Cozy on up to a big bowl of this Lemon Chicken Soup, filled with tender rice and lots of fresh dill. Perfect on a cool day, this chicken soup is not only fantastic for meal prep, but it’s loved by the whole fam! We need more recipes like this in our lives.
Here’s why we love it so much:
- Bright, vibrant lemon flavor! Without the added acidity from fresh lemon juice and zest, this is just another chicken and rice soup recipe. But the lemon juice gives it a zesty flavor that is bright and acidic. It lightens the whole soup up!
- Quick cook time! Some soup recipes need to cook for hours and hours. This one simmers for just 25 minutes.
- Clean, simple ingredients! This soup is naturally gluten-free and dairy free, but thanks to some eggs whisked in at the end, it’s silky smooth and rich!
This recipe is very much inspired by the flavors in a traditional Greek lemon soup (avgolemono), which is one of the most comforting soup recipes imaginable.
- Extra virgin olive oil: to sauté the garlic, which brings out a really lovely nutty flavor.
- Garlic: you’ll need about 3 cloves finely chopped.
- Chicken stock: this is the body of the soup. We love homemade, but store-bought is more than fine. Just make sure to buy low-sodium stock or chicken broth to control the amount of salt.
- Boneless skinless chicken thighs: we prefer dark meat to white, but you can of course use chicken breasts, if preferred.
- Long grain white rice: see below for substitutions!
- Bay leaves: adds another layer of flavor to the soup! Dried bay leaves have an almost tea-like, potent flavor.
- Large eggs: these get whisked outside of the soup, then tempered with broth before going into the pot. The eggs are used to thicken the soup.
- Lemon juice and lemon zest: Adds a bright vibrancy to the recipe!
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper: To season everything and for serving!
- Fresh dill: The one ingredient that takes this lemon soup over the top!
A small bonus with all these clean ingredients? Our chicken rice soup is naturally dairy free!
How To Make Lemon Chicken Soup
This could not be easier to make (or more delicious)!
- Sauté the garlic until fragrant, being careful not to let it burn.
- Slowly cook the chicken and rice. You’ll add about 8-10 cups of chicken stock or broth, then place the chicken thighs, rice, and bay leaves in the pot. Cook until the rice is tender and the chicken is fully cooked through.
- Shred the chicken. Pull the meat, then return to the pot. Discard the bay leaves.
- Temper the eggs. Whisk eggs and fresh lemon juice and zest in a bowl, then slowly drizzle in a bit of warm broth while continuously whisking. Once up to temp, pour the tempered egg mixture into the soup, then give it a good stir.
- Finish, then serve. Raise the heat a bit to help thicken the soup. Serve with lots of fresh dill and cracked black pepper.
The best way to shred chicken:
Place cooked boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with beater attachment. Set to medium-low speed, then increase a bit as needed until chicken is very finely shredded.
Expert Tips and Substitutions
- Don’t overcook the rice! If you let the soup simmer longer than directed, don’t add the rice until about 20-30 minutes before serving.
- Don’t skip the fresh herbs! The fresh dill really is what takes this inspired Greek lemon chicken soup over the top!
- Instead of rice, try: orzo pasta or couscous. Any variety — whole wheat or whole grain — but be sure not to overcook the orzo. Add it just at the end and simmer until tender, otherwise it will become mushy.
- Onions, carrots, and celery are often common base components of soup (this is the classic mirepoix trio!), but we’ve left them out to retain the silky smooth, luxurious texture. You can add them at the beginning, if you like, when sautéing the garlic.
- Have bone broth on hand? You can absolutely use that instead of chicken broth!
It’s got a silky smooth, creamy texture without the addition of butter or cream, and a bright citrus taste thanks to lots of fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. At its core, it still has that familiar chicken soup taste.
To prevent them from scrambling into the soup.
Adding rice or pasta to soup can be tricky. Most of the time
This is one of those recipes that is 100x better than you imagined when made from scratch. If you make our Lemon Chicken Soup recipe, please let us know by leaving a review and rating below!
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Greek Lemon Chicken Soup (Dairy-Free!)
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1½ lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 cup long grain white rice
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 3 large eggs
- 2 medium lemons juiced, plus 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
- Kosher salt to taste
- Fresh dill for serving
- Freshly ground black pepper for serving
- Baguette optional, for serving
- Sauté garlic. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. When hot, add 3 cloves minced garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the liquid. Pour in 8 cups of chicken stock, then add 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, 1 cup of white rice, and 2 bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low to medium. Simmer until chicken is fully cooked and the rice is tender, about 25 minutes.
- Shred the chicken. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Transfer the cooked chicken thighs to the bowl of a stand mixer with beater attached, then beat on medium speed until chicken is fully shredded. Alternatively, you can use two forks to pull the meat. Return the chicken to the pot.
- Temper the eggs. Place 3 eggs in a mixing bowl, then whisk well along with 1 tsp lemon zest and the juice from 2 lemons. Slowly drizzle in about 2 ladles of warm broth, whisking the entire time, to gently bring the eggs up to temperature without scrambling them. Drizzle and whisk the tempered egg and lemon mixture back into the chicken soup slowly.
- Garnish, then serve. Bring the heat back up to medium to medium-high, then cook for about 5 minutes to thicken. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. We recommend starting with about ½ tsp Kosher salt and working up from there (different chicken stocks vary in terms of saltiness). Serve immediately with freshly cracked black pepper, lots of fresh dill, and baguette, if wanted.
- Nutrition facts do not include optional baguette.
- Leftovers will keep in a refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, place in a saucepan on a stove top over medium-low to medium heat, making sure not to boil the soup (because of the eggs).
- Make ahead: Can prepare the chicken and stick up to 2 days in advance. When ready, return to medium heat and whisk in the eggs and lemon juice just before serving.
- Freezing: Allow soup to cool completely to room temperature, then transfer to a freezer-safe container or a large gallon Ziplock bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.
- Defrost: When ready to eat, thaw overnight in a fridge, then reheat in a microwave or in a saucepan on a stovetop. Alternatively you can reheat on a stovetop over medium heat directly from frozen, stirring as needed to help break up the soup as it defrosts.
Photography by: Cambrea of Cambrea Bakes