Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

How To Make Creamy, Crunchy Matzo Brei

Image Credit: Quentin Bacon

Crack the eggs into a large bowl, add the milk, salt, and sugar, if using, and whisk very well to combine.

Break one sheet of matzo into into 1/2-inch pieces or smaller, letting any tiny pieces fall into the bowl of egg batter.

Repeat with the remaining matzo, 1 sheet at a time.

Mix well and let stand for 10 to 12 minutes so that the matzo absorbs the egg mixture.

Mix well again. The matzo should be soft and pliable.

Heat a 10- to 12-inch skillet over moderately high heat, add the butter, and let it melt. When the butter has melted and the foam subsides.

Add half of the matzo mixture and cook, stirring gently and occasionally, as you would when making scrambled eggs.

Cook for about 3 minutes, breaking it up into smaller and larger chunks, until the matzo mixture has begun to brown lightly.

Transfer to a platter, cover and keep warm. Add the remaining matzo to the pan and cook the same way. Serve immediately.

Passover lasts an entire week. A very, very long pizza-less and pasta-free week. Fortunately, bubbes have come to the rescue. Over many generations, some pretty inventive grandmas and great-grandmas have come up with Passover-friendly dishes to sustain their hungry families and friends during that week — recipes that are inexpensive, made with easy-to-find ingredients, and don't require much work. Matzo brei is exactly that. It remains a staple breakfast and lunch food, and it's been around so long for one other reason: it tastes great.

What Is Matzo Brei?

For Jews of Eastern European or Russian descent, matzo brei defines the homeyness of Passover. Matzo brei (pronounced Mah-tzo-bry; rhymes with "fry") is simply matzo — the holiday's famously unleavened cracker — that has been soaked, softened, and fried in egg.

During Passover, Jews refrain from eating leavened foods, including bread, which makes matzo a hot commodity. Jews from different regions have different traditions, so prohibitions can vary significantly, but for most families of Eastern Europe and Russian descent, they include refraining from wheat, barley, spelt, oats, rye, legumes, rice, and even corn. These prohibitions last beyond the holiday's large feast, the Seder, which encompasses a variety of ritual foods, prayers, and a veritable multitude of heritage dishes.

Customize Your Matzo Brei

One big pancake or lots of small bits? Water or egg to soak? Sweet or salty matzo? The short answer to all of these questions is that it's up to you. Every family has their own way of making matzo brei, so there's no hard-and-fast rule on any of these variables. Here are a few pointers for making matzo brei the way you want it.

What Kind of Matzo Should You Use?

Obviously you can use anything you like, but I prefer egg matzo. Egg matzo is made from egg in addition to the flour and water and grows softer when soaked than the standard variety. Matzo brei works just fine with gluten-free, spelt, or plain varieties. I would, however, avoid the shmura matzo. I use it at the Seder, but honestly, it really tastes like cardboard — and no amount of egg or soaking can save it.

Flavor Your Matzo Brei

So now you've got a steaming plate of matzo brei in front of you and it's time to bring on the flavor. I like it with mounds of cinnamon sugar. My mom likes it with maple syrup or cane syrup. Love jam? Give your matzo brei a healthy dollop. Some folks love it salty, and if you're like my great uncle, you're digging in with ketchup.

Crack the eggs into a large bowl, add the milk, salt, and sugar, if using, and whisk very well to combine.

Break one sheet of matzo into into 1/2-inch pieces or smaller, letting any tiny pieces fall into the bowl of egg batter.

Repeat with the remaining matzo, 1 sheet at a time.

Mix well and let stand for 10 to 12 minutes so that the matzo absorbs the egg mixture.

Mix well again. The matzo should be soft and pliable.

Heat a 10- to 12-inch skillet over moderately high heat, add the butter, and let it melt. When the butter has melted and the foam subsides.

Add half of the matzo mixture and cook, stirring gently and occasionally, as you would when making scrambled eggs.

Cook for about 3 minutes, breaking it up into smaller and larger chunks, until the matzo mixture has begun to brown lightly.

Transfer to a platter, cover and keep warm. Add the remaining matzo to the pan and cook the same way. Serve immediately.

How To Make Creamy, Crunchy Matzo Brei

Makes 4 servings

  • 6

    large eggs

  • 1 tablespoon

    milk

  • 1 teaspoon

    salt

  • 2 teaspoons

    sugar, optional

  • 5

    sheets matzo

  • 2

    tablespoons unsalted butter

  • Jam for serving

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl

  • Wire whisk or fork

  • Mixing spoon or silicone spatula

  • 10 to 12 inch skillet

Make the egg batter: Crack the eggs into a large bowl; add the milk, salt, and sugar, if using; and whisk very well to combine.

Break the matzo: Break one sheet of matzo into 1/2-inch pieces or smaller, letting any tiny pieces fall into the bowl of egg batter. Repeat with the remaining matzo, 1 sheet at a time.

Soak the matzo mixture: Mix well and let stand for 10 to 12 minutes so that the matzo absorbs the egg mixture. Mix well again. The matzo should be soft and pliable.

Cook the matzo brei: Heat a 10- to 12-inch skillet over moderately high heat, add the butter, and let it melt. When the butter has melted and the foam subsides, swirl the butter in the pan to coat. Add half of the matzo mixture and cook, stirring gently and occasionally, as you would when making scrambled eggs. Cook for about 3 minutes, breaking it up into smaller and larger chunks, until the matzo mixture has begun to brown lightly. Transfer to a platter, cover and keep warm. Add the remaining matzo to the pan and cook the same way. Serve immediately.

Per serving, based on 6 servings. (% daily value)

  • Calories: 1194
  • Fat: 9 g (13.8%)
  • Saturated: 4.1 g (20.5%)
  • Trans: 0.2 g
  • Carbs: 20 g (6.7%)
  • Fiber: 0.7 g (2.8%)
  • Sugars: 0.4 g
  • Protein: 8.7 g (17.5%)
  • Cholesterol: 196.4 mg (65.5%)
  • Sodium: 187.4 mg (7.8%)
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