Greek Egg-Lemon Chicken Soup (Avgolemono Soup) with Rice or Cauliflower Rice
Greek Egg-Lemon Soup (Avgolemono Soup) is traditionally made with low-glycemic Uncle Ben’s rice, but it was also delicious with cauliflower rice for a low-carb version! Use the Recipes-by-Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like this one.
Greek Avgolemono Soup or Egg-Lemon Chicken Soup
is one of those dishes I’ve been passionately in love with ever since the first time I tried it, probably back 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 Avgolemono Soup at The Other Place
, a Greek-American restaurant in Salt Lake City, and I still like their version of this classic Greek soup.
I first made this soup for the blog in 2006, and my version has dried parsley and dried thyme added to the stock, plus a little lemon zest, an idea that came from The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines
, a very old cookbook with lots of good ideas.
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 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.
In the original recipe I started with chicken thighs and cooked them to make broth, but now I usually make the soup with leftover rotisserie chicken and chicken stock from the freezer
. Recently I had both 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
It was definitely a success with the cauliflower rice, although I have to be honest and say that I like the soup a best with the Low-Glycemic Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice I normally use. But for a delicious low-carb soup, this 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, enjoy!
(My version of Greek Egg-Lemon Chicken Soup was updated with cauliflower rice in 2015.)
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. Saute the onion the onion, dried parsley, and dried thyme and then simmer with homemade chicken stock
for 10-15 minutes.
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. For rice, measure 1/2 cup rice, preferably Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice
. Add the raw cauliflower (or rice) to the stock mixture and simmer until until it’s done, about 20-25 minutes for rice or cauliflower. Add the diced chicken to the soup and simmer over very low heat for 5 minutes.
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
.) Beat eggs until they look frothy, then whisk in the lemon zest and lemon juice. 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. (Some Greeks make this soup with just chicken stock, rice, and the Avgolemono sauce, but I always like the bits of chicken in the soup.)
So you can see my photography progress, here’s the photo from 2011.
And just for fun, here’s my original Avgolemono Soup photo from back in 2006!
Egg-Lemon Chicken Soup (Avgolemono Soup) with Rice or Cauliflower Rice
(Makes 4-6 servings, adapted from The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines
Ingredients if you don’t have leftover chicken or turkey:
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or 2 chicken breasts
6 cups water or chicken stock
1 T chicken soup base (if cooking thighs in water)
Ingredients with cooked leftover chicken:
6 cups chicken stock (I use my homemade chicken stock)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1-2 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. dried parsley (or a little less)
1 tsp. dried thyme (or a little less)
1/2 cup Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice (not instant) OR 1 1/2 cups finely chopped raw cauliflower, chopped in the food processor to make cauliflower rice
2 cups diced leftover chicken
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (or more if you like it really lemony)
1 tsp. lemon zest (grated lemon rind)
Instructions if you need to cook the chicken:
Trim all visible fat and tendons from chicken thighs or breasts, then cook in water with chicken soup base added (or use homemade chicken stock if you have some) until cooked through. Remove chicken pieces to cool, and strain liquid to use in the soup. Dice the chicken. (Follow the rest of the recipe as below.)
Instructions if you have leftover chicken:
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. Add the dried parsley and dried thyme and cook a minute or two more. Add the 6 cups chicken stock to the soup pot and simmer 10-15 minutes. 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, then stir in the diced leftover chicken (or turkey), turn heat to lowest possible setting, and cook about 5 minutes more.
Zest a lemon and then squeeze additional lemons to get 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice. Beat eggs with whisk until they are starting to get frothy; then whisk in lemon juice and lemon zest. Remove one cup of hot broth from the soup, let the broth cool slightly, and then whisk 1/2 cup and then another 1/2 cup into the egg mixture, beating well between each addition.
Whisk this mixture into the big pot of soup (be sure the temperature is very low) and let the soup heat gently. DO NOT BOIL after the egg-lemon mixture has been added. 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.
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 this soup would be good for phase 2 or 3 of the 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 the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan.
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.
More Fun Ideas with Chicken and Greek Flavors:
Slow Cooker Cauiflower Rice Greek Chicken Bowl ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Low-Carb Avgolemono Soup (with spaghetti squash) ~ I breathe I’m Hungry
CrockPot Greek Chicken Soup with Garbanzos and Oregano ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Slow Cooker Greek Chicken Tacos ~ Farm Fresh Feasts
Marinate All Day Greek Lemon Chicken ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen