matzo ball soup

[Note: This recipe got some fresh photos in 2019 because it really, really needed them.]

A confession: In spite of my current, ongoing, seeming-like-it-will-never-ever-end condition, I don’t like traditional chicken soup. Obviously, boasting such sacrilege, I am undeserving of your sympathy. Obviously, this is why, four days in, I am still on the sofa on my second box of tissues, chugging down my 20th Brita pitcher of water, my nose as red as a rail-thin starlet at 4 a.m., the bitterness of having a SuperBowl party of one only slightly mitigated by the fact that the Giants triumph–I do not embrace everyones’ grandmother’s sworn-by home remedy.

chicken broth ingredients

Honestly, it’s not all chicken soup that I do not like; it’s just the stuff I can normally get. Those short noodles? I can never get them on my spoon! Those bits of chicken? Always overcooked. Those carrot specks? They’re just mush. I’ve tried X Deli’s and Y Market’s and Z Restaurant’s and they always disappoint, namely because these three ingredients were never meant to be cooked for the same amount of time, nor kept warm for hours on end, which is why I was given no choice this weekend but to take the matter into my own hand and make my favorite variety of chicken soup: matzo ball soup.

a great heap of things that make soup deliciousadd watersimmeringlater

It helped that Alex had gotten a two-day lead on being sick, because it got me to take some assorted stock ingredients out of their freezer bags, into a pot and make a batch of stock so enormous, I was pretty sure I used every large dish in the apartment. Of course, by Friday I was laid out too and the gap between defrosting chicken stock from the freezer and making it into something seemed impassable. But the thought of eating anything else depressed me, with the help of my also-infirm husband, turned it into matzo ball soup.

mixed, let chill for a bitscooped, thicker nowwith wet hands, roll smoothpetite matzo balls

It was not difficult. It was absolutely delicious. It did not, however, draw us up from the depths of flu season, but I forgive it because it solved a different dilemma for me: I had always been convinced I couldn’t make chicken stock or matzo balls the way our mothers do. Some things are just like that–they’re just not the same when you make them yourself–and I am relieved this wasn’t one of them. Not as relieved as I would have been if, say, our mothers had come to our apartment and cooked it for us, but let’s not get crazy, huh?

matzo ball soup

Chicken Stock

The single most helpful thing you can keep on-hand if you wish to make your own soups and stocks is a stock bag, a concept I picked up from Sara Moulton way back when. This is a bag you keep in your freezer with ingredients you’re saving to flavor a soup base. It’s especially awesome for those of us who hate throwing things away–you never have to. Chopping leeks tonight? Throw the tough green ends in your stock bag. Discarding mushroom stems? Add them too. Only using half that onion? Don’t let it grow old and forgotten in your fridge.

This works for chicken as well. When you go to buy chicken for a dish, grab a whole one and ask the guy behind the counter to chop it for you. It costs a lot less and you can then save the back and wings (because who eats wings?) in a separate stock bag, so they’ll be ready when you are.

Yield: Approximately 3.5 quarts

3 1/2 to 4 1/2 pounds chicken necks, backs and wings
3 celery ribs, cut into big chunks
3 carrots, scrubbed and cut into big chunks
2 parsnips, scrubbed and cut into big chunks
2 onions, unpeeled and quartered
1 head garlic, cut horizontally in half
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
4 quarts cold water
Any vegetables you have stashed in your Stock Bag (described above)

Bring all ingredients to a boil in an 8- to 10-quart heavy pot. Skim froth. Reduce heat and gently simmer, uncovered for 3 hours.

Pour stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl and discard solids. If using stock right away, skim off and discard any fat. If not, cool stock completely, uncovered, before skimming fat, then chill, covered. Reserve a few tablespoons of the skimmed fat if you wish to use them in matzo balls (below).

Stock can be chilled 3 days in the refrigerator or frozen 1 month.

Matzo Ball Soup

There are two matzo ball camps: those that like them heavy and leaden at the bottom of a bowl and those that like them light and fluffy–these are the latter, and in my mind, the better ones.

If you can’t find matzo meal, pulse a few pieces of matzo in your food processor until it is a coarse powder. If you can’t find matzo, well, you obviously do not live in New York City.

Makes 8 to 12 matzo balls

Matzo Balls
1/2 cup matzo meal
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons reserved chicken fat or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons chicken stock or seltzer (which both of our mothers swear by for making the balls extra light)

For soup
2 to 3 quarts prepared chicken stock (recipe above)
1 carrot, thinly sliced
A few sprigs of dill

Mix all matzo ball ingredients in a bowl. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Bring 1 1/2 quarts of well-salted water to a brisk boil in a medium sized pot.

Reduce the flame. Run your hands under water so they are thoroughly wet. Form matzo balls by dropping spoonfuls of matzo ball batter approximately 1-inch in diameter into the palm of your wet hands and rolling them loosely into balls. Drop them into the simmering salt water one at a time. Cover the pot and cook them for 30 to 40 minutes.

About ten minutes before the matzo balls are ready, bring prepared chicken stock to a simmer with the sliced carrot in it. Ladle some soup and a couple matzo balls into each bowl and top with a couple snips of dill. Eat immediately.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New here? You might want to check out the comment guidelines before chiming in.

270 comments on matzo ball soup

    1. Lia

      Hi, this looks amazing! What was there in Matso balls that you poured after the matso? Some kind of sparkling water? Couldn’t find it in a recipe. And are there not only “2 tablespoons reserved chicken fat or vegetable oil”, but also
      2″ tablespoons chicken stock or seltzer”?
      Thank you in advance.

      1. NoL

        Lia- I hope you found out before 2021- but seltzer is the sparkling water you saw. It makes the matzo balls MUCH lighter & even more delicious!

          1. Beth

            Because they’ll soak up too much of the soup. You CAN cook them in the soup if you have so much that that wouldn’t be a problem.

  1. Oh that soup is to DIE for — well to GETTER for!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wish I had a bowl here — even tho I’m not sick — poo poo poo! Don’t want to jinx myself. Did you not get a flu shot this year? Now I wish I had all the stuff to make matzo ball soup…wait…I think I do have all those ingredients! Better get to it! Get well soon!

  2. A few times a year while I’m visiting my parents, my mom will make an enormous amount of matzo ball soup, put it in freezer containers, and send it back to LA with me and my sister. That way, whenever we get sick, we can defrost mom’s matzo ball soup (the best ever, btw) and be on the road to recovery.

    One of these days I’ll attempt making it myself, but I know it will never be as good as my mom’s.

  3. Sara

    You figured out how to turn me from a lurker into a commenter! I was JUST thinking about making chicken soup w/ matzo balls for a sick coworker, and wishing I could telepathically get the shopping list from my cookbook at home so I could stop by the grocery store on my home from work. In the midst of this thought process, I decided to check your blog for the 5208th time today (what can I say, I’m bored), and Voila! Just the recipe I was looking for!

    My mom’s secret ingredient for matzo balls was always Nyafat vegetable shortening. And my mom’s matzo balls are the BEST. Though yours look pretty good. And the above-mentioned Max’s are not bad, though often so large that they cannot properly cook through. Still, not bad for not-Mom’s!

  4. Karolyn

    I like greek avgolemono soup for my Chicken soup replacement. Your chicken is the egg, the pasta is the rice, and the refreshing lemon taste is just amazing. Creamy but with no cream… And I think I might have snagged me a Greek bred honey because of it “your avgolemono is better than my Mother’s!”

  5. I swear by Pho when I am sick. I had a really amazing bowl of it at a now-defunct chinese place that knocked an oncoming cold clear out of my body. Fabulous broth, tender chicken, lots of noodles to slurp, bean sprouts, chopped chilis…..SO fabulous. Of course, it might have also been the spicy noodle dish I slurped alongside it…..

  6. JoJo

    I loooove matzo ball soup! My mom simmers her matzo balls directly in the stock instead of boiling them separately, which is something you might try. Never heard the seltzer thing – great tip!

    I’m seriously craving some matzo ball soup now. Hope you feel better soon…

  7. Yeah, it sucks to live far away from your mom when you’re sick( like me). There is nothing worse than having to make a pot of matza ball soup when you’re sick. Btw, did you use schmaltz or oil?

  8. SaraQ

    I will give you my secret recipe for the most wonderful chicken soup. Take the bones, sprinkle them with spices (salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder) and bake them at 400 degree F until they are almost burnt. Then places those in your soup when you make the stock. You will love it!

  9. Philip R

    Sending much health and happiness your way. Last month when I was down with the LA version of this flu I found the Cook’s Illustrated Soup issue. I’m never buying chicken soup again. I totally agree with you about how it comes from the store. The CI version… Nectar of the food gods!!!

  10. ailo

    Hi Deb, I love love your site, and my friends love when I try your recipes. Thank you for the months of pleasure I’ve gotten from it.

    Now for a question: I seem to remember you used to be vegetarian, so do you have any tips for vegetable stock as glorious sounding as your above chicken stock? (and would matzo ball soup be as good with veggie stock? I used to love it…) Would just leaving out the chicken do it? I would love to make my own, but whenever I’ve done the basic, I always feel like it’s rather bland and I’m ruining a bunch of veggies that could be otherwise delicious.

  11. deb

    Kate–Thanks for the idea! I ordered some for dinner. I didn’t chose Vietnamese places well, so it was average, but still, I like your thinking!

    Randi–I used schmaltz, oh yes, I did.

    Ailo–Yes. Simply use all of those veggies above, and skip the chicken. You’ll want more of them, of course, to make up for the volume and flavor of them lose from the bones–at least double. And be creative, use those mushroom stems, those leeks, and anything else (including a favorite herb) you think will nicely flavor the water. You can make the matzo balls veggie, too, of course, just using oil and not chicken fat.

    Dori–Agreed on the baking soda, of course that would make it spectacularly un-Kosher for Passover, which is usually when this soup is made. I did see a couple egg white beating recipes when I was reading up this week, however, and totally want to try that next time. Just to see. Even though this classic version was just perfect.

    Britney–Cracker-like unleavened bread, eating by Jews on Passover. Loads more information over here and elsewhere on the Web.

  12. I totally feel your pain right now,Ive spent the last 24 hours glued to my bed with chills and the flu :( that soup looks good
    I love my moms homeade chicken noodle soup,it might be the chicken soup of your dreams big chicken chunks and she used frozen egg noodles,try it!

  13. Deb, the thought of a warm bowl of matzo ball soup is making me wish I’d had the balls (haha, pardon the pun) to make that tonight instead of my lame student-budget dinner! However, I am in the “matzo balls should be like lead” camp, so I can’t participate on the best fluffing agent discussion. To make her (best in the world) matzo balls, my mother leaves the batter in the fridge for 10-15 minutes longer than the recipe calls for, so everything can become dense. Of course, she doesn’t use selzer and uses schmaltz – lots of it. Great post, as usual! Get well soon, hun!

  14. Yay! Another chicken noodle soup hater! I feel so vindicated that I am not alone in my disdain for chicken in broth. Mind you, I love chicken broth…just hate the parts that you listed above with the addition of really hating limp celery. EWWW!

    I’d make you some veggie beef soup with homemade biscuits, it’ll fix you right up!

  15. My family has a great recipe for swedish dumplings and chicken noodle soup. Whenever I think of comfort food when I’m sick, I think of that. So I’ll have to give this a try.

    Your photography… it never has an “off” day. That’s what picks me up when I’m sick!!!

  16. I’m not a matzo ball soup expert, but yours looks pretty darn good.
    I’ve only made it once, but I sort of made it Italian, with kale and herbs.
    God bless those people at Manischewitz.

    Did you have a little cherry wine with your soup?

  17. I’m not big into soup in particular – so last week’s foray with the flu (while pregnant and unable to take antibiotics) was not. fun. I subsisted on popsicles and ginger ale, and that worked quite well for many days.

    For your nose? Try this, you can buy Cloverine Salve at the Vermont County Store (online). I swear by it – my family swears by it. I used it last week continuously and my skin was never more than a bit pink. And I’ve now gone through four boxes of lotion-enhanced-only tissues. It’s hard to find in stores – even down here in the South.

    Seriously. Try it. (And on anything else that ails you, too. Chapped lips especially.)

  18. Marjy

    Chicken noodle’s a mood thing rather than a malady thing for me. When the current plague struck our house, I made a chicken and barley soup with leeks, spinach, lemon, and as much garlic and cayenne as we could stand! I developed it Ayears ago, based on foods that were either nutritional powerhouses (spinach and barley), or had a rep for bug-busting properties (leeks, garlic, plus cayenne to clear the sinuses)

    Having only recently started getting in touch with my Jewish background, I haven’t tried making matzo ball soup yet. Fortunately, we are close to DZ Akins, which serves up a bowl that will knock a bug into next Tuesday!

  19. Courtney

    I hear the reason that chicken noodle soup helps you get over sickness is because it generally has an obscene amount of salt/sodium, which you miss out on when you make it yourself.

  20. Whitney

    Just a question– why do you have to discard the veggies that you make broth out of? I get not wanting to eat the chicken neck etc. but woudn’t the veggies be good? I mean, they are good– to be honest I’ve eaten them and been fine (though I think I may have a lead stomach) but is there some reason why I should not be doing this?

  21. Helen

    A huge thank-you for answering my question about half and half (over at the spinach quiche – it was delicious) while you are sick. I hope you feel better soon. I will sadly remain un-nourished by matzo ball soup, living very far away from NYC. (A quick search revealed there is one deli in Brisbane that stocks ‘some’ Jewish foods.) Deb’s flu be gone! Did that help?

  22. bindi

    Yum! Sounds and looks awesome! Can I just check on the stock bag that you mention… what kind of bag is it? Is it a plastic bag or a cotton/muslin fabric? I’m not sure what would keep vegies best in the freezer?… I think this is a great idea and can’t wait to try it out. Oh, and the soup as well! :)

  23. deb

    Whitney — After boiling vegetables for three hours, they’re mush, very unpleasant mush that have been sapped of all of their flavors, so we discard them.

    Courtney — Hear, hear on the sodium. I tend to need to chug three glasses of water after most deli soups.

    Bindi — A freezer bag, like a Zip or Glad-lock or such. You want them to stay as fresh-tasting as possible, and then of course discard the bag before cooking what is within them.

  24. Wow, I come from a long line of matzoh ball makers, and none of them ever put seltzer into the matzoh ball batter. What a brilliant idea! I am definitely going to try this next time!

  25. i want that soup and i want it now. i just had chicken soup with dumplings in it for the first time the other day (what can i say? my italian mom had the greatest disdain for “american” food) and loved it – and those were bisquick dumplings. this soup looks like heaven in a bowl.

    also, +1 on the veggie bag. makes me feel a little better about not composting.

    Us vs. Food

  26. This post makes me so happy and hungry for matzo ball soup! It came out beautifully and looks JUST like my grandmother’s (I know you were expecting us to all say that but seriously, it does). I’m glad the matzo balls came out with the right texture, I’ve been told it’s hard to master and I hope to achieve the same success when I make matzo ball soup for my future family.

  27. I made matzah ball soup in December and was pleased with it… I think I’ll try the seltzer to make the matzah balls lighter next time and see how we do. My boys love this soup so, your post reminded me I haven’t made it in awhile! We are due for some warm comfort from the soup that cures everything!

  28. I’m sorry you’re sick. This sounds like the perfect thing to soothe away the flu. I love matzoh ball soup, but my matzoh balls always disintegrate. Maybe I’ve been using the wrong recipe. What do I know – I’m Italian!

  29. BETH

    I’ve always wanted to try making my own matzo balls but I never do because I can’t figure out what is meant by chicken fat? Do you just pull some off the chicken? Use the fat that hardens on the broth? Seriously I’ve wondered about that for years. Thanks

    1. Salwa Beheiry

      Chicken fat is the fat that floats on top of the prepared stock after it has been in the fridge overnight. You skim this fat and use it in the matzah dough. But if you don’t have that you can easily use olive oil.

  30. Deb, this is so funny! Not only did we publish our posts at about the same time, both with a discussion of Matzoh Ball camps, but: “This is a bag you keep in your freezer with ingredients you’re saving to flavor a soup base.” I sooo almost went on a paragraph discussion of how I save up my vegetable ends :D I love your idea of keeping them in the freezer. I’ve been making veg stock from a tupperware in the fridge, but it kind of grosses me out a bit that all the odds and ends sit around – freezing them would appease my food safety wishes.

    Also, I like the looks of the Matzoh Balls you made. My dad has a habit of rolling them so tight that they have the texture of hockey pucks – ugh. Your’s look a tad denser than I normally make mine, which is good, because I’ll bet the denser ones keep together (mine fall apart the next day).

  31. Caitybug

    How ironic that you posted this now… just a few days ago I was searching your site for a good chicken soup recipe and ended up wondering why there wasn’t one… now I know.

  32. I officially ADORE you for posting this!! I am actually pretty good at the stock part. once I figured out that even cooking with homemade was a gazillion times better than canned stock I never looked back.

    but the matzo balls! I loved the soup so much growing up and my grandmother made a mean batch. I was always scared to try them on my own. but you make it actually seem possible. thank you!

  33. karyn

    i also hate limp soggy noodles in my mazto ball soup. i pout them in at the very end—after i turn the flame off. the soup is still very hot and the noodles cook quickly. you can also cook the noodles separately and put them in the bottom of the bowl and ladle the soup on top. imake this a few times a month for friday nigth dinner. my kids love matza balls.

  34. I can’t stand chicken soup! I dont’ know why, but I just have never liked it. Something about the smell of boiled chicken. That said, I do love Matzoh! I went to a primarily jewish college (even though I’m not), and since I was the “cook” among my friends, I was always called upon by my friends to cook for the seders. I graduated with enough Jewish recipes to make any mother in law proud! Matzoh is one of my favorites though and this recipe sounds lovely. I’ll definitely be giving it a shot!

    Btw, totally unrelated, but every time I come here I notice that the large text box and small font makes it so nice to keep writing and writing… Maybe that’s why all your comments are so long. I might have to try and figure something out like this for my blog! :)

  35. EB

    I’m not Jewish…. just Jew adjacent… and I LOVE matzoh ball soup. I’ve never tried to make it myself though. I think the cold weather outside and your fantastic pictures might just be the perfect impetus I was needing!

    Feel Better!

  36. You are awesome! And timely. I too am sick and wanted to email you for a chicken stock recipe. Now I don’t have to. I’m confused about one thing. The bag of stock veggies is in addition to the parsnips, celery, onion, and carrots, right? What if you don’t have a stock bag? Can you just use the other four?

    And, in my humble opinion, the denser the matzoh ball the better. My Bub used to get so mad when she made “matzoh ball bearings”, but I loved ’em.

  37. deb

    Howard — Aw, feel better! No worries if you don’t have a stock bag, just use all of the vegetables listed above. As you have stuff stored in the freezer, you can swap out fresh ingredients. You’ll have to share with us the “bearings” recipe.

  38. lin

    I think I know what a lurker is now and I am one. I have been reading your blog and I am offically going on record as a reader and more importantly a cook of some of your recipes. Yeah. I so enjoy sneaking a peek while at work but must confine myself to doing my job – oh bother. I am going to make this soup verry verrry soon. I have not had it since my Jewish boyfriend made it for me over thirty years ago. Yes, I am old but I still appreciate good food. Thank you for being here and letting me in on your world of cooking and wonderful photography.

  39. Courtney

    The last time my girlfriend was really sick, I made her matzoh ball soup, and added curry spices to the matzoh balls and red chilis to the broth. The extra kick helped a lot with her congestion. I cheated, though, and used boxed matzoh ball mix. Can’t wait to try your recipe for making them from scratch!

  40. santadad

    Harold’s New York Deli – Raritan Center, Edison, NJ: Matzoh balls the size of grapefruits. Probably not as good as yours, but definitely BIG. Did I get that message across?

    B I G ! !

  41. I do the same thing in my freezer–I hate waste and since I can’t have a compost heap in the city, I might as well get some use out of my veggie scraps and bones. I wonder how matzo balls would taste with some chopped up jalapenos mixed in, or would that be just too wrong?

  42. Deb- I just wanted to thank you for this recipe. I posted a comment the other day about how my matzoh balls never came out right. Today, I was feeling under the weather and decided to try your recipe. The matzoh balls came out great! Light and fluffy like clouds! I’ll never make them any other way. :)

  43. Charley

    My mother, God rest her soul, was a gentile who made the most wonderful matzo ball soup for my Jewish father when I was a child. Mom passed away before I got a chance to ask her the secret to fluffy matzo balls, as mine always turned out like hockey pucks…Deb, you said a proverbial mouthful when your instructions say to form the balls loosely (shhhh…that’s the that it’s out Bobby Flay will be showing up for showdown!) Ha! He should be so lucky!

  44. ann

    the stock bag in the freezer is genius! (Genius I tell you!) Thanks for bringing that to my attention. Now, can you come over and help me clear out my freezer? It’s in need of some serious, professional intervention ;-)

  45. Lee

    “Who eat’s wings?”…down here in Tulsa it is THE favorite part of the bird…
    I remember as a little girl in Chicago a local eatery had a Chicken Soup Bar: it was
    the first that I had ever seen, and have never come across another one since. The
    stock was WONDERFUL and you could add anything you wished to it from the buffet bar: pieces of chopped chicken, noodles, rice, matzoh balls, kasha…I thought it was a great concept and enjoyed eating there many times with my family.
    Your recipes are super!

  46. AB

    You’ve made me into a lurker, too. These matzoh balls are all WRONG! This is not how my German grandmother would’ve made ’em. Hers were delicate, SMALL, morsels, so light that you had to sit on a ladder to eat them from the ceiling! And they were made from matzohs, NOT the matzoh meal, and had lots of nutmeg and parsley!!!

  47. Brian

    Funny that you should mention Matzo Ball Soup… since it was a conversation in our office today.

    I’m a big fan of Matzo Ball Soup, but have been disheartened by the fact that rarely can you find a vegetarian version. So, I’ve begun to work on my own version and have come up with a pretty hearty veggie stock that makes even my meat-loving boyfriend salivate every time he sees me make it.

    Put the carrot, onion, garlic, celery, parsley, salt, pepper, AND olive oil (a couple of tablespoons should do the trick) in a big pot of boiling water. Keep that puppy simmering until all the veggies have cooked nicely. Don’t strain… the veggies are almost as good as the matzo balls. ALMOST…

    For the matzo balls, I alway like mine fluffy (this doesn’t mean that they’re light… they’re just not dense). The key is this: while they are boiling, do NOT lift the pot top! No peaking…

  48. Linda

    Deb…I have used a Joan Nathan recipe very similar to yours…they are great and in a pinch I use a boxed mix…for those times, when I or one of my tribe are just too sick to deal with a home made “ball”…but I was recently turned on to a Claudia Roden recipe with just matzo meal, separated and beaten eggs, and salt…I am a convert…they were light and fluffy…fat free…and
    really delicious!
    There is nothing like Jewish chicken soup when you are sick…it has magical restorative powers!

  49. I love a good soup stock directive.

    Also, I can give you all a handy hint on how to accomodate the protocol and self confidence of manifesting a recipe just as good as our own mother can.

    A) have a baby or two;
    B) invite your parents over to eat with you and your babies during the festive season;
    C) it helps if the babies are grown up enough to remember their manners

    however, I must add that I have witnessed that the less expedient method incorporates doing a lot of cooking together with your mother in her own kitchen, however, I could never quite come at that, and neither could my mother, and so I undertook to make my grandmother my role model, which seems to have necessitated the having babies part of the qualification

    Grandmothers are perfect for using as role models for coping with formality, cooking, and child birth; while mothers are altogether too afraid that their daughter’s (and sons, but mothers are more likely to call their husbands to task about their sons) mistakes are their own fault.

    Give me a daugher who relates will with her father to find kitchen bliss.

  50. oops that was meant to read “who relates well with her father”

    and here are two easy peasy soup recipies stockless, just in case the kids are at our throats:

    chuck into a pot as much diced root vegetables as you can muster, the only rule is that it has to be root vegetables, and that potatoes are not allowed: cook it until it is cooked and then dissolve a dessert spoon of miso into each bowl just before serving

    chuck into a pot more onion that seems viable, more salt than seems viable, and more olive oil than seems viable, all with presoak black eye beans, and cook for as long as until you can remember that it’s on the stove and you are hungry, but not before you already forgot about it for a while, (but don’t go out with the stove on)

  51. pps but not before frying the onions of course . . .

    . . . . this being the result of motherhoods influence on the instructive capcity: bad luck if you ain’t my own children, who have the exact precise instructions rammed down their earholes as often as possible

  52. Kat

    I love my mom’s chicken noodle soup. She makes chicken base (also known as simmering the hell out of a whole chicken until bits fall off when you poke it), separates the chicken (half right back into the pot and the other half into the fridge for chicken and dumplings), and brings the liquid back to a simmer. Once it’s there, she sautes celery, onion and carrots (and mushrooms if she’s making it for me), adds a liberal dose of salt, and adds them in. She then brings that to a rolling boil (this cooks the veggies) and adds several handfuls of those wide egg noodles. 15 minutes later, there is soup that won’t fall off even the thinnest of spoons. Yum.

  53. “If you can’t find matzo, well, you obviously do not live in New York City.” Love it! Tonight’s my first night ever making Matzah ball soup — wish me luck!

  54. Carla

    just made my first matzo soup (sadly from the box!) but I was looking online for some new recipes and came across your site….. I LOVE the stock bag in the freezer idea….I was trying to figure out what to do with some on its way out celery today and ended up tossing it! if only i had read an hour earlier

  55. Jenn

    I don’t know if anyone else in the world does this, but my mother in law’s chicken stock is some of the most fragrant and yummiest in the world, and her one secret ingredient seems to be parsley(along with the other veggies you mentioned)! She also puts in dill just for the last 10 minutes. Another thing she does differently, although it is much more expensive, is she uses chicken breasts only–she says it makes the broth sweeter. She might be a little nuts, but man is her matzo ball soup the best in the world!!!

  56. Wendy

    I can’t remember if there’s some reason not to use a “fowl” chicken. Anybody know? It’s in the pot now but not emitting the usual great fragrance. I’m enjoying everybody’s comments as well as Smitten’s suggestion to accumulate stock ingredients in a freezer bag until ready to use.

  57. laurie

    Hi Deb, I have made many pots of matzah ball soup and have always been underwhelmed with my results. My daughter is on the couch with a 102 degree post-motrin fever, so I decided to follow your recipes. Both came out better than my previous efforts. Thank you so much. I happen to like the taste of meat that has cooked in the soup so I did use some boneless breasts. And the matzah balls are light. It’s a miracle. And it’s not even Chanukah.

  58. adele

    2nd Avenue Deli = Best Matzo Ball Soup E-V-E-R. They bring it out with matzo balls and noodles in a bowl and then pour their broth on it at your table, so they’re not all mushy. SO SO SO GOOD.

  59. susan

    I notice your recipe list indicates ” unpeeled onions” but the photo shows them peeled……the colour of chicken soup itself has healing powers….leaving the light brown skin on the onions will give the soup an incredible golden glow!
    Anyone who is watching their salt intake can add sundried tomatoes to the mix of vegetables for natural saltiness.

  60. Nicol

    this soup was EXCELLENT! I made it for the first time on Sunday – which is when our family had our Passover Seder – since we won’t be here Wed. I’m converting to Judaism and my husband is Jewish. There were other Jewish people there too. Everyone said “you’re a natural. you’re soup is PERFECT!” (i credited your recipe, of course). My husband said it was as good as his mother’s. Oy vey!!! I am thrilled! Thanks so much for the recipe. I really enjoyed making and eating it.

  61. Stephanie

    oh, this is so cool! My Hebrew teacher was just talking about this soup in class, and I really wanted a recipe to take home and try out (I’m not Jewish, but I’ve been studying in Jerusalem for the past semester and have learned soo much about Jewish culture–it’s been great!), but she forgot to bring it. I can’t wait until I have access to a kitchen again to try this recipe out! Actually, going through your blog, it looks like there are a lot of recipes I need to try… I’m going to be pretty busy once I get home, I think ;)

  62. Midge

    I made this today for a late passover treat for my boyfriend who is Jewish, and also because I’m sick, sick, sick. It was so easy and SO GOOD. My friend and I have been on a matzo ball soup kick, searching out which diner makes it the best, if the store bought mixes or canned versions are passable….we are novices because we are good Irish catholics. The mix I made….I couldn’t even keep it in my mouth. I spit it out. The can……I didn’t have to spit it out, but I couldn’t finish it. This recipe….heaven! And just as easy to make as the box mix. I did cheat and buy Swanson’s broth, though. I doctored it with a little squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Is that allowed??????????

  63. Question: matzo or matzah? never sure which to write. I bought all the ingredients and am going to make some stunning MB soup sometime soon. I cant wait!!!!

  64. Marcella

    Hi! Ever since I found your recipe for this soup I have had it bookmarked and I make your recipe every other week! Yes, I eat that much soup, haha. Thanks so much for sharing!

  65. Michellers

    I already had made the stock with another recipe (it was fine, I will try yours next time) but used your recipe for the matzo ball and they were perfect! I would cook the carrots a little longer next time (or try to slice them even thinner) and add some noodles and/or rice for extra body.

  66. I love (despise) how people on this blog who are not Jewish make the point to say that he or she is not a Jew. By the way, I love (don’t despise) chicken soup with dumplings…in this case, made with Matzah…and I’m not a Jew (j/k). Thank you, Deb, for the info on the transliteration; I had no idea. Totally appreciate and now, I’m about to make your balls. Hopefully, they float. Nice blog.

  67. rose

    Ok, I confess – I cheated and used Swanson’s because I was dying to try this recipe and I was sort on time. The matzo balls were amazing – light, tasty and easy – but next time I am going to spend the time (and the freezer bag trick!) and make the homemade broth because really, there is no substitute. Also, I think I will also try to use reserved chicken fat instead of the veggie oil in the balls – the added flavor would probably be great.
    Thanks again Deb – another winner.

  68. noahb

    someone might have asked this already, but is there any particular reason why u don’t keep the stock vegetables in the soup? just curious.

  69. Lesley

    Even though I am a nice Jewish girl, I like to jazz up my matzah balls in a non-traditional way with a bit more flavor. I like to add a bit of finely minced green onion and finely chopped ginger. I leave the first few balls plain, since my son doesn’t care for those flavors, and the rest have the additions–the green specks make it obvious which are not the plain ones. To my chicken broth I add either baby spinach or bok choy a few minutes before the balls are ready. So good!!!!

  70. Kristina

    Thank you for this enticing recipe and all your fans for the great tips! I’ve been searching for an authentic recipe for my Mom since she mentioned it at Christmas… I can’t wait to turn her on to this recipe and your website! Forgive my use of the many exclamation points… I’m hungry now!

  71. maksim2042

    My grandmother used to fry chicken skin and onions in chicken fat until the skin is slightly puffed up and crispy, like kosher pork rinds. The Yiddish word for it is “schkvarkes”. If you salt them, they become the most un-healthy snack food you can imagine. But you must keep your family away from them until you’re done with the soup ;-)

    Then, when she made matzo balls, she would mix the schmaltzy onions into the batter, and push a morsel of schkvarke into the middle of every matzo ball. They taste incredible, it adds a huge dimension of flavor (toasted onions, rich chickeny flavor) to the matzo balls!

  72. Cass

    THis is the first chicken stock i have ever made that i didn’t think tasted weird. It tasted in my opinion like chicken stock should. I had never eaten Matzo Balls before, but i did make these. Wonderful! Gosh this opens up a whole new world of soups for me!!!

    Thanks for the wonderful site and the hard work that goes into it! I am envious of your photography and availablity of ingredients, but this site is such a fun read and elicits a euphoria everytime there is a new post.


  73. Wow, funny story. I should’ve trusted you, Deb, I should have listen when you said to only use 1/2 a cup of matzoh meal. My friends and I didn’t think that would be nearly enough. Oh no, we ended up essentially quadrupling the recipe for the balls and by the time they had cooked through they were larger than baseballs but not quite softball-sized… There wasn’t room in the pot for me to even stir them. I totally forgot about expansion being a possibility! :P I have learned my lesson, to trust the talented cooks who came before me…

  74. Marion

    There is nothing like the flavor you get from making homemade chicken stock in a pressure cooker-only 30-45 minutes does it! I also recommend adding a few beef bones for heavenly rich flavor.

  75. I made this the other day while making the tangy brisket. This was great too but I think I screwed up somewhere because it looked more like matzo blob soup. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t tasty though. My family loved it.

  76. nat

    Yum! My brother cooked me matzo ball soup when I was visiting him in San Diego – I wish I could make it here in Australia but alas I don’t think anyone here knows what it is :'(

  77. jen b.

    i made the stock a few days ago and left it in the fridge and when i went to use it today it was very gelatinous. i had already skimmed the fat off the top per directions. is this the way it is supposed to be? and how long will the stock store in the fridge? can you freeze it?

    1. deb

      Gelatinous is good — it is from the marrow, a sign of flavor in a good stock. As soon as it goes near an inkling of heat, it re-liquefies. Promise!

  78. Dottie

    As a grandmother I have listened to many of my friends complain that they can’t make matzoh balls. Your recipe is my recipe so I know it is good — except for one thing. 30 minutes is not enough time to get a light matzoh ball. I find that several hours (even many) works better and I bet if those who can’t make matzoh balls tried this simple change in their recipes, they would have good results also.

  79. I made this so long ago, but only just now thought to comment. The instant I took a bite of one of the matzoh balls this recipe produced, I knew I would never have to try out another recipe again. And I knew my (hypothetical) children would grow up and tell their children about their grandma’s killer matzoh ball soup.

  80. Charna

    My mom have made what we had lovingly called her “cannon balls” and then the most heavenly delicious matso balls which I would eat and eat until all I can do is roll over and wait for another day so I can eat more matzo balls. Her secret: she used selter water and she used an icecream scoop to measure the matzo balls and handled the dough as little as possibel. Good luck, and I am going to make some matzo ball tonight.

  81. Andrea

    These matzah balls saved my rosh hashanah dinner! I couldn’t find matzah meal but your recipe along with the tip to just use matzah were key. And I’m now a total believer in your moms’ chicken broth secret to lightness. Thanks!

  82. Miya

    My grandmother (and now I) fry little chopped pieces of onion and then stuff the matza balls with the fried onions. This makes for a nice sweet surprise while eating. They’re good hot or cold, in soup or on their own.

  83. Mimsy

    First I need to preface that I am a Philly born Jewish girl who now lives in Kansas City. Let’s just say I can’t find ANY good Jewish foods out here because I can’t find a single true deli out here. And “Jason’s Deli” (the chain) to me is not a real deli.

    But back on track. So anyway, I was at work the other day thinking that for the first night of Hanukkah it would be great to have some traditional Jewish meals, even if I was cooking just for me. But for as much as I love to cook, when it came to soup, my mom always has cooked too much of it and given me containers for my freezer. At 31 yrs old, it’s the only thing from my childhood I haven’t tried to make for some odd reason. And not being close to her anymore, I no longer am stocked for the winter. So right before I left work I tried calling my mom, who lives in NYC now, for her recipe so I knew exactly what to buy at the grocery store on the way home. Well, I couldn’t get a hold of her, and I was desperate, so I googled matzo ball soup to see what I could find and came across your blog. It was the closest thing I could find that seemed like her recipe (in fact it turns out the matzo balls are exactly the same!). Well, let me just say your recipe for broth is delicious! It’s actually more flavorful than my mom’s because she doesn’t use the garlic, bay leaf or peppercorns (she only uses salt and then adds pepper before she eats it). Well when she did finally call me back I was halfway through cooking and told her the recipe, she said I was doing it all wrong, because like all true Jewish mothers her recipe is always the best recipe! I haven’t told her yet that I liked yours better :-)

    BTW – Kansas City isn’t too backwards, surprisingly I did find matzo meal!

  84. Alexandra

    I made the matzo balls as directed, and when I put them in the water, they disintegrated. What was salvageable tasted great, but I am baffled…any one have any ideas what would make this happen? Could it be that I used the matzo meal mix (all I could find) instead of straight meal? Thanks

  85. Dena

    After 25 years of near total vegetarianism, I made my first chicken soup this weekend. It was delicious, and I think it might have helped my fiance get over his cold!

  86. Ashley

    I never realized how easy it was to make it without having to buy the package of it. I like the recipe here since the premade one was always tasted a little to salty to me. Made this and it was nice and fluffy. Thanks a bunch! ^_^

    Won’t have to beg Mum Mum to make it every time I go home, hehe.

  87. These matzoh balls came together perfectly and making them was such a joy for me – my grandma’s matzoh ball soup (which tastes just like yours) was always my favorite and it felt like a rite of passage in my adult life to be able to make it myself. Can’t wait to put them together again the next time I need a little comfort. Thank you!

  88. Jill

    I love matzo ball soup. I recently made matzo balls with a combo of beaten egg whites and seltzer. They were amazing. Very light and fluffy. (not bad for only the 2nd attempt by a lapsed lutheran girl)

  89. BElls

    I love matzo ball soup. I am not Jewish, but my friend was, and she invited me to her house during Hannakuh and we had the soup. It was the most delicious thing in the world and I wanted to make some with my mom! Definitely worth a try.

  90. CharmCity26

    I was so excited to try this recipe. My wife has been sick with bronchitis for the last week. The recipe yielded six mini matzo balls, less than I thought. They cooked for almost 30 minutes before I took them out of the water. I took a bite of one and it was raw inside. I’m letting them simmer for another 30 minutes. What did I do wrong! For the soup, I cut four carrots and used packaged chicken stock and egg noodles. Soup was great! Thank you!

  91. This was my first shot at Matzo Ball soup and apparently I came to the right place because everything turned out beautifully. I literally squealed with delight at the lightness and gorgeousness of my matzo balls (I am not a humble cook nor baker). My daughter (sick right now), and I sat down and enjoyed a bowl together as she asked, “Will this really make me better?”. Why not? There are worse old wives tales out there. —Happy Purim.

  92. Vyx

    Howdy Deb,

    Your recipe came up when I was searching for the reason of my matzo ball failure. This past weekend’s hard heavy matzo balls make it TWICE in a row that I’m left with sodden lumps that have to be cut with a knife. ARGH! They aren’t hard to chew, but for sure are not those light fluffy and doubled in size matzo balls that I HAVE made before.

    I just don’t understand it. The recipe is the same as yours, although I used broth instead of seltzer. Pot with a tight fitting lid is important, and I’ve got one. Perhaps my cooking time is off, and that’s why I get the hard lumps.

    At least the stock I made is great. For color in the soup I tossed in a bag of tiny baby carrots, and I liked that better than big carrots cut into slices or chunks.

    If you have any thoughts to share with me about cooking time for matzo balls, I’d be very grateful. Now I’m off to make us some pizza for dinner… I need something more filling than clear soup today. :)

  93. Jude

    Can anyone please tell me the English equivalent of seltzer as I’ve never heard of it it before? I’ve just fallen in love with this website!

  94. virginia lines

    Yum! I’ve got all the ingrediants for matzo ball soup! My former Jewish neighbor told me about the using seltzer for matzo balls. She also added a piece of flanken (short rib) when making the chicken broth. While it is the middle of August, and far from flu season, I can’t wait until my soup is ready!

  95. jennifer

    I am so excited that you have posted a recipe for matzo balls. I just went to the store and bought matzo hoping to find a good recipe online. Yours was the first one to catch my eye, well, because it is yours! It turns out that my 3 yo is just crazy for matzo balls and has turned his nose up at egg noodles in his soup for weeks now. And of course, I cant wait to try and see if I can cook like my grandmother!

  96. The angular assassin

    This recipe worked out GREAT. I didn’t think it was possible to make matzo balls this good at home. I boiled a bit longer, maybe 1.5 hours, to get the balls fluffy and the perfect consistency

  97. Have my soup on right now and it smells wonderful. Getting ready for Church and Coffee hour but can’t wait to smell my house when I come home later! It is a great day for soup in NY. Kinds crappy out. Happy Psalm Sunday all!

  98. Joyce Jacobs

    I am sorry to say, I bought matzah balls once and hated them. We are doing the seder for the first time. I was wondering if it
    s ok to just use egg noodles instead of Matzah balls, I am not sure what is considered kosher. According the the Torah, it says not to boil the lamb or goat in its mothers milk, and dont mix clothing of vegetable and meat/ cotton and wool. So I am not sure what should not mix. We dont mix meat with vegys? We dont mix meat with milk or dairy? Is egg considered a meat? Isn’t seltzer and baking powder and baking soda leaven? What regular stores carries Matzah? I had lots of it in Michigan but here in Tennessee there’s everything pork. And I seen online some people said not to use wheat for crackers, why not? I may like a homemade matzah ball but have never had one.I read all the comments but it just confused me more. I would so appreciate any help on kosher for Passover.

  99. Scott

    Making these RIGHT NOW for an early Passover seder. I’m only Jew-ISH. I added chopped parsley because I love the little flecks of green in the matzo balls. And I love the dill idea! Very pretty. My only concern is that I tasted the dough despite raw eggs, and it seems VERY salty. Is that okay? Did I over-salt? Or will that flavor go away as I cook them? Anyway… thanks for the recipe! Mmmmm!

  100. A.R.

    My first successful homemade matzo balls! They were delicious if a little salty (family said they were fine…I say I’ll probably halve the salt next time) and totally worth the the extra time. I used vegetable oil, but for our seder I’ll do the real deal chicken fat :)

  101. Ellie

    just made this wonderful soup following your recipe. been making chicken soup all my life…jewish girl from new york, but now living in england and craving some good grama style… no jews here… no matzohmeal! i made my own ..baked my own matzohs and crumbled them in the blender. flavourful and delicious. i also used goose fat in the matzoballs. they are light fluffy and divine… as is the soup. thanks!

  102. Rebecca

    Why do you boil the matzo balls in salted water, then add them to the broth? Why don’t you save a pot and boil the matzo balls IN the broth?

      1. elainesl

        I always cook matzah balls in a separate pot of water or broth. They can shed as they cook, and it makes the main soup look messy. If you are not serving soup immediately, remove the finished balls from their hot liquid, and set aside–otherwise they’ll disintegrate if left in hot liquid too long.

        1. Cindy

          Yes. My mom has told me the story several times of the first time she made matzo balls. She cooked them in the coup and they all fell apart and kind of ruined the soup. So, now I always cook the matzo balls in plain water and then add them to the soup later.

  103. Sheena Lawson

    Hello Deb,

    Just discovered your website looking for chicken matzo ball soup. Bought some fantastic chicken carcasses and bones from a small butcher here in beautiful Melbourne, Australia and I’m making chicken stock, after which I plan to make your matzo balls. What IS matzo meal (I don’t live in New York and I’m not Jewish!). We have some areas here in Melbourne where lots of Jewish people live (St. Kilda, Caulfield, Glenhuntly) – I’ll have to drive across town and check out the shopping strips there for matzo meal, I think. Similarly, there are lots of areas around |Melbourne which have become culture-specific and it’s fantastic to shop in these areas if you’re looking for unusual ingredients for an out-of-your-own-culture dish.

    All the best, Deb. I’ve bookmarked your site for future reference!


    Sheena Lawson

    I love your idea of freezing left over vegies for use in making stock – mine usually end up in the compost tumbler but I like your idea better. So thank you.

    My mum, now in her 91st year, just LOVES clear soups, so I’m making this to share with her.

    1. deb

      Hi Sheena — Glad you’re enjoying the site. Matzo meal is ground matzo and matzo is an unleavened cracker usually eaten on Passover. You shouldn’t have trouble finding either a box of matzo or a canister of matzo meal in any Jewish store, and (at least where I live) most regular grocery stores.

  104. Kat

    I just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you for this recipe! I’m still trying to get the matzo balls right, but my wife and everyone else who’s tried the stock is nuts for it! I make a ton and freeze it so it stays good for a few illnesses. Such a great recipe and so easy to do! Thanks again!!

  105. Hi Deb,

    I have a question about storage. Can you put the matzo balls in the broth and toss the whole thing in the fridge together? Or should the matzo balls be stored separately from the broth if you plan on refrigerating it? Thanks.

  106. I love your blog!! You have so many great recipes. Your matzo ball soup is basically just like mine. Instead of the onion, I use a leek…I think it gives it a more sweeter taste than the onion. Gonna go explore some more of your site

  107. Laurie

    Hi Deb, I know you’re busy, but I just want to send you a virtual hug! Thank you (again) for this great soup recipe. I left you a comment in 2009, when my daughter was ill. This time it’s for my sweet baby boy (who’s a senior in high school!) home sick with a terrible virus. Hope you’re surviving the tour. We miss you!

  108. Len

    Kudos on the broth,
    But the matzo ball recipe is the same as the one in the back of manischewitz matzomeal cans. You should sue! :)

  109. Marla

    I have been trying Matzo Ball recipes for 30 years. Finally with yours I can make the light, fluffy matzo balls that my family loves. your cookbook and making “crack” for gifts next week.

  110. Prissnboot

    My hubby loves chicken soup but the only way i can stand it is with pickled jalapenos and lime juice. Yum!!! But a coworker is having gallstone issues so im going to try to make this for her. And how smart am i that i always keep homemade chicken stock onhand in the freezer for (ahem) such a time as this?!

  111. Janet

    What about making ahead of time – do you store matzo balls and soup separately or just all together? Making it today, to serve it tomorrow….

  112. Liz

    I’m joining the chorus of make-ahead queries. What’s the collective wisdom on this? I know there must be bubbies out there who prep their matzo balls a day before serving–but do they boil them and chill them separately? Or assemble the soup and then reheat with dumplings in it?

  113. Catherine

    In terms of making ahead, I’ve had success reheating the matzo balls in the chicken stock (either in the microwave, or gently on the stove). They aren’t quite as light as when you first boil them, but still delicious.

  114. Amelia

    I’m from north FL, which amounts to essentially Alabama. Seems like this is Judaism’s version of real chicken and dumplings (with rolled-out dough strips, not wet dough drops), but lighter. In which case, I’ll have to make it posthaste.

  115. Ken

    While most people talk about the matzo ball soup they learned to make from their mother or grandmother. I learned how to make matzo ball soup from my dad, and as stay at home dad, my kids will talk about learning to make it from me.

  116. Julie

    Hi Deb – what’s the reason for cooking matzoh balls in salted water rather than just in the stock (which would save washing pot which I *know* you do whenever possible)? Curious!
    Thanks! -Julie

  117. Arielle

    This recipe has officially forced me to come out of my little hole of lurking to comment (for the first time ever)! Can I just say thank you? Thank you SO much for doing this right! This is the recipe that my Nana used for over 80 years, and my mom uses now. Nothing else beats it, in my opinion. Isn’t it just like a little heaven in your mouth every time you take a bite? Or maybe that’s just me. Regardless, I feel like matzo-ball-soup-making is something of a dying art, what with boxed mixes and store-bought chicken stock/bouillon cubes being readily available. The reason I decided to post my little rant is because recently (as maybe you know), it was Rosh Hashana. Now, usually my mom gets to make the matzo ball soup. However, this year she got brisket duty, and our very good friend ended up doing the soup. It’s not to say that her own recipe isn’t good in its own right, and maybe I’m just stuck in my ways… But somehow her semi-homemade matzo ball soup just didn’t do it for me. But this – it looks absolutely heavenly! You never cease to amaze me! Thank you for being you. :)

  118. Danica

    Hey Deb! As I’ve recently been informed by my boyfriend that I am not meeting my matzo ball soup quota for this fall, I’ve been making an astounding number of your matzo balls and freezing them but haven’t made much stock. When you were in Minneapolis last winter, you mentioned that you have a killer way you like to make chicken stock that is labor intensive and isn’t listed on your site (but that you should). Now, I had just worked a string of 12hr night shifts and was sleep deprived/groggy/barely coherent/fully focused on staying upright so I might be misremembering this. Have you since posted this recipe and I’ve missed it, or are you planning to in the near future? Thank you!

    1. deb

      Danica — I love that you remember that. I promise, this week or next, it’s going up. I am encouraging you to yell at me over email if I don’t make it happen. :)

  119. Jess.

    These many years later . . . I started a stock bag this weekend! And SaraQ, if you ever see this, I’m going to brown my bones before I start it. About 1/3 of my “meal” chicken comes from the store all rotisserie-ed, and boy am I going to start getting my money’s worth.

  120. Amy

    hi Deb – I love your blog! I was so excited to see your stock in the crock pot recipe, and am now definitely going to do that and make THIS. Love it. Thank you

  121. tara

    The uncluttered croc pot stock last night and the matzo balls tonight. Delicious! Although after 40 min the balls weren’t quite cooked all the way…a bit firm in the middle. Why amd how do I fix it. Can you please teach this italian mommy how to know when her matzo balls are done?

  122. I don’t live in New York City, nor even in America, I’m way down under in Australia.
    I have no idea what Matzo or Matzo meal is, can you enlighten me? Is there an Australian equivalent? I’ve heard of Matzoh balls in movies and read about them in books and I’m very curious. My mum used to make chicken soup with dumplings and I’m told they’re not the same thing.

    1. deb

      river — Matzo meal is ground matzo; it’s use to make matzo balls. It is available wherever there’s a Jewish population, or in big cities. It’s not dissimilar to flour dumplings for soup; they’re from the same parts of the world.

  123. Elana

    I’m making this right now with the recipe from “perfect uncluttered chicken stock” that I made in the crockpot yesterday. In fact, used the fat that congealed on top (schmaltz) instead of oil in an effort toward authenticity. (We’ll see on that). But I was wondering if you have a preference over which stock to use — the one in recipe above or perfect, uncluttered?

    1. deb

      Elana — These days, I’m more hooked on the uncluttered one, plus, it’s easier to make and I usually have a couple “bricks” of it in the freezer. But, it really depends on how clear of a chicken-and-onion taste you want. (The newer one has a more clear flavor.)

  124. tom

    Hi Deb! Another year has passed and another Passover has arrived. Since my Jewish mother-in-law passed some years ago, this Goy-toy who loves cooking has taken over Passover meal responsibilities. I’m the kind of cook who loves surf multiple recipes for a dish and then just come up with my own based on what I’ve found. That said, year after year I return to your fantastic site in order to riff on your wonderful matzo ball soup and brisket recipes. My wife has told me that the end result is just as good as her memories of her mother’s meals, which for me is very high praise indeed.

    I modify your chicken stock recipe slightly by removing the skin off of the cut up chicken (Kosher, of course!) as much as possible before adding it to the stock pot, and the transfer it to a pan where I render out the schmaltz to use for the matzo balls (hey, it is only once a year) while I cut up the vegetables. I then take the gribenes, or fond as they would probably call it on Food Network (fried chicken skin for my fellow goyim), drain it, pat it dry of fat with paper towels and then add it back into the stock pot with the rest of the ingredients. I think it helps to create a stock with a very intensely chicken flavor, which is what its all about, right? I also add both fresh parsley and fresh dill during the stock making process.

    Keep it up, Deb. LOVE this site! –Tom

  125. pstmom

    Took our 2 year old to Seder last week and she LOVED matzo ball soup. I’m usually a super lazy stock maker who just boils bones and enhances flavor later, but this weekend I made your recipe to get a great soup broth. Baby girl chowed 2 cups tonight with cooked carrots (and is loving the practice using a spoon). So happy we’ve added something so delicious/nutritious to her repertoire (and here’s to hoping it’s a life long love). The matzo balls also turned out great!

  126. Joyce

    I’m sorry to say, but I find this matzo ball soup quite boring. I made this recipe, according to directions, and it turned out pretty bland. I really, really wanted to like it…I really did, but I found it bland and boring. Really. Maybe I didn’t add enough salt? I did add back some shredded chicken, and the obligatory fresh dill. I’m feeling like a failure for not liking this!

  127. Fred

    Great recipe. If you are vegetarian cook carrot, celery,1parsnip( sweetens the broth) and onion. Add a few stems of fresh parsley tied in a bouquet garni and remove after 30 minutes or so. Add a bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste.

    I separate my eggs and beat the whites to get them a little frothy and add to the yolks. I ALWAYS use a sparkling water. Fresher the better. I have a soda stream at home and make my club soda right before adding to the matzo mix. I use vegtable oil instead of chicken fat and always keep the mixture in the fridge for AT LEAST 3 hours before cooking. I ALWAYS cook in salt water for 30-45 minutes and then transfer to the broth to finish. The matzo balls absorb way too much water to be cooked in the broth. Adding them 15 minutes before serving will give them great flavor. Never fails.

  128. LaneyKate

    So, I’ve never had matzo ball soup before so I’m unable to compare this to anything else I’ve had. I had to make and grind the matzo myself as I live in the middle of nowhere and couldn’t find meal at the grocery store. My question is: how is something SO simple SO delicious?

  129. lia

    i’m want to make this for passover this year, but how many people does this recipe serve? amount says “3.5 quarts,” but i need a recipe that serves 7 adults, so.. help?


  130. Jenn

    Any suggestions for do ahead matzoh balls? In other words, I’d like to do most of the work today and serve them tomorrow night. Thanks!

  131. Adrienne

    My grandfather made the best…everything…but his matzo balls were exceptional. He stuffed them with a very small ball of ground beef loaded with garlic. My sister and I have been attempting to replicate them for 40 years but, alas, no can do. Instead, we’ve settled for mincing a few (2 or 3) cloves of garlic right into the matzo ball mixture. Second best should always be this good. Divine!
    p.s. Get those family recipes while you still can! Oh, what I would give for great uncle Morris’s potato and onion skillet!

  132. Sandy

    I’m late to the party, but I like parsley root instead of parsnips for the broth.
    Do ahead matzoh balls:
    I learned all this from my Yiddeshe mama!

    Boil the water and put the matzoh balls in. When the matzo balls float to the top of the pot, turn them over to the other side. Simmer them covered, for a whole hour.

    Place the cooked matzo balls onto a plate. Drain the extra water off the plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 24 hours, or until you are ready to put them into the soup.

    Peel some fresh carrots and chunks of celery and add to the soup. Heat up the soup with the matzo balls and fresh vegetables. for ten or so minutes. Add a little chopped parsley to each bowl when you serve it.

    1. deb

      Alice — I use freezer bags. I usually freeze in quart quantities, since most soups use 1 to 2 quarts. You can either use quart-sized bags, or gallon-sized bags, with which you can freeze them flat and they become like magazines that you can stack and also defrost very quickly, just by running under hot water.

  133. Victoria

    I just made this for my sick husband, and OMG. While the stock was cooking, it brought me back to my childhood…it smelled JUST like my Bubbe’s apartment around the holidays. IT IS FABULOUS and blows any store bought chicken soup out of the universe. Thank you so much for sharing!

  134. Katrina

    I live in Australia, we don’t have Matzo where I live. Could you suggest a more common alternative for country peeps?

  135. Bridget

    Why do matza balls need to cook so long? Certainly they are cooked thru long before 30 or 40 min. or does cooking that long tenderize them in some way?

    1. deb

      Bridget — It’s possible, but I’ve always done them this long. You really want those eggs to cook, and they hold their shape much better when given this amount of time.

  136. Samantha

    Just made these and they were great, though a little too salty for my taste (I’d take it down to 3/4 t next time). Used celery root instead of celery for the stock and not only was it delicious to eat cooked but still got that very nice subtle celery flavor. Thank you for another great recipe!

  137. Judith Betzler

    Hi Deb,
    I have never made matzo ball soup before, and I am interested in making it for a pot luck. This is at a hall where there are no real facilities for cooking. Can I have the broth hot in a slow cooker, and add the cooked matzos when I get there and allow the whole thing to heat through before serving? Also, can your potato kugel be baked ahead, and served room temperature?
    By the way, I’m a huge fan, and have made many of your dishes.

  138. myredsandals

    I just made 6 quarts of chicken matzoh ball soup today! Years ago, I would have made the purist version: baseball-sized matzoh balls sitting in a bath of clear unadulterated chicken consommé. But no more… now my matzoh ball soup is what you call “diversified”: onions, garlic, carrots, celery, mushrooms (and today, a diced red bell pepper) and diced roasted chicken, all swimming around in a well-seasoned chicken broth, keeping company with golfball-sized matzoh balls flecked with bright green minced herbs. My friends tell me this rocket booster version of “Jewish penicillin” improves any sour mood and cures just about every ill.

  139. nfranklin2015

    I tired of having bags of frozen stock fall out of the freezer, so we bought a pressure canner. Now, whenever the stock bag is full, we make a batch, pressure can it, and store it in the pantry.

    Tomorrow is matzoh ball soup cay for this shiksa. We like our matzoh balls with parsley in them, and the soup with hunks of chicken, sliced carrot & celery, and flat-leaf parsley in it. Heaven. Oh, and half schmaltz, half oil in the matzoh balls.

  140. Lizzie

    Made this last night for my seder tonight and it is just beautiful. I am so relieved as I was on chicken soup duty for the first time! Made it with a 1.5 kg (sorry I am in Australia) of a mixture of necks and wings – put them in a mesh bag so all I had to do was pull it out before straining the soup. The colour is gorgeous and the stock so tasty.
    The only thing I didn’t expect was how much the stock reduced by. I cooked it for the whole 3 hours but may try just 2-2.5 next time as I think it would still be just as delicious.
    Will be my go to chicken soup recipe!

    1. Deborah

      I think you might have had the stove a bit too hot. My stock didn’t reduce much. I don’t recommend reducing the cooking time (my grandmother says to cook chicken stock for four hours!), but you can always add more water along the way.

  141. Susan Wilen

    I made the matzo balls exactly as the recipe and they tasted fabulous. I loved the lightness but most of them fell apart. What did I do wrong?

    1. deb

      You can skim it from the top of the broth, in fact. If you ever make chicken stock (like here), when you chill it, the fat will float to the top and solidify; it’s pretty easy to remove. I save some in the freezer if I think I’ll need it soon.

  142. Dana


    Can I just make this with an entire chicken instead of the neck, back and wings so that I can use the meat throughout the week?

    Thank you and Happy almost Passover!


  143. Jen

    I don’t think I’ve ever commented about this recipe. I admittedly haven’t used your method for the stock because I have my own method, but I use your matzo ball recipe all the time. It is spectacular! For special occasions I always use the schmaltz as the fat (they sell it in the freezer section of the grocery stores here, but I’ve made my own before too) and it makes these absolutely dynamite. For every day, the veg oil is just fine. These come out perfect every time, and now my husband’s Jewish family thinks I’m the matzo ball whisperer, haha. Thanks Deb!

    1. Jen

      I forgot to add that I sometimes make these in huge quantities and freeze them. I cook them, cool them, and put a tray of them in the freezer until they’re solid, then transfer them to a bag. I also freeze bags of chicken stock, and when I want to eat it I defrost a bag, throw in the frozen balls, and reheat gently. A warm bowl of matzo ball soup is the best cure for those days when you’re sick, tired, and just generally done in.

  144. Cammy

    When you disposed of the vegetables for the stock it looks like from the photo you added carrots and parsnips. Is that correct? Also do you ever add parsley?

    1. Dede

      We were in Paris and my Belgian MIL ordered the soup. It was parsnip soup. She leaned over and said to me, “When I was a child, we put the parsnips in the broth and then threw them out!”

  145. Rachel Brooks

    My daughter and I made these matzo balls for the first time. We only had old matzo meal, so we decided to make our own (we just put matzo in a Cuisinart). We followed the recipe exactly and used seltzer and chicken fat. They turned out beautifully and were quite delicious. Will definitely make this a new tradition.

  146. Lisa McConnell

    Hi Deb,

    Happy Hanukkah! I am having a Hanukkah dinner tomorrow night and doing most of the prep and cooking today. My question is, can I make the matzo balls the day ahead, boil them, then refrigerate till we heat the soup the next day, then pop them in for their final chicken bath? Suggestions? Advise?


  147. Alexis

    What size cookie scoop are you using in the photos? I just got a larger one (#40) for meatballs and it was life changing – never going back to hand rolling anything ball-shaped again! I was guessing maybe a #100?

  148. Mimi D

    Cooked this for the first time yesterday. It turned out great! We already had homemade chicken stock and I made the balls ahead of time so it was just about assembly the night of. I didn’t have dill, so I sub-ed in leeks for the soup. Delicious!

    1. Marcy H

      Leah- It’s been 3 months, but…just a thought: Did you refrigerate the mixture for at least 30 minutes? I find that an hour is even better. They will fall apart otherwise. Also, the liquid can’t be above a simmer or they can also fall apart. I hope this helps!

  149. Jessica

    Deb – thanks for this great recipe! Passover recipes are all about grandma’s tricks so I wanted to share my grandma’s – she always buys the Streit’s matzo ball mix that comes with soup mix and rather than cooking the matzo balls in salted water, she’d cook them in the Streit’s-seasoned broth and then served them in her homemade stock.

  150. Maro

    It suddenly occurred to me today that my cookie scoop (lightly oiled) is the perfect size for matzoh balls! Worked great with this recipe.

  151. Well I learned something new. I like matzo ball soup! I recently came down with the flu and my fiance, being a big believer in “home remedies”, wanted to make me something to help me get better and she landed on this recipe. I had never even heard of matzo ball soup so I was a bit skeptical but I have to say it was surprisingly super good. Having the flu had a silver lining, now we have a new dinner recipe to add to the rotation.

  152. Marcia Greenberg

    Your matzoh ball recipe looks wonderful. However, we are of the group that like the heavy and leaden matzoh balls. Help please. How can I adapt your recipe to get those heavy hard matzoh balls? I love your blog and look forward to your emails to check what you have to say.

  153. Judy

    You can freeze matzoh balls very successfully. After they are cooked, place them on a sheet pan that is lined with greased foil and freeze until solid. Then drop into a ziplock bag and store in the freezer. Frozen matzoh balls can be added to soup or defrosted on a flat plate. My grandkids love matzoh balls and I always have frozen chicken soup so we just put the pieces together. I agree that chicken cooked in the soup is over cooked and flavorless so I omit it when serving chicken soup. I do cook sliced carrots and parsnips in the soup just before serving then add matzoh balls. I love lots of fresh dill in my soup too.

  154. Laurel

    This is very close to my Baba’s recipe but she added 10 whole cloves (the spice) and pressed them into the onions, parsley, and the tender leaves from the heart of the celery. Like your recipe, she also left the skin on the onions. And she said “It’s better if you use an old hen. They have more flavour.”

  155. Jaclyn

    Can I use frozen schmaltz? I saved some from a roast chicken a few months ago that seemed too good to throw away and froze it but I’ve never cooked with schmaltz before, let alone frozen.

  156. Rebecca+McMurray

    I am curious…why cook the matzo balls separately? Wouldn’t they benefit more from the flavor of the stock? I mean, once the stock is ready and the carrots are tender, can you drop the matzo balls into the soup then?
    I have seen many recipes for matzo ball soup, but have not tried to make it myself. I did have a wonderful bowl of matzo ball soup at Katz’s Deli in NYC and the matzo ball was so huge it looked more like a basketball. It had such wonderful flavor, and now I crave it.

  157. Deborah Ann Pastor

    I love your recipes, many of your Mom’s recipes mirror my Nana’s. But this soup recipe is lacking, it must be cooked overnight on a very very low flame. Adding veal knuckle or extra chicken necks help. Where’s the parsley, or parsley root, and the dill?. After cooking all night, Nana would strain the soup, defat, then let some sprigs of dill soak in it for 15 minutes. Then carrots were grated into the soup , matzoh balls added, and the soup was reheated and served.

  158. Christine Lambert

    I made the mini matzo ball soup which was delicious. I just want to add that I used the vegetables from the stock and blended them with some of the stock. Absolutely delicious.

  159. This makes a very tender matzah ball. I used water in place of seltzer or broth, and used whole-wheat matzah meal, since it’s what I had on hand in September! I found that the balls were done at 20 minutes, though mine might have been a bit smaller. I would also use less salt next time, but I realize that’s a “everyone’s salt has a different crystal size” thing.

    For the record, matzah balls freeze well.

  160. Carrie Feinstein

    My matzoh ball mixture is chilling and I can’t wait ! Its cold here in NYC and this is just what I am craving. I have an incredible tip for delicious and beautifully colored chicken broth. Throw in a peeled sweet potato! It adds a little sweetness and a beautiful rosy hue to the soup. I learned it from a little old lady in line for pickles at The Pickle Boys here in NYC one Rosh Hashana years ago. Try it! Love SmittenKitchen. My fav go to website!!!

  161. Michele

    I am a huge matzo ball chicken soup fan. But I found that buying the Streit’s matzo ball soup mix package make the best soup. I mix the matzo balls. Then, I add to the soup mix, skinless and boneless chicken thighs, onions, celery, carrots, garbanzo beans, garlic, dill weed and dill seed and celery seed. It cooks in a fraction of the time and is reliably delicious. One friend called it the best soup he ever tasted.

  162. Krista

    Longtime fan, first time caller… has anyone had any luck using flax eggs instead of real eggs in the matzo balls? My son has an egg allergy & now that he’s old enough to eat, I’d really love to for him to experience real matzo ball soup. (I prefer firm matzo balls, if that makes a difference in anyone’s experience.)

    And Deb, thank you so much for doing what you do and sharing it with the world.

    1. Deborah Pastor

      I have used flax seeds – I think they work best if freshly ground, so I buy them whole. It may change the wait times – I always have my matzah ball batter in the fridge for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, even with eggs. You could also try aqua faba – chickpea water. I haven’t used it for matzah balls but in other recipes like cornbread it works quite well.

  163. Jamie C

    Do the matzah balls need to be eaten immediately, or can i refrigerate them separately until I’m ready to reheat the stock?

  164. amanda

    Hi Deb! This is our favorite chicken soup recipe. We’ve probably cooked it 50 times. Any advice on what to do if I have a whole frozen chicken? Do I just cook it longer?
    Many thanks in advance!

  165. I use butter instead of fat and some nutmeg and parsley. Also, love to get really large carrots during the holiday and hand cut them into “stars”. Certainly not Kosher but love the little flavor from the butter. I do all the rest just like yours.

  166. Sarah

    Is the salt measurement in the matzo ball recipe for table salt or kosher salt? I used table salt since kosher wasn’t specified but am realizing this may be the reason my matzo balls are salty!

  167. Stephanie Guaiumi

    I have had some difficulties the last couple of times I made matzah balls (too tough, falling apart, etc..) so thought I’d try your recipe as they tend to be highly reliable. I used half shmaltz and half oil, doubled the recipe and let it sit overnight. My balls were a bit larger so I cooked them longer, then simmered in the soup while warming it up. They were everything I want in a matzoh – tender, fluffy, but with a little bite too. They were even better after being stored overnight in the soup. Yom Tov, and thanks for another excellent recipe!

    You and Serious Eats are the hands down “go to’s”.