This recipe for Herby Matzo Balls is easier and more flavorful than Manischewitz or Streit's box mix! These Jewish-style dumplings are the perfect accompaniment to your chicken soup. They are herby, light, and fluffy, and perfect for your chicken soup.
If you're not familiar with matzo balls, you're in for a treat.
Matzo balls are Jewish dumplings that are made using matzo, a type of cracker that is traditionally eaten on Passover. During Passover, we don't eat bread or any leavened products, so instead we eat matzo.
On it's own, it tastes a bit like cardboard. But buttered up and served with jelly? Yum. Slathered with cream cheese, or covered in toffee... matzo makes a great canvas for lots of delicious things.
With all that matzo, there is always some leftover, just waiting to be turned into matzo ball (soup): the real star of Passover.
Matzo balls are made by combining ground matzo with eggs, oil, and a few other mix-ins. Let's dig into the details!
What is matzo?
Matzo is a traditional Jewish unleavened bread that is made by mixing flour and water and baking it in a very hot oven. It is eaten during Passover, a Jewish holiday during which observant Jewish people don't eat chametz, food made with leavening agents, such as bread.
What is matzo meal?
Matzo meal is simply matzo that is finely ground. It is similar to breadcrumbs and can be used to make matzo balls.
What is the difference between matzo meal and matzo ball mix?
Matzo meal is simply matzo that is finely ground. Matzo ball mix is a boxed mix that has several ingredients already added to it. For this recipe, buy matzo meal, or make your own. The recipe comes together quickly and is more delicious than anything premade!
What type of matzo do you use?
Most kinds will work here, but I don't recommend schmura matzo or the gluten-free kind. Regular, egg, low-sodium, etc will all work well in this recipe.
How do you make matzo balls that are not dense or hard?
Don't over mix your matzo ball mixture before boiling! Use seltzer instead of plain water. Add grated onion.
WHY DO YOU ADD GRATED ONION?
Grated onion adds moisture to the matzo ball mixture and adds great flavor. Adding grated onion is staple in many Ashkenazi Jewish recipes.
Why you add baking soda?
Baking soda helps the matzo balls puff up, and offsets the strong onion flavor.
Should I cook the matzo balls in salted boiling water?
Yes! The key to flavorful matzo balls is to cook them in heavily salted water, as if you're cooking pasta.
Do you use oil or schmaltz for these matzo balls?
Matzo balls are traditionally made using schmaltz, which is rendered chicken fat. You can buy schmaltz at the butcher shop, or make your own. If you can't find schmaltz, use oil.
Olive oil will add an herbal flavor to the matzo balls (my preference) whereas something neutral will be more subtle. It's only ¼ cup so just use what you have on hand!
Why do you add fresh herbs directly into the matzo ball mix?
Adding ¼ cup of fresh herbs to matzo balls is a wonderful way to brighten up these beige dumplings. The most traditional herb in Ashkenazi Jewish cooking is dill. You cannot skip the dill in this recipe.
A second herb friend is always nice. Parsley or chives are my preference!
Should you boil matzo balls separately in water, or directly in the soup?
You should boil matzo balls in their own pot of heavily salted boiling water.
There are several reasons for this:
1)My chicken broth takes hours to make, so I hate having matzo balls absorb all that liquid gold. I prefer drinking it and enjoying it.
2) I compare matzo balls to pasta in my head, which I would never cook in broth. If you heavily salt your water and properly season your matzo mixture, it will be flavorful! Trust!
3) The matzo balls make the chicken soup cloudy, which visually is a no-no for me.
How long do you cook the matzo balls?
At least 30 minutes, usually closer to 35-40. The balls should have doubled in size, be pale, floating, and look very bouyant. When you test one, your spoon should slide through easily without much resistance. It should taste springy, not dense!
How do you serve the matzo balls?
Make your favorite chicken broth. In a large pot, sauté 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped carrots and 2 stalks of celery. Once softened and golden, add the broth into the pot.
To serve, ladle hot soup over 2-3 cooked matzo balls. Sprinkle with more fresh dill and a pinch of fresh black pepper. Enjoy!
How do you store matzo balls?
If you have leftover matzo malls, store them in a clean container in the fridge. Do not store them in soup or water, otherwise they will get soggy and bloated.
How do you reheat matzo balls?
To reheat refrigerated matzo balls, you can add them directly into boiling water. Cook for 5-7 minutes until fully heated through.
You can also warm them directly in your chicken broth if you prefer.
How long will matzo balls stay fresh?
These matzo balls will stay fresh in the fridge for 3-5 days. If you made a large batch and want to freeze some: let them cool, then lay them flat into a ziploc bag in an even layer. Freeze for up to 12 months.
When you're ready to serve, boil the matzo balls in salted boiling water until soft in the center and fully heated through.
Want more Jewish recipes? Try:
- 1 cup matzo meal
- 4 eggs
- ⅛ cup fresh chopped parsley
- ⅛ cup fresh chopped dill
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt (plus more for boiling water)
- ¼ cup seltzer or water
- ¼ cup schmaltz or oil
- ½ sweet onion (finely grated )
- Add all of your ingredients except matzo meal into a large bowl. Whisk.
- Add matzo meal, then mix to combine. Taste to see if the mixture needs more salt, but remember you'll be boiling the matzo balls in very salty water so don't overdo it.
- Let the matzo meal rest in the fridge for an hour or two until it thickens and comes together (it will be very thick!)
- Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a rolling boil.
- While the water comes to a boil, use an ice cream scoop to take out even size balls (I like smaller ones that are a little less than ¼ cup of mixture each). Roll the balls into nice circles and prepare them all to go into the pot. You can use a little water on your hands in between rolling balls to prevent sticking. Also, they should all go into the water at roughly the same time, so don't stand over the pot rolling balls.
- Once the balls are in, turn the heat down to a simmer and cover. Simmer the matzo balls for 35-40 minutes, flipping midway. You must cook the matzo balls covered, so the top half steams while the bottom half simmers.
- The balls will be done when they have doubled in size and look very full. Take on out after about 30-35 minutes to test. Your spoon should slide through the matzo ball easily and it should taste light, herby, and delightful!
- Store your matzo balls separately, just adding to soup when serving. This way, they don't get bloated or too soft. You can store matzoh balls in the fridge for a few days or freeze them for later use.
- Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Jewish
Keywords: jewish cooking, jewish recipes, ashkenazi recipes, passover, pesach, matzo, matza, matzah, matzoh, matzo ball recipe, matzo ball soup recipe, matzo balls from scratch