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Giouvarlakia, Greek Meatball Soup Avgolemono

Giouvarlakia, Greek Meatball Soup Avgolemono

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Giouvarlakia, pronounced yiou-vahr-LAH-khia, is a Greek soup with meatballs using ground veal (or ground pork or chicken), rice, herbs and spices. 

After cooking the meatballs we add the avgolemono, which is an egg and lemon sauce, which thickens and becomes a delicious soup.

Chicken mince giouvarlakia avgolemono soup image
Chicken mince giouvarlakia avgolemono soup

How to make the Giouvarlakia

In the minced meat add some starchy short grain rice, called Carolina (similar to arborio rice), herbs and spices and form the meatballs. 

To bind them add 2 egg whites for 1 kilo meat.

You can coat them with floor if you like, as this also helps thicken the sauce. If you are gluten intolerant use gluten free flour. 

When shaping the giouvarlakia, make sure that they are all the same size, in order to achieve cooking them the same time.

Also the water must be boiling when putting the meatballs in the water.

Half an hour is enough to cook them and then add the avgolemono sauce, which should be tempered so as not to cook the eggs.

Preparing giouvarlakia image

The soup should then rest for about  10 -15 minutes so that the avgolemono sauce thickens.

Some people consider Giouvarlakia a “meatball soup” and the broth is not thickened; others consider it just meatballs with a thick Avgolemono sauce on top.

In this case, corn flour (cornstarch) is added, so the sauce becomes a thick cream.

Also, if you are making them with chicken mince, as the meat is lean, the sauce will not thicken enough. In this case add some olive oil in the mince and make the avgolemono sauce adding some corn flour (starch).  

I always make it as a soup and during cold winter days it is a wonderful comfort dish, light and tasty and will warm you up in no time.

You can also cook them in a tomato based soup, but these ones with the avgolemono are the most traditional and the ones I like the best.

Collage Giouvarlakia Avgolemono Beef and Pork mince soup image

Giouvarlakia with Vegetables

A twist I made to this traditional soup was to cook it with vegetables. 

You shape and dredge the meatballs in flour as in the traditional recipe.

Extra ingredients for the mirepoix:

I made a mirepoix in which I cooked the meatballs and then added the avgolemono sauce.

2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 of the above onion
1 carrot grated
1 potato cut into small cubes
¼ cup celery, finely chopped
1.5 litres chicken stock or water with bouillon
Salt and pepper

Mirepoix Giouvarlakia soup image

Giouvarlakia with vegetables image

You can leave the vegetables as they are in the soup or  you can use a hand blender to purée them, before adding the meatballs.

giouvarlakia with pureed vegetables photo
  • Heat the olive oil and sauté the remaining onion, add the carrot, celery and potato, chicken stock or bouillon and water and bring to a boil.
  • Add the meatballs, lower heat and cook for half an hour or until the vegetables are soft.
  • Remove any froth which forms on top with a slotted ladle.
  • In a bowl put the whole egg and the egg yolks together with the lemon juice and whisk to combine. Slowly add a cup of broth from the pot while continuing to whisk.
  • Pour the avgolemono sauce in the pot soup and tilt the pot for the sauce to go everywhere.
  • Let it rest for ten minutes until the soup thickens and serve while hot with extra black pepper on top.
Giouvarlakia Avgolemono soup image

Giouvarlakia, Greek Meatball Soup Avgolemono

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Giouvarlakia, pronounced yiou-var-LAH-kia, is a Greek soup with meatballs using ground veal, pork or chicken, rice, herbs and spices cooked and thickened with a lemony avgolemono sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1.100 grams (2.40 lbs) ground veal (you can also use chicken mince)
  • ½ cup rice
  • 1 tsp salt and black pepper
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried mint
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour* (see note)
  • (4 – 5 cups water or chicken stock

For the avgolemono sauce:

  • 2 egg yolks + 1 whole egg
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp corn flour (corn starch), optional

Instructions

  1. Purée the onion and garlic in the food processor with 2 tbsp olive oil.
  2. In a large bowl put the minced meat and add the pureed onion and garlic as well as the rice. Add the parsley, mint, salt, pepper and egg whites and mix well. 
  3. In a large pot, bring water or meat stock to a boil and add the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil and add some extra salt if you like.
  4. Until the water boils shape your meatballs, about the size of a walnut, (makes 50) and dredge them in the flour. Put the meatballs in the boiling water and if froth forms on top remove it with a slotted ladle.
  5. Lower heat and simmer for 30 – 40 minutes.
  6. In a bowl put the eggs, lemon juice (and corn starch) and whisk until the cornstarch dissolves. Slowly add a cup of hot broth from the pot while continuing to whisk.
  7. Pour the avgolemono sauce in the saucepan and quickly mix for a few seconds so that the eggs will not curdle.
  8. Let it rest for ten minutes until the soup thickens and serve while hot with extra black pepper on top.

Notes

If you are intolerant to gluten, you can use gluten free flour or do not coat them with flour. The flour just helps to thicken the broth.

Corn flour (starch) is only used when making chicken meatballs, because the meat is lean and it needs it to thicken the sauce.

Nutrition Information
Yield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 154Total Fat 9gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 51mgSodium 373mgCarbohydrates 14gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 4g

Did you make this recipe?

Tried this recipe? Tag me @ivyliac and use the hashtag #kopiaste!

This is now my all time favourite giouvarlakia soup as the mirepoix adds much more flavour to the soup.

Mirepoix Giouvarlakia soup image

Mirepoix Giouvarlakia Avgolemono Soup

Yield: 5
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

A different recipe for Giouvarlakia avgolemono, which start with a mirepoix and then the meatballs are cooked with the vegetables and finish with the egg-lemon (avgolemono) sauce.

Ingredients

For the meat balls:

  • 500 grams ground veal
  • 1/4 cup short grained starchy rice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Freshly grated black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, grated and divided
  • 1 egg white
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour to dredge (if gluten tolerant add gluten free flour)

For the soup:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 of the above onion
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 1 potato cut into small cubes
  • ¼ cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1.5 litres chicken stock or water with bouillon
  • Salt and pepper

For avgolemono (egg and lemon sauce):

  • 2 egg yolks + 1 whole egg
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl put the minced meat and add half of the puréed onion as well as the rice, the parsley, salt and pepper, the egg whites and olive oil and mix well. Shape your meatballs, about the size of a walnut, and sprinkle with some flour.
  2. Heat the olive oil and sauté the remaining onion, add the carrot, celery and potato, chicken stock or bouillon and water and bring to a boil.
  3. Add the meatballs, lower heat and cook for half an hour or until the vegetables are soft.
  4. Remove any froth which forms on top with a slotted ladle.
  5. In a bowl put the whole egg and the egg yolks together with the lemon juice and whisk to combine. Slowly add a cup of broth from the pot while continuing to whisk.
  6. Pour the avgolemono sauce in the pot soup and tilt the pot for the sauce to go everywhere.
  7. Let it rest for ten minutes until the soup thickens and serve while hot with extra black pepper on top.

Notes

If you are intolerant to gluten, you can use gluten free flour or do not coat them with flour. The flour just helps to thicken the broth.

Before cooking the meatballs, you can use a hand blender to puree the vegetables.

Nutrition Information
Yield 5 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 566Total Fat 29gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 19gCholesterol 160mgSodium 1238mgCarbohydrates 39gFiber 2gSugar 8gProtein 39g

Did you make this recipe?

Tried this recipe? Tag me @ivyliac and use the hashtag #kopiaste!

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Collage Giouvarlakia Greek Meatball Soup Avgolemono image

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!

signature Ivy

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DCRose

Friday 13th of March 2009

Thank you so very much. This is just what Peter was looking for. I make the lemon soup all the time, but he could not remember how his YaiYai made the meatballs. You are wonderful. Rose

Ivy

Thursday 24th of January 2008

Hi Val and thanks for visiting. We do eat it like a light meal and yes I have read you commenting that in a restaurant in Greece everything had an avgolemono sauce on them (lol).

Bellini Valli

Thursday 24th of January 2008

The meatballs would make this soup more like a meal...although I have a light appetite.I love all things with avgolemono!!!

Ivy

Tuesday 22nd of January 2008

Giouvarlakia is a much more filling soup and can be the main dish whereas Avgolemono is more like a starter.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen

Tuesday 22nd of January 2008

I do like Avgolemono Soup. But I have never had it with the meatballs. Looks great, Ivy. True comfort food!

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