Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls

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Making chicken soup is a bit of a “potschke,” as my mother would say, but it’s not hard — you pretty much throw everything into a pot and forget it. And the matzo balls are made from a mix!

chicken soup

This recipe comes from my friend Dana Kaminsky, who, according to my family, makes the best matzo ball soup. Whenever we go to Dana’s house for the Jewish holidays, my kids have matzo ball eating contests and stuff themselves silly (my daughter holds the record with six, which was once cause for concern). And, for every other matzo ball soup we try, the verdict is always the same: “it’s not as good as Dana’s.”

What you’ll need to make Chicken Soup with matzo balls

soup-ingredients

The soup is a bit of a “potschke,” as my mother would say (meaning it requires some fussing). Don’t get me wrong, it’s not hard — you pretty much throw everything into a pot and forget it — but it’s a two-day project so you want to make it well ahead of time. In fact, it tastes better if you do. And, if you have two large pots, you might as well double the recipe and freeze some for later.

The matzo balls, however, are quick and easy. They’re made from a mix, which I know might seem sacrilege but they’re light, fluffy and foolproof (as long as you follow the tips below), so why reinvent the wheel?

What you’ll need to make Matzo Balls

Ingredients for the Matzo Balls

How to make Chicken Soup with matzo balls

Begin by placing the chicken and vegetables in a large 12-quart soup pot.

chicken-and-veggies-in-pot

Add water to fill the pan almost to the top.

chicken-veggies-and-water

Boil gently for 20 minutes, skimming any foam or scum that rises to the surface.

skimming-soup

Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 3-1/2 hours more. If you want to use the chicken (either in the finished soup or for another purpose), remove the whole chicken after 90 minutes and pull the meat off the bone, then place the carcass back in the soup and continue cooking.

after-simmering

Let the soup cool in the fridge overnight. In the morning, skim most of the fat (but not all) off the top. Pull out the chicken, then strain the soup into a smaller pot through a large colander. Discard the veggies, as they will be very mushy.

straining-soup

Strain the soup one more time through a fine sieve. This will ensure the broth is golden and clear.

straining-soup-2

At this point, the soup is done except for the seasoning, so refrigerate until ready to serve.

Now, make the matzo balls. Simply follow the directions on the box: Combine the eggs with the oil, then stir in the matzo ball mix. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes, then roll into walnut-sized balls. For the lightest and fluffiest matzo balls that float, use a very light hand when forming the balls — do not compact!

making-matzo-balls

Drop the matzo balls into a large pot of boiling water. (Note: definitely do not cook them in your chicken soup, or the broth will become cloudy and the matzo balls will soak up all your soup!)

boiling-matzo-balls

Cover the matzo balls and simmer for 30 minutes.

cooked-matzo-ball

When you’re ready to serve, bring the chicken broth to a simmer. Add the powdered bouillon, salt, and pepper to taste. Keep in mind that you’ll need a lot of seasoning — without it, the soup will be very bland.

Next, drop the chopped carrots and matzo balls into the simmering broth. Cook until the carrots are tender and the matzo balls are hot throughout. You’ll know everything is ready when the carrots and matzo balls float to the top.

simmering-soup-wth-carrots-and-matzo-balls

Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with some fresh parsley or dill and serve.

Chicken-Soup-with-Matzo-Balls-2

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Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls

Making chicken soup is a bit of a “potschke,” as my mother would say, but it’s not hard — you pretty much throw everything into a pot and forget it. And the matzo balls are made from a mix!

Servings: 10-12

Ingredients

For the Soup

  • 1 (4-5) pound whole chicken
  • 3 medium yellow onions, peeled and quartered
  • 3 turnips, peeled and quartered
  • 6 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped (or substitute 1 lb. baby carrots)
  • 5 celery stalks with greens, roughly chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • About 10 fresh parsley sprigs
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1-2 tablespoons chicken bouillon powder (preferably kosher, such as Osem Chicken Style Consommé Instant Soup and Seasoning Mix)
  • Salt
  • White pepper

For the Matzo Balls

  • 1 box Streit's Matzo Ball Mix (2 bags of matzo mix)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs

For Serving

  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley or dill

Instructions

For the Soup

  1. Place the chicken, onions, turnips, carrots and celery in a large 12-quart stock pot and add enough water to fill the pan almost to the top, 6-8 quarts. Bring to boil. Let the soup boil gently, uncovered, for 20 minutes, skimming off any froth or scum as it forms. Reduce the heat to low and add the bay leaves, parsley sprigs, celery seed, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper. Cover and simmer 3-1/2 hours more. (Note: if you want to use the chicken in the finished soup or for another purpose, remove the chicken from the soup after 90 minutes, pull the meat off the bone and return the carcass to the pot.) Let the soup cool on the stovetop until the pot is no longer hot; then place the soup pot in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. The next day, remove the pot from the refrigerator and skim most -- but not all -- of the fat from the surface of the soup. Using tongs, remove the chicken from the soup and discard. Place a colander over a large bowl or pot, and pour the soup through the colander to strain out all the vegetables. Discard the vegetables (they will be too mushy to serve with the soup). Place a fine mesh strainer over a smaller soup pot and strain the soup again to be sure the broth is clear. Discard the remaining solids. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to serve.

For the Matzo Balls

  1. Follow the instructions on the package to combine the oil and eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the package ingredients and let sit for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Wet your hands and gently roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls (do not compact!). Drop the matzo balls into the boiling water. Bring back to a boil, then cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer for 30 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the matzo balls to a large plate or tupperware container. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (Note: if you're making the matzo balls at the last minute, you can transfer them right from the boiling water into the chicken soup.)

For Serving

  1. Bring the soup to a simmer. Add the chicken bouillon powder, along with more salt and pepper to taste. (The amount of seasoning you add will depend on your personal preference and on how much water you used. I like a well-seasoned soup, so I add about 2 tablespoons of bouillon powder, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper -- just add the seasoning gradually, tasting as you go, until the soup tastes flavorful.)
  2. Add the carrots and cooked matzo balls and simmer until the carrots are cooked and the matzo balls are hot throughout -- both are ready when they float to the surface. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with fresh parsley or dill.
  3. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The soup and the matzo balls can be frozen separately for up to 3 months. Defrost the soup and the matzo balls in the refrigerator for 12 hours. Reheat the soup on the stovetop over medium heat until hot. Once the soup is hot, add the matzo balls and simmer until the matzo balls are soft in the center and heated through.
  4. Note: The nutritional information is calculated assuming the meat from the chicken and 2 teaspoons of salt were used.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (12 servings)
  • Calories: 528
  • Fat: 37g
  • Saturated fat: 9g
  • Carbohydrates: 12g
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 35g
  • Sodium: 757mg
  • Cholesterol: 190mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • I have made your matzo ball soup before and it is delicious. I am making it to bring to a friend’s house tomorrow night, but oops, forgot that it supposed to sit in the refrigerator overnight! If I make it right away in the morning and stick in the frig for a few hours, will it still be OK? Any other suggestions?
    Thanks!

    • — Ruth Peterson on April 18, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Ruth, No worries it will be perfectly fine made the same day. 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 19, 2019
      • Reply
  • Does it matter what brand of matzo mix I use? Never made (or had!) this before and don’t want to mess it up. My store carries a couple different brands- Lipton and Manischewitz. Which one do I get or do I need to trek somewhere else?

    • — Joy on April 16, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Joy, I’d go with Manischewitz. 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 16, 2019
      • Reply
  • as a new cook, when recipe say “salt and white pepper” I have no idea where to start, 1/2 tsp, tsp, Tablespoon? What do you suggest?

    • — Jan on February 11, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Jan, If you read through the recipe instructions, you will find the exact amounts called for. Hope that helps and sorry for any confusion!

      • — Jenn on February 11, 2019
      • Reply
  • Your recipe is so similar to the one I have been using… gathered from the cooks I grew up with. I am going to use the bay leaves now. I agree, you can’t beat the matzo ball mix. It sounds strange, but my aunt would but a small pinch of nutmeg into the mix and I had to pry her secret out of her. There is a depth of flavor there but I had a rough time figuring g out what it was. Thanks to you I am really branching out and trying lots of new international dishes. Tonight it was the the Moroccan Meatballs…another winner!
    THANK YOU!

    • — Michael on September 17, 2018
    • Reply
  • Can you make this soup in a crock pot? If yes, what would the setting be, and for how long? Would there be any benefit in cooking it in a crock pot?

    L’Shana Tova, Jenn.

    • — Kate Sells on September 10, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Kate, I don’t have any experience with a crockpot, so I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think the matzo balls should sit in one for a long time as they will soak up much of the soup.

      • — Jenn on September 11, 2018
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen, I just made your matza ball sup for the first time and it was delicious! I love your recipes and wanted to give this a try for Passover. I found it pretty easy and was husband approved!! However the broth is very dark. Is there something I could have done wrong for it not to be that golden color? I froze and wondering if I can add anything to it to lighten color when I reheat for Passover .

    • — Karen on March 27, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Karen, Hmmm, that’s odd! Did you roast the chicken first by chance? Any changes to the recipe? What type of pot did you use?

      • — Jenn on March 28, 2018
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    It’s me again with a question. I’m looking at my Streit’s Matzo Ball mix box that is the same as yours: 4.5 oz with 2 bags of matzo ball mix. Recipe on box says to mix 2 large eggs with 1/4 c. vegetable oil. Your recipe says to add 1/2 c oil and 4 large eggs. Help me out. Don’t know which I last followed and don’t want to screw this up and I have to travel with them..
    Thanks in advance.
    Ellen

    • — Ellen Bernstein on March 24, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Ellen, I use both bags so you’d need 4 eggs and 1/2 cup oil (the instructions on the box are for 1 bag only). Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on March 28, 2018
      • Reply
  • Yes!
    Awesome recipe! 7 years to the day my favoritest passed, I honored her and made this Chicken Soup w/ Matzo Balls for my family. My house smelled just like how hers used to smell around the holidays. This soup came out golden colored and perfect!
    ( I love that you have us strain it twice!)
    The matzo balls were perfect too because they floated! (I was patient and waited while they simmered!)
    My grandma would have been proud.
    Thank you.

    • — Jody Brier on March 6, 2018
    • Reply
    • What a nice way to remember your grandmother – I’m sure she would’ve been proud. 💕

      • — Jenn on March 6, 2018
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    We’re cooling the broth outside since the soup pot is really large for our refrigerator. It’s about 20 degrees outside. Once the broth has cooled, can it then be strained or is it important to the flavor that the veggies and chicken bones sit in the broth overnight in the refrigerator? We can’t leave the broth outside too long or it will freeze. Suggestions?

    Thanks,
    Sue

    • Hi Sue, It’s perfectly fine to strain it tonight. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 7, 2018
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    I’m looking forward to making this soup this weekend. Can I mix up the matzo balls and boil them a couple of hours before heating up the broth and finishing the soup? If so, should they be refrigerated? Thank you!

    Ruthie

    • — Ruth Peterson on December 15, 2017
    • Reply
    • Sure, Ruth, that’ll work. And yes, I would refrigerate the matzo balls until you’re ready to reheat them in the soup. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 17, 2017
      • Reply
  • This is a fabulous recipe. I have tried to make this soup over the years and it never quite turned out. This soup was delicious and so very simple to make. I added a bit more dill to it, only because I love dill. This was excellent!

    • — Kate on November 29, 2017
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I love your recipes and have been very successful with them. I love fluffy light matzoh balls but my tried and true have been AWFUL. I want to try yours tomorrow for the holidays. I’ve always used seltzer. Thoughts???

    Do you have a recipe for kreplach?

    • — Ellen Bernstein on September 16, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi Ellen, I don’t use seltzer, just plain ol’ water. I swear by the Streit’s matzo ball mix – it’s so easy and has never failed me!

      • — Jenn on September 18, 2017
      • Reply
      • You are SO right. I bought the Streit’s matzo ball mix and followed it. No more seltzer for me. My biggest critic, my 8 year old granddaughter, loved these. Her comment: these are a keeper.

        I also made my grandmother’s kreplach… but had the butcher ground it up for me.
        L’Shanovah Tovah

        • — Ellen Bernstein on September 25, 2017
        • Reply
  • I have tried many matzo ball recipes. And they sink. This is the best recipe ever!! Not sure why but it’s a keeper. I also like using carrots. I think it make the broth a little sweeter. Thank you

  • The soup is good, but I still prefer my grandma’s/mother’s. Im my opinion, matzoh balls REQUIRE schmaltz to be good. I save fat and skin whenever I clean chicken and keep it in a container in the freezer. That way I always have enough to render for the holidays.

  • OMG Jenn, this recipe is so much like the soup my grandmother made for the family. She added celery root instead of turnips and made her own matzo balls. Personally I go for the mix too, less fuss.

    • — Hildy on September 14, 2017
    • Reply
  • I love chicken-matzo ball soup, and the results from this recipe definitely met my expectations. After making chicken stock from scratch for the first time, I do have a question though; With the powdered bouillon seeming to be the “Star” seasoning for the soup, how sacrilegious would it be to use pre-made stock? Thanks for sharing …

    • Sure, Scott, it’s totally fine to use pre-made stock. Because the bouillon contains a fair amount of salt, you may need to add a little salt to the stock, but taste it first as it may not be necessary.

  • I did not use the recommended amount of salt because the chicken cubes are loaded with salt and I added two parsnips for sweetness. Everyone loved it.

  • I’m very good with making g chicken soup i suggest to put the chicken “only” when the water is boiling this prevents the foam and scum .

    • I tried this method and it worked great!
      No foam or scum. Thx 🙂

      • — Marie on February 27, 2018
      • Reply
  • Made homemade matzo ball floaters and used schmaltz I got from skimming fat off of the stock (adds more flavor), and since I am not Jewish, used baking powder to make them light and tender. Simmered mine in broth I was serving them in (I used low sodium baking powder and made my own matzo meal by putting no salt matzo in a food processor ) so they were not too salty and the broth gave them a wonderful rich chicken flavor. Family loved them! So keep your chicken fat you skim off the stock and cook with it…it will give you a better flavor!

  • Hmm, turnips, that’s a new idea. I occasionally add parsnips, but I’ll have to try turnips.

    My new favorite way for rendering the heartiest chicken broth from bones/carcass, is just to leave it all overnight in a slow cooker/crock pot and forget about it for 12 hours, or more. Easy peasey.

  • Soup was excellent! My fridge would never hold a heavy large pot like that! Just set out and let cool with or without chicken. Skim with a spoon or fat mop. I kept some of the broth for the soup and added other veggies and some greens. The rest went for broth to freeze and some was made into gravy for the extra chicken I had.

  • This was my first time making this, my matzo balls were not great but the soup was tasty anyway

  • Don’t you cut up the chicken first?

    • No Debbie, no need to!

  • Hi Jenn,

    I am interested in making this soup to feed a bunch of skaters at our local rink! Once I finish making the soup/ balls is it ok to combine them all in a crock pot on low and keep it warm for a couple hours while serving or would the balls break apart? Thanks!! Jen

    • Sounds like a nice thing when getting off the ice. If you can get ahold of another crock pot, I would store the soup and the matzo balls separately and then combine them when you’re serving. If not, the matzo balls will soak up much of the soup!

  • This was a terrific soup. I have made chicken broth many times before, but this was so much better. My child’s 12 year old friend had 3 servings!

  • I am looking for a recipe to duplicate the almond cake served in The Court of Three Sisters in New Orleans-a very rich and heavy almond cake. Most of the recipes I have tried make a light, almost sponge-like cake. Do you have one or know where I could find one?

    BTW, I stumbled onto your website during the Snowstorm of this past weekend-something to be thankful for! Love your recipes. Have your French Apple Cake in the oven as I type this.

    Thanks!

    Valerie Wetstone

    • — valerie wetstone
    • Reply
    • Hi Valerie, unfortunately I don’t have an almond cake recipe on the site, but this one looks good and is highly rated. (Keep in mind I haven’t tried it myself.)

  • What do you do with the chicken meat? It does not appear to go back in the soup.

  • Loved this soup! It reminded me of the chicken soup my grandmother used to make. She made her matzo balls from scratch but to be honest, I think the mix is just as good and it makes perfect “floaters” every time (sorry, Grandma!). The key is not to handle them too much while forming the balls…just quickly shape and drop into boiling water.

  • The broth had such a nice rich flavor. And thank you by the way for pointing out not to cook the matzo balls in it. I’ve also made this recipe minus the matzo balls for the purpose of stock. I just don’t use any salt then. I decided to try the matzo ball mix and got caught on the 1st bite my husband. He said it reminded him of his ex-wifes ones and he didn’t like hers. LOL. Anyway back to my homemade matzo balls. And I agree with the other lady that they need schmaltz. Happy Holidays!

  • Very disappointed to see you recommending to use a mix for matzah balls. They are so easy to make. There is a always a recipe on box of matzah meal. Schmaltz is also very easy. You can make it using the fat on the chicken you are cooking. 1/2 schmaltz, 1/2 butter. Schmaltz is also available in most city supermarkets but not in my small town. And it really makes the matzah balls taste great. The word render may xcare some people, but all it means is to melt the chicken fat, with some onions of course and salt and pepper. Very simple.

    • After the stock has been prepared, and the fat skimmed, could that be used to prepare a schmaltz? If I understand, schmaltz is made from rendered fat. I think this process is effectively rendering the fat. Any thoughts ?

      • I guess theoretically but I don’t think you’d end up with enough to make it worthwhile. You might be better off removing the skin from the chicken before making the soup and preparing it the old-fashioned way: http://www.splendidtable.org/story/how-to-make-schmaltz

        • Thanks Jenn,
          You are correct, the chicken was a skinny thing and didn’t yield much fat – hardly even enough to skim (damn you, Frank Perdue!) I did saute a bit of onion in some butter (in place of the oil called for on the matzoh box). The overall result was really quite good, and not bad for a first try. Thanks for another great recipe!

  • Thanks for the great step by step recipe, Jenn, which I’ve sent to my daughter for her files. I also use the matzo ball mix! For some reason my from scratch versions never turn out as light.

    My mom puréed the mushy vegetables and returned them to the soup. This may seem sacrilegious to clear-soup devotees, but it makes a wonderfully rich and slightly thicker soup, depending on how much of the purée you use. I almost always do this when I’m making chicken soup, with or without matzo balls. L’Shana Tova umetukah to you and your family.

    • Sounds delicious to me, Marlene. Happy New Year!

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