Matzo Brei

This past weekend, my hubby and I drove over to one of our favorite Los Angeles breakfast spots, Factor’s Famous Deli on Pico Boulevard. Factor’s is a quintessential deli with a big menu full of American-style Jewish delicacies.  Usually, I order the same delicious breakfast at Factor’s—toasted egg bagel, cream cheese, smoked salmon, capers and tomatoes. It’s sinfully yummy. But for some reason, on this occasion, I felt like trying something different. One dish stuck out to me, one I’d never tried before but had always been curious about…

Matzo brei.

Now, I’ve been cooking Jewish food for several years, but I’ve focused more on the Sephardic side of the cuisine. Certain Ashkenazi dishes are foreign to me. While this dish is made by both Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews, it’s more of an Ashkenazi favorite. The only thing I knew about matzo brei was that it contained eggs and matzo.  I like both eggs and matzo—the idea of the two being scrambled together was intriguing.

Being a shiksa, and not knowing any better, I’d always thought the dish was pronounced matzo bree.  My hubby corrected me.

“It’s pronounced matzo brigh,” he said. “And it’s delicious. You should try it.  It’s Stephen Spielberg’s favorite breakfast.”

So brei rhymes with try, huh?  Feeling adventurous, I decided to try it and see what I was missing. The waitress came to take our order.

“I’ll have the matzo brei,” I said proudly, my pronunciation pitch-perfect.

“Would you like it salty or sweet?” she asked.

Yikes! I was caught off guard. “People eat it sweet?”

“Sure,” she said.  “Some people like it with sugar. And some like it salty.  It’s up to you.”

I was totally confused, but the thought of sweet eggs made me a little queasy. “Uhh, I guess I’ll have it salty?”

“Great,” she replied.  “I’ll bring you a side of sour cream and applesauce, too.”

Sour cream and applesauce? With eggs? Maybe this breakfast experiment wasn’t such a great idea. But I wasn’t about to chicken out. This shiksa was in it to win it.

After about ten minutes, the waitress brought me a plate of matzo brei. It looked harmless enough, and it smelled good.  I decided to dig in.

With my first bite, I tried the eggs and matzo on their own. Yum, I thought. Second bite, I tasted the eggs and matzo with a dab of sour cream on top. Double yum. Finally, I tried a bite with everything… eggs, matzo, sour cream, and applesauce.

Have mercy. I’m in matzo brei heaven.

Now I understand why some people like this dish sweet. After that first taste, I ended up piling on the applesauce. There’s something about that added sweetness that really adds to the egg/matzo mixture. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I cleaned my plate at Factor’s Deli. It’s the perfect comfort food, and it stuck with me all day… I even skipped lunch.

Fast forward to yesterday morning.  We woke up to a chilly rainstorm here in Los Angeles. The weather screamed for a warm, comforting breakfast. “Matzo brei,” I thought. I flipped through a few of my old Jewish cookbooks and quickly got the idea. It’s a simple dish.  Here’s the way I ended up making it.  And yes, it was delicious! I encourage you to give it a try… if nothing else, it will help you use up those leftover matzos after Passover.

This breakfast will now be a part of my regular rotation. Thank you, Factor’s Deli!  :) How do you like your matzo brei?  Salty or sweet?

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Matzo

Non-Stick Skillet

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Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 sheet matzo
  • 1 tbsp milk (optional)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper

Optional Extras

  • Applesauce, sour cream, sugar, cinnamon, apples, nuts… you can even get creative and add grated cheese or diced veggies.
Total Time: 5 Minutes
Servings: 1
Kosher Key: Dairy
  • Scramble 2 eggs in a bowl with a whisk. I like to add 1 tbsp of milk to the eggs for a creamy flavor.
  • Run a sheet of matzo under running water for 20-60 seconds until it just begins to soften. The amount of time you'll need to keep it under the water depends on the type of matzo you're using. Let it get soft, but don’t let it turn mushy! Shake off the excess water and reserve the matzo.
  • Melt a tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium heat.
  • Break matzo into bite-sized pieces and place them in the skillet. Sauté the matzo pieces over medium heat for about a minute, until they are evenly coated with butter.
  • Pour the scrambled eggs over the matzo pieces. Stir the eggs with a spatula until they are well combined with the matzo. Cook the eggs for about 2 minutes, stirring continuously—don’t let the eggs sit, or they will overcook. You want the eggs to be cooked soft and just a tiny bit runny. I hate runny eggs, but trust me on this one—overcooked or browned eggs don’t work with this dish. As you are cooking, sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste. This would also be the time to add sugar, if you want a sweeter matzo brei.
  • Serve the matzo brei with a small side of applesauce and sour cream.
  • Note: If you are planning on adding extras like diced vegetables, nuts, or fruit, sauté them with the matzo and butter. Add extra seasonings or cheese with the eggs.

Comments (32)Post a Comment

  1. I grew up on sweet Matzo Brie. I’ve never tried it with sour cream and applesauce, though…on blintzes, yes. Matzo brie, no. Here’s my Aunt Fannie’s recipe, just for you, for a group:

    5 sheets of matzo
    1/2 cup milk
    2 T. sugar
    1/2 tsp. vanilla
    1/2 tsp. salt
    4 beaten eggs
    1/4 cup butter
    2 bananas, sliced
    1/2 cup raisins

    hold each matzo sheet nder hot running water til softened (not mushy). Break into 1 1/2 inch pieces and place in a bowl. Beat together milk, sugar, vanilla, salt and eggs. Add broken matzo. Melt butter in a skillet and add egg mixture. Stir as you would for scrambled eggs til mixture is set and golden brown. Toss in gently sliced bananas and raisins. Serve warm. My kids like this one with maple syrup too.

    1. LOVE matzobrei! Mine differs only in that I don’t soften matzo with water….break crispy matzo into frying pan with LOTS of butter….stir it around, browning slightly, then add the whisked eggs…you get a fried crisp matzo bite with egg flavor. I also top with powdered sugar! Going to try farfelbrie next!

    1. Thanks Tori, GrandMaMa made it salty with a sauce and sour cream on side! I havent had this since I was 7 yrs til I was 10, and only had it over GrandMaMas house! Thanks for bringing back memories you can use the onion flavored Matzos, grandMama would fry and brown an onion in it! The sweetness of the onion made it so good, Im going to make it with onions and onion flavored Matzos over weekend! Thanks again!

  2. I wrote a column on kosher coking a long time ago when the internet was young (called B’tayavon – you can still find some columns on the net if you google my name and b’tayavon – shameless plug :)) I did a column on Matza Brie but unfortunately, it is not one of the ones you can find on the net today (my Matza Lasagna is out there though link to recipeview.com)

    Here are my two Matza Brie recipes. The main difference is that I do allow the Matza to get very soft.

    Matza Brie
    There are two Matza Bries here. The first is my favorite, but neither is less authentic. They come from different areas of Eastern Europe. The first is more from Poland and the second is more Lithuanian.

    3 Pieces of Matza
    2 Large eggs
    2 Tbs. water
    2 Tbs. sugar
    Break up matza sheets and put in bowl covered with water.
    After the matza has soaked 5 minutes, drain the water and then add the eggs and mix.
    Add the water and sugar and mix.
    Pour the mixture evenly in a pan sprayed with non-stick spray (or coated with butter).
    Cook over medium heat until the bottom turns light brown, about 4 minutes.
    Flip matza Brie and cook other side covered for about 3-4 minutes more.
    Serve with cinnamon-sugar or jam.

    matza Brie 2
    2 Pieces of Matza
    2 Large Eggs
    salt and pepper
    Break up matza and place in bowl covered with water.
    Soak the matza for about 5 minutes until soft.
    Add eggs and mix well.
    Scramble as you would plain eggs adding a little salt and pepper as you cook.
    Serve like scrambled eggs.

    Variations: You can do almost anything you want with these recipes. The only thing I would suggest, is keep the first recipe sweet and the second savory. You could make the first one savory, but that would be less authentic.

    You can add milk in place of the water in the first, and also add some of either to the second.

    Add any extra flavorings or spices to the first recipe like cinnamon or nutmeg.

    Be creative!

    Hope you dont mind the large post (and shameless self promotion :))

  3. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Love this site. And especially Matza Brie….when I was working in Brooklyn for the Dime Saving Bank of NY (now defunct) on Ave J and Coney Island Ave.,(1974). Most of the employees brought their lunch to work…one of the mail ladies, Sylvia, heated her lunch one day. It smelled delicious and I asked her what was it. Matza Brie she replied and then she explained how she made it….she soaked her matza in milk…she sauteed onions in butter added the matza then the eggs…voila!~ the best I ever had! Try it – you’ll love it!

    I miss that neighborhood…Stern’s Bakery was a few doors away…they had the most incredible honey cakes. Do you have a recipe for that????

  4. I watched my father make it a lot, so I took over and make it whenever he and my brother and I are in the mood. I usually use 2 pcs of matzo for every egg-plus 1 more egg if you are in the mood for it…dependent on how many ppl are eating. I scramble the eggs in a bowl, then add the moistened matzo to stir around all together first-then add to the pan with melted butter. It turns out a little like a Roesti this way if you break the matzo a lot more, but we love it…plus we make so much it rarely has room to break apart in my large pan as it does in the picture above…

  5. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    my family would use the onion matzo and serve with salt and sour cream – we also kept it in one piece-so it looked like a very large pancake! YUM!!!

  6. my grandfather always made this for me when I was young (cue the swirling tunnel of time), I like mine with maple syrup but he and my grandmother liked sour cream – break up matzo ( egg and onion kind) cover with water -drain and add eggs fry in a little oil like a big pancake

    1. ‘pancakes’, ”SUGURY'” “maple sugar” Give it up! Add maple sugar to taste.

  7. 5 eggs
    5 matzo
    1 half roll of salami

    Cube salami. Put in large fry pan.
    Mash Matzo in big bowl.. Add 1 half cup of water. Mix well let sit. Stir before using.
    Mix eggs in separate dish.

    Fry salami till pan is greasy. Empty salami into plate.
    Add matzo and gently cook till kind of crackly. Add eggs.. stir
    Add cooked salami and mix well till all is cooked together..

    Eat.. add jam if you want but I love it just the way it is..

  8. I have always soaked the Matzo and add the egg mixture. I like it as a large pancake and have included blueberries in season. When my Kitchen was being renovated I had to live off the microwave. I quickly found out it can be done in the microwave as well.

  9. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I make mine the way Phil does it above. Soak the matzoh and drain. Pour the egg mixture over drained matzoh in bowl. BUT I saute 1-2 finely chopped onions first till they get a little brown, then add the matzoh and egg mixture. Add salt as necessary to your taste. Trust me—the onions are delicious with it.

  10. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    My mom was Protestant, my dad a Jew. We had some interesting meals!

    As kids we called this “scrambled matzo” and enjoyed it for breakfast with maple syrup.

    Occasionally my mom would make eggs similar to Eggs Benedict, except the sauce was curry spice flavored. She’d serve the eggs atop the matzo brei.

    I don’t have a recipe and Mom is gone now. It may sound strange but it was absolutely delicious and wish I could recreate it.

  11. I used cooked breakfast.
    5 sheets of matzo
    1/2 cup milk
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/8 tsp peppers
    4 beaten eggs
    1/4 cup butter
    1 green pepper and 1 red pepper chopped
    4 mushroom chopped

  12. I absolutely LOVE matzo brie! So does my granddaughter. I like to saute a chopped onion in the butter before adding the matzo and egg mixture. Plenty of salt and pepper is the crowning touch. Try the onion….you will never return to just plain matzo and egg again.

  13. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    Here is an idea you might also like to try.
    I saute chopped onions. When the onions are clear I add them to a bowl of the scrambled eggs. To this I add small pieces of lox and stir. Pour the egg mixture to the soaked matzo pieces.
    season to taste Lox egg and onion Matzo Brie! yummy

  14. In my house we always ate it with sugar sprinkled on. Something about the graininess and the sweetness of the sugar on the matzo brie works really well. We also used to call it fried matzo.

  15. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    Excellent recipe! I added chopped red & yellow sweet peppers and KLP fontina cheese (in chunks). Fantastic!! Many thanks!

  16. Yes, TU Leah! We always called it fried matzoh. What does brei mean? And I was taught to soften the matzoh in a bowl and add the egg to that and then add all to the pan.

    I’m looking for a recipe for sautéed apples with the fried matzoh but may just wing it and try it tonight with my leftover matzoh. Sounds almost like dessert!

  17. I love this dish, my favorite way to eat it is with sour cream and hot sauce. I cannot eat carbs for awhile, but when the time comes that I can, I hope to at least find a whole grain matzoh to use….I cannot wait!

  18. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I learned to make Matzoh brei from my mother and my Gramma Belle. Just soak a couple of sheets of matzoh in very warm water. I use a big glass measuring cup that makes it easy to pour into skillet for frying and the entire prep can be made using this one container so clean up is a breeze. Just break up a couple of sheets of matzoh into measuring cup and cover with very warm water. Let this soak just a minute or so until matzoh gets limp and softens but leave a little crunch for texture.Then drain water and squeeze out excess with hands to remove most of the liquid- Like wringing out a washcloth. Return squeezed matzoh to cup and add eggs,(approx. one per 2 sheets Matzoh) approx. 1/2 cup milk, pinch, of salt and sugar. Mix together with a large fork. Consistency should be a bit liquidy and runny,not dry. A loose batter. WHY DON’T JEWISH GRANDMOTHERS EVER MEASURE INGREDIENTS???? “Oy!I don’t know how much, just enough til it looks right!!!” Fry pancake style in a skillet (using just a light coating of butter, Pam, or oil to prevent sticking) on medium heat until egg is cooked and firm. We like ours with maple syrup on top. Yummy

  19. I’m intrigued by recipes for savory matzo brei but I always wind up making it as my mother did,I – sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. I used to add spoonfuls of grape jelly as a kid but we usually use maple syrup now.

  20. I like this recipe very much. I usually use mushy matzo, but I also like this texture. Our family sprinkles with cinnamon & sugar mixed together. The savory Brie with onions sound good, too. Just discovered this site in time for Passover. Made the roasted asparagus, arugula & avocado salad & the orange rosemary medley (sans nuts or dates). Both were excellent & Seder hits! Going to try out some desserts over the next year! Thank-you!
    Ps/ My Aunt Rose was a long-time Factor’s waitress, a real institution there!

  21. Thank you so much for this website. I am not Jewish, am trying to learn more about it, and hope to one day convert, but till then am trying to keep a Kosher kitchen.

    Mazel tov,

    Jennifer

    Issaquah, Washington

  22. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Great recipe! For a different texture, cook the eggs and matzo desperately and add together at end. This makes for a crunchier texture.

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