Avgolemono Sauce & Soups
			      (Egg Lemon Sauce)


	3    @  eggs, jumbo, separated whites and yolks
	1   tsp cream of tartar
	1/3 cup lemon juice, strained (5 TBS, or about 2.5 medium lemons)
	3   TBS melted butter
	1   cup hot broth (chicken or fish, unsalted)
        1/2 tsp salt
	1/4 tsp black pepper, ground
	1   pch sugar

	- or Go directly to soup:

	4    @  eggs, jumbo, separated whites and yolks
	1   tsp cream of tartar
	6   TBS lemon juice, strained
	4   TBS melted butter
	5   cup rich hot broth (chicken or seafood, unsalted)
        3/4 tsp salt
	1/4 tsp black pepper, ground
	1   pch sugar


	1. Whisk the yolks until pale and frothy, reserve.
	   Do these by hand, or use a hand beater, with or without

	2. Whisk the egg whites (warmed), adding a tsp or two
	   of the lemon juice after they become frothy, along
	   with the cream of tartar, until they form peaks.
	   [A K5 with warmed bowl does well]

	3. Fold the egg yolks into the eggwhite merangue.
	   If using a K5, distribute the yolks, and use
	   a very low speed to mix.  Increase the speed
	   a bit.

	4. Continue whisking the egg whites, while slowly adding
	   the lemon juice to the whites and then whisk for another
	   minute.  Begin slowly dribbling in the melted butter.
	   [You would be using a moderate K5 speed.]

	5. Then, add one third of the broth in a fine and steady
	   stream, constantly whisking.  Observe some thickening,
	   and mix well.  Begin adding the remaining broth, in
	   the same way.

	6. Transfer mixture to an appropriate saucepan and heat

	7. Whisk while heating, until mixture thickens enough to
	   coat the back of a spoon. Do not boil.

	   Serve immediately.

	   Actually the frothy sauce will hold nicely covered at a
	   keep warm for at least 30 minutes.

	   Frothy sauces were not invented in Paris or NYC.


	   A second, older and more common variation, but quite
	   fine, is not to separate the eggs, but simply to whisk
	   them smooth, adding the cream of tartar, combing well
	   before dribbling in the lemon juice, then melted butter,
	   then broth exactly as before.  Again, finish in a sauce
	   pan, adding whatever you want for additional seasonings.


	1. There are many variations of avgolemono sauce, which
	   differ mostly in how we thicken.  The variations always
	   involve additions of starches that thicken.  Egg yolks
	   are the finest culinary thickeners, and here TSC uses
	   them exclusively, without resort to farinaceous crutches.
	   The other methods are less of a "high wire" act, and a
	   lesser cuisine.  If you don't understand why, you need
	   to study more of cooking and chemistry.

	   The basic idea is very closely related to a classic
	   French Sauce Allemande, so attributing it to Germans.
	   Sometimes these ethnic attributions are meaningless, but
	   sometimes they have small to large grains of truth in

	2. The sauce gets extended to a soup by dillution with chicken
	   broth or seafood broth, with rice or orzo added, and always
	   with gentle heat.

	   Additionally add cubed or shredded "white cooked" or poached
	   chicken, fish or shrimp for the soup.

	   In place of the chicken or in addition add small cubes of
	   avocado and or artichoke hearts, and or cucumber.

	3. The soup can be seasoned with basil, tarragon, oregano,
	   marjoram, rosemary, mint or dill.  Keep it light and simple.
	   Add the herbs near the end.

	4. See also Hollandaise sauce, as another egg, lemon and
	   butter emulsion, and additionally mayonnaise which originally
	   used olive oil in the emulsion in place of butter.

	   Where Hollandaise and mayonnaise are true egg butter
	   emulsions, Avgolemono is a little more subtle and mysterious.

	   The trick in all such emulsions is to avoid ending with
	   scrambled eggs in some kind of liquid, i.e., to get the
	   emulsion right.  To some extent this is a matter of
	   understanding the biochemistry, and/or following tried
	   and true culinary incantations; it's like white magic.

	5. The sauce and soup mostly use chicken broth, but using
	   an aromatic shrimp fum├ęt is especially wonderful,
	   especially when the end result is combined with
	6. The separation of eggs trick to make an elegant frothy
	   soup from thinner broths and soups is a trick that has
	   general application.

Top of Page

Home Page
The Snotty Chef
The Snotty Chef Index
Index of Greek Cuisine

Email me, Bill Hammel at
            © February 2006 by Bill Hammel (
            Permission to use for any noncommercial, educational purpose.
            This copyright and permission notice must appear in all copies.
            Permission is also granted to refer to or describe these
            documents in commercial books, products, or online services.
            These documents may be freely reproduced, copied and disseminated
            by any electronic, digital or written means, but in no case may
            such copying or dissemination be charged for.  The idea is very
            simple, no person or body has supported any of the original
            works contained in this pages.  They are works of love given
            freely.  I find repugnant the idea of someone expropriating,
            for profit, what I give freely.  If you have a problem with
            this, ask; rules always have exceptions.

The URL for this document is:
Created: July 27, 2007
Last Updated: July 24, 2008
Last Updated: