Sure, it's essential for matzo ball soup, but we also love to use homemade matzo meal for Passover desserts—and it's very easy to make.

By Peggy Kieran
Updated March 13, 2020
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Stephen Kent Johnson

First, just what is matzo meal? Matzo meal is made by grinding matzo, a traditional Jewish unleavened bread that's also known as matzah or matzoh. Matzo bread is made by mixing flour and water, rolling it out thin, then baking it in an extremely hot oven. It can be soft and pliable, or cracker crisp. It is the crisp version that is used to make matzo meal. Prepared matzo meal comes in several types from course to fine—the most finely ground variety is known as matzo cake meal.

There's more to do with this versatile ingredient than just make matzo ball soup, though that is its most common use. Matzo meal, which is kosher for Passover if handled by kosher standards, often replaces flour in chametz-free recipes. We've used it to lighten the texture of baked goods (like the Passover Chocolate-Walnut Cake with Orange shown here and our Flourless Apple-Pecan Torte), fill out vegetable fritters, and as breading for chicken or fish. In fact, matzo meal can be used as a breadcrumb substitute. Like all breadcrumbs, matzo meal acts as a binder, and thus can also be added to casseroles, potato pancakes, and more. You can substitute matzo meal in almost any recipe that calls for breadcrumbs. You can also use it for a sweet pie crust.

If matzo meal is not available in your local grocery store or you don't want to purchase a separate box, it's easy to make matzo meal. Basically, you are crushing packaged matzo to your desired consistency.

Here's how to get in on the matzo-meal magic: You'll need a food processor to grind the matzo. Start by using your hands to break the matzo sheets into one- to two-inch pieces, then add them to the food processor and gently pulse until your desired consistency is reached. Larger crumbles might work well sprinkled over a gratin, but you'll want it fine and uniformly ground if you'll be baking with matzo meal.

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