Secrets to Longevity & Greek Lemon Chicken Soup (Avgolemono)

I am so glad that the temps dropped from high 80s to the low 40s just so I could post this recipe. You never know when it’s going to be a soup day.

My grandparents are Greek and there a few things that my Grandmother makes that will always remind me of her: her Greek cookies, roasted Greek chicken and avgolemono soup. This soup is so yummy and comforting, bursting with lemon flavor. This isn’t her recipe but a modified version.

I am so lucky to have both of my grandparents still around and active (Gigi lives in Texas down the street from my parents and Grandpa lives in Michigan). My kids have grown to love their great-grandparents which is wonderful. If I even suggested at my grandmother’s age she’d kill me, but she is a great role model for good health and still gets her butt in the kitchen to cook herself dinner.

I think what keeps her so healthy is a good sense of humor, activity, home cooked food and wine. It’s my secret to you. I know 30 year olds with more medical problems and weight issues that my grandmother so it just goes to show you that we can live a long healthy life if we just take care of ourselves.

Here she is…cute isn’t she?

You can make it with rice or orzo and you can add more chicken broth as needed since the second day the starch will absorb a lot of the liquid. Next time you have a drop in temperatures, make this soup. It will comfort your soul.

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup (Avgolemono)
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized chunks
  • 1½ cup diced onion
  • ¾ cup chopped celery
  • ¾ cup diced carrots
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 6 cups organic chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • ¾ cup dried orzo
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh ground pepper and salt to taste
  1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in soup pot over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and add to the pot, cook ~ 5 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove chicken from pot and set aside.
  2. Add 2 more teaspoons of oil to the pot. Add onions, celery, carrots and thyme and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add 5 cups of the chicken broth and 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add orzo and let simmer until tender, about 8 minutes. Turn heat down to low to keep soup hot.
  3. Warm remaining 1 cup chicken broth in a small saucepan until it's hot, but not boiling. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and gradually whisk lemon juice into the eggs. Then gradually add the hot broth to the egg-lemon mixture, whisking the entire time. Add the mixture to the soup, stirring well until the soup is thickened. Add cooked chicken back to the soup and season with salt & pepper. Do not let soup come to a boil or it will curdle.
To make this gluten-free, just substitute rice for the orzo. This is a thick soup. If you want it thinner, just add less starch (rice or orzo) or more liquid (broth/water).

Question: Is there a food that recipes you of your grandmother/father?


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  1. Gretchen Hokenson says

    Sounds good! I need to try it soon! I might do chick peas for the chicken for a vegan soup. We love chickpeas in soups.

    • Melanie Flinn, MS, RD says

      I think chick peas would work nicely! Hopefully you will get a break from the heat soon. :)

  2. Jennifer | Mother Thyme says

    That is so sweet about your grandparents. My grandmother is still around and my kids call her Gigi. It goes to show you that good health and taking care of yourself now means so much; especially later in life. I am such a fan of soups and I just love this one. I will definitely be making this one soon.

  3. says

    I love this recipe–will have to try this version. Have made the original version a few times. Love the photo of GIGI since it really is one of her specialties–it really is ike a medicine–cures whatever ails you! And so yummy too. Yes, I think good healthy home cooked food and vino pays off healthwise. That mediteranean diet makes sense. xo Mimi

  4. says

    I love avgolemono and was happy to stumble upon your vegetable-filled take on the recipe!

    As for foods that remind me of my grandmother, I’d have to say home-made pie. My grandma makes rolling pie dough seem like the easiest thing in the world.

    • Melanie Flinn, MS, RD says

      Thanks for your comment Katy! Ah, that’s one thing I have definitely not mastered- pie dough! I keep trying, but it’s never perfect. Oh well, something to work on! 😉

  5. Heather says

    Made this last night for my husband and kids and they loved it! It was perfect! My husband is greek and said his mom and yia yia used to make it all the time and it was one of his favorites. He said this version was perfect and will go in my recipe book as a hit in our home. Thank you!

    • Melanie Flinn, MS, RD says

      Heather- you are so welcome and thanks for the comment. I just got it as my site was undergoing some changes. Glad you both liked it! Melanie

  6. Marie says

    This soup was a big hit and delicious! The only thing I did differently was boil a whole chicken that I already had in the fridge (used the stock and only the breast for this recipe) and increased the amount lemon juice …. just because we love the ‘lemony’ flavor! I purposefully made it on Sunday to eat on Monday. To me, soups and stews tend to taste even better the next day!

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