Matzo ball soup is at the core if every Passover Seder. Without matzo ball soup, it just isn’t a true Passover meal. Traditional matzo balls are made with “matzo meal.” Matzo meal is finely ground matzo, which just so happens to be made of flour.
Matzo balls are served in a simple chicken soup, which is naturally gluten free. But gluten free matzo balls? That’s a different story which required a great deal of experimentation, trial, and error.
To make matzo balls gluten free, the main ingredient, matzo meal, must be replaced. We found that matzo meal is quite heavy, whereas most gluten free flours are very light. This made making the gluten free matzo balls round in shape especially difficult.
We decided to focus on flavor over form:
Gfnoms’ mom tried many different recipes, including recipes we found online that utilized almond flour. These seemed promising because almond flour is one of the heavier gluten free flours. And indeed, the matzo balls made with almond flour were easy to shape into round balls, and they tasted fine –but not quite right. The almond flavor was strong and introduced a very “non-traditional” taste to the matzo balls that we didn’t love.
But Gfnoms’ mom didn’t give up. She wanted to find a gluten free matzo ball recipe that would taste like the traditional matzo balls that everyone else at the table would be enjoying. So she kept trying, and tasting, and trying again.
The matzo balls made with a gluten free flour mix (we used the Trader Joe’s brand mix) were the closest in taste to the traditional matzo balls but they were much harder to shape. In the end, we decided that flavor was more important than shape, so after trying nearly 10 different recipes, this is our recommendation for your gluten free passover matzo balls:
Gluten Free Matzo Balls
Recipe is for ~15 matzo balls
3 medium eggs
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1-2 tsp salt, to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup Gluten Free flour mix (we used a Trader Joe’s brand but most store-bought gluten free flour mixes such as Bob’s Red Mill should work)
- Mix together the eggs and the oil
- Add salt and pepper
- Add this mixture to the flour, mixing well with a fork
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before proceeding
- Heat soup stock to a boil and drop shaped spoonfuls of batter in.
- *Note: If the batter is too wet or runny to shape with your hands, use 2 teaspoons: one to scoop the batter and the other to drop the batter into the soup.
- Make sure the matzo balls do not stick to the bottom of the pot. If they do, release them with a large spoon.
- Let the balls float.
- Cover the pot, lower the heat to a low simmer, and cook for 30-40 minutes.
*Note: Do not cook the matzo balls in the soup that will be served as it will get cloudy. Instead, use other chicken or vegetable stock (or even salted water in a pinch!)
The matzo balls will taste best if they are prepared on the same day that they are served. Transfer the cooked and hot matzo balls to your chicken soup (recipe below) and enjoy your seder.
This is a simple and tasty recipe that will be even better a day or two after it is cooked.
8 chicken drumsticks, skin removed (or equivalent amount of chicken and bones from other parts of the chicken.)
1 peeled potato
6 celery stalks (use the stalks with leaves)
10 carrots, peeled
3 zucchini, unpeeled
1/3 bunch of Italian parsley
1/3 bunch of dill
3 bay leaves
14 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
- Remove the skin from the chicken and place in a large soup pot.
- Add the clean vegetables, whole, to the pot
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot and add the water.
- Cover the pot and bring to a boil.
- After the soup comes to a boil, reduce the heat and cook for another 2 hours.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- The soup is ready when all of the vegetables are soft.