Gluten Free Matzo Balls – Potato Knaidelach

A knaidel (plural knaidelach) is an Ashkenazi Jewish dumpling added to soups or stews. The most common form of knaidel, known as the matzo ball, is made from unleavened matzo meal and served in chicken soup for Passover. Matzo meal contains wheat, making it unsuitable for those on a gluten free diet. I developed this potato knaidel recipe as a delicious and gluten free alternative to matzo balls. It creates a firm yet fluffy dumpling that goes quite nicely in a bowl of piping hot Chicken Soup for Knaidelach (click for recipe).

I came up with this recipe after a LOT of experimentation. I used a German potato dumpling recipe as a starting point, then modified from there to make it flavorful and completely free of gluten. Follow the recipe instructions carefully; making modifications, substitutions, or skipping steps will lead to a pot full of mush, rather than nicely textured knaidelach. It’s worth the effort; these potato dumplings are truly delightful. In fact, some members of my family actually prefer them to matzo balls!

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Gluten Free Matzo Balls - Potato Knaidelach

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs large red potatoes
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1 1/2-2 cups blanched almond meal
  • Salt and white pepper

You will also need

  • Potato masher

Prep Note

  • Potatoes must chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours prior to assembling.
  • Make sure your potato starch and almond meal are certified GF.
Total Time: 3 Hours
Servings: About 12 knaidelach
Kosher Key: Pareve, Kosher for Passover
  • Place a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil. Scrub the unpeeled potatoes till clean. Boil the unpeeled potatoes until tender—it will take about 45 minutes.
  • Drain. Allow potatoes to cool to room temperature. Peel the skin from the potatoes and discard. Chop the peeled potatoes into large chunks.
  • Place in the refrigerator and chill until they are cold all the way through (at least 2 hours). You can refrigerate them overnight, if you need to.
  • Place a fresh pot of salted water on the stove to boil. From this point on, work quickly, or refrigerate the ingredients between steps. The potato mixture works best when it’s cold.
  • Remove potatoes from refrigerator and pat them dry if any moisture has accumulated. Place potatoes in a bowl and mash them with a potato masher or run them through a ricer. Mash again with a fork to get out as many lumps as possible.
  • Mix in the egg, potato starch, 1 1/2 cups of almond meal, 1 ¼ tsp salt and a pinch of white pepper to form a dough. If the dough seems sticky, or if you prefer a denser and heavier dumpling, you can add more almond meal.
  • By now your water should be boiling. Turn the stove heat down until the water is nearly boiling—the water should be “shivering” slightly, just on the verge of a boil.
  • Form potato dough into balls using ¼ cup of dough for each.
  • Gently place the knaidelach into the hot water.
  • The dumplings will sink to the bottom of the pot and slowly rise as they cook.
  • Cook knaidelach in batches of 4-5 at a time; do not cook more than that or they will stick together and fall apart in the pot. The dumplings will lose a little bit of their potato coating as they cook, but should retain their shape.
  • Let the knaidelach cook for 10-15 minutes, then remove them with a slotted spoon and transfer to a dish.
  • Keep the dumplings covered with a clean, damp towel until ready to serve.
  • Serve 1 or 2 knaidelach per bowl of soup. They go great in chicken soup as an alternative to matzo balls (if you need a recipe, check out my Chicken Soup for Knaidelach). They can also be added to vegetarian soup or cholent.

 

Comments (20)Post a Comment

  1. Tori thank you for this one, if you do it with vegetable broth and replace the egg with matzo meal it would be vegan. I love this soup!

  2. These sound fabulous, and the gf matzo balls I tried last year left me less than happy. But, we are also nut free. Do you have a suggestion on a substitute for the almond meal?

  3. Thank you so much for this! I have a wedding coming up and some of my friends suffer from Celiac’s disease and need a gluten free diner at my reception.

  4. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    These were amazing! Thank you so much. This was my first gluten free Passover and I was already sad about matzoh, imagining a naked bowl of chicken broth made it worse. Still haven’t solved the matzoh problem (I made my own out of gf oats and the results were pretty much inedible) but these potato knaidlach made my day. They passed the ultimate test–can I pan fry them in butter the morning after the seder? They held up beautifully!

  5. I’m excited to try these, my mom makes the best matzah balls but sadly I can’t have them this year :-( Can you recommend a substitute for the almond flour as I can’t have almonds?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Meredith, if you’re not concerned about kitniyot during Passover you might try chickpea flour. I’ve never tried it myself, but I’m guessing it might be a workable substitute. If it’s just almonds you can’t eat, and not all nuts, you can also try substituting a different nut flour like cashew flour.

  6. This is my 1st wheat-free Passover as well. Am trying to make “matzo balls” using ground nuts instead of matzo meal – don’t care for white potatoes. Have added 2 tbl. cake meal & 1 tbl. potato starch to the traditional recipe – but it needs something else to hold the “knaidlach” together. Any suggestions?
    I do have Passover potato pancake mix – could that work in lieu of your boiled potatoes? Am in the midst now – will try it & let you know how it works out.
    Thanks for all you do for the “Jewish” shiksas & us born Jews!

  7. Hi, my mom used to make knaidelach with gribben in them. they came out like baseballs the way my dad liked them. I never did get her recipe. I make my matzoh balls from the mix and never had any problems.

  8. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    this recipe is great! i add sodium free bouillon (dry) to the batter. do you think i can use this recipe for gnocchi? might be good with a little pesto.

  9. Hello. Thank you very much for this gluten free recipe. My step-mom is not Jewish, but she does have celiac disease, so she cannot eat any gluten. This will make it so she can eat dumplings again, so thank you very much for this recipe. Have a blessed day and happy holidays. I wish you the best.

  10. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Hi Tori, thank you so much for this recipe, I’ve just made this with your soup recipe and it’s delicious and everything turned out perfectly. I’m wondering though if these dumplings freeze? How to store them? i.e. in the soup? or?

    Thanks again,

    1. Hi Rebecca, in the past I have refrigerated them in a sealed Tupperware container (no broth, just the dumplings). I’ve never frozen them and I’m not sure how they will freeze, it’s such a unique thing. I do not recommend storing them in the soup broth, as they will likely get overly soft and start to dissolve.

  11. I can’t wait to make these gluten free matzo balls. I have had a lot of failed attempts with GF matzo balls. Hubby and I are going to make chicken soup next week. We will do GF and regular matzo balls. Thank you!! Thank you!! Gut Shabbes

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