Matzo Ball Soup Recipe

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This Matzo Ball Soup Recipe, a delicious Ashkenazi Jewish dish made with chicken and dumplings. The soup is most popular at Passover, but it’s tasty anytime, whether you’re Jewish or not. If you love to explore new cultures through food, this recipe is for you!

White bowls filled with matzo ball soup.


 

Matzo Ball Soup is an Ashkenazi Jewish recipe for soup with dumplings that is most popular at Passover. The dumplings are made with Matzo meal, the ground crumbs of unleavened Matzo bread. Matzo balls are a direct reminder of past hardships faced, such as when the Jewish people survived on unleavened bread during their exodus from Egypt.

Chicken is popular in the soup but not required, and the best Matzo balls are made with schmaltz (rendered chicken fat). Cook the chicken in the soup for maximum flavor, but you can substitute leftover cooked chicken if you have it. And boil the matzo balls separately in water rather than cooking them in the soup broth itself, so you don’t lose all your soup broth to the matzo balls.

I am not Jewish, but Matzo Ball Soup was my first introduction to Jewish cuisine (unless you count bagels), and I fell in love. Matzo balls are positively swollen with flavor and so tender, it’s hard to stop eating them. And this is true whether you use schmaltz or just plain vegetable oil and whether or not you add chicken to the soup. They are just so delicious!

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for Matzo ball soup.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Chicken fat: Traditionally, matzo balls are made with rendered chicken fat, also known as schmaltz.
  • Matzo meal: Matzo (also known as matzoh or matzah) is an unleavened Jewish bread made from flour and water. Matzo meal is the crumbs made from grinding this bread and is used to make the dumplings. Manischewitz is a popular brand available at grocery stores nationwide.
  • Chicken broth: If you have the time, homemade chicken stock makes the richest, most gelatinous soup. You can then use the chicken from the broth to put in your soup.

Step-by-step instructions

For the matzo balls:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil and beaten eggs. Add matzo meal and stir to combine. Refrigerate the matzo ball mixture at least 15 minutes or overnight.
Matzo ball dough in a bowl.
  1. With wet hands, shape the matzo into 1-inch balls.
Making matzo balls for matzo ball soup.
  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring 10 to 12 cups water to a boil. Add matzo balls and reduce to a simmer.
Making matzo balls for matzo ball soup.
  1. Cover well and simmer until fully cooked, 20 minutes.
Boiling matzo balls for matzo ball soup.

For the soup:

  1. Meanwhile, in a large pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chopped yellow onion, diced carrots, sliced celery stalks, and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Carrots and celery in a pot.
  1. Stir in the broth. Place the parsley stems, 1 tsp black peppercorns, and bay leaves in the center of the square of cheesecloth. Gather the corners together to make a small pouch, tying it tightly with twine. Keep one length of the twine long enough to tie to one of the pot handles, for easy removal. Add to pot.
Cooking the broth for matzo ball soup.
  1. Place chicken in the pot and continue to cook until vegetables are tender and the chicken registers 165 degrees when pierced at the thickest part, about 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken.
A pot of matzo ball soup.
  1. Remove to a cutting board and cool slightly. Slice, chop, or shred as desired (I prefer shredded). Return chicken to pot. Remove sachet and discard. Season soup to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
A pot of matzo ball soup.
  1. Remove matzo balls from simmering water using a slotted spoon. Divide matzo balls between 4 bowls. Ladle soup over matzo and garnish with dill.
White bowls filled with matzo ball soup.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This Matzo Ball Soup recipe makes about 10 cups, enough for 4 hearty servings, 2 ½ cups each.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days (store the matzo balls separately from the soup if desired).
  • Make ahead: Uncooked matzo balls can be held in the refrigerator 1 to 2 days, and cooked matzo balls can be held 3 to 4 days.
  • Freezer: Place soup and balls into freezer-safe zip-top bags and freeze up to 3 months. Reheat to 165 degrees on a digital thermometer
  • Chicken: To keep things simple, I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts. You can certainly substitute bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, thighs, or wings.
  • Matzo Ball density: Depending on the exact fat you use and how densely you pack the balls, you may end up with “sinkers,” “floaters,” or a mix of both. This describes how the matzo balls behave in your soup bowl.
  • Vegetarian Matzo Ball Soup: Use vegetable or olive oil instead of schmaltz. Omit the chicken and swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth.
White bowls filled with matzo ball soup.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are matzo balls made of?

Matzo balls are made of eggs, fat (usually vegetable oil or chicken fat, aka schmaltz), and matzo meal (the ground crumbs of unleavened Matzo bread).

What else can you add to matzo ball soup?

Customize your soup pot with cooked egg noodles, potatoes, chunks of zucchini, or even corn. For an extra garlicky soup, drop garlic heads in the soup pot instead of minced garlic and remove before serving. Please note: Egg n

Do you need club soda to make matzo balls?

Some recipes call for club soda or seltzer, but my matzo balls stayed together just fine without it.

Are chemical leaveners forbidden during passover?

The only leavener forbidden during passover is yeast. So, you can use baking powder to leaven food for passover. Some intrepid cooks whip egg whites separately from the yolks to make their matzo balls extra fluffy.

More Passover-inspired recipes

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Someone scooping a Matzo ball out of a ball of Matzo ball soup.

Matzo Ball Soup Recipe

This Matzo Ball Soup Recipe, a delicious Ashkenazi Jewish dish made with chicken and dumplings. The soup is most popular at Passover, but it's tasty anytime, whether you're Jewish or not.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 servings (about 2 ½ cups each)
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 440
5 from 2 votes

Ingredients 

For the matzo balls:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or chicken fat (schmaltz, see note 1)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup matzo meal (one packet, see note 2)

For the soup:

Instructions 

For the matzo balls:

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil and eggs. Add matzo meal and stir to combine. Refrigerate the matzo at least 15 minutes or overnight. With wet hands, shape the matzo into 1-inch balls.
  • In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring 10 to 12 cups of water to a boil. Add matzo balls and reduce to a simmer. Cover well and simmer until fully cooked, 20 minutes.

For the soup:

  • Meanwhile, in a large pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the broth.
  • Place the parsley stems, peppercorns, and bay leaves in the center of the square of cheesecloth. Gather the corners together to make a small pouch, tying it tightly with twine. Keep one length of the twine long enough to tie to one of the pot handles, for easy removal. Add to pot.
  • Add the chicken to the pot and continue to cook until vegetables are tender and the chicken registers 165 degrees when pierced at the thickest part, about 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken.
  • Remove to a cutting board and cool slightly. Slice, chop, or shred as desired (I prefer shredded). Return chicken to pot. Remove sachet and discard. Season soup to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Remove matzo balls from simmering water using a slotted spoon. Divide matzo balls between 4 bowls. Ladle soup over matzo and garnish with dill.

Notes

  1. Chicken fat: Traditionally, matzo balls are made with rendered chicken fat, also known as schmaltz.
  2. Matzo meal: Matzo (also known as matzoh or matzah) is an unleavened Jewish bread made from flour and water. Matzo meal is the crumbs made from grinding this bread and is used to make the dumplings. Manischewitz is a popular brand available at grocery stores nationwide.
  3. Chicken broth: If you have the time, homemade chicken stock makes the richest, most gelatinous soup. You can then use the chicken from the broth to put in your soup.
  4. Yield: This Matzo Ball Soup recipe makes about 10 cups, enough for 4 hearty servings, 2 ½ cups each.
  5. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days (store the matzo balls separately from the soup if desired).
  6. Make ahead: Uncooked matzo balls can be held in the refrigerator 1 to 2 days, and cooked matzo balls can be held 3 to 4 days.
  7. Freezer: Place soup and balls into freezer-safe zip-top bags and freeze up to 3 months. Reheat to 165 degrees on a digital thermometer. 

Nutrition

Serving: 2.5cupsCalories: 440kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 44gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 198mgSodium: 1595mgPotassium: 1017mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 6465IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 80mgIron: 2mg
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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Comments

  1. Good morning. My mom made chicken soup with matzo balls frequently. Your recipe is very similar to my moms. I do recall that she also included a turnip and a parsnip. L’chaim.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Alan! I will absolutely add parsnips and turnips in my next batch. Take care! – Meggan