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5 from 3 votes

Matzo Ball Soup (Jewish Penicillin)

Classic Matzo Ball Soup, also known as Jewish penicillin, is filled with hearty matzo balls, tender chicken, and tons of veggies and herbs. It’s warm and comforting!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time3 hours
Course: soups
Cuisine: Jewish
Servings: 12
Author: Kevin


Chicken Soup

Matzo Balls (12-14)


  • Trim ends of celery and cut 1 pound (half) into 2-inch pieces and the remaining 1 pound into 1/2-inch pieces. Set the 2-inch pieces in a bowl with the onion that has been peeled and cut in half. Place remaining 1/2 inch celery pieces aside in a bowl for later.
  • Peel and cut the carrots lengthwise, then cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Add to the 1/2 inch cut celery and cover with plastic wrap.
  • Remove any internal packet from chicken (heart, gizzards) and discard or save for other use. Place whole chicken in 10 quart or larger stock pot. Cover with 20 cups of cold water.
  • Bring to a boil over medium high heat, immediately turn heat to simmer and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Skim the top of foam with a spoon and discard. Be sure NOT to boil, as this makes the broth cloudy.
  • Add the 2-inch cut celery pieces, onion halves, parsley, 1 ounce of the dill, whole cloves, bay leaves, salt and peppercorns to the chicken pot.
  • Bring to a simmer again, and with the lid partially on, simmer for 90 minutes. Be sure NOT to boil, as this makes the broth cloudy.
  • As chicken simmers, make the matzo balls. In a medium bowl mix together the matzo meal, baking powder, salt, garlic and onion powders and white pepper. In another small bowl mix the eggs and schmaltz (or ghee, butter, oil) until blended.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Using a fork stir from the center moving out to incorporate all and then add the chopped dill until just combined. Don't over mix! Cover with wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  • Turn the heat off the chicken and let rest for 15 minutes. Using tongs, carefully tug at a leg, if it comes off completely you are ready for the next step, otherwise cover with lid and simmer another 10 minutes.
  • Carefully remove the chicken with tongs and place on a tray to cool and shred. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the larger pieces of cooked vegetables and discard. Strain the soup into another pot or large bowl, discard the herbs, spices and any other pieces.
  • At this point you could let the broth cool and refrigerate several hours or overnight to remove the congealed fat that is on top (the "schmaltz"). This is what can be used in the matzo balls. I prefer to use 1/4 cup melted ghee or butter (canola or avocado oil is good as well) for the matzo balls and leave the chicken fat in the soup for the flavor.
  • Shred the cooked chicken and discard the skin and bones.
  • For the matzo balls: In another stock pot, heat the 3 quarts chicken stock or water to a boil. Using a cookie scoop or spoon, form matzo ball dough into walnut size balls and drop them all in the pot. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 30-40 minutes. They should all be floating. Test one by cutting and check to see that there is no dark center. Either keep covered to stay warm or freeze at this point if you want for later use.
  • For the Soup: Add the reserved sliced celery and carrots to the strained chicken stock. Bring to a simmer cook for 30 minutes or until tender. Add the reserved chopped dill and chicken and season to taste. Serve with 1-2 cooked matzo balls in each bowl with hot chicken soup and vegetables spooned over. Garnish with dill or parsley if desired.



Calories: 383kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 120mg | Sodium: 1013mg | Potassium: 815mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 7522IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 108mg | Iron: 3mg