Shiksa Matzo Ball Soup

It’s been a soupy few days here at The Shiksa Blog, so I thought I’d finish the week by sharing my “Shiksa Matzo Ball Soup” recipe with you.  I make this soup at least once a month.  For the Passover Seder, I cook two or three large stockpots full.  And somehow, we never seem to have leftovers.  :)

A Shiksa must choose her shortcuts wisely.  When it comes to matzo ball soup, only the best will do– and often, the best takes time.  My matzo ball soup recipe is pretty easy, but it takes time to prepare.  I promise it’s worth it.  A Jewish celebration just doesn’t feel complete without a piping hot bowl of this delicious soup.

The only shortcut I take with this soup is in making the matzo balls themselves. I’ve tried many “from scratch” matzo ball recipes, but none have turned out as well as good old Manischewitz mix. You can also use a “from scratch” recipe if you prefer. I also like to bind them with schmaltz instead of vegetable oil, and I usually add some fresh chopped dill into the mix. No matter which matzo balls you prepare, make sure you cook them directly in the soup broth… this flavors them with the richness of the chicken stock!

This soup tastes best if you use quality organic chicken meat. If you’re keeping kosher, Wise Pastures offers wonderful organic kosher chicken and beef. I’m a big fan of organic meats and veggies, but if you’re on a budget regular chicken will work great, too.

At the end of all my recipes, after the servings amount, you’ll notice a “Kosher Key.”  This key will tell you if the recipe is Meat, Dairy, or Pareve.  It will also note if the recipe is Passover friendly.

Enjoy!  Shabbat Shalom.

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Stock Pot with Straining Basket

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1 or 2 whole chickens, 3-5 pounds total, including neck
(use more chicken if you’re making a larger pot, or for a meatier soup)
4 celery stalks with leaves, chopped into thirds
4 whole carrots, chopped into thirds; or 1 1/2 cups of baby carrots
1 large brown onion rinsed and halved, outer skin intact
5 sprigs of fresh curly-leafed parsley
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
½ tbsp whole cloves
2 bay leaves
1/2 bunch of fresh dill, lower stems removed
Kosher or sea salt to taste
Lemon juice (optional)
Matzo ball mix (I prefer Manischewitz)
Vegetable oil or schmaltz

Note: Check package to determine how many eggs and the amount of oil/schmaltz you will need for 10-12 matzo balls.  If making a larger pot of soup, prepare two packages of matzo ball mix, for about 20 matzo balls.

Serves 6-12, depending on the size of your stock pot.
Kosher Key: Meat, Kosher for Passover


Rinse the chicken and place it in a tall stockpot. Cover the chicken with water, reserving about 3 inches of space at the top of the pot. Bring to a slow boil over medium high heat. As the chicken cooks, a fatty foam will start to rise. Skim this foam from the surface. Add celery, carrots, onion, parsley, peppercorns, cloves, bay leaves, and a few sprigs of the dill to the pot. Add 1 tbsp of salt, then stir till all the vegetables are moistened and simmering in the broth. Cover pot, reduce heat to medium, and allow pot to simmer for two hours.  Mince the remaining dill and set aside.

Simmering stock

After the soup has simmered for two hours, allow it to cool for 30 minutes.  While soup is cooling, prepare the matzo ball mix according to package directions. I like to use schmaltz instead of vegetable oil to bind the balls. Sometimes I add a couple of tablespoons of the minced fresh dill into the mix. Place prepared matzo ball mix in the refrigerator.

Strain the broth with a mesh strainer. Pull meat from the chicken in bite-sized pieces and return to the broth. Return vegetables to the broth, if desired.

Chicken broth after straining.

Add the remaining minced dill to the stockpot, then return the soup to a slow simmer. Taste the broth.  Add more salt, if desired. Be sure to add slowly, don’t over-salt!

Remove prepared matzo ball mix from refrigerator.  Form mixture into about a dozen 1 inch balls and place gently into the simmering soup.  Don’t make the balls too large, they will expand a lot in the broth.

Don’t worry, they’ll get bigger as they cook!

Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes more, or until matzo balls have fully expanded. When soup is finished, stir gently to separate any dill that might have gathered on the surface of the soup.


Serve with two or three matzo balls and some chicken pieces in each soup bowl. Garnish with a lemon slice, if desired. My family likes lots of lemon juice squeezed in! If you don’t plan on serving the whole pot of soup at one sitting, make sure you remove the matzo balls from the broth and refrigerate them in a separate container. Otherwise they’ll turn mushy.

Hint: To make straining easier, tie up all the stock ingredients tightly in a few layers of cheesecloth before covering with water. When the stock has finished cooking, just remove the cheesecloth and unwrap the chicken. You can also cook the stock in a steel multi-pot with a mesh strainer insert (fine mesh—strainers with large holes will let the spices seep through). Both of these methods will allow you to skip straining the broth into another pot!

Comments (30)Post a Comment

  1. My family were from Poland and we always served kreplach with our chicken soup for Rosh Hashana. I use the leftover chicken or brisket for the kreplach and use won ton skins when I get lazy.

  2. That’s It .. your Soup is the SOUP that My Grandmother Helen A”S MADE FOR 10O + YEARS No one wrote the recipe… It’s Like Hashem sent it to me on Rosh Hashona .. the Day he took her to serve him… <3

  3. My family always puts the vegetables from the stock (carrots, onion and celery) back into the soup along with the chicken meat and matzo balls. My mother claimed it gave the soup a heartier taste. Sometimes she would also put in bits of tomato or a tablespoon of ketchup to give the soup a more golden broth. I have made my own variation by adding medium egg noodles with the matzo balls for what I call my matzo ball soup on steroids. Happy, Healthy New Year to all!

  4. Love the idea of cheesecloth or strainer because that’s always the part everyone hates. Especially burning your fingers because you have no patience to wait for the soup to cool. My grandma always added a small can of tomato sauce for color. I thought it would taste awful but it has no taste. Also, putting all the veggies in a blender makes fabulous baby food, but really for anyone.

  5. Dear Shiksa,
    I also am a proud Shiksa. I have been making Matzo Ball soup for my husband and Jew-ish daughter for the last 22 years. We just love it. My daughter always requests Manischewitz Fine Egg Noodles in her soup. Thank You so much for all your wonderful recipes. I’ve spent the last 22 years as a Jewish woman “in training”! lol

  6. Thanks, and for anyone that is having difficulty chopping onions without the tears, here’s an incredibly simple tip – put them in the fridge for a few hours, then chop them straight away after taking them out! No more tears!

  7. I’m loving your blog. Fantastic ! I love the way you write. Love reading your recipes.

    I want to make the matzo ball soup, but I question the 1/2 tbsp. of cloves.

    Is that correct ? Cloves are so strong. I do like a little clove taste, but so much ? Can you re-assure me this amount is Not too much ? would not want to have a strong taste of clove, yet I am intrigued by your recipes.

    1. Hi Surati! I always use about 8-10 whole cloves in the soup, I like the warmth and depth it adds to the flavor. If you find cloves too strong, start by adding 2 or 3 whole cloves, then taste the soup halfway through cooking and add more if you wish. :)

  8. I just found your blog through the kitchen I think, been all over, however I love your recipes. I keep the food laws and really am looking for ways to expand the menu. your blog will be such a great help. I also keep the holy days, so your recipes will be a huge help.
    your kitchen is amazing!!!!! that window. I am blown away by your blog. you made my day! thank you for all the history details, have a wonderful weekend!

  9. Hi Tori,
    I just made a batch of chicken soup but the clove taste is way too strong. I’m assuming that I need to make another batch without clove and combine them to dilute the flavor. Is that correct? I also added parsnip and two cloves of garlic. Also any recipes for the shredded chicken besides putting it back into the soup?

    1. Hi Barbara. I’m sorry you found the clove flavor too strong. Yes, you can dilute the flavor by making another batch of soup. The soup chicken can be used in a number of ways– to make kreplach (recipe can be found on my site), or warmed in sauce to create a sandwich filling. I like to shred it and mix with barbecue sauce to make barbecue chicken sandwiches. :)

  10. Hi Tori,
    I forgot to add that I made the buttery hamantashen and my family loved it! I’m looking forward to some Passover recipes!

  11. A gorgeous recipe…

    A few notes on chicken stock…

    (After you’ve cooked the matzo balls, remove them & reserve..)

    For a clear golden stock you can turn it into a consomme by bringing the stock to a slow simmer and creating a “raft.”

    The raft is a mixture of egg white and protein; I use ground poultry for chicken stocks.

    Place the mixture into the stock, stir vigorously and then let it simmer.

    What will happen is the raft will bind to the impurities within the stock and rise to the surface as a cohesive mass which you then carefully lift out to remove.

    What you’ll have left is a beautiful crystal clear consomme.

    You can then, and precisely, 😉 , chop your garnish adding it to the consomme.

    Gently cook, finally adding the matzo balls back to heat through for serving.

    It’s a purely aesthetic technique but it renders an already delicious soup beautiful to behold.


  12. How big is the stock pot you would you for this specific recipe? & How much water? I don’t want to dilute the stock..

    1. Hi Lisa! I’m so happy you’re new to from scratch chicken soup, It’s one of life’s greatest pleasures. As you’ll soon learn, chicken soup is not a science, it’s more of an art form. You get the feel of it as you go along, tasting frequently to see what works for you in terms of stock flavor/potency. You won’t dilute the stock with any traditional sized stock pot, no matter how big, as long as you use a chicken that is at least 3 pounds. That said, I have more specific instructions on another blog called My Favorite Chicken Soup, check out the recipe here: link to

  13. Hi Tori!

    Have you ever frozen this recipe? This is our first “married” Passover, and as a shiksa myself cooking her first Passover meal, I want to make sure I make his favorite dish! But, we’re traveling for several days before Passover, and actually won’t get home until early afternoon that day. Any tips for preparing this in advance?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Caitlin– yes! Just freeze the matzo balls separately on a cookie sheet, making sure they don’t touch, then pop the frozen matzo balls into a plastic freezer bag and keep them in the freezer till you’re ready to use them. Once you defrost the soup and bring it to a simmer, you can defrost the matzo balls directly in the broth. It will take 20-30 minutes. Enjoy!

  14. Hi Tori, I have been making your recipe for the last couple of years. The only thing I add is parsnip. This time the color of the soup was darker in color. What do recommend to make it yellow?

    1. Hi Barrie– next time try adding a generous pinch of saffron (the quality kind) for a bright yellow color and an enhanced savory flavor. It’s my secret weapon!

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