Matzo Ball Soup Article -
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Matzo Ball Soup

Make rich, comforting soup just like Bubbe's.

Great matzo ball soup starts with homemade chicken broth. The chicken stock starts out with a whole chicken, cut into pieces, and simmered with aromatics and root vegetables like carrots and parsnips. Everyone's favorite part of the soup, though, is that airy--or dense, depending upon your preference--dumpling known as the matzo ball (also called knaidel).

Best Broth

Follow our step-by-step instructions for making your own chicken stock.

Matzo Balls

While there are several recipe variations for matzo balls, the basic formula for these dumplings contains matzo meal, eggs, chicken fat (schmaltz), and salt. The shaped dough should be chilled for at least an hour before cooking; this helps them firm up so they don't fall apart in the soup. Before serving, the matzo balls are poached in broth until they expand and become light and fluffy.

Matzo Magic

Most cooks have a few tricks for making the lightest and fluffiest matzo balls in town. One secret is to leave the pot covered until the dumplings are almost done--if you leave the lid off, the matzo balls may become dense and leaden. Other families prefer dense, chewy matzo balls and choose to cook them longer in an uncovered pan.

  • For light matzo balls, you can separate the eggs and beat the whites until they are fluffy before combining them with the rest of the ingredients.
  • A quick way to add a light and tender touch to matzo balls is to use seltzer or ginger ale in the mixture.
  • Before shaping, oil your hands: the oil will keep the balls from sticking to your hands and forms a light coating on the dough, helping prevent the matzo balls from absorbing too much liquid while they cook.
  • If you're short on time, you can drop the matzo ball dough from a spoon directly into the simmering broth, without shaping them at all.

Whichever tricks you use, be sure to make a big batch, because nobody can ever get enough matzo balls! Before serving, garnish each bowl of soup with fresh chopped dill and parsley, and get ready to enjoy what may be one of the world's most perfect foods.

    Oct. 28, 2009 4:35 am
    love matzo ball soup this one is excellent
    Mar. 27, 2010 1:27 pm
    I am a vegetarian as is my boyfriend. When making matzo ball soup (specifically the broth), I use every kind of vegetable (specifically those root vegetables!) in the store. The more the better. One tip to make the broth more full: cheese rind. Any and all types of hard cheese rind will do. It was a huge hit last year; no one even noticed it was vegetarian.
    May 2, 2010 3:14 pm
    I am not Jewish and have never celebrated passover or tried matzo balls. My best friend is Jewish though, and I am supposed to celebrate passover next time it comes around. then I will have matzo ball soup with them.Hopefully I will like it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Jun. 4, 2010 7:52 am
    Leftover matzo balls are great when roasted over the campfire.
    Aug. 22, 2010 9:31 am
    You don't have to be Jewish to enjoy matzo balls, but it seems to help. In any event, check your calendar for Passover, fix this soup and either bring back memories or create new ones. It's a great way to teach children about culture, their's or another's. Shalom - SS
    Aug. 24, 2010 11:17 pm
    better than chicken noodle soup by far wins every time in my house hands down and i do not follow the jewish religion
    Oct. 6, 2010 10:59 pm
    I love Matzo Ball Soup!! I make it often. Yum!! (St Paddy's day even!! Yes, I'm Irish) I was Jewish when I lived before... that's my story and I'm sticking to it!!! ;-)
    Oct. 14, 2010 8:49 pm
    I love Matzo Ball Soup! So delicious! I am going to make this one soon, once the weather turns chilly. I am excited! I hope my Matzo Balls turn out!
    Oct. 20, 2010 9:50 pm
    Can someone please define "matzo meal" to me, what are the ingredients to make the balls, I'm quite curious - it has caught my eye in the grocery store on a few occasions... thanks for any input in advance !
    Oct. 29, 2010 8:25 pm
    Campfire matzo ball!?? Intriguing!
    Nov. 26, 2010 8:45 am
    FOR SHANNON: matzo meal comes from matzoh, the no-yeast "flatbread" used during the Jewish holiday of Passover in Spring. It represents the idea that, when the Hebrews fled slavery in Egypt (way back then), they didn't even have time to let their bread rise as they left their homes. Matzoh meal is crushed matzoh. Breadcrumbs are to bread as matzoh meal is to matzoh.
    Dec. 10, 2010 12:24 am
    Im not jewish but when I'm sick Jewish Penicillin is the only fix! The recipe I follow always said to keep the cover on tight letting the mazto ball cook at a medium boil, they were always hard so I tried a soft boil and let them cook a little longer.. PERFECT! Making some tomorrow actually, cant wait
    Jan. 18, 2011 6:02 am
    I beg Hubby to bring me home Matzo Ball Soup whenever I'm sick or sad from the only Jewish restaurant/delicatessen in San Diego which is not far from his office. I devour the Matzo ball Soup for 2 whole days with bread & butter, noodles and sliced carrots. I am so Irish, a red-head with green eyes and not Jewish but found Matzo Ball soup to be my absolute favorite to cure all ills. Next time you are sick or sad, pick some up or make it, you will feel child-like once again and will feel much better. I think I may have been a doting Jewish mother many times over in past lives, so I'm sticking to this Matzo Ball Soup as the best soup in the world.
    Jan. 31, 2011 9:34 am
    My mom was of Jewish ethnicity, though her family was far from rigidly Kosher. We used to eat some of the Kosher foods she liked and Matzo Ball soup was one of them. There is nothing like it when you are sick with the flu or a bad cold. My hubby, raised in an Irish Catholic home, never even HEARD of matzo ball soup till he met me. I've converted him, at least to matzo ball soup :-). (I wasn't raised in the Jewish faith tradition, however, as my mother converted to Christianity when I was a baby. Still, I've always been interested in Jewish faith and traditions, since they are part of my heritage.)
    Feb. 4, 2011 2:26 pm
    Just like homemade chicken noodle soup is good for when you are sick, only difference would be the matzo balls (dumplings, really). Leave chicken in or out, as you prefer. Sounds like I should check the freezer for some chicken. Also am wondering about the matzo meal. Why would one make the bread and then turn it into matzo meal when they could use the flatbread recipe (with no leavening or yeast) and make matzo balls out of that? Just curious.
    Feb. 14, 2011 7:49 pm
    my mother always told me never open the lid while the matzo balls are cooking....NEVER...and always make just one to check if you need to as anything to them...always use seltzer, a very little cinnamon and fresh parcley in them....they were the lightest and fluffiest matzoballs and most delicsious...she would also make crepluck sometimes with them and kasha would bring it all together..with a few chuncks of carrot from the chicken soup...i think i am going to make it tomorrow...that does it...i cant wait till passover.i have everything but the schmaltz..
    Mar. 14, 2011 10:13 am
    I'm Jewish and I make matzo ball soup often. My husband is a Chef and he expects light, fluffy matzo balls. My recipe is from Manischevitz. They don't always come out perfect but they're still appreciated and therapeutic! I save chicken fat in the freezer every time I make a chicken so I have shmaltz for matzo balls. If I don't have enough, I use vegetable oil, never margarine. And I NEVER buy matzo meal - I used actual matzo (usually the leftovers from Passover), which I put through a food processor and grind up. I keep the ground matzo in a tight jar for whenever I want to make matzo balls. And you must keep the pot covered while the balls cook, and not put the temp too high. Light, fluffy matzo balls are the best!!!
    Apr. 19, 2011 11:03 pm
    Matzo ball soup is delicious. Thanks for the recipe and tips!
    iris wenig 
    Apr. 19, 2011 11:52 pm
    i never thought to process and save leftover matzoes in a tightly closed jar...great idea...thanks,
    Apr. 20, 2011 1:00 pm
    As my grandmother, should she rest in peace, say, like a sponge cake, matzo balls should never be made with a heavy heart to ensure they'll be light and fluffy. Of course, the schmaltz, seltzer and a closed lid help! A note of caution, if you drop them directly into the broth make sure you double the amount of broth you're heating up because it will be absorbed by the matzo balls....but yummy! And remember, while enjoying this wonderful prelude to dinner, lean to the left! Shalom!
    Apr. 20, 2011 1:07 pm
    I failed to mention, these were always referred to as kneydl or kneydlokh (forgive the phonetic spelling).
    Apr. 20, 2011 2:04 pm
    I am currently looking for a homemade matzo recipe. Does anyone have a tried and true recipe to make this matzo meal? Thanks in advance!
    Apr. 20, 2011 3:18 pm
    i use seltzer not cold in the mixture of matzoh balls and put it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes, they come out lite and fluffy, sometimes i use fresh dill for a differnt taste
    Apr. 21, 2011 12:25 pm
    I have been making this soup for years, I love it, but cannot figure out how people make them hard like baseballs ! My secret is when you are shaping the ball mixture, do not make the balls tight .. roll them losely that way air gets in while they cook.. You will NEVER make a hard matzo balls again !!!! Enjoy
    Linda W 
    Apr. 21, 2011 6:19 pm
    I make them just like my grandma, hard and dense. That's how my family likes it. Don't use egg whites, use the whole egg. I follow directions on the box and add a little more matzo meal. Cook for 40 minutes with the lid on..Very yummy a meal in itself
    Apr. 23, 2011 7:25 am
    It's Passover! That means Matzoh Ball Soup any way you make it. Also make when you have a bad cold. Nothing like Jewish Chicken Soup to cure. Shalom all and Happy Passover.
    Oct. 2, 2011 7:45 am
    I lived in the Orange County area in what's called the L.A. basin. My husband & I, although not Jewish, used to drive from there to a resturant in Westwood to get Matzoh Ball Soup--don't remember the name of the resturant but they put poppy seeds in their Matzoh balls. I thought they were outstanding! I miss Jewish resturants in Northern CA where I live now, all of the resturants here are Italian, more Italian, a few Mexican & of course, Chinese, Chinese, Chinese!!!!
    Nov. 15, 2011 5:33 pm
    I know... SF is lots of Chinese cusine.. and Italian... BUT there is nothing more comforting than Jewish cooking. I get well with Matzo Ball Soup... when I lived in MN. Lincoln Del was thee place... oh so good and my (Italian)husband loved their corned beef hash!!! Wonderful. I now make matzo ball soup and it's pretty, pretty , pretty darn good. (Larry David would say! ;-) )
    Dec. 25, 2011 6:53 am
    Somebody suggested grilling the leftover Matzoh balls? In our home we stay Kosher and well I have to say I have never seen a leftover Matzoh ball. Shalom Shalom
    Dec. 29, 2011 8:52 am
    Jewish Penicillin is the cure-all and it saved me when I had double pneumonia. My Jewish neighbor made a large soup pot of matzoh soup for me and I ate every drop. I was raised a Protestant but my heritage is Jewish dating back to the first Jewish Rabbi of Charleston, SC. Could it be that is the reason for my love of most Jewish foods? I'll make this recipe soon. Shalom
    Jan. 10, 2012 9:26 pm
    If you drop the matzo dough from a spoon,dip the spoon in the hot chicken broth for 30 sec. or so first.This way the dough will not stick to the spoon.
    Mar. 1, 2012 3:10 pm
    I haven't had matzo ball soup in ages!!! When I lived in NYC I had it all the time! What I would give to have a bowl..... pot right now!
    Mar. 19, 2012 8:50 pm
    I will be making my first pot of matzo ball soup this week. I am not Jewish so wish me luck?
    Mar. 31, 2012 7:41 pm
    My parents moved to Florida and I will be making it for the first time. So I am starting with the mix from the box. I will try homemade next Passover. Good Pesach.
    Apr. 1, 2012 5:00 pm
    Each year as the holidays roll around my Matzoh Ball soup anxiety returns. I think good Jewish chicken soup is very diffucult to perfect. I never think the finished product is any good, I beg my family for endless confirmation that my chicken soup is the best and ONLY chicken soup worthy of Oy Veh In my opinion, it all starts with a good "soup" chicken. I always use distilled water mixed with organic chicken broth for a richer flavor. Try mixing some ground nutmeg in your matzoh balls and boil them in water mixed with broth.Actually the recipe on the matzoh ball mix box makes some good balls, add an extra egg, the whole egg if you like them light and just the yolk if you prefer them dense. Use seltzer instead of water to mix. I have to start cooking now because I have promised soup to several of my non-Jewish friends who have exhausted their stashes from previous holidays. To all my fellow tribe members GOOD YONTIF ! To all the non Jews reading,
    Apr. 3, 2012 8:42 am
    I grew up loving Matzoh Ball soup, even though i'm not Jewish. Now i have a Jewish boyfriend and made my first ever pot of homemade Matzoh Ball soup following the recipe his mom gave me. Talk about being nervous and having very large shoes to fill!!!! lol. Needless to say, i think it came out great (did need a little more salt, but i generally do not cook with alot of salt). My boyfriend even gave me the ultimate compliment and said it tasted just as good as mom's! (whew) Happy Passover!
    Nov. 12, 2012 11:18 am
    I grew up in Oklahoma eating Chicken with Matzoh Ball soup, absolutely LOVE it. I am not jewish but this is my favorite soup!
    Mar. 29, 2013 9:44 pm
    I had quite a chuckle reading everyone's comments about Matza Ball soup. I've been making it for more than 45 years and I learned it from my great grandmother, who was born in Russia about 1888. What I do is very simple. At least one day in advance, and as many as three, I make my dough. I use the recipe from the box and substitute schmaltz for the fat. Other than that, I make sure the broth is at a roiling boil before putting in my rounded dough. I do not cover but bring it back to a gentle boil for about 40 minutes. They have always been light and fluffy. Sometimes I stuff vegetables and/or herbs in the balls. Also, I make my own super broth from the carcass of the roasted chickens I make every week, storing in freezer bags in the freezer. It keeps well up to a year. Our Passover Seder usually has 26-30 people and I'm told every year I make the best Matzah Ball soup. I think it's my broth and the dough being refrigerated at least a day ahead which is what makes it so good. One last
    Mar. 31, 2013 3:32 pm
    Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences and good tips in making Matzo Ball Soup. I'm not Jewish, but I love the Jewish people, and their food is wonderful. My husband is American Indian "Hopi", and he just ask me to make this soup, he expressed he had it once in his past and it left a pleasing memory. So here goes, my first time at 69 years.
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