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BA's Best Matzo Ball Soup

<em>BA</em>'s Best Matzo Ball Soup

This recipe serves eight people generously (with two balls each) but could easily stretch to serve 16 smaller appetizer-size portions. We ordered the steps so that you could make the stock and matzo balls simultaneously, but if you prefer to break up the work, you can make the balls a couple of days ahead (see Do Ahead for more details).


Matzo dough

  • ½ cup melted schmaltz (chicken fat) or vegetable oil
  • 6 Tbsp. low-sodium chicken broth or water
  • ¾ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Soup and assembly

  • 4 chicken legs (thigh and drumstick; about 3 lb.)
  • 1½ tsp. plus 3 Tbsp. kosher salt; plus more
  • 2 medium onions, peeled, halved
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into 2" pieces
  • 1 medium parsnip, peeled, cut into 2" pieces
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled, 1 cut into 2" pieces, 2 thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. black peppercorns
  • Chopped dill (for serving)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Recipe Preparation

Matzo dough

  • Whisk eggs in a medium bowl until no streaks remain. Add schmaltz, broth, dill, salt, and pepper and whisk vigorously to combine. Add matzo meal and whisk until incorported. Cover and chill dough at least 35 minutes (this is essential as it gives the matzo meal time to hydrate).

  • Do ahead: Dough can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.


  • While the matzo dough is chilling, place a rack in top third of oven; preheat to 450°. Place chicken legs on a rimmed baking sheet or a large plate and sprinkle with 1½ tsp. salt; let sit at room temperature until ready to use. Spread chicken wings out on another rimmed baking sheet and roast until golden brown, 45–55 minutes.

  • Transfer wings and any accumulated juices on baking sheet to a large pot. Add onions, celery, parsnip, chopped carrot, parsley, peppercorns, and 4 quarts water. Bring to a simmer and cook, adjusting heat as needed to maintain simmer, until stock is slightly reduced, 40–50 minutes. Add chicken legs and simmer until legs are very tender, another 40–50 minutes.

  • While the chicken legs cook, bring 3 qt. water to a boil in a medium pot. Add 3 Tbsp. salt. Using damp hands, divide matzo mixture into 16 pieces and roll each into about 1½”-diameter ball. It’s okay to really work the dough into balls; it won’t get dense—trust us, we tried! Using a slotted spoon, carefully lower matzo balls into pot. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer gently, checking occasionally and adjusting heat if boiling too rapidly, until balls are puffed and light in color, 30–40 minutes. Don’t remove them sooner than this; they will be dense in the middle if undercooked. Remove from heat and let sit while you finish the soup.

  • Transfer chicken legs to a plate and let sit until cool enough to handle.

  • Meanwhile, strain stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium pot; discard solids.

  • Remove meat from legs; discard skin and bones. Tear meat into bite-size pieces and return to stock. Add remaining thinly sliced carrots. Return stock to a simmer and cook until carrots are just tender, about 4 minutes. Taste and season soup with more salt if needed.

  • Using a slotted spoon, place 2 matzo balls in each bowl. Ladle soup over. Garnish with chopped dill and a few grinds of pepper.

  • Do ahead: Matzo balls can be boiled 2 days ahead. Transfer to an airtight container along with 2–3 Tbsp. cooking liquid and chill. To reheat, gently lower balls into soup and cook over medium-low until heated through, about 10 minutes.

Related Video

Molly and Adam Make Matzo Ball Soup

Reviews SectionWow, what an incredible dish! It's certainly a "project" to make homemade stock, but it is truly worth it at the end. The depth of flavor was excellent and the way the entire dish comes together is really something special. I made the recipe exactly as written and really enjoyed the final product. It is a larger quantity of dill though, so if you're not a fan cut it back a bit. Also, if you don't have any schmaltz on hand, I'd recommend making the stock beforehand, chilling it, and then skimming the schmaltz off the top and using that in the matzo balls for that deep chicken-y flavor. 10/10 will be making again!GarrickHanover, New Hampshire04/13/20I just used a whole chicken in my stock and put it right in the pot, no roasting or anything. The stock came out phenomenal. We don't have any fresh dill and the grocery store was totally out so I added a teaspoon of dried dill to the stock as I was cooking the second batch of carrots in it, and garnished with lots of fresh parsley from the garden. Also added some celery after straining it--I know it may not be traditional but my mom likes a lot of vegetables in her soup. I will definitely return to this recipe for making chicken stock. The matzo balls were a little bit dense but I also tried to halve the recipe as eight servings sounded like a lot for just my mom and me! So I may have goofed up the proportions when I did that.amber419Los Angeles04/12/20Without a doubt, the best that I’ve ever had or made. Matzo balls could not be easier, and light as a cloud, dispelling the old yenta’s tales about seltzer, baking powder etc. The only change that I made was I used goose fat instead of schmaltz. They were perfection.This is hands down the best matzo ball soup I have ever tasted, and I've had a gradnmothers Matzo ball soup. I reduced the dill by half, and only had 4 lbs of chicken wings, which did make a very flavorful broth. [The wing meat is infused with the vegetable flavors and is delicious but dry, so I am going to make chicken salad from it.]I was worried about the Matzo balls as there was no selzer, but they came out the most tender and light of any I have tasted. I skimmed the smaltz and used olive oil to complete the 1/2 cup. I also used the hot broth to deglaze the roasting pan so I could get all that roasted goodness [the bits stuck on the pan] back into the broth.This will definitely be the family Matzo ball soup standard from now on. Thank you!I shortcut this recipe a bit and used purchased, low-sodium chicken broth instead of buying 6 lbs. of chicken wings to make my own! Added the veg and seasonings from there, and it came out beautifully. I found the matzo balls to be a bit denser than recipes I've made in the past, but I did make a measuring error initially so perhaps it's a fluke. I also strongly recommend Adam's suggestion from the video to slice the leftover balls up and pan fry them (in butter or oil, as your adherence to Kosher law dictates).AnonymousMaryland04/09/20Just made this exactly as written and it was perfect. No need for baking powder or club soda in the balls, they float and have great texture. Maybe cut back on the dill a bit if you aren't a super fan.AnonymousLas Vegas04/07/20It certainly doesn’t look in the video like they are using 6 pounds of chicken wings.Anonymoustoronto, Canada 04/06/20This turned out great! I’ve never had homemade matzo ball soup, only the deli stuff, and this was much improved. The dill in the tester ball was a little strong, but after finishing a bowl, all the flavors really do come together nicely. Forgot to salt my chicken legs beforehand, so I had to do quite a bit of seasoning at the end, but final result was great. Thanks Molly!AnonymousPortland, OR04/05/20Matzo Ball Soup is total comfort food for me and an appropriate weekday project when one is social distancing/working from home. Sadly, I have no Jewish grandmother and thus, no family recipe for matzo ball soup, but I think this recipe is a winner. I made the matzo balls with schmaltz skimmed from the top of my broth and cooled, allowed the mix to rest for about 45 minutes, scooped (packed) using my 1 1/2 TBS cookie scoop, and every single one was a floater. Would absolutely make again. Thanks Molly!s.m.wyatt105348Lafayette, IN04/02/20This from-scratch broth is SO GOOD. Literally, it's life giving - so rich and flavorful. Per ELLEN GABRIEL's review, I made my own schmaltz from the chicken skin, and it was easy and a tasty addition to the matzo balls. Watching the video for this recipe, they suggest 1 tbs. of salt per qt. of water to boil the matzo balls. This was too much, and I would keep it to a 1/2 tbs. of salt per quart or even less. We added one more carrot and a little bit of celery... delish!!!I just made this and it came out absolutely amazing!!!! I’m not sure why the other reviewers had trouble with their matzo balls, but mine came out super perfect! A light and fluffy dumpling, with a gorgeous broth!!! I crisped up some chicken skin as an additional garnish, and I think that extra textural contrast really made a difference! Highly recommend, would def make this again for the next rainy day!!TanminhhuynhAshburn, VA03/28/20I made this tonight! I made a few tweaks to the stock recipe:-added about 2 handfuls of roughly chopped mushrooms-subbed the parsnip for a rutabaga (Google told me it was the next best option, since my grocery store didn't have parsnips)-I also didn't use as much water (maybe ~12 cups), because my stock pot isn't as big as Molly's.Even with these changes, the stock was AMAZING, with rich & deep flavors.As for the matzo balls, I wasn't a fan. In my opinion, the dill was hugely overwhelming, and I didn't even add the full 3 tbsp that the recipe calls for. My matzo balls also took MUCH longer to cook than anticipated, but that's not necessarily the recipe's fault. I will DEFINITELY revisit this recipe for the awesome & flavorful chicken stock, but I'll skip these matzo balls in the future and look for a different recipe elsewhere.allisonm_Cleveland, OH03/27/20I made this tonight! I made a few tweaks to the stock recipe:-added about 2 handfuls of roughly chopped mushrooms-subbed the parsnip for a rutabaga (Google told me it was the next best option, since my grocery store didn't have parsnips)-I also didn't use as much water (maybe ~12 cups), because my stock pot isn't as big as Molly's.Even with these changes, the stock was AMAZING, with rich & deep flavors.As for the matzo balls, I wasn't a fan. I will DEFINITELY revisit this recipe for the awesome & flavorful chicken stock, but I'll skip these matzo balls in the future and look for a different recipe elsewhere.allisonm_Cleveland, OH03/26/20Horrible. Don't make. This is the last time I make a Molly Baz recipe.AnonymousCalifornia12/25/19Discard wings! Have you taken leave of your senses? My grandmother would off herself if she saw me committing such excesses. Great soup though.GrapefruitdietLondon11/12/19I love this recipe! My family loved it.AnonymousNew York11/12/19To start off, I've never had Matzo Ball's, so I don't have anything to compare these to. The Recipe was great! The chicken soup was good, I had a moment when I worried it wouldn't be really flavorful, but after adding in the legs/thighs to boil it was perfect. The only thing that I wish I'd done was add more salt to the matzo ball dough, or heavily salt the water they cooked in, because I thought they were a little bland (and yes I made schmaltz, for the full chicken experience). Again, that may just be a preference thing and/or user error. I had no problem with them being too dense or not floating, if anything I was expecting a slightly chewier ball (thinking of some more southern style dumplings) , but these were very tender and fluffy. Personally I think I'd like a little more bite to the dough, but it may have been due to to much liquid in the balls or maybe not milling the matzo crackers fine enough for the meal. Overall, a great success! My entire house smells like chicken soup.Why does the broth have a reddish tint.?The soup was very flavorful with an intense roasted body - delicious. But the matzoballs?!?! Complete fail: dense and hard as rocks. I was always taught to handle the dough as little as possible - basically to just loosely form them and drop them into the boiling soup. I'll be going back to that method next time. And I'm not sure what the benefit of cooking the kneidlach in boiling water is (as opposed to the soup). In the chaos of preparing the meal, why bother with another step and another pot to clean?AnonymousLos Angeles05/04/19You neglect to include instructions on making schmaltz. It's easy. Remove all chicken skin and fat. Cut them up into pieces and cook over medium heat until the skin is golden and all the chicken fat is rendered. Cool the schmaltz in the fridge until solid. This schmaltz is better for making matzo balls than the fat removed from refrigerated soup.Need I tell you that the crispy skin left over after rendering the schmaltz is divine?Ellen GabrielBaltimore04/23/19After listening to the podcast and trying to knock a cold, I made this matzo ball soup. These matzo balls are so flavorful and do float, even without seltzer or baking powder. I made them a little smaller. To do this again, I would probably shred and use the meat from the chicken wings. Delicious!AnonymousPhiladelphia, PA04/22/19Haven't made these but from all I have read since these have neither seltzer nor baking powder, they are probably sinkers. I'm doing this but just adding some seltzer in for the liquid (instead of the broth).AnonymousBoulder CO04/19/19The intro to the recipe mentions a whole chicken - and the fact that the breast meat is saved for later but I don't see anything about a whole chicken in the ingredients list. Please clarify.AnonymousMinnesota04/16/19are these sinkers or floaters without the baking powder? I need answers.samanthaquickQueens04/09/19

Watch the video: Basic Chicken StockMartha Stewart (October 2021).