Cozy Lemon Chicken & Rice Soup

October 25, 2021

My Cozy Lemon Chicken & Rice Soup is a warm and cozy concoction filled with tender chicken, soft rice, and zesty lemon. This hearty soup is inspired by my late grandmother Peris’ traditional egg-lemon soup recipe, and it also tastes a lot like the avgolemono soup from one of my favorite San Francisco restaurants, Souvla. It’s truly a hug in a cup (or bowl!).

A bowl of cozy lemon chicken and rice soup, topped with sliced lemons and cilantro, sitting on top of a cutting board with utensils in the background.

Lemon, chicken, and rice are three of my favorite ingredients to work with individually, and together, they’re even better. This Lemon Chicken & Rice soup combines the best of all three, for a warm, cozy, comforting soup that everyone will enjoy! I say this with confidence, not only because my family loves it so much, but because this soup was one of my favorites when I was a kid.

This recipe is based on my grandmother Peris’ traditional egg-lemon soup recipe. I remember visiting grandma’s house and diving into a nice, hot bowl of this soup. It was always perfect, always made me feel good, and is one of my favorite recipes to this day. I’m obsessed!

One of my favorite things about having this blog is being able to share recipes that mean a lot to me, with you. Not only because they’re tasty, but my hope is that they will also inspire you to create new food traditions with your family and loved ones!

A bowl of cozy lemon chicken and rice soup, with fresh lemon slices, cilantro, and lemon rinds and a bigger pot of soup in the background

But this recipe in particular is special, because it’s a two-in-one. It’s sentimental, thanks to it being a riff off of my grandmother’s recipe. But it’s also just craveable and delicious, and that’s thanks to the fact that it’s based off of one of my FAVORITE soups in San Francisco: the avgolemono soup from Souvla.

If you haven’t been to Souvla, and you’re based in the Bay Area, then you need to go ASAP. Souvla is a fast-casual Greek spot with multiple locations throughout the city, and all of their dishes are absolutely delicious. It’s the reason why, pre-pandemic days, it was always packed inside of there. Oh, and if you love sweets, then you need to try their homemade Greek frozen yogurt. With olive oil and baklava? It’s heaven.

But Souvla aside, if I haven’t convinced you to make this soup yet, then just keep reading and see how easy and delicious these ingredients are.

What You Need to Make This Cozy, Comforting Soup

  • Olive Oil: Any neutral oil really works here, but I recommend olive oil. Why? It has the perfect flavor, it’s full of heart-healthy fats, and is the traditional way to make this soup!
  • Onion: Any onion works here! I like using a yellow onion, but use what you have. 🙂
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic is always my preference. It just tastes better and fresher!
  • Arborio Rice: They key to making the rice perfect in this soup, is to use uncooked arborio rice. Don’t worry about having any uncooked bits – the rice cooks with the soup, making it the perfect texture every time! Since all rices cook differently, please note that this recipe has only been tested with arborio rice and white rice, both of which work equally as well. Therefore, I highly recommend using it in this recipe!
  • Chicken Broth or Bone Broth: Chicken broth or bone broth work equally as well here. I like using my Belcampo bone broth, but regular chicken broth is perfectly fine.
  • Thyme Leaves: Dried or fresh is fine here!
  • Oregano: Dried oregano is totally fine here!
  • Lemon Juice + Zest: Fresh lemon juice is always best! Plus, you’ll need fresh lemons for the zest.
  • Eggs: The eggs are super crucial for not only getting the right flavor, but also for getting this soup to have the right texture. They can’t be substituted – sorry!
  • Egg Yolks: In addiction to eggs, we’ll also be using egg yolks. Don’t skip these!
  • Chicken Breast: Boneless, skinless, shredded chicken breast is essential for this recipe!
  • Sea Salt and Pepper: And, of course, you can’t make a soup without a little salt and pepper!

An overhead image of two bowls of the cozy lemon chicken and rice soup, sitting on top of a wooden cutting board

The Key to Making this Simple, Delicious, Cozy Soup Recipe

The key to making your Cozy Lemon Chicken and Rice Soup turn out perfectly every time is to use uncooked arborio rice. If you are using arborio rice, then precooking it can lead to a mushy, soggy mess, which we don’t want to happen!
Now, you can also use white rice in this recipe, following the same instructions. As mentioned earlier, this recipe has only been tested with arborio rice and white rice, and if you follow the directions exactly, the rice turns out perfect, every time!

A cutting board with a large pot of soup on top, lemon rinds, and a bowl of cozy lemon chicken and rice soup. A stack of bowls and spoons sits off in the distance, with a bottle of olive oil, a dish of salt, and a dish of chili flakes.

How to Serve This Soup

I recommend serving this soup with a side of crusty sourdough bread, because what’s better than warm soup with a side of bread?! Or, kick things up a notch and serve it alongside a Greek Salad! My Loaded Greek Salad is the perfect simple, easy recipe to make. It’s everything that you know and love about a traditional Greek Salad, but is kicked up a notch thanks to the addition of artichoke hearts and avocado. Yum!

Storing Instructions

I recommend storing this soup in an airtight container, or in a mason jar, in the fridge, for up to one week! You can also freeze this soup, by putting it into a freezer-safe container. It should be good for about one month! Yay!

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and rating below! And since I practically live on Instagram, be sure to tag me in your creations so I can see them and repost on my IG stories! Enjoy! xx

Dairy Free/Grain Free/Nut Free/Refined Sugar Free

Cozy Lemon Chicken & Rice Soup

5 from 5 votes
Nicole Modic
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
SERVES 6 Servings
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My Cozy Lemon Chicken & Rice Soup is a warm and cozy concoction filled with tender chicken, soft rice, and zesty lemon. This hearty soup is inspired by my late grandmother Peris' traditional egg-lemon soup recipe, and it also tastes a lot like the avgolemono soup from one of my favorite San Francisco restaurants, Souvla. It's truly a hug in a cup (or bowl!).

Equipment

Ingredients

For the Soup:

  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic mashed
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice uncooked
  • 8 cups chicken broth or bone broth
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice + zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3/4 pound cooked boneless, skinless, chicken breast shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

For Garnishing:

  • chopped parsley
  • Aleppo pepper
  • fresh or dry dill

Instructions

  • Start by adding the olive oil to a large pot, on the stove, over medium heat.
  • Once the pot is hot, add in the diced onions. Sauté them for about 6-7 minutes, until the onions begin to turn translucent. Then, add in the mashed garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  • Next, add in the rice, broth, thyme, and oregano, and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
  • In a separate large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, lemon zest, and lemon juice until fully incorporated. Set aside.
  • Now, ladle about 1 3/4 cups of the soup into the bowl with the egg mixture, and VERY SLOWLY, a few tablespoons at a time. Be sure to constantly whisk the mixture so that the eggs don't curdle - this is extremely important.
  • After that, add the mixture to a blender and blend until nice and smooth. Then, pour the mixture back into the pot with the rest of the soup.
  • Add the shredded chicken and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Garnish with parsley, dill, and Aleppo pepper (optional).
  • Eat and enjoy!

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  1. The recipe says that you need a pot and an instant pot… yet I don’t see any instructions for using the instant pot.

    • Hi Marsha, the Instant Pot is just to cook your rice in. You can also use a rice cooker, or cook it on the stove. 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    Made this tonight and it was delicious! My family loves anything with lemon. I’ve made this with other recipes and this is the best one yet! I didn’t change a thing. I used jasmine rice. Thank you for another great recipe!

    • Yay! I love anything with lemon too, and I’m so happy to hear that, Liza! Thank you so much for making this recipe, and for leaving such a sweet review!

  3. In reference to my previous comment, I decided to add an extra cup of rice to my soup for a little extra thickness. I think 1.5 cups of cooked rice was too little for the amount of broth, but that’s just my personal preference. 😉 I baked my chicken separately before adding to the soup, but I think I’ll cook the chicken in the broth next time for extra flavor. All in all, I will definitely make this soup again with a few tweaks here and there. Thank you for the recipe!

    • Hi Victoria! Oh good, I’m so glad to hear that you found a modification that suits your personal taste. 🙂 Thank you so much for making and reviewing this recipe!

  4. I mad this soup for the first time tonight, followed the receipt exactly, but I found the broth to rice/chicken ration to be too much. In your picture, it looks very thick and creamy. Mine is very broth. Is it supposed to be 4 cups of broth as opposed to 8? I think it would have turned out thicker had I used half the amount of broth.

    • Hi Victoria! It really depends on your personal preference. You can absolutely add more rice if you desire a higher rice-to-broth ratio and want the soup to be thicker! I hope this helps 🙂

  5. Love your recipes, Nicole. Only comment here is I never would have known to use cooked rice – should definitely include in the ingredients section. I used uncooked in the recipe and it didn’t really work 🙁

    • Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that, Andrea. Depending on the type of rice that you’re using, you may need to add more liquid or cook the soup for longer. I hope it turns out better for you next time, and thank you so much for pointing this out!

  6. 5 stars
    Perfect for a chilly night! The lemon adds brightness and rounds out the other flavors. I did add some dill. A keeper for soup rotation.

    • Yes!! I love this soup on a chilly night. I’m so happy you enjoyed it! Thanks so much for your review, Kira!!

  7. 5 stars
    Boy golly! I saw this on the gram and so I had to try it, as avegolemono is one of my favorite soups. This recipe is full-proof. It’s delicious it’s warming, it’s hearty and it’s silky smooth. We were out of a regular rice so with substituted it with Bobs Red Mill Brown wild rice blend and it worked great. Hands-down this is one of my family‘s new favorites. Thank you so much for all of your recipes and all of the work you put into them.

    • Wow, thank you so much Alicia for the sweet review! I am so thrilled that you loved the recipe so much, and I am so grateful for your support and review!! Thank you SO much!

  8. So delicious!! My husband is obsessed with this soup. I’ve made this recipe twice this weekend. Thank you!

    • Yay! I love hearing that this soup is husband-approved (it seems to be quite the theme with this recipe!!) Thank you for your review, Karina!

  9. I loved this! Even after reading the reviews, I purposely used uncooked arborio rice because I figured the rice/broth ratio would adequately cook the rice and the soup would be super thick which is what I wanted. I did add a little water at the end with the chicken because it was really thick. Next time I will use less rice. If I ate this at a restaurant I would assume it had tons of cream and/or butter in it because it is so rich, creamy and satisfying. This is a perfect example of a few high quality ingredients creating something very decadent that is more than the sum of its parts. If you like lemon, chicken and rice, you will love this.

    • Thank you so much for your review, Dawne! I am so thrilled that you loved the recipe, and I’m so glad that the arborio rice worked for you! That is so awesome, and I’m thrilled it turned out so well. 🙂

  10. I absolutely LOVE this soup, and have been dying for a dairy free version! This recipe is so perfect, and tastes incredible. I made it for the week and ate leftovers every day. I highly recommend this soup for a nice chilly day!

    • Yay! I am so thrilled that it answers your dairy-free soup dreams, Hannah! Thank you so much for your review, this is awesome!

  11. 5 stars
    This was delicious! I accidentally used uncooked Arborio rice as well but it’s still amazing. Tastes just like the one at my local Greek restaurant.

    • I’m so glad this turned out well for you, Kathryn! Thank you so much for your review!!

  12. Oh my goodness! This is HEAVENLY. I ended up using uncooked rice and it is deliciously thick and creamy. Thank you, Nicole! This is perfect for our wet and windy Seattle fall day 🙂 xoxo

  13. This didn’t work for me because I used uncooked, otherwise it tasted great! It came out like risotto because I made 2x the rice and it absorbed all the liquid.

    • Well risotto sounds delicious! Next time, definitely try using arborio rice to avoid any uncooked bits! You will love this soup 🙂

  14. This is amazing. Reminds me of my Greek childhood fav Avgolemono soup! The rice part is confusing, perhaps clarify if one should be add in uncooked or cooked rice in step 3. (I think you mean cooked but a rookie like me would want to double check!)

    • Yes! This is my take on Avgolemono soup 🙂 and thank you for that. You want to make sure that the rice is uncooked! It will cook in the soup. That’s why it’s important to use arborio or white rice for this recipe, so it cooks properly! I hope this helps!