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From the Kitchen: Matzo Ball Soup

April 11, 2012

When we were in New York City last year, we would run into these deli+salad bar+soup shops at almost every corner and we absolutely LOVED it. We’re total soup, salad, and sandwich types, and in a city where nothing is cheap, to eat a satisfying meal that doesn’t break the bank is priceless. Needless to say, we ate at our local deli quite often. And at the top of our soup list was always matzo ball which can be so hit or miss for me, but luckily our deli made a good one. Often, we would order our food and find a park bench to eat at…it felt so quintessential New York. Even though I can remember eating my first matzo ball soup with my dad at Junior’s in West LA, this soup will ALWAYS remind me of our stay in NYC. Recipe after the jump. xoxo!

P.S. The fancy dishes above were Evan’s parent’s wedding china! They passed them on to us a few years ago…cute, right? They’re so fragile feeling that I’m always afraid that they’ll break, so we never use them. It was nice to be able to bring them out for this shoot.

Matzo Ball Soup (I followed this Smitten Kitchen recipe EXACTLY and I wouldn’t change a thing! BEST CHICKEN STOCK I’VE EVER MADE)

Serves 4 comfortably with a little leftover.

Chicken Stock

Yield: Approximately 3.5 quarts

3 1/2 to 4 1/2 pounds chicken necks, backs and wings
3 celery ribs, cut into big chunks
3 carrots, scrubbed and cut into big chunks
2 parsnips, scrubbed and cut into big chunks
2 onions, unpeeled and quartered
1 head garlic, cut horizontally in half
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
4 quarts cold water

Bring all ingredients to a boil in an 8- to 10-quart heavy pot. Skim froth. Reduce heat and gently simmer, uncovered for 3 hours.

Pour stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl and discard solids. If using stock right away, skim off and discard any fat. If not, cool stock completely, uncovered, before skimming fat, then chill, covered. Reserve a few tablespoons of the skimmed fat if you wish to use them in matzo balls (below).

Stock can be chilled 3 days in the refrigerator or frozen 1 month.

Matzo Ball Soup

If you can’t find matzo meal, pulse a few pieces of matzo in your food processor until it is a coarse powder.

Makes 8 to 12 matzo balls (note: I ground matzo in a food processor to make the matzo meal and I was able to get about 12 matzo balls)

Matzo Balls
1/2 cup matzo meal
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons reserved chicken fat or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons chicken stock or seltzer (which both of our mothers swear by for making the balls extra light)

For soup
2 to 3 quarts prepared chicken stock (recipe above)
1 carrot, thinly sliced
A few sprigs of dill

Mix all matzo ball ingredients in a bowl. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Bring 1 1/2 quarts of well-salted water to a brisk boil in a medium-sized pot.

Reduce the flame. Run your hands under water so they are thoroughly wet. Form matzo balls by dropping spoonfuls of matzo ball batter approximately 1-inch in diameter into the palm of your wet hands and rolling them loosely into balls. Drop them into the simmering salt water one at a time. Cover the pot and cook them for 30 to 40 minutes.

About ten minutes before the matzo balls are ready, bring prepared chicken stock to a simmer with the sliced carrot in it. Ladle some soup and a couple matzo balls into each bowl and top with a couple snips of dill. Eat immediately.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. April 11, 2012 9:59 am

    I tried making matzo ball from a matzo ball mix I got from the supermarket but it didn’t turn out so well – I’ll have to try the recipe you’ve posted up- it looks delicious!

    • love and cupcakes permalink*
      April 11, 2012 10:15 am

      Nothing beats homemade! And Deb at Smitten Kitchen is a genius, I followed her recipe to a tee and it was simply delicious. I hope you enjoy!

  2. April 11, 2012 12:00 pm

    That looks delicious. (love their profile shot!). My mom call matzoh ball soup jewish penicillin and my dad secretly refers to it as hockey puck soup (!). Love that you got out the fancy china for this shoot.

    • love and cupcakes permalink*
      April 11, 2012 4:12 pm

      Ha! This made me laugh so hard! Your parents sound hilarious. And I loved bringing out the fancy china for this shoot too! Glad they actually got used, if only for a few photographs.

  3. April 11, 2012 1:19 pm

    This looks ever so delicious. Wonderful photos!

    • love and cupcakes permalink*
      April 11, 2012 4:15 pm

      Thank you! Thank you, Meg!

  4. April 11, 2012 6:19 pm

    lovely. I tried this out (without the fine china) and it was great! very yummy.
    I also nominate you for the Versatile Blogger Award.

    • love and cupcakes permalink*
      April 11, 2012 10:36 pm

      Oh thank you so much for the nomination! So sweet of you! And I’m so glad you enjoyed the soup, I think it’ll be a regular at our house :)

  5. April 12, 2012 12:30 pm

    I love the lighting in your photos! Do you shoot in a lightbox or under good sunlight?

    I usually find that if I use true white balance it comes out clinical (don’t use a lightbox) and we don’t get much lovely sunlight in london (not when I’m cooking either)

    • love and cupcakes permalink*
      April 12, 2012 12:41 pm

      Thank you! I do not use a light box, just a white backdrop on a c-stand next to a window that gets tons of natural light. The background is fairly new and I’m still learning how to balance out the hot spots that sometimes occur.

  6. April 12, 2012 6:41 pm

    Matzo ball soup yum. Especially on a chilly day.

    Your photos look awesome. So professional looking.

    • love and cupcakes permalink*
      April 13, 2012 8:36 am

      Yes! It would be perfect for today’s rainy LA day…eeesh! It’s looking down right frigid out there! Thanks for your comment!

  7. April 13, 2012 8:21 am

    Oh this looks so good, thanks.

    BTW You are welcome to join in my monthly food blogger event THE SOUP KITCHEN, here all bloggers are welcome, hope to see you participate soon. Different theme each month.

    • love and cupcakes permalink*
      April 13, 2012 8:34 am

      Thank you so much for the invitation Deb, I’ll definitely check it out :)!

  8. November 28, 2015 6:53 pm

    Unfortunately, matzah meal is made from white flour so it is not gluten free. One key to having light matzah balls is to put the dough in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes before making the balls. . .Enjoy!

    • love and cupcakes permalink*
      November 28, 2015 10:19 pm

      Hello Hollie, this soup is definitely NOT gluten-free. I don’t see anywhere in the post where I state that it is. Am I missing something?

    • love and cupcakes permalink*
      November 28, 2015 10:32 pm

      Hollie, I was so boggled by your comment (which was followed by an almost identical comment from another reader) that I did some investigating. It seems that the link that lead you here states that this soup is gluten free. However, it is not my statement. I’ve emailed the website, hopefully they will correct the error. I will say this soup, while not gluten free, is ridiculously delicious. Hope you’ll try it :)

  9. Argie permalink
    November 28, 2015 9:21 pm

    It sounds really good, but I have a question. How is this recipe gluten-free when matzos are made from flour?

    • love and cupcakes permalink*
      November 28, 2015 10:22 pm

      Argie, I don’t believe I’ve implied that this soup is gluten-free in my post or recipe. I definitely know matzo is a wheat based product. Am I missing something?

      • Argie permalink
        November 30, 2015 4:26 pm

        One of the links I followed to get to the recipe said it was gluten free. I will try to trace it back to that point and send you the info. I look for gluten free recipes because of my kids; two of them are affected by gluten.


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