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Kalyn's Kitchen

Greek Egg-Lemon Chicken Soup with Rice or Cauliflower Rice

Greek Egg-Lemon Chicken Soup is traditionally made with rice, but it was equally delicious with cauliflower rice for a low-carb version! 

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Greek Egg-Lemon Chicken Soup with Rice or Cauliflower Rice title photo

This Greek Egg-Lemon Chicken Soup with Rice or Cauliflower Rice is a fun twist on Greek Avgolemono Soup, which is one of those dishes I’ve been passionately in love with ever since the first time I tried it! And I think I first had Egg Lemon Chicken Soup in college, so that’s a long time I’ve been loving this chicken and rice soup that’s thickened with eggs and lemon. I’m guessing I first tasted the soup at The Other Place, a Greek-American restaurant in Salt Lake City, and I still like their version of this classic Greek dish. 

I first made this soup for the blog in 2006 (!) and that version was adapted from The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines (affiliate link), a very old cookbook with lots of good ideas. I make the soup with leftover rotisserie chicken and chicken stock from the freezer, and I had those things on hand when the idea struck me to try making a low-carb version of this favorite soup by replacing the rice with cauliflower rice!

I have to be honest and say that if I was seriously in need of comfort food, I’d probably make this soup less often and use the low-glycemic Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice (affiliate link) that so many Greek cooks use in the U.S. But for a delicious low-carb soup, the Egg-Lemon Greek Chicken Soup with Cauliflower Rice was really good. And personally I think this is a pretty healthy soup no matter whether you use rice or cauliflower rice, and I’m featuring it for this week’s Friday Favorites post to see if I can entice you to make it; enjoy!

What is Avgolemono Sauce? 

What makes this soup special is the Avgolemono Sauce that you mix into the soup to thicken it, a mixture of beaten eggs, and fresh lemon juice and zest that’s mixed with some of the hot soup and then gently stirred back into the rest of the soup. The egg-lemon sauce that thickens the soup is one of the classic sauces in Greek cuisine! Avgolemono Sauce isn’t really that difficult to make, but you must be careful not to let the soup boil after it’s been added or it will curdle the soup.

Greek Egg-Lemon Chicken Soup with Rice or Cauliflower Rice process shots collage

How to Make Greek Egg-Lemon Chicken Soup with Rice or Cauliflower Rice:

(Scroll down for complete recipe including nutritional information.)

  1. If you don’t have leftover cooked chicken you’ll need to cook 3-4 chicken thighs or 2 chicken breasts in some chicken stock, but I had rotisserie chicken that I just cut up to make 2 cups diced chicken. Use a bit more chicken if you prefer a thicker soup.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot and saute the onion the onion until it’s barely starting to brown.
  3. Then add dried parsley, and dried thyme and cook a few minutes more. 
  4. Add homemade chicken stock (or canned chicken brother) and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  5. If you’re going to use cauliflower rice, buzz chopped cauliflower in the food processor until you have about 1 1/2 cups chopped cauliflower, or use frozen cauliflower rice if you want to make it easy. 
  6. For rice, measure 1/2 cup rice, preferably Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice (affiliate link). 
  7. Add the raw cauliflower (or rice) to the stock mixture and simmer until until it’s done, about 20-25 minutes for rice or fresh cauliflower rice, and slightly less for frozen cauliflower rice. 
  8. Add the diced chicken to the soup and simmer over very low heat for 5  minutes.
  9. Zest a lemon and measure out 1 teaspoon of lemon zest.  Then squeeze that lemon and enough more to get 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice.  (You can also use fresh-frozen lemon juice.) 
  10. Beat eggs until they look frothy, then whisk in the lemon zest and lemon juice.
  11. Remove one cup hot broth from the soup and whisk into the egg mixture a little at a time. Then stir the egg-lemon mixture back into the soup and cook over the lowest possible heat until it thickens, but do not boil. 
  12. Some Greeks make this soup with just chicken stock, rice, and the Avgolemono sauce, but I always like the pieces of chicken in the soup.

close-up photo of Greek Egg-Lemon Chicken Soup with Rice or Cauliflower Rice

Yes, I REALLY Love Greek Chicken:

Easy Low-Carb Greek Chicken Bake
Marinate All Day Greek Lemon Chicken 
Low-Carb Greek Chicken, Green Beans, and Tomatoes Sheet Pan Meal
Low-Carb Grilled Greek Chicken Packets
Instant Pot Low-Carb Greek Chicken Tacos
Instant Pot Low-Carb Cauliflower Rice Greek Chicken Bowls 
Very Greek Grilled Chicken

Greek Egg-Lemon Chicken Soup with Rice or Cauliflower Rice

Greek Egg-Lemon Chicken Soup with Rice or Cauliflower Rice

Yield 6 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Greek Egg-Lemon Chicken Soup is traditionally made with low-glycemic Uncle Ben's rice, but it was delicious with cauliflower rice for a low-carb option.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups chicken stock (I use my homemade chicken stock)
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. dried parsley (or a little less)
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme (or a little less)
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen cauliflower rice (see notes)
  • 2 cups diced leftover chicken (see notes)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (or more if you like it really lemony)
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest (grated lemon rind)

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy soup pot, add the onion and cook over medium-high heat until the onion is softened and starting to brown.
  2. Add the dried parsley and dried thyme and cook a minute or two more.
  3. Add the 6 cups chicken stock to the soup pot and simmer 10-15 minutes.
  4. Add the rice or raw cauliflower rice and simmer over medium-low heat until rice is tender or cauliflower is fully cooked, about 20-25 minutes.
  5. Then stir in the diced leftover chicken.
  6. Turn heat to lowest possible setting, and cook about 5 minutes more.
  7. Zest a lemon and then squeeze additional lemons to get 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice.
  8. Beat eggs with whisk until they are starting to get frothy; then whisk in lemon juice and lemon zest.
  9. Remove one cup of hot broth from the soup, let the broth cool slightly.
  10. Then whisk 1/2 cup broth and then another 1/2 cup into the egg mixture, beating well between each addition.
  11. Whisk this mixture into the big pot of soup (be sure the temperature is very low) and let the soup heat gently.
  12. DO NOT BOIL after the egg-lemon mixture has been added.

Notes

You can use fresh cauliflower that's finely chopped in the food processor to make cauliflower rice or frozen cauliflower rice for this recipe, or use Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice (not instant) for the traditional soup if you don't care about carbs. Use a bit more chicken if you prefer a thicker soup.

This soup cannot be frozen and must be reheated carefully or the eggs will curdle the broth.  It will keep in the fridge for a few days, but it’s best freshly made.

Nutritional information is for the soup with cauliflower rice.

Recipe adapted from The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines (affiliate link).

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 261Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 143mgSodium: 420mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 21g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

Greek Egg-Lemon Chicken Soup with Rice or Cauliflower Rice thumbnail photo

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice is the lowest-glycemic type of white rice, and if you use that for this Greek Egg-Lemon Chicken Soup it would be good for phase 2 or 3 of the original South Beach Diet. Using cauliflower rice would make this a very low-carb soup, suitable for any phase of the South Beach Diet or any other type of low-carb eating plan.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Soup Recipes to find more recipes like this one. Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan.

Historical Notes for this Recipe:
I first made this delicious Egg Lemon Chicken Soup for the blog in 2006. Recipe was updated with better instructions March, 2020.

Pinterest image of Greek Egg-Lemon Chicken Soup with Rice or Cauliflower Rice (Avgolemono Soup)

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    43 Comments on “Greek Egg-Lemon Chicken Soup with Rice or Cauliflower Rice”

  1. Could you use frozen cauliflower rice in this recipe? If yes, would you add it frozen? Heat it up halfway/all the way before adding it to the soup? I have a lot of the frozen cauliflower on hand so whenever I can I prefer to use it vs. buying more and making it from scratch.

    • I haven’t made it with frozen cauliflower rice, but I think it will work. I would probably let the rice thaw on the counter top while you cook the soup to the point of adding the rice. Then add the semi-frozen cauliflower rice and simmer as in the recipe. I’d start to check for doneness of the cauliflower rice after about 15 minutes, although I’m not completely sure how long it will take.

      And this is just my best guess about how it would work! I’d love to hear back if you try it!

  2. I thought it was suppose to be made with orzo not rice…

    • I’ve had this in Greece and in many Greek restaurants and never seen it made with orzo. But i’m guessing it’s one of those classic dishes that has many variations.

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  5. I thought this wonderful soup was made with orzo usually; but rice seems good too; and glad to know that converted rice is low-glycemic–did not know that.

    • You're the second person who has mentioned orzo, but I've never had it that way. Yes, I was so excited when I discovered that the converting process for rice makes it much lower on the glycemic index! Hope you enjoy the soup.

  6. Kalyn, you are right on time; must have read my mind. I was looking for an Avgolemono Soup recipe. Thanks. I will make cauliflower rice for myself and orzo for my husband (he tolerates starch better than me). Thanks again, I will try this. I made your Chicken Paprikash over the weekend. Very yummy. Thank you for all your work. It is appreciated.

  7. I'm definitely going to try this cauliflower rice version!!

    p.s. In your instructions before the actual recipe, you say to zest a lemon and measure out 1 tsp of lemon juice instead of 1 tsp of lemon zest!!

  8. Debra thanks! So glad you liked it.

  9. Delicious!! Thanks!!

  10. Oh my, this is a one for me. Love it.

  11. I'm sorry that your internet speed is making it frustrating to see the recipe; unfortunately there are over 2,200 recipes on the site so there's no way I have time to add something like that for that many recipes.

  12. For those with a slower connection that wish the recipe came up before the process photos, would it be possible to add an internal link that jumps directly to the recipe without changing the format?

  13. Hi Kalyn – Quick question. Does the cauliflower rice need to be cooked per the recipe before being added to the soup, or do you just add the processed raw cauliflower directly into the soup? Thanks for the clarification. PS. My husband and I have been using your blog as part of our 2014 New Years resolution and it's still going strong into 2015. Thank you!

  14. Anne hope you enjoy! I love seeing the improvement from the old photos.

  15. Adding to my collection of cauliflower-rice-friendly recipes! Love those flavors. Also ADORE the 9 year old photo. Here's to evolution!

    ~ Anne