Matzo Ball Soup…good for what ails ya!

Matzo Ball SoupMatzo Ball Soup…good for what ails ya!

I have been hooked on Matzo Ball Soup since elementary school. It’s one of my favorites. The dumplings are fluffy and light, with a simple broth that makes a hearty soup…perfect for all seasons.

Spending many overnighters at my friend Lisa Zusman’s house, her mom, Marcha would be in the kitchen making her family recipe just as her dad Stanley was coming through the door. When I knew she was making a batch (and trying not to invite myself!) living just a couple minutes away, I’d be there just as that ladle started pouring it’s goodness! Another time I knew I could count on a dose of this centuries old soup, was at the home of our close family friend’s, the Kussin’s. This is where my sister’s and I learned a few Hebrew prayers and where Sandra, Larry and their 4 kids invited us to their home every year to celebrate Hanukkah. I remember their traditions so well, and wish I had spent more time paying attention to Sandra in the kitchen!

I know what you’re thinking, “did this child ever eat at home”….yes I did! I just couldn’t resist every opportunity to enjoy this delicious soup that simmered in their kitchens all day! Perfect for what ails you, too! A late dear friend of ours, Hank Sobel, once made a large batch for me when I had a bad cold…he called it his “penicillin”! He even had it handwritten on the container!

My daughters, all in their 20s, also share my love for Matzo Ball Soup. I happily make it when I know they’ll be home. It makes a pretty big pot of soup, so you’re sure to have some leftovers. Don’t count on the leftovers sitting around for too long…the light fluffy matzo balls soak up the rich flavor of the broth. And just like most soups, it’s even better the next day!

To the Kussins, the Zusmans and sweet Hank in heaven…thank you for the memories! They are some of my favorites! xoxo

Matzo Ball Soup

Matzo Ball Soup

Adapted from Better than Bubbe's Matzo Ball Soup from
Servings 8 servings
Author Debbie


  • 1 5-7 pound whole chicken (fat in cavity reserved, cut into pieces)
  • 8 carrots, unpeeled, about 1 pound, divided
  • 6 parsnips, unpeeled, about 1 pound, divided
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into 2- pieces
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 head garlic, loose papery outer skin removed, cut half crosswise
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Ingredients for the Matzo Balls:

  • Vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup seltzer water (or club soda), divided, (seltzer water is preferred)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules, divided
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup matzo meal, (available in the kosher display aisle)


Matzo Ball Soup:

  1. Place chicken in a large soup or stock pot over high heat. Add 5 quarts of water (or enough to cover). Bring to a boil, removing foamy suds as needed; reduce to medium-low.

  2. Meanwhile, cut 4 of the carrots and 3 of the parsnips into 2" pieces. Halve lengthwise, the remaining carrots and parsnips. And then cut into 1/2" pieces, set aside.

  3. To the soup, add celery, onion, garlic and reserved large carrot and large parsnip pieces.

  4. Simmer 1 hour.

  5. Add the next 4 ingredients (parsley through bay leaf).

  6. Simmer for 30 minutes.

  7. Strain reserving broth and chicken through a fine mesh sieve.

  8. Discard skin from chicken. Pull meat from bones, and shred with your fingers.

  9. Return broth to the same pot over medium heat; add remaining carrots and parsnips. Simmer until all vegetables are almost tender, about 10 minutes.

  10. Add chicken pieces, heat well, about 5 minutes.

  11. Stir in last 4 of the soup ingredients (dill, lemon zest, salt and pepper).

  12. Turn off heat. Cover, set aside.

  13. Don't you just love the aromas at this point!? The dill!!! Yum!

Directions for the Matzo Balls:

  1. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over low heat, cook reserved chicken fat, stirring from time to time until melted and begins to brown...about 30 minutes.

  2. Strain fat, discarding solids pieces.

  3. Measure melted fat. I barely had enough so I added enough vegetable oil to equal 1/3 cup.

  4. Combine 1/4 cup seltzer water in a small pot over medium heat.

  5. Add 2 teaspoons bouillon and cook until dissolved, about 1-2 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes.

  6. Meanwhile in a medium bowl, combine eggs, salt, pepper, remaining seltzer water and the fat.

  7. Add the cooled seltzer mixture and matzo meal, stir thoroughly (be careful not to overwork it...they won't be fluffy and light). Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

  8. Fill a large skillet 1/2 way with water. Add the remaining bouillon granules. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium.

  9. With lightly moistened hands, shape matzo mixture into tablespoon size balls (they'll puff to a larger size).

  10. Gently lower them all into the simmering water mixture.

  11. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes until matzo balls are cooked through.

    Matzo Ball Soup
  12. Using a slotted spoon, transfer matzo balls carefully to the soup pot.

  13. Let stand 15 minutes to allow matzo balls to absorb all the flavors of the soup.

    Matzo Ball Soup
  14. If necessary, reheat and serve.

Adapted from Better than Bubbe’s Matzo Ball Soup,


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