This is the soup your mom and grandma used to make for you when you were sick. This is more traditionally made with rice instead of small cut orzo pasta, however, this recipe is my mothers and the way I usually find it being prepared in the Greek restaurants in and around where I live, here in Long Island, New York.
The main players here are the eggs. It’s what makes the soup creamy and not watery, like the regular chicken vegetable soup. The lemon is also key here for the flavor.
You can absolutely use chicken breasts instead of thighs, however, I prefer it with the thighs. Don’t forget to top it with some fresh dill and a little freshly ground black pepper. The final product can only be described as a silky lemony warm goodness.
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- 1.5 lbs chicken thighs
- 9 cups water
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup orzo pasta
- 2 eggs, well beaten
- 3 medium lemons, juiced (about 1/3 cup)
- fresh dill + black pepper, to garnish
- Rinse your chicken thighs and then place them into your soup pot (do not trim the fat from the chicken). Pour the water into the pot and heat on high. Cover the pot until it starts to boil and then lower the heat to low. Intermittently remove the white froth from the pot and then quickly cover again. Season with the salt + pepper.
- Cook for 15 minutes and then transfer the chicken to cutting board. Slice into bite size pieces and then return to the pot. Also stir in the orzo pasta at this point. Cover again. Stir occasionally. Cook 10 minutes and then uncover pot, bump up your heat to medium and cook another 15 minutes. Remember to taste the broth and adjust seasonings to your palate. Once done, remove pot from the burner.
- In a large measuring cup or bowl, add eggs and 1 teaspoon water, beat for 30 seconds. Whisk in the lemon juice to the eggs. Next add two cups of the pot’s chicken broth (one cup at a time) to this mixture while whisking vigorously. This is done to temper the mixture.
- Finally, remove the pot from the burner and pour this tempered lemon sauce into your soup while mixing continuously, until fully incorporated and smooth.
3 lemons is far too much. I followed this recipe precisely and ended up with soup too sour to eat. Waste of an evening. I’d recommend changing amount of lemon to cup measurements as lemon size varies.
Hi Adam. I’m very sorry the soup was not to your liking. It is definitely supposed to be a lemony soup though.
This was amazing– even better than the soup I’d enjoy at the coney next door as a kid. Made a HUGE portion too; lots for sharing/leftovers!!
Hi Haley, SO happy you enjoyed the soup and love your sentiment to spread the goodness! Happy holidays!
Thank you, my family loved it. Unless you used the wrong amount of lemons..the juice from 3 fresh squeezed lemons was perfect!
Hi Kamillah, so glad you and your family enjoyed the soup! And I appreciate you taking the time to comment and rate!
Yes! Thank you for such an easy to follow recipe! I wish I could post the picture here. I am here replying to your reply because I’m revisiting the recipe due to popular demand😀
Delicious ! My daughters favorite soup and she just asked for another batch !!!!! No more take out !
Hi Lee! I LOVE no more takeout needed! Music to MY ears lol Happy holidays!
Making another batch now, lol. Happy Holidays !
Just made this and it’s wonderful! I’ve never had this type of soup before- does it freeze well?
Hi Tori! Very happy that you enjoyed the soup! To be honest, I’ve never frozen it. We usually finish each batch. But I don’t see why not. Just keep in mind when reheating this type of soup that you have to slowly reheat at a very LOW heat,temp. If it’s too thick, you can add a little touch of water. Please report back if you try it. Thank you for leaving a comment and rating the recipe! Happy holidays!
I really wanted to love this as I’ve made other recipes of yours but I ended up tossing the whole pot out . Maybe it’s just my particular taste buds but it ended up almost gamey from the chicken thighs and then far too sour with not enough actual lemon flavor . Ended up tasting overpowered with a dark chicken meat flavor and sour eggs , BUT again , maybe it’s just my taste
Hi Lindsay, I’m SO sorry you didn’t like the soup and you had to throw it out! That’s horrible that happened to you. I hope you have happy holidays coming up with lots of great tasting food!
I saw this video on tiktok and had to try it. I’ve never had or made anything like it, and it’s delicious. Thank you for sharing the recipe!
Hi Gillian, I’m so happy you liked the soup! And thank you for taking the time to comment and rate!
How much is 3 lemons juiced? I’m making this tonight and want to avoid making it too lemony!
Hi Ann, 3 medium sized lemons. If you’re not in LOVE with lemons, bump it down to 2 lemons.. let me know what happens.
my grandfather just passed in november of this year and this soup was just the thing my family needed when we missed him most. it’s so simple & so delicious. thank you so much for sharing!
Abigail this is the best comment .. warms my heart reading it!
I used 4 lemons (we LOVE lemons) and I used some Better Than Boullion in the broth. Very very very good! I’ll be adding this to my rotation of recipes!
Hi Amber! Love that you used 4 lemons! This is definitely the right dish for you! Thank you for rating and commenting on the dish too!
I could eat this every day! Thank you! I snuck in a bit of spinach so I could get my greens.
Hi Jen, Love the spinach add in here! Thank you!
Easy recipe & amazing soup! My Papou would approve!! I actually ended up adding more lemon … addicted. Thank you x
Hello Rebecca! Lemon is definitely addictive and i’m so glad papou would agree! That made me smile!
Just made this. Really great!!
Hi Emily, happy you liked the soup! Thanks for commenting and rating!
I love this soup and have shared it with countless friends, one of whom is Greek and gave her wholehearted endorsement of the delicious authenticity of the flavor.
Hi Michele! That is so wonderful to read! thank you! I’m very happy everyone loved the soup! It’s a family favorite for decades..
What would be a way to NOT use egg. I can’t have them. 🧐
Hi Jenna, The egg makes the soup creamy. You can just leave them out but then you will have a regular watery broth soup. It will still taste good. I would use chicken broth in place of the water though. Or half water and half broth. ANOTHER alternative is to make a corn starch slurry and add it in at the end. Hope this helps!
Love this soup! I did use only 2 large lemons and it was perfect.
Hi Jennifer! Makes me happy to read that it worked out for you and that you enjoyed the soup! Thank you for the comment and rating!
My husband and kiddos aren’t used strong lemony flavors the way I am. If your family is the same way I recommend using the juice of just one lemon to start with. That’s worked well for us. 🙂 Great soup, perfect comfort food.
If I make this with rice instead of orzo, do I have to cook the rice first?
Hi Ciara, No the rice cooks in the soup. Hope you enjoy!
I expected it to come out thicker than it did. I doubled the recipe and used five lemons total. The broth I found a little bland, so I added a pinch of thyme and paprika, and a tablespoon or two of garlic powder. It was quite tasty just more of a broth than creamy. When I shredded the chicken I removed all the skin and fat and only took the good lean meat. I have lunch for the next few days!
Hi Sydney, I’m glad you ended up liking it but sorry it didnt come out creamy for you.
The simplest and yummiest….you’ve taken the mystique out of this amazing comfort food! Thank you!
Hi Liza! I’m so happy to read that! Glad my mom’s recipe is being enjoyed!! Cheers!
Do you make the kissing sound when you add the egg and lemon as my mother always did?
ALWAYS hahahahaha I need to put that in the recipe instructions! Thanks!!!
I decided even though Florida is still really hot and crazy humid, AND we’re in the middle of Hurricane Ian, this soup looked soothing and delish! I cook a lot and followed the recipe exactly, not difficult, but my finished pot of soup was not thick and velvety. So knowing some cooking tricks I mixed up a slurry of cornstarch and the thin broth, stirred in and put the pot back on heat for a couple of minutes and VOILA…yummy, velvety and will be perfect through these next few rainy gray days! Thanks for sharing.
Hi Pam, Hope you’re keeping safe!! And thanks for the feedback and tips – always welcomed and appreciated!!
Congratulations on your website and recipes. I am a Greek from Greece living abroad, and I love the small twists and new ideas to older traditional recipes from our grandmothers. I would normally make this dish with rice but today I am following your recipe and using kritharaki (orzo) instead!
Do you think it’s important for the eggs to be at room temperature before making the avgolemono? To reduce the risk of egg turning to omelette in the pan? Or fridge temperature can still work?
Thanks! Keep sharing the love!
Hello and thank you for the kind message! I think that’s a great suggestion – that way they eggs will conform to the mixture quicker! Thank you for taking the time to share it! Cheers to you!
Making this for the third time, better than Yiayia’s lol just don’t tell her 🤣
Hi Jenny! Ahahahahaha thank you so much! And my lips are sealed!!!!
Just made this soup! It is so delicious and so easy to make! Will def. Have it on repeat this fall in my household!!
Hi Monica, so glad you like the soup! And yes it is a classic! Cheers!
made this tonight for dinner. we love trying new things and this did not disappoint. followed the recipe but measured 1/3 cup of lemon juice after reading some of the comments about it being too lemony. ended out using more than twice that in the end after tasting also added some chopped spinach. this is definitely a make again recipe! the lemon is a taste preference and we loved it!
Hello! Yes, everyone’s lemons preferences are different in range. And I’m so happy you liked the bones of the soup recipe! Thank you so much for the kind review!
This soup is amazing- we LOVED it! Thank you for sharing Stella. You are such a gift for those of us who struggle in the kitchen. Blessings to you!
Hi Kristina, You are so kind.. thanks for that message! And I’m happy you liked the soup!
I made this tonight and felt it needed more flavor. I added a couple of teaspoons of Better than bouillon and made a simple slurry as someone suggested to thicken.
I used 2 1/2 lemons.
Glad you liked the soup!
Really delicious thank you Stella, I normally add onions and carrots but I followed your recipe this time and it was very tasty. I’ve tried a few of your recipes now and I love them, if you could put the measurements also grams/kilos and ml for those of us over the pond that would be a great help
Hi Caroline, glad you liked the soup! ANd thanks for sharing your feedback! I did update my site recently to having both metrics I just need to go in and update each recipe unfortunatley! So moving forward the recipes should have both options! Sorry for that!
I just made this and I ADORE it! I did use one less lemon, and I added a good bit of dill at the end. Thank you for sharing this simple and healthy recipe with us. It’s going in our family favorites book!
Hi Kate, That is the best compliment that my family recipe is going into your family’s favorite book! Thank you so much!
Absolutely delicious. 10/10 recipe! My whole family loved it, even my picky 4 year old!
Hi Caitlin, SO happy the whole family enjoyed and thanks for trying the soup out!
So delicious and quick. Easy to follow recipe!!!
Hi Jerilyn, thank you for trying out the soup and the kind rating!
its the best soup ive ever tasted
Glad you enjoyed it!!!
I loved the taste of this soup but mine didn’t come out thick how yours looks. I even added extra egg yolks. I’m following your directions to the T. What am I doing wrong?
Hi Cara, I’m sorry the thickness wasn’t achieved! Make sure you’re whisking the egg mixutre while you’re pouring it in the soup.
Hey! This was delicious! My partner is Greek and she loves this soup and LOVES lemon so I thought I’d try and make her favourite soup. Very easy recipe to follow. Only thing is I messed up somehow and the broth isn’t creamy but it’s delicious nonetheless. Will be making many many more times!
Hi Erin, Glad you liked the overall outcome of the soup! Thank you so much for trying it out and I’m happy you guys both enjoyed it! Cheers!