As with any food that comes in both homemade and boxed mix versions, matzo balls are best made from scratch. Just imagine how much prouder you’ll be of your impressive, light-as-air matzo balls this Passover, or anytime you want to impress that certain someone’s Bubbie.

Whether to use schmaltz, olive oil or tried-and-true canola is up to you. Generally, the precise formulas set by veteran matzo ball makers (old Jewish ladies) is discouragingly high. I’m not locating or creating schmaltz. So this Passover, I’m inclined to take advice from an impartial party.

Brooklyn native and “nice Italian boy” Michael Sullivan, executive chef at Veselka Bowery in NYC, oversees the crafting of hundreds of matzo balls every day. He recommends an equal blend of vegetable, canola and olive oil to balance the matzo balls’ signature richness—without having rendered chicken fat all up in your soup. 

I went over for soup and a lesson (mostly soup) with photographer Gabi Porter and discovered how geniunely easy it is to make a fluffy, delicious matzo ball. Here’s what you’ll need for 8-10 servings:

  • 2 1/2 cups matzo, ground medium-fine in a food processor. Toast these in a pan to bring out extra flavor.
  • 10 eggs
  • 1/3 cup each of vegetable, canola and olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • A very large pot of chicken soup (here’s our primer on stocks, broths and bouillons, or you can try our chicken noodle soup recipe and leave out the noodles)
  • Cooked chicken and vegetables from the soup