Matzo balls are hard to get right—the steps are simple, but it’s easy to mess up. Before we opened Wise Sons, our Jewish deli in San Francisco, we experimented with maybe 15 matzo ball recipes to find out how to make the lightest ones. Was it the leavening, the baking powder that was the key? Ultimately we took the most basic recipe and doubled both the fat and salt. One piece of advice for handling the matzo balls themselves: It’s a delicate batter, so easy does it. Try not to overwork it. Serve these in our Wise Sons Deli Matzo Ball Soup.
What to buy: Streit’s matzo meal is toastier and has a coarser texture than other brands we’ve tried. If you’re making this for Passover, make sure the matzo meal is kosher for Passover.
Game plan: You can make and poach the matzo balls up to 2 days before you plan to serve the soup. Keep them in a water bath, refrigerated.
- Yield: 10 to 12 large matzo balls
- Difficulty: Medium
- Total: 55 mins, plus at least 2 hrs chilling time
- Active: 25 mins
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup schmaltz (rendered chicken fat)
- 1 cup unsalted matzo meal
- 1/4 cup seltzer water or club soda
- Kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 4 quarts cold water
- Vegetable oil, for your hands
- Combine the eggs and schmaltz, either by hand with a whisk or in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat until thoroughly mixed and fluffy.
- Add the matzo meal slowly, in a few additions, until combined.
- Then add the seltzer, salt, and pepper, mixing until just combined. Taste again for salt (it should be well seasoned). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and rest in the refrigerator at least 2 hours, or as long as overnight.
- Combine the cold water and a big pinch of kosher salt in a wide, high-sided saucepan with a tightfitting lid over medium heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Scoop 10 to 12 evenly sized lumps of the matzo mixture and place on a platter or baking sheet. Lightly coat your hands with vegetable oil and gently roll each lump into a ball between your palms, trying not to compress the ball, and place it gently into the simmering water.
- Repeat until all the matzo balls are in the water. Reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting, cover the pan, and simmer for 30 minutes.
- If you’re not serving your soup right away, cool the matzo balls by placing them in a cold-water bath and refrigerate up to 2 days. Reheat gently in the soup and serve.