Avgolemono Soup (Greek Lemony Chicken Soup) with Orzo and Spinach
Twenty minutes and six ingredients yield a creamy, dreamy Avgolemono soup to cure whatever ails ya.
We usually advise cooking the pasta separately when you make soup, but here the starch from the orzo is a critical component of the broth. It's magic...and science.
When chicken soup sounds really good
Today was — to put it mildly — not a great day for news. Gotta love a news cycle where the most hopeful thing you hear is that Tom Petty might not be quite dead yet. Jesus Christ, people. WTF.
Pretty much all the time, and especially at this moment, I’m grateful for the high number of chicken soup types in the world. Chicken noodle. Matzo Ball. Tom Yum Kai. Don’t even get me started.
Up today, a quick and easy take on the classic Greek lemony chicken soup Avgolemono. This is one of those recipes that will make you believe in magic. Six ingredients and twenty minutes come together into something much greater than the sum of their parts. Don’t ask. Just do it.
What is Avgolemono?
Avgolemono is named from the Greek words for egg and lemon. It’s a simple, seemingly magical emulsion of those ingredients that can act as a sauce (to serve over chicken, for example) in its thicker form or a soup with the addition of more broth. Don’t you love when science = magic? In this avgolemono soup recipe, the starch from the orzo helps to stabilize the emulsion and create a satisfying meal.
Avgolemono Soup Protips
The best part is that Avgolemono soup is one hell of an easy recipe. There are only two things to know. First, use a delicious, full-flavored chicken broth if possible. (Your favorite one from a box is fine, as long as you really like it.) Second, follow the recipe’s easy directions for tempering the eggs so you end up with a creamy soup and not a brothy soup with scrambled eggs in it. Don’t stress — it’s simple AF. But do it, please. Cool? Cool.
Then your soup — and, frankly, you — will be better than basically everyone in the world today. Except maybe poor Tom Petty.
- 8 cups good chicken broth
- 3/4 cup uncooked orzo pasta
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 cups shredded cooked chicken (see note)
- 3 cups baby spinach leaves
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Bring broth to a boil in a five-quart pot, covered, over high heat. Add orzo and simmer briskly, still covered, until al dente (a couple minutes shy of package directions). Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the eggs well with a fork. Beat in lemon juice and set aside.
- When orzo is just cooked, ladle out about a cup of hot broth into a measuring cup with a spout. Slowly pour hot broth into bowl with eggs and lemon juice, whisking constantly with a fork. This process tempers the eggs so they don’t scramble when you add them to the pot.
- Stir chicken and spinach into soup pot and simmer for a minute or two until spinach is wilted. Reduce heat until broth is no longer bubbling. Stir egg mixture into soup and cook over low heat for a minute or two, until broth looks creamy and is slightly thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste and ladle soup into serving bowls.
- If you need to reheat leftovers, do so gently and without boiling.
Use rotisserie or leftover chicken, or quickly sauté a pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a little olive oil while you bring the broth to a boil.