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Not your typical Matzo ball soup recipe

Chicken matzo ball soup recipe | Michele Bogle
Chicken matzo ball soup recipe | Michele Bogle

The matzo ball is not only a food steeped in tradition but also symbolic of a transformative event in the Jewish religion. 

As the Jewish holiday of Passover celebrates the freeing of Hebrew enslaved people from Egypt, consuming matzo during the festivities represents the unleavened bread eaten by the Jewish people during the Exodus.

163 days after the first day of Passover, Rosh Hashanah is observed as the birthday of the universe and the day God created Adam and Eve, celebrated as the beginning of the Jewish year. In 2023, this new year begins at sundown on September 15 and ends at nightfall on September 17.

Rosh Hashanah is observed with candle lighting in the evenings, festive meals throughout the day that includes time-honoured dishes like matzo ball soup, and prayer services on both mornings that include the shofar – sounding of the ram’s horn.

In prayer, the two days are often called Yom Hazikaron, the Day of Remembrance, and Yom Hadin, the Day of Judgement—a time to ask the Almighty to grant a year of peace, prosperity and blessing. 

Matzah Ball Soup has been a staple of Jewish cuisine and culture. It is the ultimate comfort food.

They were initially called kneydlekh, knoedel or knaidel. By the 1930s, American company Manischewitz began packaging the product with the name, Alsatian feathery balls. It wasn’t long before the new food became fodder for American comedy routines, renaming them instead as matzah balls, a preferred reference that was swiftly embraced with many variations on spelling.

Most recipes are pretty similar, but the ratios of some of the ingredients can differ, creating results described as floaters and sinkers. The floater has an airier texture, while the sinker is a lot more dense. Neither is wrong. The choice comes down to personal preference. 

Chicken Matzo Ball Soup has been selected as part of this month’s series of soups enjoyed as part of significant religious celebrations.

The recipe includes a dense version of the ball, and if you have leftover chicken, this is a perfect way to create another substantial, delicious and hearty meal for your family to enjoy.

Chicken Matzo Ball Soup Recipe

PREPARATION TIME:   2 hours 30 min YIELDS:   6 servings of soup/16 matzo balls


Large stockpot, medium saucepan, measuring spoons, measuring cup, stirring spoon, slotted spoon, paring knife, cutting board, peeler, whisk, colander, medium-sized mixing bowl


Matzo Balls - 

4 large eggs

¼ cup of vegetable oil, or rendered chicken fat if available

½ cup chicken bouillon 

2 ¼ cup matzo meal

¼ tsp nutmeg

3 Tbsp ginger

2 Tbsp parsley

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

Chicken Soup -

11 cups chicken bouillon

1 cup water

8 cups or 1 kg cooked chicken, diced

3 carrots, sliced

4 medium potatoes, diced

2 celery stalks, de-stringed, then sliced

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

3 tsp ground black pepper

2 tsp thyme

4 tsp rosemary

4 tsp sage

2 large onions, halved, then quartered

4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced


Step 1

Fill the medium saucepan halfway with water and bring to a boil. Place the potatoes in the boiling water, and reduce heat to medium-high when the water returns to a boil. Cook for a few minutes to release some of the excess starch from the potato. Drain, rinse and set aside.

Step 2

In a large stockpot, heat 2 tablespoons of oil on medium-high heat, reduce heat to medium and combine the onions with the oil to cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, and until the onions become translucent. 

Step 3

Sauté the garlic for another minute in the pot with the onions. Incorporate the 11 cups of bouillon, water, potatoes, carrots, celery, pepper, sage, thyme, and rosemary into the stockpot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. 

Step 4

Adjust the flavour if needed. Add chicken and simmer for another ½ hour, covered.

Step 5

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, ¼ cup of oil, ½ cup of bouillon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, pepper, and parsley. Mix in the matzo meal.

Step 6

Fill the saucepan halfway, above the height of the formed balls, with water. Bring the water to a boil. Shape balls in the palm of your wet hands the size of a ping pong ball. When the water boils, reduce the heat to medium-low, and drop the ball, one at a time, into the water. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.

Step 7

Add 1 to 2 matzo balls to each serving of soup, and enjoy!