Greek egg lemon (avgolemono) sauce

The traditional Greek egg lemon sauce called avgolemono is fundamental to so many traditional Greek recipes. It is quite simple in that it is made with only eggs (avgo-) and lemons (-lemono) and some of the broth from the meal you will be using it in. Although simple, there is a technique which helps ensure that you get the tastiest, frothiest and richest avgolemono you can. I will teach you how to do that!

How to make avgolemono sauce (Greek egg lemon sauce)

You will find that Greek egg lemon or avgolemono sauce is used in several traditional Greek recipes like avgolemono soup (the Greek rice and chicken soup), yiouvarlakia, artichoke and peas stew and in some cabbage roll recipes to name a few.

What is egg lemon (avgolemono) sauce?

This is a staple of Greek cooking and you will find it in several recipes. It is a frothy sauce made with raw eggs and freshly squeezed lemon juice. It is added to a variety of dishes to enhance their flavour. It adds texture to many meals by thickening the broth and it adds visual appeal as well.

Why this recipe works

This method of making egg lemon sauce works so well because the proportion of egg to lemon gives you just the right amount of frothiness and tanginess. It is a good place to start if you have never made avgolemono sauce before, or if you haven’t had much success with it.

Once you make avgolemono sauce with my recipe you can adjust the amount of lemon juice you add to make it more or less tangy, according to your taste. Remember however that this is an egg lemon sauce – it should have a tartness to it.

Traditional egg lemon sauce also requires that you add some broth to it before pouring the sauce into our pot of cooked soup or stew (or whatever else you will be using it with). I will explain how you to make the best avgolemono sauce, without curdling your eggs!

How to make avgolemono sauce (Greek egg lemon sauce)

Key ingredients

Eggs – I use large pasteurized chicken eggs to make avgolemono sauce. They should be at room temperature as this will help prevent them from curdling.

Lemons – Use the juiciest lemons you can find. Avoid any lemons that appear wrinkled or that have green spots on the outside. Your lemons should be at room temperature.

Broth – You will add your avgolemono sauce to a dish that has a broth. You will be using some of this broth to thin out your egg lemon sauce before adding it to the recipe.

Ingredients needed to make avgolemono sauce

Substitutions

Lemons
Fresh lemons are always best but if you find yourself without, you could use the equivalent amount of good quality, pure, bottled lemon juice. The label on the bottle will tell you how much of the juice is equivalent to one lemon.

How to make

Preparation

  • Squeeze your lemons and set the juice aside.
  • Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites.
  • Ensure that the meal you will be adding your avgolemono sauce to is not piping hot. Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. Transfer approximately one cup of the broth to a bowl and set aside to cool further.

Directions

Step 1
Using a hand held mixer, a rotary hand held mixer, or a whisk, beat the egg whites until frothy. You will not be creating soft peaks – that is fine. You want the egg whites to be frothy and foamy.

Frothing the egg whites
Frothing the egg whites

Step 2
Add the egg yolks to the egg whites and continue to beat until well incorporated.

Adding the egg yolks to egg white mixture

Step 3
While still beating the eggs, slowly pour in the lemon juice.

Step 4
While still beating slowly stream in the cup of broth that you have set aside. It should be warm (not hot). Continue beating until smooth all of the broth has been incorporated.

Adding the broth

Step 5
Pour your avgolemono sauce into the pot with your meal. Carefully stir, or shake your pot, so that the avgolemono sauce gets incorporated throughout the meal.

Frequently asked questions

What does avgolemono mean in Greek?

In Greek, egg is avgo and lemon is lemoni, so the work avgolemono literally translates to egg and lemon-y.

Do the eggs get cooked?

Yes, your eggs will cook when making the avgolemono. The warm broth will cook the eggs. If you are still concerned, once the avgolemono is added to your meal you can bring the temperature up again to ensure the eggs are fully cooked. As an added precaution, use only pasteurized eggs.

How can I prevent the eggs from curdling when making avgolemono sauce?

There are a couple of tricks that will ensure that your eggs don’t curdle.

The first is to be sure that your eggs and lemons are at room temperature.
The second is to ensure that the broth you add to your eggs and lemons is warm but not hot, and that the pot of food you will then be pouring the avgolemono into is at the same temperature – meaning it too is warm, but not hot.
Finally, when adding the reserved broth to your eggs and lemon juice, do so while continuously whisking or beating the sauce. Add the reserved broth in a slow and steady stream.

How is avgolemono sauce used in Greek cuisine?

Avgolemono sauce is used in savoury Greek recipes where there is a broth present. For instance, it can be added to soups, stews, or meals cooked in broths or sauces like cabbage rolls and dolmades.

Can I make avgolemono sauce in advance?

Avgolemono sauce is best made right before it needs to be used. Otherwise, your sauce will cool beyond the temperature of the meal you will be adding it to, which could cause curdling of the eggs. As well, if your sauce just sits, it will lose some of its frothiness.

Can I make the egg lemon sauce more (or less) tart?

Yes, you can adjust the flavour of your sauce by using more, or fewer, lemons. Begin with the recipe as we describe it here (or in our individual posts) and adjust to your taste for the next time.

Should I add cornstarch or flour?

We don’t think so. By separating the egg yolks from the egg whites you will have a frothy and delicious egg lemon sauce that does not need anything extra added to it.

How to make avgolemono sauce (Greek egg lemon sauce)

Recipes that use egg lemon sauce

There are many traditional Greek recipes which are enhanced by the addition of egg lemon sauce. Some of my favourites are the following:

Pork and celery with egg lemon sauce (Χοιρινό με σέλινο αυγολέμονο)

I absolutely adore this meal! The pork is cooked with a lot of celery, including the celery leaves, to produce a most wonderful stew. The avgolemono added at the end brings this to a whole other level!

Yiouverlakia avgolemono and tomato (Γιουβαρλάκια αυγολέμονο με ντομάτα)

Yiouverlakia are rice studded meatballs and this soup is made with a tomato based broth. The avgolemono is added at the end giving the finished product a rich and creamy texture, and a tangy lemon taste.

Avgolemono soup

We can’t forget this classic recipe! The Greek version of chicken soup for the soul! The ingredients are simple for this rice and chicken soup, and the egg lemon sauce makes it what it is! Perfection!

Pork and celery with egg lemon sauce (Χοιρινό με σέλινο αυγολέμονο)
Yiouvarlakia with avgolemono (Γιουβαρλάκια αβγολέμονο)
Avgolemono (egg and lemon) soup with chicken/ (Σούπα αυγολέμονο με κοτόπουλο)

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How to make avgolemono sauce (Greek egg lemon sauce)
How to make avgolemono sauce (Greek egg lemon sauce)

Egg lemon (avgolemono) sauce

The simplest and best egg lemon or avgolemono sauce to be used in traditional Greek recipes
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Greek
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1 serving
Calories: 251kcal
Author: Billie Bitzas

Equipment

  • 1 hand held mixer or whisk a stand mixer with whisk attachment can also be used

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs, large room temperature
  • 2 lemons room temperature
  • 1 cup reserved broth (from meal you will be adding egg lemon sauce to) warm, not hot

Instructions

  • Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites.
    3 eggs, large
  • Juice your lemons and set aside.
    2 lemons
  • In a medium size bowl beat your egg whites until light and frothy. You do not need to create soft peaks, you just want the egg whites frothy.
  • Add the egg yolks and continue to beat until incorporated.
  • While still beating the eggs, slowly add in the lemon juice.
  • While still beating slowly stream in the cup of broth that you have set aside. It should be warm (not hot). Continue beating until smooth all of the broth has been incorporated.
    1 cup reserved broth (from meal you will be adding egg lemon sauce to)
  • Pour your avgolemono sauce into the pot with your meal. Carefully stir, or shake your pot, so that the avgolemono sauce gets incorporated throughout the meal.

Notes

The amount of lemon juice is open to adjustment depending on how tart, or not, you would like your avgolemono sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 251kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 491mg | Sodium: 192mg | Potassium: 480mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 760IU | Vitamin C: 114mg | Calcium: 130mg | Iron: 4mg

Thanks for sharing!

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