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Upclose photo of a matzo ball in a spoon with the soup in a bowl below.
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5 from 1 vote

Matzo Ball Soup

When you need that homemade soup to soothe your ailments and comfort your soul, this will be the recipe that'll do both. Full of flavor with fluffy light matzo balls, it will be even more delicious during the days that follow!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 45 mins
Resting times30 mins
Total Time3 hrs 35 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Jewish
Keyword: matzo ball soup
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Debbie


  • 1 6-pound whole chicken, (reserve the fat inside of chicken cavity and cut into small pieces)
  • 8 carrots, unpeeled, (about 1 pound), divided
  • 7 medium parsnips, unpeeled, (about 1 pound), divided
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 2" pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, coarsley chopped
  • 1 head garlic, outer skin removed, with cloves kept intact. Cut in half crosswise
  • 1 bunch parsley, tied together
  • 2 cubes chicken bouillon
  • 6 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill, or less depending on personal preference, it's one of my favorite flavors in the recipe!
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients for the Matzo Balls:

  • Reserved chicken fat from above
  • vegetable oil
  • ½ cup selzer water or club soda, divided, (seltzer water is preferred)
  • 2 ½ cubes chicken bouillon, divided
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup matzo meal, available in the kosher display aisle at most grocery stores


Matzo Ball Soup:

  • Place chicken in a large soup or stock pot over high heat. Add water, enough to cover chicken by 1". Bring water to a boil, skimming top as needed, reduce to medium-low.
  • While chicken is cooking, cut 4 of the carrots and 3-½ of the parsnips into 2" pieces. Halve the remaining carrots and parsnips lengthwise, then cut them into ½" pieces, set aside.
  • Add celery, onion, garlic and the reserved larger cut carrots and parsnip pieces to the soup pot.
  • Continue to simmer for 1 hour, skimming off top foam as needed.
  • Add the next 4 ingredients (parsley through bay leaf).
  • Simmer for an additional 30 minutes.
  • Strain through a fine mesh sieve, reserving the broth and chicken.
  • Remove the skin from chicken. Discard skin. Shred chicken and set aside.
  • Return broth to the pot and keep warm over medium heat. Add the remaining 2" pieces of carrots and parsnips. Simmer until all vegetables are almost tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Add shredded chicken. Heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add the dill, lemon zest, salt and pepper to the pot.
  • Cover and remove from heat.
  • Don't you just love the aromas at this point!? The dill!!! Yum!

Directions for the Matzo Balls:

  • 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.
  • Strain fat, and reserve the melted "fat". Discard the solids.
  • Measure melted fat. I barely had enough so I added enough vegetable oil to equal ⅓ cup. Place in a small pot.
  • Add ¼ cup seltzer water (or club soda) to the pot with the fat and place over medium heat.
  • Add 2 bouillon cubes and cook until dissolved, mashing as it softens about 1-2 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile in a medium bowl, combine eggs, salt, black pepper, the ¼ cup of remaining seltzer water(or club soda) and the fat.
  • Add the cooled seltzer mixture and matzo meal, stir thoroughly (be careful not to overdo it...you don't want them heavy and dense!) Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Fill a large skillet with water, mid way up. Add the remaining bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium.
  • Keeping hands moistened with water, shape matzo mixture into tablespoon size balls (they'll puff and fluff to a larger size as they cook).
  • Gently lower them all into the simmering bouillon water mixture.
  • Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes until matzo balls are cooked through, and enlarged.
    Matzo Ball Soup
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer matzo balls carefully to the soup pot.
  • Let stand for 10-15 minutes, allowing matzo balls to absorb the soup's flavors.
    Matzo Ball Soup
  • If made ahead, reheat covered. Serve while hot.
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