This homemade Matzo Ball Soup is heaven in a bowl. Rich clear flavorful chicken soup with light pillowy matzo balls. This detailed recipe will make it easy for you to cook up a big pot of the absolute best matzo ball soup!
THE BEST MATZO BALL SOUP!
There are a good number of steps involved in making matzo ball soup. It is truly a labor of love but so worth the effort and always a star of the meal. Whenever I make it for a family occasion, the kids at the table (some adults too) request seconds and thirds on matzo balls. I always make extra so I can give them some to take home. My family tells me I make the best matzo ball soup. So here's my recipe. I hope you love it as much as we do!
HOW TO MAKE MATZO BALL SOUP FROM SCRATCH
The first thing you want to do is get your chicken soup on the stove and simmering.
- You'll need a large heavy 6-quart pot or Dutch oven.
- Add to the pot a whole chicken, 3 carrots, 3 stalks of celery, 2 parsnips, 2 small onions, 1 turnip, ½ bunch parsley and ½ bunch dill.
- Fill the pot up almost to the top with water. Add a teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of white pepper.
- Bring the pot to a boil over high heat and then immediately turn it down to a simmer.
If the pot looks overly full, don't worry. As the chicken soup simmers, the greens will shrink and the water will evaporate and everything will fit in the pot nicely.
HOW TO MAKE CLEAR CHICKEN BROTH
As the chicken soup starts to simmer, you will notice some white foam floating on top of the broth. The foam, also know as scum, is denatured protein. It won't change the taste of your soup but it will eventually break down into smaller particles that will make your soup look rather dull and cloudy.
The key to making clear chicken broth is to skim off that foam after the first ten minutes of simmering. Use a spoon and scoop out as much of the foam as you can. This step takes a bit of time but I rather enjoy it. The results are well worth the effort, beautiful clear golden broth.
Once your soup has simmered for a good two hours, it's time to strain out all the solids. After you pour the soup through a strainer, you will have a lot of tender chicken to use for another recipe. I often use it to make BBQ Chicken Enchiladas or curried chicken salad.
HOW TO MAKE MATZO BALLS
Matzo balls consist of matzo meal (ground up matzo), eggs, oil or chicken fat and salt. It’s a pretty simple formula. There are differing opinions on the ideal texture of a matzo ball. Some like sinkers – dense and chewy. Some like floaters – light and fluffy. It all probably has to do with what you grew up with. I like my matzo balls somewhere in the middle – substantial, but on the light side.
TOP TIPS BEFORE YOU START
- Seltzer is my secret weapon for fluffy matzo balls. Some people mix their matzo meal with water. Some use chicken soup. I've tried both. Seltzer is the best, in my opinion. In a medium bowl whisk eggs and oil until combined. Add seltzer, salt and pepper. Whisk gently to combine. Slowly sprinkle in the matzo meal while stirring with a fork, until it's fully incorporated. Cover the bowl and chill in the fridge for 45 minutes to an hour.
- Tip #2 is ice water. Dip your hands in ice water before you roll the matzo balls. If your hands are warm and dry, the dough will stick to you and you won't be able to roll it into balls. If your hands are cold and wet, you'll have no trouble at all.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Set a bowl of ice water on the counter near the stove. Dip your hands in the ice water. Scoop a heaping teaspoon of matzo ball dough into the palm of your hand and roll it lightly into a ball. Drop the balls into the boiling water as you roll them. Lower the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook the matzo balls for 45 minutes.
How to Freeze Matzo Ball Soup
The best way to freeze matzo ball soup is to keep the soup and the matzo balls separate and freeze each on its own.
- How To Freeze Matzo Balls: Let the matzo balls cool in the pot, in their cooking water. Once they come to room temperature, transfer them to a plastic container with a lid and add enough of the cooking water to cover them. Refrigerate for up 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
- How To Freeze Chicken soup: When the soup comes to room temperature, transfer it to plastic container with a lid. Refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
- How To Reheat Matzo Balls and Chicken Soup: Defrost the matzo balls and chicken soup in the fridge for 24 hours and heat gently, in separate pots. For the speedy method, you can heat chicken soup and matzo balls right from the freezer. Put the frozen soup and frozen matzo balls into separate pots. Add ¼ cup of water to each pot, and heat them, covered, over low heat.
WHY DO WE EAT MATZO ON PASSOVER?
We really can't talk about matzo ball soup without talking about Passover. Matzo ball soup is a Jewish phenomenon. It all started thousands of years ago when the Jewish people enslaved in Egypt were granted freedom. Moses led them out of Egypt in a hurry, afraid that Pharaoh would pursue them. In their haste, there was no time to let their bread rise. Matzo is the unleavened bread that resulted.
Passover is the holiday that commemorates the Jewish exodus from slavery in Egypt and matzo plays a starring role. During Passover, Jews all over the world honor the memory of the exodus by foregoing any leavened foods. When flour and water mix, fermentation can occur, which in turn causes leavening.
Matzo is produced in accordance with very specific conditions that ensure no fermentation. Thus matzo, and its derivative products, are the only flour-based foods allowed during Passover.
MATZO BALL SOUP FOR PASSOVER
The traditional Passover meal, or Seder, often includes matzo ball soup. I usually cook my chicken soup and matzo balls a week early because I have to make a double batch, which takes some time and effort. Plus, chicken soup and the matzo balls freeze well and I love to cross things off the long list of things I have to do to prepare for a Seder.
The next thing I'll make is the brisket, which also freezes well. By the way, if you're undecided about what brisket recipe to use, my long-time favorite brisket recipe ever (and I've tried dozens) is Nach Waxman's brisket. And if you want to bring some exciting Indonesian flavors to the table, try this delicious Beef Rendeng Brisket.
I'm curious if most non-Jewish people have tried matzo ball soup? If it hasn't transcended its Jewish roots, I think it should. It's absolutely delicious and everyone should enjoy it!
Here's the Matzo Ball Soup Recipe. If you try this, I hope you'll come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I'd love to know what you think.Print
Matzo Ball Soup Recipe
- Total Time: 3 hours 30 mins
- Yield: 8 1x
Homemade chicken soup with fluffy matzo balls
- 1 chicken (3 ½ - 4 pounds) cut into 8 pieces
- 3 carrots, peeled and chunked
- 3 stalks celery with leaves, chunked
- 2 parsnips, peeled and chunked
- 2 small onions or 1 large, cut in half
- 1 medium turnip (white & purple) cut into large chunks
- ½ bunch parsley, rinsed
- ½ bunch dill, rinsed
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- Matzo Balls
- 4 Eggs
- 4 tablespoons canola oil
- 4 tablespoons cold seltzer or sparkling water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- ⅔ cup matzo meal
- A medium bowl of ice water (for dipping hands)
- A large pot, half filled with lightly-salted water
- Salt and pepper
- Prepare the chicken soup: Put the chicken and vegetables into a large soup kettle or dutch oven. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add 10 cups cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, uncovered. After 10 minutes skim the white foam that rises to the surface. Continue to simmer gently, uncovered, for 1 ½ to two hours longer, until the broth is rich and concentrated.
- Remove chicken from the pot. Reserve for another use, such as bbq chicken Enchiladas or chicken salad.
- Pour the broth and vegetables through a mesh strainer, set over a large bowl or pot. The vegetables will not be needed for this recipe.
- Defat the broth either by using a spoon to skim the fat that floats on the surface or by chilling the soup in the refrigerator overnight. The chilled fat will form a solid layer on the top, which is easy to scoop off.
- Make the matzo balls: In a medium bowl whisk the eggs and oil until combined. Add the seltzer, salt and pepper. Whisk gently to combine. Slowly sprinkle in the matzo meal while whisking with a fork, until it's fully incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 45 minutes to an hour.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Set a bowl of ice water on the counter near the stove. Dip your hands in the ice water. Scoop a heaping teaspoon of matzo ball dough into the palm of your hand and roll lightly with wet hands. It should be about the size of a ping pong ball. (It will get much bigger when it's cooked) Drop the ball into the boiling water. Repeat with the rest of the dough. You should have about 15-18 balls. Lower the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook the matzo balls for 45 minutes. Remove from heat. They can sit in the water as it cools.
- To Serve: Bring the chicken soup to a boil. Ladle 1-cup portions into bowls. Using a slotted spoon, add 1 or 2 matzo balls to each bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with a sprig of dill or parsley, if you like.
- Matzo balls can be cooled and stored in the fridge in their salty water for 24 hours. They can also be frozen in salty water. Chicken soup can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. It also freezes really well. To reheat: heat soup and matzo balls in separate pots. Serve in bowls, as above.
- Prep Time: 1 hour 30 mins
- Cook Time: 2 hours
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Russian, Jewish
Keywords: Chicken soup with matzo balls, matzo ball soup, kneidlach soup,
My husband and I are not Jewish and we love this soup. Tried it at a buffet for the first time and we got hooked on it. It taste so much better than chicken soup. I have never made it, but bought all the ingredients and am going to try your recipe.
Tom and Dianne
What a clever way to do the matzo balls! Thanks so much for the tip, ours turned out great!
Sheree Runion Hyde
This sounds wonderful but I don't know what Matzo meal is. Where would I find it at my local grocery store? In with flour and corn meal as I have never seen it. I live in a small town in Ohio, no Jewish residents that I am aware of. Wish we did have some as I love to learn new things from others. Have a Blessed day. Sheree Runion hyde
Hi Sheree, Matzo meal is a type of flour made from ground up matzo. Matzo is unleavened flat bread that looks more like a big cracker. You can usually find matzo meal in the ethnic section of your grocery store. See if there's a section for Kosher goods. If not, you can find it online. Here's a link to a page that offers matzo and matzo meal.
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=matzo+meal&ref=nb_sb_noss_1 I wish you luck in finding it and I hope you enjoy matzo ball soup!
Matzo ball soup is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods any time of year, but especially in cold weather. Passover usually comes in the spring and it's delicious served at a Seder. But right about now (mid-February), with temperatures below freezing and the wind blowing is the time when this soup is really on my radar. Love your recipe for the matzo balls - will have to try it soon.
I LOVE matzo ball soup! The church I grew up in held a Seder every year (as a cultural learning experience) and I always looked forward to the soup. I think it's along the same lines that Diana said- just not part of the non-Jewish culture, although it SHOULD be. Thanks for some more history about the dish- I always wondered how matzo was ok for Passover!
ive never had motzaballs and chisken soup. it sound so good. im going to make it when i get paid. i dont know why weve never had it other than were not jewish, but what does that matter when it comes to good food!!!! im 65 and dont know if ive ever had a jewish friend. anybodys religion never bothered me even when i was young. the same with black, white, green , purple you were my friend !!!!! now its gay or straight. i dont care about that either. so im pretty liberal. how i got into this i dont know but thats how i feel. any way im tring your soup!!!!!! thank you....
Hi Diana, I hope you like the soup! Thanks so much for your comments. Lisa