Bubbe’s Bubula – Recreating my Grandma’s Puffy Matzo Meal Pancake

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Try this simple matzo meal pancake for Passover or any time of the year. Then pop over to my matzo recipe page for more inspiration to use up that can of matzo meal! First published in 2011, in honor of my grandma Annie and National Pancake Day, this updated matzo meal pancake post has new photos and more background on the legacy of this simple but special family recipe that Bubbe called a “bubula”. 

(photo courtesy of my brother)

Eating a matzo meal pancake, or bubula, evokes happy memories of my Grandma with her thick glasses, denture-filled smile, and short, stubby hands that worked challah dough like only a grandma can. Our family affectionately calls these matzo meal pancakes a bubula (or bubuleh), which is also a Yiddish word that is a term of endearment. Imagine my Grandma Annie calling me to the kitchen table – she might say “come here, bubula, eat your bubula while it’s hot.”

What is a matzo meal pancake?

A matzo meal pancake is a matzo meal and egg based pancake usually eaten on Passover. You could also categorize it as an omelet but it really looks more like one of those puffy Dutch apple pancakes you bake in the oven. But these are cooked stove top and can be ready to eat in a matter of minutes.

You might also hear some people refer to these pancakes as chremslach – an Eastern European word that refers to matzo meal pancakes, sometimes potato pancakes and on occasion cheese pancakes.

matzo meal pancake on plate cooked with cinnamon sugar and piece cut out

What is matzo meal?

Matzo meal is a derivative of matzo. Matzo is the unleavened bread eaten by those who observe the Jewish holiday Passover. Passover celebrates the freeing of the Israelites from slavery. The story goes that when the Israelites fled, they had no time to let the bread rise so they baked it unleavened and it became flat crackers or matzo. To this day, this rush to freedom guides the dietary rules of this ritual-based holiday.

When you coarsely chop the matzo, it becomes matzo farfel. More finely ground but still with texture, and it is considered matzo meal. Finely ground — it becomes matzo cake meal, like a substitute for flour.

What makes a matzo meal pancake puffy?

In my grandmother’s version, it is the whipped egg whites and a bit of seltzer (bubbly water) that makes it rise. For Passover, the use of any grain-based leavening agent is restricted. Baking powder is not grain-based but many prefer not to use it for Passover. But you don’t need to make that decision with this recipe – it doesn’t require it.

matzo meal pancake in frying pan before flipping

What are the steps to prepare a bubula or matzo meal pancake?

  1. Separate the eggs into two bowls – one big enough to whip the egg whites, the other big enough to hold all the ingredients.
  2. Add the matzo meal, seltzer, and salt to the egg yolks and mix well.
  3. Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks and then fold them gently into the egg yolk mixture.
  4. Pour into a medium-sized frying pan greased with oil or butter. (my mom always used oil) Fry on one side and gently turn over to brown on other side. My mom says it’s ready when you stick a fork in and it doesn’t fall apart. (my mom is 89 so pay attention to her wise tips!)
  5. Serve with toppings of your choice.

matzo meal pancake 4 picture collage showing stages of prep from mixing to pan frying

What are the best toppings for a matzo meal pancake?

I always use cinnamon sugar. Some people like powdered sugar. My son liked syrup. Some prefer yogurt, sour cream, or whipped cream and berries – all would be nice accompaniments.

matzo meal pancake with syrup and blueberries on plate with knife and fork

And if you are Jewish (or just adventuresome), you might even try a bit of Manischewitz wine – yup – that’s how my cousin Alan used to eat it. Here is the proof:

From Bubbe’s Grandson

“I wanted to thank you for making available Grandma’s pancake recipe. I have looked for that recipe in every Jewish cookbook around and never found it–of course I never thought to do the obvious—ask the family. My wife made the pancakes tonight and they were great—topped with sugar, or a little Manischewitz Concord Grape wine, as we did in our house in Brooklyn.

Of course, the greater significance beyond the tastiness of the pancakes were their emotional and nostalgic value. For the duration of the meal tonight, I was 10 years old again and back at Avenue N with my mommy and Grandma in the kitchen. It was a truly wonderful and sentimental moment for me.

Thank you for giving me the venue to return, at least in my mind’s eye, to those wonderful years in a world that now seems all too distant.”

— from my cousin after reading this blog post in 2011

Want to hear me talk bubulas and soy sauce eggs? Listen to my guest appearance with Leigh Olson of the podcast The Heritage Cookbook Project where I share a few more details about my culturally blended family and read this note aloud too.

bubula and soy sauce eggs on gray tablecloth

My Mom’s Version of the Bubula Recipe

When I first wrote this post, I emailed my mom, who has turned out a few good bubulas over the years, to help with the recipe. And she actually emailed me back a rough write-up. Here are her directions verbatim from the email (yes she is 89 and uses email and texts):

“I used to make one with two eggs separated. Beat the egg whites to stiff peak and then gently add the yellow of eggs together with some matzoh meal. Just enough to give it some body and add some seltzer water to help it rise. Mix very gently and pour into frying pan. I always used oil instead of butter. Fry on one side and gently turn over to brown on other side. Should come out so that when you put in fork it doesn’t fall apart. Put sugar on top {sprinkle as you like} and enjoy with coffee, wine or any way you wish.”

I think my mom missed her calling as a recipe writer. But please don’t miss your chance to experience this simple treasure of a family recipe.

matzo meal pancake with cinnamon sugar on plate with knife and fork

Other Recipes using Matzo Meal or Matzo

Passover Resource and Recipe Guide

Apple Matzo Farfel Kugel

Apricot Apple Matzo Farfel Kugel

Passover Potato Kugel with a Twist

Potato Latkes

Chocolate-covered Matzo with Toasted Nuts and Sea Salt

Brenda’s Breaded Lemon Chicken (use matzo meal instead of bread crumbs)

Fresh Fruit Compote – a perfect topping!

Supplies for Making Matzo Meal Pancakes

Manischewitz Matzo Meal 16 OZ, Pack of 2

Streits Matzo Meal

Yehuda Gluten Free Matzo Meal, 15 Ounce (Pack of 2)

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matzo meal pancake with cinnamon sugar on plate with knife and fork
5 from 7 votes
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Matzo Meal Pancake or Bubula

A bubula (like the Yiddish word that is a term of endearment) is a matzo meal and egg based pancake. You could probably categorize it as an omelet too but it really ends up looking more like one of those puffy apple pancakes. And for me, the taste evokes only happy memories of my Grandma with her thick glasses, denture-filled smile, and short, stubby hands that worked challah dough like only a grandma can.

Course Breakfast
Cuisine Jewish Holiday Cooking
Keyword matzo meal, matzo meal pancakes, Passover
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 serving
Calories 204 kcal
Author Beth Lee

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs separated
  • 2 tablespoons matzo meal
  • 1 tablespoon seltzer water
  • pinch of salt
  • canola oil
  • sugar
  • cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Separate 2 eggs. Put the whites in a medium bowl, big enough for whipping them. Place the yellows in a similar size bowl.

  2. To the yolks, add 2 tablespoons of matzo meal, one tablespoon of sparkling water (seltzer), and a pinch of salt. Combine, using a small whisk or fork.

    matzo meal pancake prep - 2 red bowls with matzo meal mixture and stiff beaten egg whites
  3. Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks and then fold the egg whites into the yellow mixture.

  4. Heat a small skillet on medium to medium-high. Once heated, add one tablespoon of oil, then add the matzo meal mixture.

    matzo meal pancake in frying pan before flipping
  5. Cook until you see it sizzle around the edges and firm up. Then, depending on your skill in the kitchen, you can either flip the pancake like a pro or grab a spatula to turn it over. (Dormant chef flipped, I used a spatula) It should be nicely browned.

    matzo meal pancake in frying pan cooked
  6. It only needs to cook briefly on the flip side to brown and finish firming up the interior.

  7. Flip the bubula onto a plate, sprinkle with granulated sugar. A little cinnamon is nice too. Powdered sugar would be attractive but I have always loved the texture of the granulated sugar with the matzo meal pancake.

    matzo meal pancake with cinnamon sugar on plate with knife and fork

 

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64 Responses to Bubbe’s Bubula – Recreating my Grandma’s Puffy Matzo Meal Pancake

  1. Debbie Landsman April 14, 2019 at 1:07 pm #

    These look yummy and thank your grandma for this recipe. I needed to know if I can make these in advance and then freeze them for Passover. Please advise. Thank you.
    Debbie

    • Beth Lee April 14, 2019 at 2:58 pm #

      Hi Debbie – I have never tried to do that. I think the texture might not survive the freeze. But if I were going to try, I’d make them minis and just expect them to be less poofy upon re-entry from the deep freeze 🙂 But my fav way to eat them is right out of a hot pan! Chag Sameach!

  2. Sandi March 18, 2019 at 6:22 pm #

    5 stars
    I love how puffy this matzo meal pancake got! I love all of the step by step directions to make it.

    • Beth Lee March 19, 2019 at 7:40 pm #

      Pull out that gluten free matzo meal and make one my friend.

  3. Tobie March 17, 2019 at 10:17 am #

    Thanks for the recipe. Pesach is just around the corner.

    • Beth Lee March 17, 2019 at 8:00 pm #

      Yes it is! It will be here in the blink of an eye.

  4. Jenni March 16, 2019 at 11:19 am #

    Wow, this is straight up comfort right here! And when deliciousness is wrapped in treasured memories? Magic! The perfect intersection of food and memory. Wonderful!

    • Beth Lee March 17, 2019 at 8:05 am #

      Yes! So simple but such a special family recipe for us.

  5. TIsha March 15, 2019 at 9:35 am #

    5 stars
    Such a sweet post about your grandmother! I’ve never had matzo meal pancakes and I am definitely intrigued to try one! They look delish!

    • Beth Lee March 16, 2019 at 8:37 am #

      It’s a simple recipe but a different way of putting eggs together and I find it so comforting! especially with the cinnamon sugar.

  6. Laura March 15, 2019 at 9:31 am #

    5 stars
    What a great tribute to your grandmother! She really did perfect the matzo meal pancake! Delish!

    • Beth Lee March 16, 2019 at 8:36 am #

      And it’s one of the few things my mom carried on making in the kitchen. My grandma has 6 kids – 4 daughters and not one of them was much of a baker as she was. But a good bubula, my mom can make!

  7. Samantha March 15, 2019 at 8:23 am #

    5 stars
    Thank you for sharing such a special, delicious recipe. Memories always make food better! <3

    • Beth Lee March 15, 2019 at 8:26 am #

      Exactly! Sometimes I call them memory flavors.

  8. wilhelmina March 1, 2019 at 6:11 pm #

    5 stars
    I love this post! This looks so delicious!!!

  9. Noelle March 1, 2019 at 12:38 pm #

    5 stars
    You can never go wrong with a grandmas recipe! Love this whole recipe can not wait to try 🙂

  10. Carol Leonard February 24, 2019 at 3:59 pm #

    Such a great post!

  11. Alexis @ Upside Down Pear April 1, 2015 at 9:51 am #

    This looks like the perfect way to use up some of the leftover matzo meal! I love the fact that this is Grandma’s recipe. They’re always the best 😀 We’ve actually never had any growing up, but I can’t wait to make this!

  12. Hannah March 25, 2013 at 7:15 am #

    Such a sweet post, Beth! What a lovely tribute to your Bubbe and it’s wonderful to document such a marvelous family recipe. I’m adding this to our Passover breakfasts this week. Love your step-by-step directions, too. Thanks for sharing!

  13. thefolia July 15, 2012 at 9:35 pm #

    Bubula here we try! We love pancakes in our nest. We usually use Pamela’s as the base and then add whatever fruit or vegetables we have on hand. Simply saying Bubula and my little ones break into laughter!

  14. Harri March 25, 2012 at 9:00 am #

    Was making them for years and completely forgot the receipe. Just found it in your blog. Thank you Harri

    • omgyummy March 25, 2012 at 11:29 am #

      Oh you are so welcome. It is comments like this that make every minute I spend creating this blog so worth it! Hope it came out just the way you remembered it!

  15. Mindi March 5, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    Yummm!!! Need to make these. I love that your mom uses e-mail and texts at 81. Awesome!

    • omgyummy March 25, 2012 at 11:29 am #

      I love that too! She definitely has lots of chutzpah!

  16. Carol Sacks February 28, 2012 at 9:20 am #

    What a sweet post! Reminds me of watching my grandmother make matzo brei. Glad you re-posted!

    • omgyummy February 28, 2012 at 9:51 am #

      aaahh – matzo brei – it’s almost Passover time isn’t it? Getting very hungry sitting here in Starbucks trying to write about food!

  17. Otehlia Cassidy April 8, 2011 at 7:10 pm #

    I love the way those cakes look so hearty! Yummy, for sure. Love your blog…

  18. Stephanie March 15, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    That looks soooo so tasty!!

  19. Jun Belen March 12, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

    Your mom is 81 and she’s hooked on technology? Very impressive! But I’m more impressed by your bubula. I could imagine that the matzo adds great texture to the pancake. I’d love to try this out with a splash of syrup on top. Thank you for sharing!

  20. Kristen March 10, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

    Your grandma is simple adorable and your mom is awesome as well. I love recipes that evoke these kind of memories!

  21. Serene March 4, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    Oh, I HAVE to make this.

    Our favorite pancakes are my mom’s latkes, but second place is probably a basic buttermilk that I adapted from an Tyler Florence recipe.

  22. Laura Santamaria March 3, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    thank you for the comment on my blog! that pancake looks so delicious i’m quite hungry for some delicious food right now!
    i’m subscribing to your blog!

  23. Julie m. March 2, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    What a beautiful pancake you’ve created here! The recipes handed down from family members are truly the best ones.

    Thanks so much for the sweet comment over at my end. And yep, I’m coming to Blogher Food. It’s going to be so great to meet everyone!

  24. Alexandria Campbell March 2, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    these look so delicious and are going on my shopping list to make this weekend.

    *here from sits

  25. MommyMatter March 2, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    Nice, have to try these, thanks!

  26. rsmacaalay March 2, 2011 at 12:50 am #

    I never had tried one of those but it looks similar to the Filipino Bibingka

  27. Mommy Crib Notes March 1, 2011 at 10:50 am #

    Emm, these look delicious! I love eggy, doughy treats like popovers, apple pancakes and such. These look right up my tastefood alley.

    • omgyummy March 1, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

      Try one – it’s different from your typical pancake but really fun to eat. Thanks for stopping by!

  28. Georgia B. March 1, 2011 at 8:17 am #

    OMG! this sounds so yummy!!! And I’m on a diet!! I’m trying the Atkins diet, but I may have to cheat tonight. I mean, how can I miss Pancake Day?!
    And Mazel Tov on the Bat Mitzvah! I’m assuming it went swimmingly well. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there.
    And what a great picture of Bubbe!!! Hmmmm. Making me weepy — no fair! xoxo

    • omgyummy March 1, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

      A bubula isn’t that far off the Atkins – it’s mostly eggs 🙂

      Bat Mitzvah was fantastic – we missed having you there. Will share more pictures soon.

      That picture of my Grandma makes me smile every time I see it. You would have loved her.

      We will be in New York City in April. Will be in touch with details.

  29. Orly @yumivore February 28, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    First Mazal Tov on the Bat Mitzvah! The only thing stopping me from devouring these right now is my computer screen (ok it’s a big show stopper) but luckily you’re in my neck of the woods, and I’d gladly schlepp over if you’re cooking! Agree with Rebecca and shared with Karen, it would be lovely to all meet and have a nosh! This has been such fun!

    • omgyummy March 1, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

      Thanks Orly! The Bat Mitzvah was such a huge success. My daughter was a superstar and all the meals and gatherings were wonderful. Now I’m catching up on life and looking forward to scheduling a meet-up with you! If you want to come my way and eat bubulas – I’m game!

      This was a great collaboration – would do it again in a heartbeat. If we could put four posts together like that without really planning, imagine what else we could do!

  30. Karen at Globetrotter Diaries February 28, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    Wonderful recipe. This was great! Glad we could all do this together.. happy pancake day!

    • omgyummy March 1, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

      Karen – thanks. I can’t wait to try your scallion pancakes. I know my family will love them. This was great fun. Up for working on something together again for sure.

  31. sandy corman February 28, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    The bubula looks perfect. You have inspired me to try one soon. They are delicious.
    Thanks for compliment on recipe instrux. And thanks for picture of Grandma. Mom

    • omgyummy March 1, 2011 at 9:10 pm #

      So easy and your recipe was perfect. All I added was a pinch of salt to bring out the flavor. Give it a try – not too complicated.

  32. rebecca February 28, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

    what a wonderful post Grandmas are the best must try these so fluffy delicious was fun to do with with you Beth

    Rebecca

    • omgyummy March 1, 2011 at 9:08 pm #

      She was the best Grandma. I miss her every single day.

      Loved doing this post with you guys. Definitely up for another round!

      I have some strawberries in the fridge just waiting to be sliced and eaten with pancakes!

      • Debbie February 24, 2019 at 11:31 am #

        My family got together every Passover for Bubula brunch. We added a shot glass of wine to the recipe. What a treat!

        • Beth Lee February 24, 2019 at 11:36 am #

          That’s how my aunt and cousin ate it – w Manischewitz !!! Story to be added to the post soon. Bubula brunch – I love it!

  33. Richard Bernhardt February 28, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    Yummy on my tummy. So, your Bubula used seltzer. That is a very interesting idea! I’ve never added soda or seltzer to this recipie. The only ingredient that is very very different to me is the cinnamon. Never tried that. Otherwise, you have me fawning for latkes. Have a great day! 🙂

    • omgyummy March 1, 2011 at 9:03 pm #

      First time I tried cinnamon as well – but it was yummy. But my favorite is still just granulated sugar. A bubula with granulated sugar is still one of my ultimate comfort foods.

      As for the seltzer, we also use it in Matzo balls to aid in the fluffiness. Does it really work? Who knows but it definitely doesn’t hurt!

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