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Egg and lemon soup – how to make avgolemono

January 5, 2017

how to make egg and lemon - avgolemono - soup on my custard pieThis is the ultimate frugal soup if you live in rural Cyprus and keep your own hens. Don’t worry, it’s fine if you don’t. It’s also bloody delicious despite the unpromising name. In our family it’s usually tacked on at the beginning of the Christmas feast as KP adores it, but this year made an appearance on New Year’s Day where its properties as a restorative for mind, body and soul were proven beyond the shadow of a doubt (ok I might mean hangover cure).  So how do you make it?

First take one elderly hen that’s stopped laying and make a deep, flavourful chicken stock. Then add onion celery and a handful of rice (sometimes fine cubes of potato are added too) then stir beaten egg into the hot broth to thicken but not scramble (like you do in a Carbonara). Lemon juice is added at the end to lift the whole thing to a fragrant, moreish, velvety broth. Alternatively you can use the (much simpler) recipe below. It works well with stock made from the turkey carcass but the stock cube version is actually KP’s favourite – and you know me too well to never endorse stock cubes unless it really did taste exceptional.

This is a family recipe complete with quirky notes from KP’s Mum and Grandma.

Egg and lemon (avgolemono) soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 4 pints water (approx.)
  • 3 chicken stock cubes or equivalent fresh chicken or turkey stock
  • 1 medium potato — diced small (optional)
  • 1 medium onion – chopped
  • 1 or 2 sticks celery (according to size) — chopped
  • 1/2 cup long grain rice
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 lemons (if small may need another 1) — juice only


  1. Put water in saucepan with potato, onion and celery. Bring to the boil.
  2. Add the stock cubes or equivalent and dissolve.
  3. Turn heat down so that the liquid is simmering. Simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Bring back to the boil and add the rice. Boil gently for a further 20 minutes to cook the rice.
  5. Take saucepan off the heat and allow to cool a little.
  6. Whisk the eggs in a basin using a balloon whisk.
  7. Whisk a little of the lemon juice into the beaten eggs. Use a spoon to dribble the lemon juice, a drop at a time. It is about 2 teaspoons. (I am not sure why I do this except Mother and Auntie Sophia used to.)
  8. Add most of the lemon juice to the liquid and rice and whisk it in. If you have a lot of lemon juice use your judgement as to how much you add to start with. You can always add more but not take out.
  9. Using a soup ladle whisk some of the liquid in to the eggs and then pour all the egg mixture in to the liquid and whisk well.
  10. Taste (and ask KP to taste if it is “lemony” enough).

Note: The only things to beware of are adding the eggs when the liquid is too warm or boiling after eggs added. I have found that if I take the saucepan off the heat before doing steps 6 onwards it is about right.

how to make egg and lemon - avgolemono - soup on my custard pieLet me know if you try it. It’s perfect for a Dubai winter as comforting but refreshing at the same time. Free range eggs from happy hens will make this the soup taste even better.  I’m just off to have another bowlful for lunch.

Happy New Year by the way. I’m not making any grand resolutions (no dry January or formal diets) just a few focussed goals to work on. It does feel like a new broom as one year ends and the other begins… even though really it’s just another day! Do you feel the same or do you find resolutions helpful?


  1. suesharpe04 permalink
    January 5, 2017 12:50 pm

    Looks and sounds divine (and very easy to make)! Must give this a go.
    Happy New Year to you too!

  2. January 5, 2017 1:35 pm

    Hello Sally and Happy New Year. This soup sounds really delicious – I love the idea of a rich, savoury poulty stock and then changing it up with egg and lemon. As mentioned, I’ve seen a Polish recipe where you essentially slow boil chicken stock then add rice and then lemon and eggs which becomes the ultimate one pot uplifting meal…might have a go at both!

  3. January 5, 2017 2:40 pm

    I wouldn’t have even thought of egg and lemon soup, but I can see from ingredients and method that this soup is nice one and I’d like it. Will mark it to my cook some day list. Avgolemono it is, I can now play food nerd, who knew there’s soup with that name…except Cyprians 🙂

  4. January 5, 2017 5:19 pm

    It sounds and looks delicious! Such a wonderful combination of flavours and ingredients.



  5. The Real Geordie Armani permalink
    January 5, 2017 5:43 pm

    Sounds interesting, I think I will miss the bit out about the old hen and use my trusty Knorr stock pots! Happy New Year to you all 🙂

  6. crasterkipper permalink
    January 6, 2017 12:12 am

    Mmm, I live on soups through the winter – a large pan keeps me going for days & keeps the chills away! Currently have polish style gherkin soup in the pot (with a dollop of sour cream). I think I will definitely try this next.

  7. mrsladynofohio permalink
    January 6, 2017 4:33 pm

    I cannot wait to make this. Yummy!

  8. January 6, 2017 6:46 pm

    Sounds great! I have never heard of avgolemono soup before… and I’m very intrigued. It would be perfect for Inheritance Recipes as well.

  9. January 7, 2017 3:01 am

    I lived on this soup – I called it “nana’s Greek soup” because my grandma was the only one who knew how to make it….Mmmm brings back childhood memories

  10. Katie Bryson permalink
    January 9, 2017 10:48 pm

    Oh wow what a glorious sounding soup – I love the sound of this! I love a decent bowl of restorative chicken soup… haven’t had a proper home-made one in a very long time… I must have a try at your recipe. Happy New Year!!!!!!

  11. January 10, 2017 4:12 pm

    Mmmmmm this one of those soups that I have heard of but never really thought of making – and now I have no idea why! I would be a little nervous of scrambling my eggs ;o) Sounds fabulously soothing and nourishing!

  12. January 11, 2017 1:10 pm

    I have always wanted to make this soup, as a huge fan of lemons I love to try it in as many ways as possible and this soup has always appealed to me. I bet it tasted incredible, I’ll let you know how I get on!

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