Comforting Matzo Ball Soup from Atlanta’s Souper Jenny

Chef Jenny Levison shares a recipe for love in a bowl

A bowl of soup with a matzo ball

Photo: courtesy of Souper Jenny

Although matzo ball soup isn’t a traditional Hanukkah dish the way latkes are, many families include it in their celebratory meal for its warmth and comfort. The Atlanta chef Jenny Levison, founder of the city’s beloved Souper Jenny chain, includes the flavorful dish in her cafés’ regular rotation as well as on her Hanukkah catering menu. 

Stay in Touch with G&G
Get The Skillet, our weekly food and drink newsletter.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Matzo ball is a Jewish staple in our culture and food. It’s a part of what I knew as a holiday meal growing up,” Levison says. According to her family lore, the soup—a recipe from her sister-in-law—cures everything. “It’s made with love, and any time someone makes something for you, it’s better than when you make it yourself.”

Levison has been proving that mantra since 1999. Then an actress, she used her last $10,000—earned from a hand modeling gig—to open a casual, eclectic lunch spot in the city’s Buckhead neighborhood. Today she’s the owner of five Souper Jenny locations, a four-time cookbook author, and a repeat Today Show guest. During the pandemic, she traveled the country in an RV, ladling out restorative meals along the way, in what she dubbed “the Kindness Tour.” She also operates the Souper Farm in Atlanta and runs a nonprofit, the Zadie Project, in honor of her late father; the group has provided more than 200,000 quarts of soup to local children in need. “Usually donated food is packaged. These are fresh, nutritious meals,” she says.

Sharing the love indeed.




    • 1 cup matzo meal

    • 1 tsp. baking powder

    • 1/4 tsp. salt

    • 1/4 tsp. pepper

    • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder

    • 4 eggs

    • 1/4 cup avocado oil

    • 1 tbsp. parsley, minced


    • 3 lb. whole chicken

    • 2 cups + 3 carrots, scrubbed and chopped

    • 2 cups + 3 stalks celery, chopped

    • 1 yellow onion, halved, peeled, and chopped

    • 3 bay leaves

    • 1 parsley bunch


  1. Make the matzo balls: Stir together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, stir together wet ingredients. Slowly whisk wet ingredients into the dry. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

  2. Form small round balls and drop into the hot broth (see below).

  3. Make the broth: Put chicken, three chopped carrots, three chopped celery stalks, bay leaves, handful of parsley, and half an onion into a soup pot. Cover with water (approximately 6 quarts). The water should cover the ingredients by two inches. Bring to a boil. Simmer for one hour.

  4. Strain the soup. Remove the chicken from the bones and set aside.

  5. Put the broth back in the pot. Add remaining carrots, celery, and onion. 

  6. Bring to a boil, then lower temperature and simmer for 20 minutes. 

  7. Add chicken and a handful of chopped parsley.

  8. Add matzo balls. Cover and steam for 12 to 15 minutes.