only with o/o and balsamic. This is a great dish on it’s own.
I love this soup the next day, because it’s thick and smooth with intense flavors. So, feel free to make it ahead. Thanks for trying my recipes, Mary

3 Michelle

I’ve made so many versions of this throughout the years, and I’m still looking for a winner. Your recipe looks like it may be the one! Can you approximate how much water should be added to the chicken in the pot? I worry that too much would make the broth bland for the amount of time it simmers. Thank you.

4 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Michelle, That is the million dollar question. Even I, after making this soup over 100 times can get the water wrong. I add about 1 inch of water above the chicken. Bring to a boil and reduce to a low simmer. Make sure you skim all the froth off the top of the broth and place through a strainer to get all the bits out of the broth. To make a tasty broth you can add one carrot and 1/2 onion with a bay leaf to the chicken. Remove them after cooking and discard. I do use orzo at times for the starch in the pasta makes it thicker, to avoid using cornstarch-yuck. When making the sauce taste as you blend adjusting the flavors even after pouring it into the pot. Add fresh lemon and salt and pepper to taste again. Good-luck.

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