Matzo Ball Soup
This easy Matzo Ball Soup features tender poached matzo balls floating in a bowl of warm soup made from chicken stock and carrots. Make this classic comfort food for Passover, Rosh Hashanah, or to warm your soul any day of the year; it’s a wonderful weeknight soup recipe!
Years ago, after a trip to Florida where I celebrated Rosh Hashanah with my husband’s Jewish grandfather, I was eager to learn how to make a matzo ball soup that would make his grandfather proud!
This matzo ball soup is a very simple comfort food dish, made of chicken stock, sliced carrots, fresh parsley or dill, and, of course, matzo balls. This traditional Jewish soup typically appears around Passover and Rosh Hashanah but, like its mainstream counterpart, chicken noodle soup, it truly should be enjoyed year-round.
Not only is this recipe simple to make, but you can also prep this heartwarming soup in advance, making your meal all the easier to make. I love how this soup is both incredibly easy and satisfying all at once.
How to Make Matzo Ball Soup
This comforting soup recipe comes together with two main parts, the matzo balls and the soup. Each part cooks separately and comes together at the end for a warming meal everyone will enjoy!
What are Matzo Balls and How Do You Make Them?
Matzo balls are light and fluffy dumplings made of eggs, vegetable oil, water, matzo meal, and some simple salt and pepper seasoning. This recipe includes “floaters”, the kind of matzo balls that float in your soup as opposed to “sinkers”, matzo balls that sink to the bottom of the bowl. To make your own buoyant dumplings here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Whisk the eggs lightly in a medium bowl. Then whisk in vegetable oil and water.
- In a separate, small bowl, stir together the matzo meal, salt, and pepper.
- Gradually stir the matzo meal mixture into the egg mixture. This should result in a pancake batter-like consistency but will thicken immediately.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 4 hours.
Cook the Matzo Balls
- Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- With moistened hands, take 1 tablespoon of the matzo ball mixture and form into balls about 1-inch in diameter.
- Drop the balls into the boiling water so each ball falls in the pot in a different place. Be careful not to over-crowd the pot. Once all of the matzo balls are in the boiling water, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove 1 matzo ball with a slotted spoon. Cut in half to check for doneness. The matzo ball is done when the inside is not dark or wet. If your matzo ball is not done, cook an additional 5-10 minutes.
Make the Soup
- While the matzo balls are cooking, bring the chicken stock to a boil in a large saucepan.
- Add the carrots, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until tender, about 6 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the matzo balls to the soup. Stir in the fresh parsley and serve immediately.
Recipe Notes and Tips
How long can matzo balls sit in the soup?
While matzo balls can cook in the soup, they tend to cloud the chicken broth. Try not to let the matzo balls sit in the soup longer than an hour or they may begin to absorb too much of the soup and fall apart. If separated from the soup, cooked matzo balls last about 5 days.
What kind of base should you use?
I like to use a base of chicken stock to make this matzo ball soup recipe. Matzo ball soup purists will definitely encourage you to make your own homemade broth from a whole chicken and vegetables for an authentic soup. You can totally do this, too, depending upon the time you have available to you. If you want to opt for a vegetarian version simply swap the chicken stock for vegetable stock instead.
Mix-ins and Variations
While I love the simplicity of this classic Matzo Ball Soup, there are many different ways to add your own flavor to this comforting dish.
- Protein – Similar to chicken and dumplings, you can add shredded chicken or turkey to this soup for some added protein.
- Vegetables – You can bulk up your soup with kale, celery, spinach, or mushrooms.
- Spice it up! – Feel free to add additional spices into your matzo ball batter such as oregano, sage, or dill.
- Schmaltz – Also known as rendered chicken fat, it helps make one incredible, flavorful dumpling. If you have access to schmaltz you can replace the vegetable oil with it for a truly delightful matzo ball.
Storage, Freezing, and Reheating
Whether you are saving the leftovers or making this soup in advance here is the best way to store, freeze, and reheat this dish:
- Storing – To store leftover soup, separate the matzo balls from the soup. This will help keep the matzo balls from dissolving into the soup. Place them both in air-tight containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Freezing – If you are going to save the soup for longer than 5 days I recommend freezing the soup and matzo balls separately. Place the matzo balls on a baking sheet and freeze, then transfer the balls to a freezer ziplock or a freezer-safe container. If you want to skip the pre-freezing step simply place the cooked and cooled matzo balls in a freezer-safe container, without stacking. Freeze the cooled soup in a freezer-safe container.
- Thawing – To thaw the soup and matzo balls, move the refrigerator at least 12 hours before you plan to reheat them.
- Reheating – Warm the soup in a pot over medium heat with the matzo balls for about 7-10 minutes.
More of My Favorite Jewish Recipes:
Love soup? Check out all of my soup recipes here.
Matzo Ball Soup
This warm and cozy soup is perfect for celebrating special holidays, but also a great weeknight dinner option. Switch it up by adding chicken, mushrooms, spinach, or your family’s favorite ingredients for a slightly different spin each time you make it.
If you make this recipe and love it, remember to stop back and give it a 5-star rating – it helps others find the recipe! ❤️️
Matzo Ball Soup
For the Matzo Balls:
- 4 eggs
- ¼ cup (54.5 ml) vegetable oil
- 7 tablespoons water
- 1 cup (140 g) matzo meal
- 1½ teaspoons (1.5 teaspoons) salt
- ¼ teaspoon (0.25 teaspoon) freshly ground black pepper
For the Soup:
- 2 quarts (1892.71 ml) chicken stock
- 3 small carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Make the Matzo Balls: In a medium bowl, lightly whisk the eggs. Whisk in the vegetable oil, then the water. In a separate small bowl, stir together the matzo meal, salt and pepper. Stir the matzo mixture into the egg mixture. The consistency will initially be like pancake batter, but it will immediately begin to thicken. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 4 hours.
- Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. With moistened hands, form 1 tablespoon of matzo mixture into balls about 1-inch in diameter. Drop the balls into the boiling water so that each falls into the pot in a different place, not crowding each other. When all of the balls are added, reduce the heat to medium-low heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove one matzo ball, cut in half and check for doneness. The matzo ball is done when the inside is not dark or wet. If necessary, cook 5 to 10 additional minutes, or until the color is uniform throughout and the texture is light and fluffy (I did end up cooking mine for an additional 10 minutes).
- Make the Soup: While the matzo balls are cooking, bring the chicken stock to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the carrots, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until tender, about 6 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the matzo balls to the soup. Stir in the fresh parsley and serve immediately.
- Matzo Meal: I use and recommend Manischewitz matzo meal. If using Streit's brand matzo meal, reduce the amount of water to 6 tablespoons.
- Larger Matzo Balls: To create large matzo balls about 2½ inches in diameter, use 2 tablespoons of raw mixture and increase the cooking time to 35 to 40 minutes.
- Chicken Broth: You can use homemade broth or substitute vegetable broth to make it a vegetarian dish.
- Mix-ins/Variations: See the section above about adding proteins, additional vegetables, seasonings, and schmaltz to the soup.
- Storing - To store leftover soup, separate the matzo balls from the soup. This will help keep the matzo balls from dissolving into the soup. Place them both in air-tight containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Freezing - If you are going to save the soup for longer than 5 days I recommend freezing the soup and matzo balls separately. Place the matzo balls on a baking sheet and freeze, then transfer the balls to a freezer ziplock or a freezer-safe container. If you want to skip the pre-freezing step simply place the cooked and cooled matzo balls in a freezer-safe container, without stacking. Freeze the cooled soup in a freezer-safe container.
- Thawing - To thaw the soup and matzo balls, move the refrigerator at least 12 hours before you plan to reheat them.
- Reheating - Warm the soup in a pot over medium heat with the matzo balls for about 7-10 minutes.
- Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
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Can’t wait for Weekend Dish to come back!
My matzo ball soup is flavored with the same spices called for in my favorite chicken chili recipe. I also moisten the matzo with the seasoned broth from the soup instead of water which imparts even more flavor. I make sure to have this stocked in the freezer during cold & flu season.
This is the best food to serve a sick child (or adult!), so keep the ingredients in your pantry! I keep batches in my freezer all winter long.
Looks amazing! So excited! Can’t wait to try this.
A Jewish friend told me to leave the motza balls in the hot water, after they finished cooking, for 1 hour. Then remove and add to chicken broth. I don’t see this in any other motza ball soup recipe.
Traditionally for Passover but eaten all year round….also known as Kneidlach….I love matzo balls. Try adding a pinch of cinnamon to the mixture
agreeing that stock should never be used! always make from scratch. pot, water, chicken, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, turnip, parsnips, something green such as dill and or parsley. tie up herbs in cheesecloth if you’d like. bring to boil, then simmer a few hours on very low heat. let cool a bit, remove solids, separate out carrots and when cool enough, remove chicken from bones and dice in 1″ chunks, slice carrots and set chicken & carrots aside. using a strainer and several layers of cheesecloth, strain soup several times to remove all the little bits. recombine soup, chicken & carrots. as chickens are much leaner these days, and skimming the foam will greatly reduce the fat in your soup, depending on the taste, some chicken base may be stirred into the broth for a rounder, fuller taste. I have done this the past several years as the richness of the soup has lessened over time. definite difference over 20 years ago when as a teen I started making chicken soup. just depends on that particular pot of soup. as far as matzo balls…always used the recipe on the side of the manischewitz can…the old recipe…the new one is not right! also do in water, not broth and add to soup as served. undercook a bit for those people that like the heavy sinker type, such as my Daddy, or full boiling time for those that prefer the lighter floater type! enjoy!
I made them and the desintegrated in the broth and made a kind of very very liquid grit.
Hi Gisele, It sounds like perhaps the matzoh mixture wasn’t quite firm enough and maybe needed to chill a littler longer.
Another quick Jewish mother secret: use schmultz (chicken fat) as your fat in your matzo balls. You will have plenty leftover from your soup and it really deepens the flavor of the matzo balls.
I agree. Real matzo balls would never be served in store bought chicken stock. It takes about an hour to make real stock and is 1000 times tastier.
I love matzo ball soup and love that the weather is getting cooler and I will make some again.
I learned a lower fat matzoh ball recipe – you can use selzer water (club soda) in place of the oil. The matzoh balls come out delicious. I’ve always cooked the matzoh balls in just salted water, then added them to the soup as I was serving it.
I’ve never had matzo ball soup before! Don’t know why, this looks so delicious :)
Perfect timing! My hubby has neverr has Matzo Ball soup!
Yummy! So good!
Well since I’ve been a Jew all my life, I might be able to fill you in on a few ideas. I have never used stock for my soup. Depending on how much you are making is how much chicken you’ll need. For this holiday.. tomorrow… I used 2 whole chickens and filled the pot with the chicken and water just to cover the chicken by 2-3 inch. If you want a clear broth then leave the chicken in. OR When the chicken starts to fall apart, remove it from the pot and allow to cool. The vegetables I use are onions, leek, celery, carrots, dill, parsnip and turnip. The parsnip and turnip(I don’t really don’t know why I put these in except that my grandmother and mother did it that way. If it aint broke don’t fix it … right) are tucked into a CLEAN knee hi stocking so when the soup is done you can just pull it out. From the picture you posted, it looks like your CCC’s grandfather must have come from the clear broth family. If that is the way you want to do it then put all of the vegies except the carrots in knee hi stockings and insert them in the liquid where you cooked the chicken. Dice the carrots and add as well. If not, then dice the vegies and add them directly to the liquid. When the chicken is cool enough so that you touching it without screaming, remove all the meat from the bones remove the skin and fat and cut the meat roughly and then add back to the soup. As the soups continues to cook on medium, skim the fat off the top. If necessary, you can add bouillon and then then season with salt and pepper.
This is the way my family have had chicken soup for centuries. It may take a little more time and attention but I guarantee it is worth the wait. It freezes great so I usually make a huge pot and put containers in the freezer.
As for your matzo balls…. I wouldn’t change a thing.. they sound perfect. I do hope you’ll try this version of chicken soup.
Happy New Year to your Jewish parts…lol
A woman after my own heart. Always wondered why there was the “Chicken Soup” and the “Matzo Ball Soup.” So close but so far apart, like to opposing magnets. I always wondered why didn’t the Jews put them together. It would truly be a stupendous soup! Well your family did it!! A blessing on your head, Mazel Tov!
Thank you for the posting of Matzo ball soup. However, I must agree with Liz, this is not a time to use chicken stock! You have to make “matzo ball soup” in the best possible way, and that involves a soup like what Liz describes. Forget the knee sock. The parsnip and the turnip are there for a reason, not just tradition! They add additional flavor, complexity, balance, and sweetness. Once the soup is done, remove all the solids (chicken, veggies, bay leaf, etc). Chicken meat has no place in a holiday matzo ball soup. The matzo balls should not be cooked in the broth, but in water. Use a new bunch of sliced carrots for the finished soup (the ones used to make the soup have given their all). If the soup seems too thin and not rich enough, simmer it slowly (no boiling please) to concentrate it. Please, under no circumstance use bouillon. It is best to make the day before use, refrigerate overnight and remove the fat that will solidify at the top before reheating with the new carrots and the finished matzo balls. If there is interest, I can post the full recipe for the soup.
Happy New Year
Hi have to agree as well about the stock. Matzoh ball soup is not the time for stock from a can. That said, I disagree about the matzoh balls. I always cook them in the simmering broth to add more flavor and COVER THE POT so that the don’t turn out like hockey pucks. And don’t peek and let the steam escape, they will be done in 33 minutes on the dot every single time.
I’m a year late to this recipe discussion, and if you’re still “there,” I’d love your recipe! Making this soup for the first time today. I find these comments very helpful.
I had this soup once when My friends Jewish granmother served it up for dinner once. I had never had such a comforting meal, I have been longing to have it again. Nothing better than this soup for the soul. Wonderful recipe!
I love Matzo ball soup and I’ve only made it once before.. so now it’s time to make it again! Love those additional carrots!
My hubby only wants soup every day for lunch so I have been trying to think of new soups to make. This is something I am adding to the list!
I love chocolate covered matzah for Passover. You see it often made with Saltine crackers too. A half of a cup of sugar, 1 stick of butter, 1 bag (2 cups) of chocolate chips and about 5 sheets of matzah. Line a cookie sheet (with a lip) with foil and arrange matzah in one layer. Melt the butter and sugar over the stove and once it’s melted and bubbly, pour it over the matzah. Stick it in the oven for 11 minutes (be careful it doesn’t burn) at 400 and then when you take it out, pour the chocolate chips over it. Within a few minutes the chocolate will melt and you will be able to smooth the chocolate over the matzah. Let it cool and enjoy. Delicious!!!
My late German grandmother made matzo balls, but they are COMPLETELY different from what is usually found in the US: they’re made with whole matzot (that’s the plural of matzo), which have been quickly soaked in water, egg, a TINY bit of matzo meal – just enough to hold them together – and some parsley, nutmeg, salt and pepper. They’re also very small compared to the behemoths I’ve seen in the US, just about the size of a very small walnut. They were so light you had to climb a ladder to get them off the ceiling. To me, THOSE are real matzo balls, not the matzo meal things they seem to like here.
I’d recommend cooking the Matzo Balls in extra stock (not the stock you use for the soup and it drinks a lot of it) for added flavour. You can also add all sorts of flavours to the stock as you bring it to the boil for extra flavour – onion, butternut squash, old chicken bones, sometimes even a bit of shin beef. Every Jewish mother has their own version!
I haven’t had matzo ball soup often but every time I eat it I tell myself I’m going to make it at home. Now I will. :)
I have never had Matzo Ball soup, but I am totally up for trying it! Especially since we have been having cold rainy afternoons around here. This looks perfect!
I can’t believe how early and fast Rosh Hashanah seems to have snuck up this year. It’s like 90F in San Diego and it still feels utterly to hot out for it to be this time of year already. Your soup looks amazing. My husband’s family had a Jewish deli in Chicago for many years and I know he would love this soup if I made it for him!