Gluten Free Matzo Balls

Gluten free matzo balls? Believe it. This recipe turns chickpea flour into a darn fine substitute that allows all of us who keep gluten-free to take part in a familiar Passover tradition.

Two gluten free matzo balls in a bowl of broth garnished with dill.

This gluten free matzo balls recipe is a near replica of regular matzo balls. For the uninformed, matzo ball soup is valued as much for its comforting familiarity as it is for its innate characteristics. So for those who can’t have the traditional matzo ball soup when craving comfort, this recipe is for you. Rest assured, the creator of these gluten free matzo balls made them over and over and over again (and so did we!) to ensure they’re “fluffy and dense in just the right places.” She nailed it. Their flavor is phenomenal. Although kindly note that this recipe is not strictly kosher for Passover.–Renee Schettler Rossi

Gluten Free Matzo Balls

Two gluten free matzo balls in a bowl of broth garnished with dill.
Gluten free matzo balls? Believe it. This recipe turns chickpea flour into a darn fine substitute that allows all of us who keep gluten-free to take part in a familiar Passover tradition.

Prep 15 mins
Cook 3 hrs 30 mins
Total 3 hrs 45 mins
Mains
Jewish
9 servings
151 kcal
5 / 3 votes
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Ingredients 

Directions
 

  • In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper to taste.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and oil until just combined.
  • Make a hole in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the egg mixture. Using a rubber spatula, stir everything together until thoroughly incorporated. The batter will be very thick and sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours.
  • Fill a large pot with a lid 3/4 full of water and bring to a simmer. In another large pot, bring the stock to a simmer, cover, and turn the heat to low.
  • While the water is heating, remove the matzo ball batter from the refrigerator. Take about 2 teaspoons’ worth of batter (roughly 20 to 22 grams) and, with wet hands, roll the dough between your palms to make balls. [Editor’s Note: The matzo balls may look teensy but they’ll increase dramatically in size when added to the water.] Repeat with the remaining batter.
  • Bring the simmering water to a boil. Gently drop half the matzo balls into the water; when the balls rise to the surface, turn the heat down to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook for 20 to 22 minutes, until the matzo balls are cooked through and the centers are light. If the center is hard and dark, cook until the center is cooked and light, up to 3 or 5 minutes more.
  • You’ll want to handle the matzo balls carefully as they’re a touch more delicate than your usual matzo balls. Transfer the cooked matzo balls to the pot of warm broth and repeat with the remaining matzo balls and the simmering water.
  • Bring the broth with the matzo balls to a simmer. Ladle the soup into bowls, allowing 1 to 2 matzo balls per serving, and garnish with dill.
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Show Nutrition

Serving: 2ballCalories: 151kcal (8%)Carbohydrates: 14g (5%)Protein: 7g (14%)Fat: 8g (12%)Saturated Fat: 1g (6%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 62mg (21%)Sodium: 922mg (40%)Potassium: 283mg (8%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 4g (4%)Vitamin A: 439IU (9%)Vitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 57mg (6%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

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Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I grew up eating my Lithuanian mother’s home cooking. It seems to be little known that a lot of traditional Eastern European food is shared across the cultures of the region. One of my favorite dishes was her simple soup with cabbage and klazkius, which were matzo balls all but in name. So what I’m saying is, I know my matzo balls. I love them so much that ever since I went gluten free 6 years ago, I’ve searched and searched for a worthy alternative to my mom’s wheat flour version. Only once before now had I come across a potato flour-based recipe I thought was worth its salt—and I lost it. That was a year ago, and try as I might, I couldn’t ever get hold of another one….until now!

I was skeptical of the chickpea flour (though granted I’ve never used it before now) and wondered if this wouldn’t turn out like some kind of mushy falafel. Instead, the matzo balls were tender without being mushy and held together beautifully, even after soaking in a chicken and leek broth for a bit. They took on the flavor of the lightly seasoned broth and were appropriately subdued. This was a warm and hearty addition to the table that I will definitely be making again and again!

In some ways, these gluten free matzo balls are nicer than regular matzo balls. These are floaters—traditional matzo balls come in floaters and sinkers—and whereas floaters made with matzo can be really, really dry, these stayed nicely moist. I would probably tweak the recipe for daily use but for a very, elegant Ashkenazi meal, this recipe is an A. I would probably use it instead of a traditional matzo ball recipe, actually, even for those who are not gluten free, as they don’t have the “I just ate a loaf of bread” effect you get from a traditional matzo ball soup.

The uncooked chickpea flour dough was really, really “green” tasting, like uncooked beans, so I was worried, but the finished matzo balls were really nice. There was no chickpea flavor at all once cooked. I found the total hands-on time to be adequate—mine went to like 25 minutes, but with the speed I work at, which is somewhere between glacial and a mosey, the difference is negligible.

The matzo balls increase in size quite dramatically in the simmering water. Using 2 tablespoons dough gives you a New York deli-style matzo ball—the one-really-big-matzo-ball-in-a-dish-of-soup effect. We both prefer them as a one- or two-bite affair, with several in a bowl of soup. I did make my own chicken broth, and as this is a minimalist affair, the overall result rides very heavily on the quality of the broth. I would definitely recommend others do the same. I will make these again.

Originally published April 03, 2020

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Comments

  1. These were amazing. I wonder who the first person was who made these because I would never have thought that chickpea flour would boil like that. As a child I loved the boxed matzo ball soups with the dehydrated matzo balls. These were just like that. Amazingly light and fluffy, they are delicate though, but we managed. It’s all about the broth. I made the perfect broth , using dill and parsley and bay leaf as herbs instead of the usual poultry herbs, that made a huge difference in taste. They soaked the broth up nice I have leftovers, I think you can freeze these if you leave the dough raw. Freeze the actual dough uncooked. Thanks for this amazingly clever recipe. Might need a teensy bit more salt though!

    1. Miriam, we didn’t try this with all-purpose flour so we can’t say how it would turn out. The hydration of the flour would be different so I don’t think it would work or have the same texture if you swapped in all-purpose flour in the amounts listed.

        1. Miriam, as Angi mentioned, we didn’t test it with anything but what the recipe calls for. Quinoa flour is often used as a substitute for chickpea flour. There might be some slight adjustment in the amount of liquid you need to add. If you try it, do let us know how it turns out. We’d love to know!

  2. I made these and they are wonderful. I want to make them again. Can I leave them in the refrigerator overnight or for more than three hours?

    1. I’m so pleased that you love these, Karen! We haven’t tried leaving them overnight, but I think it will likely be ok. I wouldn’t leave them any longer than that, though.

  3. 5 stars
    Delightful, light and fluffy. Few minor changes due to ingredients on hand. o/o bp, used cream of tartar and baking soda, ratio 2 to 1, kosher salt p/o sea salt, chicken schmaltz p/o evoo. My husband downed 1/3 of them last night! I stored the ones that didn’t go into the broth in their water in the fridge to be warmed in broth later. Will that work? If so, for how long? Thank you for a marvelous recipe.

    1. CBB, so delighted you liked it. We didn’t store the balls, so I can’t say for sure. You want to be careful due to their texture. I’d hold them no more than a day.

  4. How do these chickpea balls freeze? I’d like to make them in advance and freeze them in the chicken broth.

    1. Pam, we didn’t try freezing them in the broth, but I wouldn’t advise it. I worry that when they thaw they’re going to be a soggy mess that disintegrates into the soup. If you do try to freeze them, I would do so outside of the broth and then let them thaw overnight in the fridge and gently, gently reheat them in warm broth…even then you may have issues with them falling apart or being a touch more soggy than you’d like.

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