This matzo ball soup is chicken and vegetables simmered with matzo balls in a savory broth with fresh herbs. A holiday classic that’s the ultimate comfort food and happens to be easy to make!
I grew up eating matzo ball soup, and now I make it on a regular basis for my own family. My version is simple to make, and comes out perfectly every time – no dense or heavy matzo balls here!
How do you make matzo ball soup?
Start by making the matzo balls by stirring together eggs, oil or chicken fat, seltzer water, seasonings, baking powder and matzo meal. Chill the mixture for 1-2 hours so that it becomes firm enough to scoop into round balls. To make the soup, cook onions, carrots, celery and garlic in a large pot. Stir in cooked chicken and seasonings, then pour in chicken broth. Add the matzo balls and simmer until the vegetables are tender and the matzo balls are cooked through. Sprinkle with fresh herbs, then serve and enjoy.
Tips for the perfect soup
- Some versions of this recipe call for simmering a whole chicken to create your own chicken broth. I’ve chosen to use a high quality store bought broth instead as it saves so much time.
- If you prefer to make your own broth, place a whole chicken in 12 cups of water with 2 sliced carrots, 1 onion cut into quarters, 2 stalks of celery, 5 cloves of garlic, 1 tablespoon peppercorns and 10 sprigs of parsley. Bring to a simmer and cook for 3 hours. Strain the broth, and remove the chicken meat from the carcass. Next, proceed with my recipe as directed.
- Traditional matzo ball soup contains schmaltz which is rendered chicken fat. You can make schmaltz by cooking the chopped skin of 8 chicken thighs together with 1/2 cup diced onion until the fat has rendered and the skin and onions are golden brown. Remove the browned bits and strain the fat to use in your cooking. Don’t want to make schmaltz? Use vegetable oil instead.
- You can make the matzo ball mixture up to 24 hours before you plan to use it.
- The use of baking powder produces light and fluffy matzo balls. If you prefer a denser matzo ball, either cut the amount of baking powder in half or omit it altogether.
- Any type of cooked chicken will work in this dish including leftover roasted chicken or rotisserie chicken. I typically roast bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts at 425 degrees F for 40 minutes, then dice or shred the meat.
Is matzo ball soup good for you?
Matzo ball soup is contains mostly low calorie items such as lean chicken and vegetables. The matzo balls do contain some fat. You can reduce the fat by 1 tablespoon if you’re looking to save on some calories.
What is the difference between matzo balls and dumplings?
Matzo balls are considered to be a type of dumpling. The main difference between matzo balls and any other dumpling is that these balls are made with matzo meal, which is ground matzo crackers, and most other dumplings are made with all purpose flour.
Matzo ball soup flavor variations
My mom often adds other ingredients to her soup to make it special, here are some options to customize the flavors to your tastes.
- Vegetables: Feel free to add more veggies such as green beans, zucchini, frozen corn, parsnips or potatoes.
- Noodles: It’s fairly common to add noodles to matzo ball soup. I typically see long noodles such as egg noodles or spaghetti in this dish.
- Herbs: While I typically top my soup with a little chopped parsley, other types of herbs are also nice such as dill, chives or a little fresh thyme.
There’s nothing better than a big bowl of matzo ball soup to celebrate the holidays or to brighten up a chilly day!
More soup recipes you’ll enjoy
- Alphabet Soup
- Vegetable Soup
- Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
- Italian Wedding Soup
- Chicken Tortellini Soup
- Minestrone Soup
Matzo Ball Soup Video
Matzo Ball Soup
For the matzo balls
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup melted schmaltz OR vegetable oil schmaltz is rendered chicken fat
- 3 tablespoons club soda seltzer water
- 3/4 cup matzo meal
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the soup
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil OR schmaltz
- 1/2 cup onion finely diced
- 3/4 cup carrots peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced
- 3/4 cup celery sliced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 1/2 cups cooked chicken shredded
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 cups chicken broth I use low sodium
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
For the matzo balls
- Place the eggs in a bowl and beat well. Whisk in the fat and club soda. Add the matzo meal, baking powder and salt, then stir until well combined. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour.
For the soup
- Place the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery to the pot and cook for 4-5 minutes or until softened.
- Add the garlic to the pot and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the chicken, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer.
- Use a tablespoon or a small scoop to make 1 inch matzo balls. Drop the balls into the soup.
- Cover the pot and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until balls are puffed and vegetables are tender.
- Sprinkle with parsley, then serve.