Chicken and Matzo Ball Soup

serve with rice

Matzo ball soup is a traditional Jewish food, usually served in chicken broth. Using the soup broth to form the matzo balls give them an extra rich flavor. Chicken soup has a reputation of having healing properties and it’s also a regular Friday night dinner dish. Every family has its own way of making it, and there are even variations within each family.

The great thing about this soup is that you can really use any vegetables, and tweak it to your liking. Use whatever you have in your fridge, or whatever looked good in the supermarket. I’ve seen prepackaged soup mixes at the supermarket with turnips in them, Auntie Michelle puts squash in her soup, and her husband adds a bit of curry powder. You can also cut the vegetables as big or small as you want.  I cut my carrots and celery in thirds; my grandma cuts them into tiny pieces. At 2nd Avenue Deli here in Manhattan, they have giant, soft matzo balls in soup flavored with dill.

veggies for soup


  • Water (almost-filled pot)
  • 2 pieces of chicken on the bone. I used breasts.
  • 1 large onion, peeled and whole
  • 1 large tomato, whole
  • 3 carrots, peeled, and cut in thirds
  • 3 celery stalks, cut in thirds
  • 8 small yukon gold potatoes, halved (you can use any kind of potato here. You may want to peel those with thick skin, but I just scrubbed these and left the skin on.)
  • 1 egg
  • Matzo meal, about a cup
  • Salt and pepper, to season
  1. Fill a large pot with water and add the chicken, tomato, and onion. Add salt and bring to a boil.
  2. In the meantime, prepare the rest of your vegetables and add them to the pot.
  3. Let those boil together, and then lower the fire and simmer for about an hour, releasing all of the flavors.
  4. At this time, remove the onion and tomato (if desired).
  5. Now you have chicken soup, but you’re missing the most important part: matzo balls!

matzo ball

  1. Add one egg to a dish. Scramble it and add a ladle-full of soup broth, quickly mixing so the egg doesn’t set.
  2. Pour in about half a cup of matzo meal and mix it in.
  3. Add another half of a ladle of soup and some more matzo meal until the desired consistency is reached. The dough should be soft but not too hard to roll into a ball.
  4. Roll the mixture into even-sized balls and drop into the soup (careful not to splash).
  5. Once all of the matzo balls are formed, bring the soup to a boil once again.
  6. Let the soup simmer until you are ready to serve it.

How does your family make chicken/matzo ball soup?

3 responses to “Chicken and Matzo Ball Soup

  1. Prepare your chicken soup with a nice roasting bird like a Pullet, *a small commercial supermarket chicken- just won’t do* add washed and peeled carrots, celery, onion, parsnip, maybe a turnip if you desire, add fresh dill and a several garlic cloves unpeeled, but cut on one end.

    Heat the Pullet and the vegetables over a medium flame with at least 12 cups of pure spring water in a non-reactive soup pot. Stainless is best. (the soup will reduce over time-making you thankful you listened to me on the water amount used)

    Set chicken aside to cool and when you can handle it, separate the flesh from the bones. Make another pot of water and put the remaining bones in it.. heat for 30 minutes or so on a medium simmer. Use this bone-infused broth for cooking the matzo balls. Strain the first stock and chill covered so that the fat rises up to the surface. Put this stock in the fridge for the next day. This will be the soup.

    Retain chicken fat for toast points ( memories of Sammy’s Roumanian? anyone?)

    Matzo Balls
    1/2 cup matzo meal
    2 farm fresh eggs at room temp.
    2 tablespoons reserved chicken fat from your soup
    1 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons of freshly ground nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    3 tablespoons seltzer water, not club soda (too salty)

    Mix all matzo ball ingredients in a bowl. Cover and rest in the in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

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

    Reduce the flame. Wet your hands. Form matzo balls by dropping just enough of matzo ball batter to form approximately 1-inch in diameter into the palm of your wet hands and rolling them in the shape of an Idaho potato- loosely into oblong balls. Drop them carefully into the simmering chicken stock from the bones one at a time. Cover the pot and cook them for 30 to 40 minutes without opening or peeking or allowing anyone else to open the pot to catch a glance at them…. EVER!

    Heat the dark Pullet-infused stock, add chicken pieces, some freshly snipped dill, carrots, celery and onions from the soup-pot. Place the matzo balls into the stock to warm, and serve in heated bowls.

    That is how we do it..Pullet is kosher from West Orange, NJ.

  2. where is the oil coming from? the chicken? did you add oil?

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