Yia-yia's Avgolemono

READY IN: 30mins
Recipe by Melanie Wilke

This is my Yia-yia's (greek for grandma) original recipe. She made this for us whenever we got sick, but also as an appetizer at big family get-togethers. I've seen lots of recipes with sauces and vegetables, etc. but this is a simple, original recipe. It's supposed to be fairly neutral except for the lemon.

Top Review by Marla Swoffer

Having made this twice now, I would advise less orzo or more broth--otherwise, the orzo absorbs most of the liquid which turns this into a soupy pasta dish. With only a half cup of orzo, it earns five stars--with the full amount (even with 45oz of broth), it goes down to three. This is one of those dishes that you have to get just right or it wrecks the whole thing. That said, it's fairly simple to do.

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup orzo pasta (these are small pasta noodles that look like rice)
  • 1 (32 ounce) can chicken broth (use a smaller or larger can depending on how soupy you want it - I usually use use about 45 oz.)
  • 1 lemon


  1. Bring the chicken broth to a boil.
  2. Add the orzo noodles to the broth and cook, covered, on a very low boil, until the noodles are al dente- it should take 8-12 minutes, roughly.
  3. While the orzo is cooking, separate the whites from yolks, and put the whites in a very large mixing bowl.
  4. Beat the whites until they're as fluffy as you can get them.
  5. Add almost all of the juice from the lemon (keep a little left over in a small bowl- people will use this later for adjusting the taste of their own soup).
  6. Beat the egg-lemon mixture again, get it very fluffy.
  7. Add the yolks, and beat.
  8. When the orzo noodles are done, remove the pot from the heat.
  9. Add one ladleful of broth (avoid the noodles) to the egg-lemon mixture, and beat until fluffy.
  10. Continue, one ladle at a time, until you can't get any broth out of the pot.
  11. Pour the contents of the bowl back into the pot, and cook it slightly below a boil for just a few minutes.
  12. DO NOT allow it to boil- the eggs will cook too much and you will get a grainy white residue in your soup.
  13. Serve immediately with thick bread and offer the extra lemon juice to anyone who would like their soup to be more citrusy.

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