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matzo ball soup in white bowl on dark brown background

Traditional Matzo Ball Soup Recipe

Learn to make floater matzo balls and rich and delicious chicken stock you can use for matzo ball soup and so much more!

Course Soup
Cuisine Jewish Holiday Cooking
Keyword chicken stock, matzo ball soup, matzo balls
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Servings 8
Calories 184 kcal

Ingredients

Chicken stock

  • One whole chicken about 5 lbs – use giblets except for liver
  • ½ pound carrots about 5 small, washed and cut in large pieces
  • 1/4 pound celery washed and cut in large pieces
  • 1 large onion quartered
  • 10 - 15 peppercorns smashed
  • Parsley a few sprigs
  • Dill a few sprigs
  • Thyme a few sprigs
  • ½ meyer lemon optional
  • kosher salt to taste (start with one tablespoon)
  • extra carrots and herbs for serving

Matzo Balls

  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil or canola or vegetable oil or use fat from chicken soup
  • 1/4 cup seltzer
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup matzo meal
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons parsley and dill optional
  • Water and chicken stock for boiling the matzo balls

Instructions

Chicken Stock

  1. Use a pasta pot or stock pot that holds 16 cups of water with room to spare for chicken and vegetables. Add all the vegetables and chicken into the pot. I usually put the chicken in first and then add all the vegetables and pour in the water.
  2. Place the stove on medium to medium high heat to bring the mixture to a boil, then turn it down to simmer. You’ll want to see a bit of bubbling here and there but not an active boil anymore.
  3. As it works its way to a boil, you’ll see the water get cloudy and some scum accumulate at the top. Skim this off occasionally – a large spoon will do the trick.
  4. At about an hour in, check the chicken. If it’s completely cooked (leg will jiggle easily), take it out of the pot carefully and place on a large plate to cool off a bit. This is a good time to walk your dog. The goal is for the chicken to cool enough that you can shred the meat off the carcass.
  5. While the chicken cools down a bit, let the rest of the stock continue to simmer on the stovetop.
  6. When you return from walking the dog, the chicken will have cooled down enough to take all the meat off the bones. Put the bones back in the pot and let it continue to cook – about another hour. Reserve the chicken meat in a container in the refrigerator.
  7. When the soup stock is done, let it cool down and then strain it through a fine mesh colander, lined with cheesecloth if necessary. Discard the solids and store the gorgeous golden-brown stock in containers in the fridge or freezer for later use. Do let it cool down a bit before closing the containers. Even if freezing, I would refrigerate to get the fat off the top if you want to use it for the matzo balls.
  8. Note that it is optional to remove the chicken and take the meat off the carcass. Many people just boil the chicken for a few hours and discard the meat. I prefer to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, and save the chicken for use in the soup or whatever else you might need shredded chicken for.

Matzo Balls

  1. In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients – baking powder, matzo meal, peppers, salt.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, vigorously whisk eggs
  3. Then add oil and seltzer to eggs and continue to whisk for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and the chopped herbs (if using) into the wet ingredients and blend well. Refrigerate until the batter becomes thick – up to a few hours – even overnight.

  5. Bring your stock/salted water to a boil.

  6. While the stock is coming to a boil, roll your matzo balls. Best to use dampened hands and have a plate or tray ready lined with parchment if possible to place the uncooked balls on.
  7. Once the stock is boiling, reduce it to a low heat and add the matzo balls. Do not crowd because they will grow. Cook in two batches if need be.
  8. Simmer covered for about 50 minutes. It’s ok if it’s mildly boiling when covered but it should not boil vigorously. I tried shorter cook times but mine were perfect at 50 minutes. If you undercook them, they’ll be a bit dense and undercooked in the middle.
  9. If not using right away, store in a bit of liquid in a sealed container in the fridge.

Putting it all Together

  1. To serve the matzo ball soup, reheat the stock and if desired, add some sliced carrots for color and texture – you can zap the carrots in the microwave to soften them a bit or just let them cook in the stock as it reheats – depends what size pieces you use. Celery is another optional add in. Allow time for it to soften in the stock as it reheats.

  2. Add the matzo balls to the warmed stock to reheat the matzo balls if they have been refrigerated.

  3. When you serve, place some chicken (if using) in each bowl. Place the balls in the bowl, ladle in some soup. Then sprinkle chopped parsley and dill if desired – tastes fresh and looks lovely too.

Recipe Notes

The chicken stock recipe will yield about 15 cups of stock.

The matzo ball recipe will yield about 18 golf-ball-sized matzo balls.