Giouvarlakia: Greek Meatball Soup with Lemon

A hearty and delicious, yiayia-style dish to warm your bones during soup season.

Chef: Nena Ismyrnoglou

Preparation & Cooking time: 1h 5min

Serves: 4-6

One of our favorite comfort foods to enjoy on a chilly day, “giouvarlakia” are meatballs with rice, carrots and plenty of herbs in a classic Greek egg-lemon sauce. It’s a dish our grandmothers make, and while the recipe isn’t too complicated, there are a couple of tips they like to share that are very important to remember. First, if your meatballs aren’t firm, they will fall apart when boiling, so don’t leave them out of the fridge for too long. Also, love and patience are key when making your sauce; to make sure it doesn’t separate, add your hot stock slowly – very slowly.


In a bowl, mix the minced meat well with rice, herbs, egg, salt, pepper, and 40 milliliters of the olive oil. Shape into 25 meatballs.

Add 1,2 liters of water, the carrot, bay leaf, salt and pepper to a deep pot on the stove, and bring to a boil. Carefully add the giouvarlakia, a few at a time, using a slotted spoon. Skim off the froth as needed.

Lower the heat, put a lid on the pot, and cook for about half an hour. Then turn the heat off, but leave the pot on the hot stove.

Egg lemon sauce:

Mix the lemon juice and the corn starch In a small bowl. Beat the egg yolks in a different bowl. In a third bowl, beat the egg whites until they make a stiff foam. Then pour the lemon mixture into the egg yolks, stirring continuously, before carefully folding the mixture into the egg whites.

Slowly add 2-3 ladles of the hot liquid from the pot with the giouvarlakia to the egg batter, beating continuously as to heat it up slowly, until you have a warm and delicious sauce.

Pour the sauce over your giouvarlakia in the pot and stir. Remove from the heat, and serve.

This recipe was previously published in Greek at


500 g minced beef shoulder

120 g short-grain rice

120 g onion, finely chopped

10 twigs of mint, leaves and stem, finely chopped

10 twigs of dill, leaves and stem, finely chopped

5 twigs of parsley, leaves and stem, finely chopped

1 egg

1 carrot, diced

1 bay leaf

100 ml olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper

for the egg lemon sauce:

2 eggs, yolks and whites separated

2 tsp corn starch

juice from 1 1/2-2 lemons

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