Mayiritsa (Traditional Greek Easter Soup)

Greek Easter Soup

Lynn Livanos Athan

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 2 hrs 20 mins
Total: 2 hrs 40 mins
Servings: 8 servings

Mayiritsa Easter soup, μαγειρίτσα in Greek (pronounced mah-yee-REET-sah), is traditionally eaten only once a year to break the fasting of the Great Lent. 

The main Easter meal (on Easter Sunday) has typically been an occasion to slaughter a lamb or goat, and this soup was designed to use the leftover parts so that nothing went to waste.

This soup is prepared on Holy Saturday and eaten after midnight church services. The soup is put on low heat to cook before leaving for church and eaten upon returning home.


For the Soup:

  • 2 pounds lamb liver, or kid liver, and other offal such as heart, lungs

  • Intestines from 2 lambs, or kids

  • 1 dash coarse sea salt, or to taste

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, from about 2 lemons

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 5 to 6 green onions, finely chopped

  • 2 to 3 rounded tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill

  • 1 dash sea salt, or to taste

  • 1 dash freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

  • 10 cups water

  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, well washed and finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons short-grain rice, well rinsed

For the Avgolemono (Egg-Lemon Sauce):

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature, separated

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, from about 2 lemons

  • 1 tablespoon water

Steps to Make It

Make the Soup

  1. Wash the organs and set aside to drain. Cut the intestines lengthwise with scissors and clean well under running water. Rub them with coarse sea salt and the lemon juice, then clean again under running water.

  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the organs. Boil for about 3 minutes, then add the intestines and boil for another 5 minutes. Drain and chop into small pieces.

  3. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot. Sauté the onion and green onion for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the meat and sauté until browned (a few minutes).

  4. Add dill, salt, pepper, and 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a slow boil and cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

  5. Add the chopped lettuce to a separate large pot of boiling water and boil for 5 minutes. Transfer to a colander to drain. After the soup has been slow boiling for 40 minutes, stir in the lettuce.

  6. Stir in the rice 10 minutes before the end of cooking time. Remove the soup from the heat.

Make the Avgolemono Sauce

  1. Beat the egg whites until frothy. Continue beating and add the egg yolks, the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of water, and several ladles of the soup broth. The key is to beat continuously so the eggs don't scramble.

  2. Add the mixture to the soup, stir, and cover the pot with a towel. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Raw Egg Warning

Consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs poses a risk of foodborne illness.

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