Yuvarlakia – Greek Meatball Soup

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Yuvarlakia or Greek Meatball Soup is a flavorful dish of wonderfully seasoned meatballs with an Avgolemono or egg lemon sauce.  A light and delicious dish. 

Yuvarlakia - Greek Meatball Soup www.zagleft.com

When I began writing this food blog I wanted to accomplish two main things.  First, I wanted to create a special area to help college students learn to cook.  I wanted to provide easy, healthy and inexpensive recipes so students can eat well while in school. I’m happy to say that I feel like I’ve accomplished that with the College Meal section of my blog.  Second, I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and explore making foods that I’d never, ever tried to make.  I wanted to learn how to prepare dishes I thought might be a challenge.

To be honest, this has really been great fun for me.  I remember the feeling of success I felt after attempting numerous times to recreate my husband’s grandmother’s Golabki, otherwise known as Polish Stuffed Cabbage Leaves.  I remembered E.J’s grandmother making Golabki with me in my kitchen years ago but never wrote down her recipe and couldn’t remember all of the ingredients.  I made Golabki over and over again and couldn’t seem to get the flavors the way my husband and I remembered. Finally, we went to a Polish restaurant in Houston and ordered Golabki off the menu. After tasting their recipe, it finally dawned on me what mine was missing.  I made Golabki again at home (by now, probably the 8th time) and they came out perfect.

These are the moments that make me feel such a sense of accomplishment.  It’s like I’m learning a new skill and it feels great to have taught myself something.

Yuvarlakia - Greek Meatball Soup ZagLeft

Experimenting with the flavors in this Yuvarlakia has been quite a fun process.  Yuvarlakia is a Greek dish of seasoned meatballs with an Avgolemono or egg lemon sauce.  It’s a savory meatball soup and although not difficult to make, there are several steps involved.

My husband and I enjoyed this dish when we were traveling and after several recipe attempts, again trying to get the flavors as I remembered them, I very happily settled on this version.

Yuvarlakia - made with fresh dill and parsley - zagleft

The meatballs are a flavorful blend of ground beef, ground pork, egg, rice, onion, garlic and fresh parsley and dill combined with an exotic array of spices.  You could substitute ground turkey for the ground beef to lighten it up but definitely don’t skimp on the herbs.  The parsley and the dill bring so much flavor to the meatballs.

Yuvarlakia Recipe from ZagLeft

I mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and scoop up portions of the meat mixture and roll them into 1 – 1 1/2 inch balls and begin to brown them in a pan.

Yuvarlakia - Greek Meatballs - www.zagleft.com

I usually have to cook the meatballs in batches.  After they are all nicely browned, I add them all back into the pan and pour in chicken broth, some extra parsley and dill and then simmer the meatballs for about an hour.

Towards the end of the cooking time, I make an Avgolemono sauce by whisking together an egg, lemon juice and a pinch of salt in a bowl.  This now becomes a little tricky – not difficult though.  But here’s the thing, you don’t want to pour the egg-lemon mixture into the pan because the heat will cause the eggs to cook too quickly and curdle.  What should be done is to temper the eggs to prevent curdling.  You do this by adding a ladleful of the meatball broth to the bowl with the egg-lemon mixture and whisk it in, then add another ladleful and whisk it again.  This will slowly warm the eggs.  Now, remove your pan from heat and stir the egg mixture into the soup.  Give a gentle stir and in a minute or two, the sauce will thicken a bit.

Mostly I serve this dish alone, as a soup without rice, but a side of orzo or rice is a nice addition if you choose to do so.   I always have a loaf of crusty bread for dipping because you never want to miss a drop of the sauce.

Easy and delicious, Yuvarlakia is comfort food at it’s finest.

Greek Meatballs - Yuvarlakia (recipe from ZagLeft)

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Yuvarlakia – Greek Meatball Soup

Yuvarlakia or Greek Meatball Soup is a flavorful dish of wonderfully seasoned meatballs with an Avgolemono or egg lemon sauce. A light and delicious dish.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Servings: 8 servings


  • 16 ounces ground beef
  • 16 ounces ground pork
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup medium grain rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped Italian Parsley
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dill
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces milk
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 4 tablespoons chopped dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  • Mix the beef, pork, egg, rice, allspice, salt, nutmeg, pepper, parsley, dill, onion, garlic, olive oil and milk in a large bowl. Mix very well
  • Break off pieces of the meat mixture and roll them into 1 1/2-inch balls.
  • Heat a large pot and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add in the meatballs in 2 batches. Brown the meatballs on all sides, then transfer to a plate.
  • After all the meatballs are browned on all sides, add them all back to the pot.
  • Add 4 cups of chicken broth, 2 cups water, chopped parsley, chopped dill, and salt to the pot. Cover and simmer gently for about 50 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, lemon juice and salt together. Remove the pot from the heat.
  • Add a ladleful of the broth to the bowl with the eggs and lemon juice, whisk it.
  • Whisk in another ladleful of the broth to warm the egg mixture.
  • Pour it all back into the pot and gently stir.
  • Allow the sauce to slightly thicken for a minute or two.
  • Add salt to taste.

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5 thoughts on “Yuvarlakia – Greek Meatball Soup”

  1. Renée ♥ The Good Hearted Woman

    I have a well-document weakness for meatballs, and this soup looks delicious! I learned to make Golabki as a teen, from my friend Julie’s mother, who immigrated from Poland. Decades later, they are now a family favorite.

  2. Barb @ A Life in Balance

    Interesting combination of flavors! I never thought of including dill in a meat dish. I’m pinning to my Simple Dinner Recipes board.

  3. I’ve been looking for a new meatball recipe and this soup sounds like one rich in flavor–yum–can’t wait to try it!

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