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Matzah Ball Soup

The matzah ball is an icon of Jewish cooking, but it has humble beginnings—it emerged when Ashkenazi cooks used matzah meal instead of flour to make kosher-for-Passover dumplings (knaidlach). Today, matzah ball soup plays a starring role at many Passover feasts and year-round at Jewish delis as an ultimate comfort food. For the matzah balls, using schmaltz (chicken fat) is traditional but olive oil works beautifully—and is healthier and nicely flavorful—for this fluffy-but-still-firm recipe. Recipe from The Essential Jewish Cookbook.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Resting Time 40 mins
Course Soup
Cuisine Jewish
Servings 6


  • Large soup pot


  • 1 1/3 cups matzah meal
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 5 large eggs, beaten until uniformly colored
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth or water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • 1/4 cup seltzer water
  • Classic Chicken Soup recipe from The Essential Jewish Cookbook, your favorite chicken soup recipe, or 2 quarts store-bought broth (see note below)
  • Chopped flat-leaf parsley or fresh dill for garnish, optional


  • In a large bowl, combine the matzah meal, salt, and pepper. Add the eggs, olive oil, broth or water, and chives. Fold in seltzer water. Freeze the mixture for 30 minutes. 
  • With wet hands, shape the mixture into 1 1/4-inch balls and place on a plate or tray. Return to the freezer for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil over medium-high heat. 
  • Once boiling, drop the balls into the water. Cover and boil gently for 30 minutes until puffy and evenly colored. Using a slotted spoon, remove from the water until ready to serve.
  • Serve in individual bowls and add hot chicken soup. Garnish with parsley or dill, if using. 


Substitution Tip: The chives can be substituted with finely chopped dill or flat-leaf parsley, or 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg, ginger, or garlic powder.
Recipe Note: I highly recommend using homemade chicken soup for this recipe. In a pinch, you can “doctor” 32 ounces of store-bought stock by simmering it about 30 minutes with 4 cups of water, 1 pound boneless chicken breasts, celery and carrot pieces, ½ a cut-up onion, and any herbs you have on hand. Taste and adjust seasonings, and shred the chicken for serving in the soup.
Keyword Family-Friendly, Holiday, Kosher