Give Matzo Balls A Satisfying Crunch And Serve Them Fried

If there was ever a prime example of Jewish comfort food, matzo ball soup is undoubtedly it. Light, fluffy matzo meal dumplings soaking up the richness of homemade chicken broth cure whatever ails you and feed the soul much as the stomach. If you're tired of soup or just looking for new opportunities to enjoy these dumplings other than Passover and the occasional sick day, frying matzo balls will convert them into a crowd-pleasing appetizer to enjoy at dinner parties, game days, or even as a midweek treat.

Deep-fried matzo balls undergo the same preparation as the tried-and-true soup version you know and love but with the added steps of dredging them through starch, egg wash, and breadcrumbs and deep frying them in hot oil. You'll still get that tender, light, and fluffy interior saturated with the comforting savoriness of broth. However, the breading and deep frying add even more savory richness and a shatteringly crunchy crust.

Plus, you can get creative with ingredients like spices, aromatics, and even cheese to mix into the matzo meal batter or breadcrumb coating. Scallions would bring an aromatic pop, cracked fresh pepper and paprika would lend a smoky, spicy finish, and parmesan would bring a layer of umami and salt. Serving them as dry dumplings likewise opens the door for a wide range of dipping sauces, from comeback sauce to spicy, creamy horseradish and beyond.

Frying, breading, and boiling tips

One of the most beloved characteristics of matzo balls is their fluffy, airy consistency; a good indication of successful execution is when they float to the top as they cook in broth instead of sinking to the bottom. That same tender fluffiness will make the crunchy deep-fried matzo balls that much more delicious. Matzo ball mix is sold under various brands at most grocery stores and usually requires a simple addition of eggs and a bit of oil to create the batter. However, you can add a bit of seltzer water or baking powder to the mix to maximize their fluffiness.

Boiling the matzo balls in chicken or vegetable stock is key to achieving a comforting, savory flavor. If you want to boil them in water, you can swap vegetable oil for schmaltz, lard, or ghee for that same umami richness. Since the matzo balls will be cooked and saturated with broth, they'll need a coating of starch to help bind the egg wash — recipes vary between potato starch, corn starch, and flour. Potato starch brings an earthy flavor that complements the profile of matzo balls, while the other two options are neutral.

Panko bread crumbs are the optimal breading for the richest flavor and crispiest texture. To achieve that wonderful textural contrast without oversaturating the interior with oil, it's important to maintain a constant and precise temperature — the consensus for fried matzo balls is 350 F for between 4 and 6 minutes.