Ashkenazi, Shabbos, Soup, Technique

RECIPE: Matzoh Balls

Matzoh ball soup

One of my children has remarked that one only likes matzoh balls the way that Mom makes ‘em. That is to say, if Mom makes sinkers, you like sinkers. If Mom made ‘em light as a cloud, that’s bound to be your preference. This is a marital conflict in the making. Because you’re making matzoh balls the way your Mom did, but your spouse didn’t grow up with your Mom.

Here’s a recipe that can be adapted to every palate, with the idea that you can switch off, from week to week. Sinkers one week, floaters the next. Everyone is happy, some of the time!

Matzoh Balls (Knaidlach)

4 servings
Substitute water for seltzer if you like sinkers. If you like them not too heavy, not too light, use seltzer. If you want them lighter still, use between 1/8 teaspoon and 1 teaspoon of baking powder—the more you use, the lighter the matzoh balls.

Make the matzoh balls right in the soup if you’re making sinkers or medium light matzoh balls. But if you’re making clouds, don’t cook them directly in your chicken soup unless you want your soup filled with a gazillion little pieces of matzoh ball. They SHED.

It’s not easy to make enough soup to cook the matzoh balls separately, of course. But that’s all part of the challenge. (Do not bother to make them in salted water. As your Bubbe would say, “Feh. They have no flavor.”)


  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup seltzer for lighter balls, or water for sinkers
  • 1/4 cup schmaltz
  • 1 cup matzo meal
  • 1/8 to 1 teaspoon baking powder (the more, the lighter)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste
  • Chicken soup (6 cups for cooking the matzoh balls, another 6 cups for serving)