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Traditional Greek Meatball Soup (Giouvarlakia/ Youvarlakia) in Egg-lemon sauce recipe

Traditional Greek Meatball Soup (Giouvarlakia/ Youvarlakia) in Egg-lemon sauce recipe


A hearty and delicious traditional Greek recipe perfect for a cold winter’s day!  Youvarlakia or giouvarlakia is a famous Greek meatball soup, which is full of Mediterranean flavors, juicy meatballs and finished off with a delicious egg lemon sauce (avgolemono)..

Youvarlakia soup – A traditional Greek wintery recipe

This Greek meatball soup (youvarlakia or giouvarlakia soup) is a classic delicacy made basically with meatballs (youvarlakia) and rice. It’s sounds really simple, but it’s simplicity of preparation and presentation, which is part of the Greek cooking, takes nothing out of it’s exquisite taste! The secret ingredient for this extra creamy Greek recipe for youvarlakia soup is the Avgolemono – an egg lemon sauce that is often added in Greek recipes and acts as a thickening agent, giving this soup a unique texture and flavour.

How to make the perfect Avgolemono for your Youvarlakia Soup

This Greek meatball soup recipe for youvarlakia includes the traditional recipe for preparing an egg lemon sauce (avgolemono). Although the basic Greek recipe is relatively simple, my experience has shown that it can be really tricky. If you have ever tried making youvarlakia soup or any other Greek recipe which includes Avgolemono before, you must know that lots of things can go wrong leading to a disaster. The most common mistake is that the Avgolemono – egg lemon sauce curdles and gets lumpy. To prevent you from making the same mistakes I have put together this short and simple guide to the perfect egg-lemon sauce and help you succeed every single time. Serve this delicious Greek meatball soup (youvarlakia), while still warm with some sprinkled parsley as garnish and some crusty bread to dig in all that delicious sauce!

For the meatballs (youvarlakia)

  • 500g lean minced beef (18 ounces)
  • ¼ of a cup long-grain rice (not boiled)
  • ½ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • ½ carrot, grated (optional)
  • 3 tbsps fresh dill, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a pinch of coriander
  • freshly ground pepper

For the egg lemon sauce

  • 2 eggs
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tbsp flour

Instructions

  1. To prepare this Greek meatball soup, start by making the meatballs (youvarlakia). Place all the meatball ingredients into a large bowl, knead the mixture squeezing the ingredients with your hand until smooth. Leave the mixture to rest in the fridge for 15 minutes. (This will prevent the youvarlakia to break up when boiled.) Form the meatballs (youvarlakia) and set them aside.
  2. Pour into a large pan 2 ½ cups of water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and gently add the meatballs (youvarlakia) in the water, put the lid back on and cook for 20-25 minutes. (The water should be enough to cover the meatballs, so add some more warm water if needed)
  3. To prepare the egg lemon sauce for the Greek meatball soup, crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk. Add the lemon juice and the flour and whisk well. Add into the bowl a ladle of hot soup and whisk quickly. Add one more ladle and whisk again until combined.
  4. Stir in the egg lemon sauce into the youvarlakia soup and cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat, until warm but not boiling.
  5. Serve this extra warming Greek meatball soup, while still hot with a sprinkle of chopped parsley.
  6. Make sure that you do not cover any left overs until they have cooled; the sauce may curdle otherwise!! (Thank you Betty!)

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26 Comments

  1. Thanks so much this is much easier than the way my mother made hers. Please tell me this can be frozen as my husband doesn’t eat Greek food but I love it !

    • Eli G Giannopoulos says:

      Hi Dawn,

      I am not so sure about freezing them. Do to know how the sauce will end up being after it gets defrosted but I guess it’s worth a try!

    • Christyne Demos says:

      The sauce doesn’t freeze, but it’s easy to make. Freeze the meat balls and whip up the sauce when you want it again!

  2. Thanks for answering Eli maybe I will try with a small serving I will let you know if it works!

  3. Does the long grain rice need to be cooked?

    • Hi Erica

      No, you don’t have to pre-boil the rice as it will boil all nicely once the meatballs are cooked. Ive added a clarification to the ingredients list for you 🙂

      Love

      Eli

  4. Ad more water and more rice to make augolemono soup with more eggs,to plenty for more people ;<)

  5. Thank you for this recipe! I thought the sauce would be tricky, but it was dead easy. Never tried this soup before, but had some leftover lamb mince and stumbled across this recipe. Thanks again, Mary

  6. Helena Christe says:

    Meat in the United States is sold in lbs. not oz. so please use lbs.

    • There are all kinds of websites that will make the conversion from ounces to pounds for you. I’m also in the United States, and found many conversion websites using Google.

    • There are 16 ounces in a pound…not that hard to figure out how much meat you need

    • spoken like a true American. life exists outside of the US.

      – Greek Canadian

  7. Betty H. says:

    I was happy to see this recipe, as I have not made youvarlakia for years, and this was a good reminder! The results were delicious. I made very minor changes – added a minced garlic clove, omitted the optional carrot, and, for the avgolemono sauce, increased the eggs to 3 (they were quite small) and the lemon to 2-1/2. I could have used a bit more broth, but in the end it was fine. The only thing I would like to mention is that dishes with avgolemono should not be covered until they have cooled; the sauce may curdle otherwise (ask me how I know – a 45-year-old disaster!)

  8. Marina chandler says:

    I use chicken broth not just plain water.

  9. Fotini Mboka says:

    It must take a lot of patience and self control to respond to some of these rude obnoxious people. Good job Betty lol 🙂

  10. Fotini Mboka says:

    Oops I meant Eli* 🙂

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  12. Suzanne Leighton says:

    I don’t undrstand the soup part. Is this stock? Am I missing something please?

  13. My Athenian husband likes to make this with chopped potatoes and carrots in the broth. He also rolls the raw meatballs in flour before boiling to thicken the final sauce. It’s a good recipe, but worth trying karolina or arborio rice instead of long grain – Really tasty!! Love using your Lahanodolmades recipe, hubby’s absolute favourite, thank you 😊

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  15. So all the rice is mixed in the meat balls dont you add any rice in the water?

    • Betty Haniotakis says:

      I put the rice only in the meatballs, not in the broth. I sometimes add a chopped potato or carrot to the broth to give extra body and flavor.

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