Matzo balls are a round dumpling, made from matzo cracker meal, eggs, oil and spices. They are soft, fluffy and tender. Typically cooked in chicken broth, they are often served as a part of the Jewish Passover holiday celebration meal called a Seder. In passover, matzo balls represent the unleavened bread, since they contain no yeast.
I will forever remember matzo ball soup as the chicken soup that my grandma made for us all the time. While it’s considered a passover meal, we love it so much that it we crave it year round.
What is Matzo Ball Meal made of?
Matzo ball mix is a packaged mix you can buy at the grocery store. It contains Matzo meal, which is just Matzo crackers finely ground into a fine meal, and spices. It is not as light as flour, and more the consistency of cornmeal.
This mix is used to make Matzo balls, forming a dough by adding eggs and oil.
How to Make Matzo Ball Soup From Scratch
If you know how to make chicken soup, you can make Matzo Ball Soup. The chicken soup is the base, and the Matzo balls are dumplings that are added instead of pasta or rice.
Make the soup. You can use your favorite chicken soup recipe and just add the dumplings to it, or you can follow the simple homemade soup recipe below. To make this soup as authentic and flavorful as possible, I like to use chicken on the bone, and usually dark meat or a combination of dark and light. Boil the meat in chicken broth, then add veggies and spices. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it, shred it, and add it back to the soup, discarding the bones. If you’re short on time or would rather keep it super simple, you can use precooked chicken like from a store bought rotisserie, and frozen vegetables.
Form the Matzo Balls. You can do this while the soup is simmering, make the matzo dough and refrigerate it for about 15-30 minutes. Once you’ve added the chicken back to the soup, you can make the matzo balls by taking 2-inch balls of dough and rolling them into a ball. Drop the balls of dough a few at a time into the soup, keeping the pot covered as much as possible to keep the soup simmering.
Cook. Once you’ve added all the matzo balls to the soup, let it simmer for another 20 minutes to fully cook them.
Garnish. I always stir in some fresh parsley just before serving chicken soup. It adds a lovely freshness and color.
How long can Matzo balls sit in soup?
You can store the Matzo balls in the soup for up to 5 days in the fridge. If you plan to freeze, you can keep it all together, or separate the balls from the broth and freeze separately.
Matzo ball soup can be a full meal, or a starter, depending on how you serve it.
As a meal: Plan on a large bowl of soup and at least 3 dumplings per person. Serve with a green salad, like my Olive Garden Salad Copycat or simple Spinach Salad. Because the matzo balls are bread-like, you may not want to serve additional bread with your soup. But if you want to stretch the meal to serve a few more people, serve some breadsticks or a crusty loaf of French bread with it.
As a starter: Pour small bowls of the soup, with 1-2 dumplings. This is a great starter or appetizer for a meal. My grandma always served Matzo ball soup ahead of her famous Chicken Schnitzel and German Potato Salad.
Make Ahead, Storage, and Freezing
Make Ahead: Make your soup and matzo balls up to a few days in advance and keep covered in the fridge until ready to serve. It will last up to 5 days, but when making in advance keep in mind that guidelines for freshness are only as good as the freshness of the ingredients you use.
Storing leftovers: Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in a covered container for up to 5 days. If you have prepared the soup in advance however, subtract that time. So if you made the soup and stored for 2 days before eating, it can be stored for 2-3 more days.
Freezing Matzo Ball Soup: This soup freezes beautifully! Unlike traditional chicken noodle soup where the integrity of the pasta is lost during freezing, matzo balls hold up really well. You can freeze the soup together or separately for up to 3 months for optimal freshness.
2-3large carrots peeled and sliced into bite sized pieces
2-3stalks of celerywashed and sliced into bite size pieces
3garlic cloves minced
3sprigs fresh thyme
2tablespoonsminced fresh parsley
In a large soup pot or dutch oven, bring chicken and 32 ounces of chicken stock and 4 cups of water to a boil. Skim foam. Add a couple teaspoons of salt, celery, carrots, onions, garlic thyme and bay leaves. Cover partially (leave the lid slightly open to let steam escape) and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer for 45-60 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and easily falls off the bone.
While the soup is simmering, make the matzo ball dough. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together egg and vegetable oil with a wooden spoon. Stir in the matzo ball mix and a pinch of salt. Refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.
Once the chicken is cooked, transfer to a cutting board. Remove and discard bones. Add chicken back to the soup and bring it back to a simmer.
Take the matzo ball dough out of the fridge and divide into balls about 2 tablespoons each (about the size of a golf ball). Drop each ball of dough into the simmering broth (replace the lid after each one to keep it boiling). Simmer, covered, until cooked through, about 20 minutes.
Stir in fresh chopped parsley and serve hot.
Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in a saucepan on the stove. Freeze soup and matzo balls separately for up to 6 months. Thaw in the fridge and reheat in a saucepan on the stove.
Let us know how it was by leaving a review or sharing on Instagram with the tag #yellowblissroad
Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.