Matzo Ball Soup is perfect for cold winter nights and a must-have for Passover dinner. Learn how to make light and tender matzo balls using matzo meal, vegetable oil, eggs, and fresh dill, and serve them in a flavorful stock filled with carrots, onions, and celery.
This matzo ball soup is like a warm hug from my childhood. Growing up, all of my closest friends were Jewish, and as a result, I was fortunate enough to learn from and observe many of their holidays and traditions.
Matzo ball soup – and hallah bread – were always part of the dinner menu and still remain, to this day, two of my very favorites.
When it comes to matzoh balls (just like homemade soup) everyone has their own way of doing things. Depending on how you make them they may be light and fluffy (floaters) or dense and chewy (sinkers).
I prefer matzo balls that are on the lighter side – the kind that is easily sliced with a spoon. So, that’s the kind of matzo balls you’ll find here. If you already know that you prefer your matzo balls on the denser side, no worries, I’ll add some tips below for making them a little denser.
Before I get too ahead of myself, let’s chat about the ingredients.
What are matzo balls made of?
As I mentioned previously, everyone has their own method of making Jewish soup dumplings. These are made with,
- Vegetable oil
- Chicken broth or turkey stock
- Matzo meal (Manischewitz mix)
- Fresh dill
- Fresh ginger
Traditionally, matzo balls would have been made with schmaltz, the Yiddish word for drippings or lard, not vegetable oil. Since vegetable oil (such as canola oil) is more readily available in our kitchens these days, that’s more often what will be used, and what was used in this recipe.
Sinkers vs. Floaters
Simply put, “sinkers” are dense, while “floaters” are light. Makes sense, yes? Now, I found my matzo balls to be quite light – without any added extras (baking powder or seltzer water), but the general rule when it comes to making matzo balls is this:
- Want fluffy, light floaters? Use approximately 1 tsp of baking powder per 1 cup of matzo meal or a combination of baking powder with seltzer water. Cook for a longer time.
- What something in the middle? Use approximately 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of baking powder or seltzer per 1 cup of matzo meal or a combination of baking powder with seltzer.
- Want sinkers? Don’t use either baking powder or seltzer and cook for less time.
How to Make Matzo Ball Soup
1. Prepare your matzo ball mix
Add all the ingredients for the matzo balls to a large bowl and mix well.
2. Let your matzo ball mix rest
Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until chilled
- TIP: you may mix everything together ahead of time and chill overnight if necessary.
3. Make your homemade stock
Equally important to the matzo balls is the soup or stock you’ll be serving them in. For the best tasting matzo ball soup, you’re going to want to make your own homemade chicken stock or homemade turkey stock.
4. Cook your soup
Soften the vegetables in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once they have started softening, add approximately 3 quarts of homemade stock or broth. Bring it to a boil, reduce heat, and then cover with a lid. Let it hang out until your matzo balls are cooked and ready to be served.
- TIP: add your favorite veggies. I love onions, celery, and carrots, but try adding other vegetables like parsnips or kale.
5. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil
Cooking matzo balls in a separate pot of boiling water (or even broth) is a personal preference. Some people swear by cooking their matzo balls in their soup stock, while others, like me, like to cook them separately.
6. Shape and cook the matzo balls
With wet hands, shape the chilled matzo mixture into small balls about the size of a golf ball. Gently drop each ball into the pot of boiling water and repeat until all the dough has been used.
Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook undisturbed for about 30-40 minutes.
Transfer 2-3 matzo balls to a soup bowl filled with your homemade soup. Garnish fresh dill, salt, and pepper, to taste.
More Delicious Soup Recipes,
Caldo de Pollo Recipe (Mexican Chicken Soup)
Albondigas Soup Recipe (Mexican Meatball Soup)
Turmeric Broth Soup with Wild Rice and Vegetables
If you try making this Matzo Ball Soup Recipe please leave a comment below! I always love to read your thoughts and feedback!
Matzo Ball Soup
For the Matzo Balls
- 4 large eggs
- 4 tablespoon vegetable oil - or schmaltz (rendered chicken fat)
- 2 teaspoon low sodium chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill - minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger - grated
- 1 cup matzo meal
For the Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium onions - diced
- 5 large carrots - peeled and chopped
- 5 stalks celery - chopped
- 3 quarts homemade chicken stock - homemade is best but store-bought is ok
- 4 cups shredded chicken - optional
- salt and black pepper - to season
- fresh dill - to garnish
- Whisk the eggs, vegetable oil, and chicken stock together in a large bowl. Stir in the salt, fresh dill, and fresh ginger followed by the matzo meal. Mix well to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until chilled (you may prepare ahead of time and chill overnight if necessary).
- As the matzo ball mixture rests in the refrigerator, start making the soup. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 4-5 minutes or until the onions start to soften and turn translucent. Add the carrots and celery to the onions and mix well to combine. Continue to cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or so, stirring often.
- As the vegetables are softening, fill a wide, deep pan or stockpot with salted (add approximately 2 teaspoons). Bring to a boil over high heat.
- With the vegetables softened, add approximately 3 quarts (12 cups) of homemade chicken or turkey stock and shredded chicken (optional) to the vegetables. Combine and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer as you finish preparing and cook the matzo balls.
- With wet hands, shape the chilled matzo mixture into small balls about the size of a golf ball. Gently drop each ball into the pot of boiling water and repeat until all the dough has been used.
- Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook the matzo balls undisturbed for about 30-40 minutes.
- Transfer 2-3 matzo balls to a soup bowl filled with your homemade soup. Garnish fresh dill, salt, and pepper, to taste.
- I also cook my matzo balls in a separate pot of salted boiling water as it results in a clearer stock or broth. Of course, if that makes no difference to you, feel free to cook your matzo balls directly in your veggie-filled stock.
- Speaking of stock, for the best tasting matzo ball soup, you're going to want to make your own homemade chicken stock or homemade turkey stock.
- To store leftover matzo balls, use a slotted spoon to transfer them from the pot of salted water to a container with a tight-fitting lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You may also transfer your cooked matzo balls to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to a large freezer-safe bag and keep frozen until ready to reheat in your favorite vegetable or chicken soup.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)
Schmaltz is chicken fat. Lard is pork fat, not a likely ingredient in a Jewish dish. Schmaltz is also good shmeared on rye bread.That was before they discovered colesterol.