Creamy Lamb Meatball Soup with Lemon

Creamy Lamb Meatball Soup with Lemon

This creamy lamb meatball soup gets its silky texture from eggs. A version of the classic Greek soup, avgolemono, it’s filling without feeling too heavy.

What is Avgolemono?

The word avgolemono refers to an egg-lemon sauce found in many cultures across the Mediterranean, Middle East, and eastern Europe. With the addition of broth, the sauce becomes a soup, which can be enhanced in many ways, often with shredded chicken. This version uses lamb mint meatballs served in a super lemony broth, and is garnished with mint.

Tempering the Eggs

One of the most important parts of this recipe is tempering the eggs so that they don’t curdle in the hot broth. Tempering refers to slowly bringing the eggs to the temperature of the broth. This is done by whisking the eggs in a separate bowl, and slowly adding hot broth to them. Tempering is a technique that I also use with yogurt in this recipe as well.

lamb meatball soup, easy healthy dinners

Easy Healthy Dinners

This lamb meatball soup is a super quick meal to pull together if you make the meatballs in advance. I make the meatballs in one pound batches (just double the recipe below), and freeze half of them to use at a later time. The meatballs can also be baked instead of fried before adding them to the soup. The entire soup can also be made ahead of time, and gently rewarmed over low heat. Be careful to never boil this soup once the eggs are added, as they will curdle in the soup, leaving you with scrambled eggs in chicken broth with meatballs.

lamb meatballs soup, easy healthy dinners

Creamy Lemon Soup with Lamb Mint Meatballs

A comforting delicious soup that's easy to prepare.
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Course: Soups
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: lamb meatball soup
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4 people
Author: Aliye Aydin


For the Meatballs

  • 2 Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 pound ground lamb*
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 lemon
  • few sprigs Italian parsley
  • few sprigs mint

For the Soup

  • 1/2 lemon
  • 7 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large eggs


  • In a small bowl, combine yogurt with 2 Tablespoons water. Whisk until smooth. Set aside. If you don't have yogurt, use a 1/4 cup milk instead. I don't keep fresh milk on hand usually, so this yogurt/water mixture is my solution (I almost always have yogurt!).

For the Meatballs

  • Put ground lamb in a medium-sized bowl with yogurt mixture, egg, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper.
  • Grate a clove of garlic over the bowl with a microplane. Alternatively, finely mince and add to the bowl.
  • Zest 1/2 lemon over the bowl. Mince about 1 teaspoon EACH parsley and mint and add to the bowl. Combine mixture well with your hands, breaking up lamb with your fingers.
  • With wet hands, form mini meatballs (they should be bite-sized) and set on a rimmed baking sheet. You should have around 40 meatballs. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

For the Soup

  • Make wide ribbons of zest from 1/2 lemon, using a vegetable peeler. Place in a large pot with a lid with broth. Cover and bring to a simmer.
  • Add rice and simmer over low heat, partially covered, until rice is just cooked, about 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat a large heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and swirl around the pan. Add meatballs (you'll need to do this in 2 batches) and cook until brown on 2 sides, turning once. Remove meatballs to a plate lined with paper towels or a paper bag.
  • Remove the ribbons of zest from the soup and discard. Add the meatballs, bring to a simmer over high heat, and turn off the heat.
  • Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl, and add juice of 1 lemon. Whisk in a ladle of soup, stirring after each addition. Add about 5 more ladles of soup. Let large pot of soup cool for 2-3 minutes. Return egg/broth mixture to the pot, and serve immediately, garnished with mint and parsley.


*ground turkey or chicken can be used as a substitute
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