matzo ball soup in a white bowl on top of a white plate

Matzo Ball Soup

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For as long as I can remember, matzo ball soup has been the answer to almost any problem. Feeling sick? Matzo ball soup. Cold rainy weather? Matzo ball soup. Holiday dinner? Matzo ball soup. Surprise visit from out-of-state relatives? Hurry up and defrost the matzo ball soup stashed in the freezer. No matter the situation or the occasion, it was always matzo ball soup to the rescue. And no matter what the circumstance, we were ultimately never disappointed.

The rich chickeny broth and the fluffy matzo dumpling combine to fill your heart, soul, and stomach with delicious soupy goodness. Even better, with this throw-it-all-in-the-pot-and-forget-about-it recipe, you’ll barely have to lift a finger.

3 bowls of matzo ball soup in white bowls with spoons, carrots, and noodles

What is matzo ball soup? And, what does it taste like?

Matzo ball soup is basically chicken noodle soup with a traditional Jewish dumpling (the matzo ball). The broth, made from onion, celery, carrots, and fresh chicken thighs, is basically your run-of-the-mill chicken stock. But the matzo balls, the fluffy, airy dumplings, take this soup to the next level. With their unique texture and flavor, matzo balls are not your average dumpling. They are light, but not too flakey, and they lend additional character to the simple broth. Therefore, matzo ball soup tastes just like chicken noodle soup with an added flavor boost. You can also add in your favorite noodles, boiled carrots, shredded chicken, or any of your favorite soup mixins to make this soup even more filling.

What makes this matzo ball soup so good?!

For me, matzo ball soup is a comfort meal. It makes me reminisce about family gatherings and home cooking. And even if you didn’t grow up eating matzo ball soup, like I did, it can become a comfort for you too. With it’s simple, but flavorful, chicken broth, this soup is not too extravagant. In fact, those that try it for the first time usually say “isn’t this just chicken noodle soup?” Well, yes, yes it is. But it’s chicken noodle soup with an added layer.

Though the matzo ball may seem intimidating at first, it is really just a pillowy airy flavor-filled dumpling that adds some heartiness and character to the extremely simple broth. Without the matzo ball, the broth could stand up on its own, but it wouldn’t have the same pizzazz. So, why wouldn’t you want to add another great element?

Since this is a light soup, it’s a perfect pick-me-up when you’re feeling ill. Known as the “Jewish Penicillin,” matzo ball soup (like chicken noodle) has healing qualities. Listed as number 2 of The 7 Best Soups to Help Get Over Colds and Flu, it has anti-inflammatory properties that help boost your immune system. You can make a big batch and freeze the leftovers, so you’ll never be stuck without some, because who wants to make soup when they’re under the weather?!

Ingredients

Ingredients for chicken broth (see recipe for details)

For the Chicken Broth:

  1. Onion
  2. Parsnips
  3. Celery
  4. Carrots
  5. Fresh Dill
  6. Bone-In, Skin-On Chicken Thighs
  7. Water
  8. Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
Ingredients for Matzo Balls (see recipe for details)

For the Matzo Balls:

  1. Matzo Meal
  2. Baking Powder
  3. Sea Salt/Kosher Salt and Pepper
  4. Onion Powder
  5. Ground Ginger
  6. Nutmeg
  7. Eggs
  8. Vegetable Oil
  9. Fresh Dill
  10. Water

For Topping:

  1. Egg Noodles
  2. Boiled Carrots
  3. Shredded Chicken

A few notes about the ingredients:

  1. What is matzo meal? Matzo meal is made from ground up matzo (unleavened cracker-like bread). It is similar to coarse breadcrumbs. It can be found in the Kosher aisle of the grocery store and is usually sold in a round tin can. 
  2. Parsnips look like pale yellow or white carrots. They can be found in the produce section of the grocery store.
  3. Make sure to buy chicken thighs that have skin and bones. Boneless, skinless thighs do not provide the same amount of flavor.
  4. The nutmeg and ginger in the matzo ball recipe are optional, but they are HIGHLY recommended. The subtle flavor truly makes a difference, but does not overpower the traditional taste of matzo ball soup.
  5. To make this a vegetarian matzo ball soup, you can eliminate the chicken thighs. Just be sure to increase the amount of the other ingredients so the broth stays flavorful!

How do you make matzo ball soup from scratch?

For the Chicken Broth:

Chicken thighs, carrots, celery, onion, dill, and parsnips in a metal pot

In the biggest stock pot you own, add the whole onion (peeled, but not chopped), whole parsnips, whole celery, whole carrots, dill with stems, and whole chicken thighs. Sprinkle the salt over everything. My pot holds 7 quarts, so you may need to halve this recipe if you have a much smaller pot. Pour water into the pot until it covers all the vegetables and chicken. Mine took about 6 quarts of water.

Pouring water into a metal pot full of soup ingredients

Bring the water to a boil over medium heat. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium low, and let it simmer for about 3 hours.

When the soup is done, take the lid off and let it cool for an hour or two. Place the lid back on and put the entire pot in the fridge overnight. (If you don’t have room in your fridge, you can ladle the soup into smaller containers, but leaving it in the pot makes the next step easier.)

a spoon showing coagulated chicken fat on the top of the soup

Remove the pot from the fridge. The top layer of the soup will have coagulated. This is the chicken fat. Skim the fat off the top of the soup with a slotted spoon and place the fat in a plastic cup to throw away. (Never put oil or fat down your garbage disposal or drain!)

metal colander inside a metal bowl

To remove the chicken and vegetables from the broth, place a colander over a clean bowl. Use tongs to remove the onion, dill, celery, and parsnips. Place them in the colander and allow the liquid to drip into the bottom bowl. Gently press down to release any extra juices. Place the chicken into a separate bowl.

chicken thighs in a separate bowl with vegetables draining in a colander

Pour juices released from the vegetables and the chicken back into the soup. (This is very important because this is where a lot of great flavor is stored.)

pouring juices from the vegetables back into the soup broth

Throw away the vegetables. Store the chicken in an airtight container and transform it into a delicious lunch or dinner recipe. Remove the bones and cartilage from the chicken and top it with Sweet and Tangy Pomegranate BBQ Sauce to make barbecue pulled chicken sandwiches. Or, turn it into homemade chicken salad with the addition of some mayo and fresh fruits/vegetables.

For the Matzo Balls:

matzo ball dry ingredients in a glass bowl with eggs, oil, and dill on the side

Combine the matzo meal, baking powder, salt, pepper, onion powder, ground ginger, and nutmeg in a clean bowl. Beat the eggs and add them to the dry ingredients along with the vegetable oil. Mix to combine. Add the fresh dill and mix again.

All matzo ball ingredients combined in a glass bowl with dill on the side

The matzo meal will start to absorb the liquids and become thick. Place the bowl in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

mixed matzo ball batter in a glass bowl

Fill a deep pot halfway with salted water until it boils. After 30 minutes, scoop 1 tablespoon-size balls using an ice cream scoop and roll them into a ball. (If you want bigger matzo balls, scoop up to 2 tablespoons. Just be aware that they nearly double in size once cooked!) 

raw matzo balls on a baking pan

Place the matzo balls into the boiling water. Don’t overcrowd the pot. If doubling the recipe, cook in two batches. Cover with the lid and simmer the balls for about 20 minutes or until they puff up and float on top of the water.

matzo balls in a black pot of boiling water

When done, scoop the balls out of the water using a slotted spoon. Place them on a sheet pan to cool off before storing them in the fridge or freezer.

cooked matzo balls on a sheet pan

Putting It All Together:

After you’ve made the broth and the matzo balls, you can freeze them separately for up to 3 months. To serve, add matzo balls and broth to a smaller pot and simmer until hot. Then, add it all to a bowl and top with boiled carrots and egg noodles. When making the soup, I err on the side of less salt so that everyone can add their own, according to their own preference. So, season your bowl of soup with salt and pepper to your taste.

3 bowls of matzo ball soup with metal spoons on the side

Can you freeze matzo ball soup? What about the matzo balls?

Matzo ball soup is super easy to freeze. Keep the matzo balls and any other toppings separate. Pour the soup into freezable soup containers, cover with a tight lid, and place in the freezer for up to 3 months.

For the matzo balls, pat them dry with a paper towel and add them in a single layer to a freezable container or Ziploc bag. Keep them in the freezer for up to 3 months, as well. When ready to eat the soup, defrost the broth and the balls in the refrigerator overnight. Add both to a saucepan and heat until it’s hot. You can also microwave both in a bowl once they’re defrosted, if you prefer to heat them up that way.

What makes this matzo ball soup healthy?

There actually isn’t much in this soup that would make this recipe unhealthy. From the freshly made broth, to the homemade matzo balls, you get to control the sodium, fat content, and ingredients. As well, homemade soups taste a thousand times better than any found in a can and take very little time to make (especially if you make them ahead of time and freeze them).

In addition, the matzo balls in this recipe are made with less oil than a traditional recipe, and they definitely don’t lack texture or flavor. All in all, this recipe is a comforting, warming meal without any unnecessary “junk.”

One more tip

  • This recipe is great for Shabbat or any of the Jewish holidays: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Passover, Hanukkah, etc… However, if making this recipe for Passover, be sure to use kosher for passover matzo meal!
matzo ball soup in a white bowl with a spoon, noodles, and a carrot

Looking for more healthy recipes? Try these:

Share your cooking with me! If you make this recipe, I’d love to know! Tag @yourhomemadehealthy on Instagram or leave a comment with a rating and some feedback at the bottom of this page!

matzo ball soup in a white bowl with a spoon, noodles, and a carrot

Matzo Ball Soup

The rich chickeny broth and the fluffy matzo ball create delicious soupy goodness in this super simple matzo ball soup. Even better, with this throw-it-all-in-the-pot-and-forget-about-it recipe, you’ll barely have to lift a finger!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Chilling Time: 12 hrs
Total Time 15 hrs 10 mins
Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine American, Jewish
Servings 12 servings

Equipment

  • stock pot

Ingredients
  

For the Chicken Broth:

  • 1 onion
  • 2 parsnips
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 5 carrots peeled
  • 4 chicken thighs bone-in, skin-on
  • 8 stems of fresh dill
  • 6 quarts of water estimated
  • 1 tsp sea salt or kosher salt

For the Matzo Balls:

  • 1 cup matzo meal
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt or kosher salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 stems of fresh dill
  • salted water for boiling matzo balls

For Topping:

  • Egg Noodles prepared according to the package
  • Boiled Carrots
  • Shredded Chicken

Instructions
 

For the Chicken Broth:

  • In the biggest stock pot you own, add the whole onion (peeled, but not chopped), whole parsnips, whole celery, whole carrots, dill with stems, and whole chicken thighs. Sprinkle the salt over everything. My pot holds 7 quarts, so you may need to halve this recipe if you have a much smaller pot.
  • Pour water into the pot until it covers all the vegetables and chicken. Mine took about 6 quarts of water.
  • Bring the water to a boil over medium heat. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium low, and let it simmer for about 3 hours.
  • When the soup is done, take the lid off and let it cool for an hour or two. Place the lid back on and put the entire pot in the fridge overnight. (If you don’t have room in your fridge, you can ladle the soup into smaller containers, but leaving it in the pot makes the next step easier.)
  • Remove the pot from the fridge. The top layer of the soup will have coagulated. This is the chicken fat. Skim the fat off the top of the soup with a slotted spoon and place the fat in a plastic cup to throw away. (Never put oil or fat down your garbage disposal or drain!)
  • To remove the chicken and vegetables from the broth, place a colander over a clean bowl. Use tongs to remove the onion, dill, celery, and parsnips. Place them in the colander and allow the liquid to drip into the bottom bowl. Gently press down to release any extra juices. Place the chicken into a separate bowl.
  • Pour juices released from the vegetables and the chicken back into the soup. (This is very important because this is where a lot of great flavor is stored.)
  • Throw away the vegetables. Store the chicken in an airtight container and transform it into a delicious lunch or dinner recipe. Remove the bones and cartilage from the chicken and top it with Sweet and Tangy Pomegranate BBQ Sauce to make barbecue pulled chicken sandwiches. Or, turn it into homemade chicken salad with the addition of some mayo and fresh fruits/vegetables.

For the Matzo Balls:

  • Combine the matzo meal, baking powder, salt, pepper, onion powder, ground ginger, and nutmeg in a clean bowl. Beat the eggs and add them to the dry ingredients along with the vegetable oil. Mix to combine. Add the fresh dill and mix again.
  • The matzo meal will start to absorb the liquids and become thick. Place the bowl in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
  • Fill a deep pot halfway with salted water until it boils. After 30 minutes, scoop 1 tablespoon-size balls using an ice cream scoop and roll them into a ball. (If you want bigger matzo balls, scoop up to 2 tablespoons. Just be aware that they nearly double in size once cooked!) 
  • Place the matzo balls into the boiling water. Don’t overcrowd the pot. If doubling the recipe, cook in two batches. Cover with the lid and simmer the balls for about 20 minutes or until they puff up and float on top of the water.
  • When done, scoop the balls out of the water using a slotted spoon. Place them on a sheet pan to cool off before storing them in the fridge or freezer.

Putting It All Together:

  • After you’ve made the broth and the matzo balls, you can freeze them separately for up to 3 months. To serve, add matzo balls and broth to a smaller pot and simmer until hot. Then, add it all to a bowl and top with boiled carrots and egg noodles (optional: add shredded chicken too). When making the soup, I err on the side of less salt so that everyone can add their own, according to their own preference. So, season your bowl of soup with salt and pepper to your taste.

Notes

  1. What is matzo meal? Matzo meal is made from ground up matzo (unleavened cracker-like bread). It is similar to coarse breadcrumbs. It can be found in the Kosher aisle of the grocery store and is usually sold in a round tin can. 
  2. Parsnips look like pale yellow or white carrots. They can be found in the produce section of the grocery store.
  3. Make sure to buy chicken thighs that have skin and bones. Boneless, skinless thighs do not provide the same amount of flavor.
  4. The nutmeg and ginger in the matzo ball recipe are optional, but they are HIGHLY recommended. The subtle flavor truly makes a difference, but does not overpower the traditional taste of matzo ball soup.
  5. To make this a vegetarian matzo ball soup, you can eliminate the chicken thighs. Just be sure to increase the amount of the other ingredients so the broth stays flavorful!
  6. If making this recipe for passover, be sure to use kosher for passover matzo meal!
  7. Matzo ball soup is super easy to freeze. Keep the matzo balls and any other toppings separate. Pour the soup into freezable soup containers, cover with a tight lid, and place in the freezer for up to 3 months. For the matzo balls, pat them dry with a paper towel and add them in a single layer to a freezable container or Ziploc bag. Keep them in the freezer for up to 3 months, as well. 
Keyword Healthy Recipe, Healthy Soup, Homemade Soup, Jewish Cooking, Matzo Ball Soup

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*This recipe is dedicated to my mom. One of my biggest fans and a devout supporter, my mom taught me everything I know in the kitchen that the Food Network forgot to teach me. She allowed me to make a mess, although she had just cleaned; experiment, although she bought those exact ingredients for something else; and learn, although she had to taste the good AND the bad. Without her unwavering encouragement, I would not be where I am today, following my passions and my dreams. ❤️

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