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Published October 9, 2019. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This delicious traditional matzo ball soup recipe is perfect for those cool fall and winter days or if you’re under the weather!
This soup is traditionally served with chicken stock, chicken, carrots, celery, and sometimes dill. It’s incredibly similar to chicken noodle soup minus the noodles. While matzo balls taste like dumplings, they are meatier and have a bit more flavor due to the garlic, onions, eggs, and chicken fat.
Matzo Ball Soup
It stems all the way back to the 19th century, where Jewish people would make matzo balls from leftover crumbs of Matzo bread. Originally matzo balls were called Knoedela, and later, in the US, they were known as Matzo balls.
It stems back to the Jewish holiday, Passover. The bread is unleavened, and it represented the bread the Jewish people while fleeing from Egypt. The Passover meal is known as a Seder and still to this day has a great tradition of eating it. The story of Passover can be found in the book of Exodus in the bible.
What Is Matzo Meal Made Of?
It’s a simple unleavened bread consisting of flour, water, and sometimes eggs baked until crisp. The flours can be wheat, barley, Spelt, rye, or oat. It’s more or less a cracker that is then ground up into small mustard seed-size pieces.
The next time you go to buy regular saltine-style crackers, instead buy some matzo crackers.
How to Make Matzo Ball Soup
1. Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper.
2. Brown the chicken breasts in some olive oil over medium-high heat in a large soup pot, 6 qt size.
3. Next, add chicken stock, place a lid on the pot and cover medium heat for 1 hour or until chicken easily shreds apart with 2 forks.
4. After the chicken is shredded, add the small diced carrots and celery.
5. While the soup is cooking, combine the matzo meal with finely minced yellow onions, garlic, eggs, baking powder, sea salt, pepper, and of course, melted schmaltz until combined.
6. Let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
7. Form ping pong balls of the matzo batter until all of it has been used and place them on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper. I’ve found the matzo ball dough to be sticky, so if you wet your hands a bit before you roll the balls with your hands, it shouldn’t stick to your fingers too much.
8. Add as many matzo balls to the pot as possible without overcrowding it and cook for 15-20 minutes, moving and flipping the balls every 3-4 minutes until cooked through and firm.
9. Serve a few matzo balls into a soup bowl and pour a few ladles of chicken stock, chicken, carrots, and celery over top, and garnish with fresh dill and sliced green onions.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: You can make this soup up to 2 days ahead of time. Keep the balls separate from the broth.
How to Reheat: To reheat it, simply add your desired portion to a small saucepot and heat over low heat until hot. You can add your desired portion to a microwave-safe bowl and heat until hot.
How to Store: This soup recipe will hold well in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. It will also freeze well covered for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating and serving.
CHEF NOTES + TIPS
- Chicken fat is better known as schmaltz. This can be difficult to find, but believe it or not, a lot of grocery stores do carry it, and it’s located in the frozen food section.
More Amazing Jewish Influenced Recipes
Matzo Ball Soup Recipe
For the Soup:
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 92 ounces of good chicken stock
- 3 peeled and small diced carrots
- 3 small diced ribs of celery
- ¼ cup of chopped fresh dill
- ¼ cup of sliced green onions
- sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
For the Matzo Balls:
- ½ peeled and finely minced yellow onion
- 3 finely minced cloves of garlic
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 8 eggs
- 4 tablespoons of melted schmaltz
- 2 cups of matzo meal
- 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh parsley
- sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- For the Chicken: Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat and sear the chicken breasts on both sides until golden browned and cooked throughout.
- Add in the chicken stock, cover with a lid and cook over medium heat for 1 hour or until the chicken easily shreds apart.
- Using two forks, pull the chicken apart until shredded.
- Add the carrots, celery, salt, and pepper and simmer over low heat. Keep warm.
- For the Matzo Balls: In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients until they are well mixed together and set in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- Remove the matzo ball mixture and roll it into small golf ball-sized balls, and place them on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper. Note: If the matzo balls become sticky while making them, dip your hands in water before rolling.
- Place a few matzo balls into the soup and cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are cooked and firm. Move the balls around and flip them over every 3-4 minutes.
- Place the cooked matzo balls in a soup bowl along with the chicken broth, chopped chicken, and vegetables and garnish with chopped dill and sliced green onions.