The heritage of Hanukkah: Matzo ball soup

Kylee Kelley with a menorah

Kylee Kelley is a sophomore from the Bay Area studying communications sciences disorders and is the president of NAU’s Hillel. The NAU Review asked her to share a favorite Hanukkah recipe.

I would love to share one of my favorite Hanukkah recipes! One of my favorites is matzo ball soup from Serious Eats.

Matzo ball soup, while not a specific dish to Hanukkah (like latkes are), is one of my favorite things to eat during the holiday. My family’s matzo ball soup includes chicken stock, carrots, celery and of course, matzo balls. It is perfect for the cold winter weather! My dad makes it perfectly every year, which is funny because he is not culturally or religiously Jewish. In years past, my father would make our matzo ball soup by using a box mix. However, during quarantine we decided to make it from scratch. We used this recipe, and I cannot recommend it enough!

What’s the difference in the from-scratch vs. box matzo balls?

The difference between scratch and boxed matzo ball is really just prep time. You can sort of compare it to making a cake from-scratch vs. from a box.

What tips do you have when making matzo ball soup?Matzo ball soup

Make sure you do not go overboard with salt. Too much salt doesn’t make anything taste good!

What happens when something goes wrong?

A couple of Hanukkahs ago, my dad was cooking a boxed matzo ball soup in our kitchen. My family and I were really excited to eat it due to it being a chilly, rainy winter. As soon as he was done, we all got served our soup. We all went in to eat, but I noticed as soon as I bit into the matzo ball that it was extremely salty. My family started to notice too. It was pretty funny watching them all express their disgust toward their salty matzo ball. My mom then stared my dad down: “John, you messed up the matzo ball soup.” Needless to say, that Hanukkah dinner did not end up being the greatest. This is why I advise to measure your salt appropriately!

Learn more about how Hillel defines Hanukkah. 

FYI, there are sooo many different ways to spell Hanukkah. In America, I would say the most common way is “Hanukkah.” But Chanukah is great too.

Follow NAU’s Hillel on Instagram and Facebook.

Do you have a favorite Hanukkah tradition? Share it with The NAU Review for inclusion in a holiday roundup on Dec. 14.

NAU Communications