Love and Olive Oil

Greek Lemon Soup with Chicken and Orzo

Greek Lemon Soup with Chicken and Orzo

When you first see the recipe for this soup, you may think it sounds weird. After all, egg yolks aren’t exactly a typical ingredient in soup.

And let me assure you the resulting soup isn’t ‘eggy’ tasting at all. Rather, the acidic lemon cuts through the rich yolks and savory broth, making for a perfectly balanced, and perfectly creamy soup.

Greek Lemon Soup with Chicken and Orzo

It’s not a soup that cries out for a lot of stuff either. In fact, the watercress on top was just an afterthought here (we had some left over from a shoot earlier in the week), but I thought the radish-like spiciness was the perfect complement to the creamy yellow base.

We preferred the slightly sweeter Meyer lemon in this recipe; when we made it with regular lemon the result was slightly metallic tasting, almost too tart to be enjoyable. So if you do use regular lemon, unless you are a die-hard lemon lover, you may want to reduce the lemon juice just a squidge.

Greek Lemon Soup with Chicken and Orzo

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  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
  • kosher salt and black pepper


  1. In a large saucepan set over medium-high heat, bring the broth to a boil. Add the orzo and boil until just tender, about 7 minutes (1 to 2 minutes less than the package directions).
  2. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks until lightened in color. Slowly drizzle in 1 cup of the hot broth, whisking vigorously, until egg mixture is hot to the touch. Take your time, you want to temper the egg yolks here rather than cook them. Add the egg mixture to the saucepan, reduce heat to medium, and cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened to the consistency of heavy cream, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in lemon juice.
  3. Add the chicken and cook for another minute or two until chicken is heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe from Real Simple.

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  1. There are a few versions of this online, but, I find the simplicity here to make it the best. Agree on the Meyer lemons. I was lucky enough to have just made Marcela Hazan’s roast chicken, with 2 lemons. So, I made stock from the left-overs, using the zest and what juice was left over from the two lemons, and left-over meat. I have made this recipe before but with this approach, it was divine.

    Wanted to say thank you for this.

  2. The recipe is really well written. As written, it’s a hearty soup. For a more authentic soup, I’d use a lot less chicken. It’s the egg enriched lemony broth that is what I crave. I used Meyer lemon but added one regular lemon after tasting. Thanks for the fab recipe!

  3. Love this soup! I make it often as I always have leftovers egg yolks. 

  4. There was a Greek restaurant in my town that made an AMAZING lemon orzo chicken soup. I’m not a big soup person, but once I tried it, I was hooked. 

    The restaurant decided to suddenly move, but they didn’t have a new location set up. I guess the rent was too high (not a shock for this area).   They kept in touch on Facebook, but two years went by without the restaurant finding a new location. 

    For me, that was at least two years without the soup. It was time to find a recipe. 

    Did a Google search and found a lot of recipes, but the soup didn’t look right. Added herbs, and the wrong color. I thought the pale yellow came from cream. 

    I came across this recipe and it looked right. Then I saw the comment about the eggs. I decided to try it. 

    It was the flavor I had been looking for over two years!!

    I make this recipe at least twice a month, and broth, an extra dozen eggs, orzo, and lemons are always in the house. Delicious!

    Oh, I always add extra lemon because I love the tartness. 

  5. This soup is not what I expected and tastes really bland and unappetizing. Not even sure how to make it better.

  6. This soup was amazingly easy and delicious! It does require more lemon than suggested and way more pasta and salt. I probably used a full cup of pasta and 1/2 cup of lemon juice. Once I added the extra pasta it got to the consistency of thickness/creaminess it should be. I worked at a greek diner in college and I used to have a bowl every time I worked! I haven’t been able to find a soup that comes close to theirs and yours is spot on!! Thank you!

  7. Delicious, but mine curdled a bit. I was really careful and slow tempering the eggs, too. Still yummy.

  8. There was a Greek restaurant that we went to frequently that made this soup. I’m not a big soup person, but I’d have it every time I went in. 

    They closed about 3 years ago to try to find a new lease. They never did. 

    I got sick of waiting and Googled “Greek lemon chicken soup”. Of the options, this recipe looked the closest to what I was used to eating. And it tastes the closest!!! I make it every week now. 

  9. I added the egg yolks with the lemon juice but used a hand mixer. I watched my greek mother-in-law make this soup countless times. The key is patience when adding the hot broth!! Yummy!!

  10. Soooo good. I added the juice of a clementine also. Can we freeze leftovers? I wasn’t sure with the egg yolks.

  11. Simply A-mazing!!! Egg yolks made the difference! Sooo rich and delightfully lemony! Yes, as someone mentioned, a few steps… but worked out perfectly, to prepare the following step… and clean behind yourself, so sitting and enjoying was truly a pleasure ~~ best of all… clean kitchen!

  12. I had authentic greek lemon chicken soup recently and started craving it. This recipe is exactly the same as the soup I had at the greek restaurant. LOVED it! Thank you for sharing!

  13. Absolutely delicious!

  14. I like to add lots of Parsley and mint at the end to pump up the greek flavor

  15. Beautiful and yummy. I grew up eating this from the aunts that came from Greece. My Nona used 3 hr simmered chicken broth from scratch 12 eggs and 12 lemons to create a thick savory soupa. Our soup was fresh and tangy. We used rice or tiny noodles from the Greek store however this soup is an act of love. It is long and tedious but my family desires it above almost any other meal. :) 

  16. Just made this soup today and it came out as described- silky smooth and the flavor was perfect.  I used 1/4 cup of minute maid lemon juice and it was just the right amount of lemon flavor.  Thanks for a great recipe, will be making again!

  17. This was so delicious, easy to make, and healthy!  I will definitely be making this regularly!  I’ve already made it twice in 2 weeks and shared it with friends. Better than one of the Greek restaurant soups I’ve had. This is amazing!  Thank you!

  18. aww man. this soup looks beautiful, and I was dreaming about it all day as a way to use up my leftover egg yolks from a cake I made last night. I don’t know if my stovetop runs hot or what, but  even though I followed the directions re: temperature, the egg cooked weirdly and turned a bit lumpy as soon as I added the stock/egg mixture back into the pot :( still tastes ok but definitely not as silky/tasty as it would’ve been. very sad.

  19. After you add the egg mixture back into the pot DO NOT BOIL IT! Doing so creates a separated broth and you do not end up with the creamy texture that is desired. I’m sure it altered the taste as well. 

  20. This looks absolutely incredible. And perfect for the start of spring!! 

  21. This is one of my favorite soups! I can’t wait to try your recipe!

  22. Hi there! Actually here in Greece we use the Egg-Lemon mix for all soups. So what you are describing would be called a chicken soup here in Greece!  :)
    I just wanted to add a few tips… You can use the whole egg, not only yolks. The lemon is added slowly in the beaten egg while you still continue to stir the mixture. After that you add the brooth with a slow pace – still you continue stirring – so that the egg does not boil – the more brooth you add, the lesser the posibilities for your egg to boil.

    I use a handmixer, it makes it easier  ; )

  23. Yum, this looks really refreshing and comforting at the same time!

  24. Smart idea using meyer lemons! I made this soup once and I felt it was too lemony too.

  25. So glad I discovered this blog ((although I’m clearly 7 years late to the party!) – this soup was DELICIOUS and I’m planning to make your no bake honey roasted peanut and banana cake later. excited! Thank you!

  26. Just made the soup! Thank you for the recipe, it was a hit! Love it!

  27. I just saw you on a Top 10 list. Congrats!!! Looks good. I follow Smitten Kitchen and Cooking With Mr. C.  I will now add you to my favorites.    Dana

  28. This is my FAVORITE type of soup! I love it with a scoop of perfectly cooked white rice. It’s so warm and comforting, but the lemon provides lightness and freshness!

  29. It look perfect!

  30. Lindsay, this soup is beautiful!

  31. There is a Greek restaurant that I always order this soup, love that you made it at home! I am so intrigued by the yolks. 

  32. I used eggs to make a Belgian fish stew a while back and was equally skeptical of the eggs, thinking it’d come out like an egg drop soup, but like you, I had wonderfully creamy results. Can’t wait to try this!

  33. Oh how funny I just made that Real Simple recipe last week and am working on an adaptation w/chickpeas and rice! Love how nourishing this soup is.

  34. This soup sounds unique and tasty. I love that the egg adds creaminess, and lemon and chicken are made for each other. 

  35. Gorgeous!!! Love the background! 

  36. What a beautiful soup!

  37. I Love this soup — I make mine with rice, but I’m going to try the orzo…the silky lemony broth is unique!

  38. This is one of my favorite Greek soups when my giant Greek family gets together and dines (what else would we be doing??)! 

  39. I love that this soup looks so creamy and luscious without the use of heavy cream.  I can’t wait to try it!  

  40. What a lovely soup!  I’m a Greek food fan so I need to try this yumminess.

  41. Gorgeous and oh so comforting! I’d love to curl up with a bowl right about now and say “BOO!” to old man winter.

  42. Yummy, I too am whipping up something Greek today

  43. Just reading the word “lemons” is making me pucker.  This sounds great and looks super simple, I can’t wait to try it!  Beautiful pattern, love it.

  44. Hi Lindsay. Did you know egg whites can be frozen and saved for later? A good tip w this recipe since some people may back away fr trying w a bit of fear of wasting. But I love egg white omelettes so advice that I don’t even use! ;)

  45. Sounds very intriguing and the stunning pictures just makes me want to try this.

  46. Sounds very interesting! We are intrigued!

  47. looks so delicious!!! and the pictures are amazing!!

  48. I grew up eating this soup….an absolute favorite!  Yours looks especially gorgeous.

  49. I like weird, so I am convinced, hahaha. 

  50. So beautiful! The images, the recipe, the fact that you oh just randomly had watercress laying around, that cool surface. Love it all. pinned

  51. These pictures are GORGEOUS! I love the simplicity of the styling.
    I have seen soups like this on menus at Greek restaurants and have always wondered how they taste…love that I can make my own! I bet that egg yolk makes this soup extra rich and creamy!

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