m. c. de marco: The New Kitchen Cookbook

Matzah Ball Soup

Peter believes in making chicken soup out of a chicken, so I started with a recipe that did that, Matzoh Ball Soup. I also read up on the floater vs. sinker issue; here’s a good overview of ball science, including the per-egg numbers.

Makes about 32 balls, serves about 8 people.



  • 1 rock cornish game hen (2–3 lbs) or 4–5 lb. broiler chicken
  • water to cover
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chunked
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • parsley (optional)
  • dill (optional)
  • 1 heaping tsp. kosher salt, or any salt to taste


  • 4 eggs
  • 4 T. (¼ c.) chicken fat (optionally skimmed off the stock)
  • 1 c. matzah meal
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking powder (optional)
  • ¼ c. hot stock or hot water



  1. In a large stockpot, bring the stock ingredients to a boil.
  2. Simmer at least 45 minutes, or a few hours.
  3. Cool and strain. (I use cheesecloth.)
  4. Refrigerate the stock. (To skip this step, you’ll need an alternate source of the chicken fat, or use the fluffy ball variant.)
  5. Optionally, shred some chicken for the soup.


  1. Skim fat for the matzah balls off the top of the cold stock.
  2. Mix eggs and fat.
  3. Add matzah meal and salt.
  4. Add hot water.
  5. Chill dough for 1 hour.
  6. If you have enough stock to let the balls suck some up, then reheat enough of the stock for cooking the balls. Otherwise, boil plenty of salted water.
  7. Form dough into walnut-sized balls (about 1 inch in diameter).
  8. Boil (or simmer), covered, in designated liquid 20 minutes.
  9. Remove with a slotted spoon.


  1. Reheat remaining stock (and optional chicken).
  2. Add balls to stock a few minutes before serving.


Salting broth (pre-soup) is a surprisingly controversial topic. (Peter is pro-salt.)

For fluffy balls, replace entire ball recipe with 4 eggs, 1 c. matzah meal, and salt. Form into ¾ inch balls.

You can replace the chicken fat with oil, or leave it out entirely. You can go up to 1 tsp. baking powder. For extra float, use seltzer instead of water.

If you don’t mind your soup getting murky and/or want fewer steps, you can cook the balls in the main body of the soup.

If you want carrots and celery in the soup, add fresh ones, not the ones from the stock.