Matzah balls that are light, fluffy, and flavorful are a quintessential part of holiday meals, and there are a few key tricks to ensuring your balls turn out perfect every time. I have my own tricks, which include schmaltz and a gentle rolling technique, but I also polled food writers and bubbes and everyone in between for even more helpful tips. Follow these guidelines and I promise your matzah balls will turn out perfect every time.
Box Is Best
Some people swear that their mom’s/grandma’s/uncle’s recipe for matzah balls is THE BEST. But I am telling you — if you want perfect, fail-proof matzah balls every time, just go and buy the box. I have spoken with several classically trained chefs who say the same thing.
Try Some Baking Powder
The key to those boxed mixes might actually be the inclusion of baking soda or baking powder. Jeffrey Yoskowitz, co-founder of The Gefilteria and co-author of The Gefilte Manifesto, swears that baking powder, more than seltzer or schmlatz, is the key to the fluffiest balls. Jeffrey shared with me that he includes 1/4 tsp baking powder in one batch of matzah balls, which is the perfect amount. But he also cautions: use too much and they will fall apart.
Whether you are making the matzah ball mix from scratch or from the box, take care not to overmix! Use a dinner fork and mix until just combined and then chill it in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.
Schmaltz It Up
Some people say seltzer is the key to fluffy balls. I say using real schmaltz instead of oil makes for the fluffiest, most flavorful matzah balls. You can get really crazy and use duck or goose fat for your matzah balls as well, which is Nosher contributor Ronnie Fein’s preference. Live it up, we were slaves in Egypt after all.
Handle Balls Gently
Now this piece of advice can have many, many life applications. When rolling your matzah balls, do not squeeze tightly or pack the balls. Gently roll in the palm of your hands, dipping your hands in ice water in between every 1-2 balls to prevent sticking.
Allow the matzah balls to cook for 20-30 minutes in boiling, lightly salted water. And try to resist opening the pot while cooking — just keep the lid tight and try not to peak. I know, it’s hard. But hopefully those matzah balls won’t be.