c/o Milly Berman

c/o Milly Berman

Passover is this week, and for me, that means two things: I am going to be hosting a Seder, and I am going to be making absurd amounts of matzo ball soup. Matzo balls are unlike any other food I’ve ever tasted. They’re sometimes fluffy, sometimes dense, salty, bready, eggy, springy, and absurdly delicious.  

This year, I broke the unspoken rule of my family that matzo balls are a Passover food only, and got super into making matzo ball soup as a weeknight dinner. It’s perfect: The warm, comforting soup comes together in mere minutes, and the soft, bouncy balls fill you up more than most brothy soups would. Because I was cooking it all through the fall and winter, I experimented with lots of different flavors, using the standard matzo ball as a jumping-off point.

This recipe is the best of all the versions I tested. My first innovation is that I make the broth slightly spicy by adding red chili flakes, which are toasted in oil to open up their flavor. For me, the spiciness adds so much warmth and comfort to this soup, drawing out the complex flavors of the broth and vegetables. 

My second intervention is the addition of corn. Usually, matzo ball soup features onion, celery, and carrots as the flavor base. I always find those boiled-down carrots to be a total vibe-killer.  So, instead, I add sweetness in the form of early summer corn, stirring it in right at the end to preserve its bouncy texture and fresh, juicy sweetness. The topping of delicate celery leaves and dill brings this recipe right to the precipice of spring, where it belongs.  

Matzo Ball Soup


Serves 3–4

  • 1 package matzo meal (I prefer Streit’s or Not Your Mother’s, but any brand is fine. Just don’t get the unsalted type.)
  • Eggs (amount according to the matzo meal package instructions)
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 5 stalks celery, plus leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, and however much oil the matzo meal calls for
  • 1 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted broth, double the amount)
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 32 ounces vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 cup corn kernels (frozen is fine, but fresh is best)
  • 1/4 cup dill, torn 


  1. Mix the matzo meal, eggs, oil, and water according to package directions. Rest the mixture in the fridge for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. While resting, make the soup. Start by thinly slicing the onion, celery, and garlic. Set aside the celery leaves for later.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and garlic, and sauté until translucent. Add the salt, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder, and toast for about 1 minute.
  4. Pour in all the vegetable broth, cover, and bring the soup to a rolling boil. 
  5. While waiting, wet your hands with water and shape the matzo mixture into 2-inch balls. These will grow into huge balls when cooked.
  6. Drop the balls into the boiling water and cover tightly. Lower the heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes (The balls should feel light and airy when lifted with a spoon).
  7. Add in the corn, and stir to combine. 
  8. Turn the heat off, and let the soup sit with the lid on for 5 minutes to cook the corn.
  9. Sprinkle on the beautiful torn dill and celery leaves, and serve!

Milly Berman can be reached at mgberman@wesleyan.edu.