Matzo Brei

A classic Jewish breakfast or light meal of matzo, egg and either savory toppings or sweet.

Traditional matzo is what we use here, but you could also use whole wheat, or even gluten-free matzo, and this will still work. Do not use egg matzo, as it is too soft. And some places sell a thicker type of handmade matzo, often from a special flour called shmura. It's fine to use, but you will need to soak it longer.

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.

Ingredients

Savory Matzo Brei

    • 4 Tbsp chicken fat or vegetable oil, divided
    • 1 medium onion, sliced
    • Pinch of sugar
    • 4 large eggs
    • 4 sheets of matzo
    • Salt and black pepper
    • Chives or parsley for garnish

Sweet Matzo Brei

    • 4 large eggs
    • 1 cup milk, plus 2 Tbsp
    • Pinch of salt
    • Pinch of sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon orange flower water (optional)
    • 4 sheets matzo
    • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
    • Cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar or apple sauce for garnish

Method

Savory Matzo Brei

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1 For the savory matzo brei, you will need to caramelize the onions first. Heat 2 tablespoons of the chicken fat or oil in a saute pan and gently cook the onions until soft and caramelized. Let them cook at medium heat for a few minutes, then sprinkle a little salt and a little sugar over them. Cover the pan and turn the heat to low. Stir occasionally. This should take 15-20 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel.

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2 Beat the eggs with a little salt and black pepper in a large bowl. Soften the matzo a little by running them under cold water for a minute or so. The longer you wet them down, the softer they will be; it's your choice. Break the matzo up into pieces of about 1/2 to 1 inch into the bowl with the eggs. Stir in the caramelized onions and mix well.

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3 Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of chicken fat in the saute pan over medium-high heat. Let this heat up for a minute or two, then pour in the matzo-egg mixture. Cook this, moving it around constantly, until the eggs are just barely set — you want them to be a little bit runny. This should take about 90 seconds or so. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley or chives.

Sweet Matzo Brei

1 Beat the eggs, 2 tablespoons milk, the salt, sugar and orange flower water (if using) in a large bowl.

2 In another bowl, crush the matzo into 1/2 to 1inch pieces. Add the cup of milk and mix well. Let this stand at least 30 seconds — the longer the matzo sits in the milk, the softer it will become. I like to let it stand 2 minutes. When you're ready, move the soaked matzo from the milk bowl into the bowl with the eggs. Mix well to combine.

3 Heat the butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Let it heat up for a minute or two before adding the matzo-egg mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until the eggs are just barely set, about 90 seconds. Serve garnished with cinnamon sugar, apple sauce or something else sweet; jams and preserves are a good choice.

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Comments

  1. lynn @ the actor's diet

    my favorite!!!!

  2. Irene

    thank you

  3. Bob Y

    My family’s matzo brei is quite similar to mine. The only major difference is that my family would serve them pancake style instead of scrambled I prefer mine as a thick frittata with lots of dill.

  4. Kiran @ KiranTarun.com

    Never heard of matzo brei before, but now I want to taste it!! Looks so delish :D

  5. Arlene

    As did my grandmother and mother before me, I use 2-1/2 pieces of matzoh and 2 eggs for one serving. I break the dry matzoh into large pieces in a collander and run very HOT water over them until completely softened, but NOT mushy (my grandmother always used boiling water).
    Set aside to drain.
    In a separate bowl go the eggs, beaten and well salted, with a little water to thin them out. Dump softened matzoh (now smaller pieces from the hot water) into beaten eggs, mix gently but thoroughly, and pour into large frying pan in which chicken fat or butter has been heated until hot. Spread evenly, let cook a couple of minutes, then stir around until well cooked.
    Simple, and simply delicious!

  6. Heidi

    Thank you for the matzoh brei reminder. Bob, your frittata-style with dill I plan to try this weekend – sounds good!

    So,our family did the same as Hank’s recipe though we mostly did savory, adding diced Hebrew National salami, which I can’t say for certain is even a salami!

    Have a good weekend.
    – heidi

  7. Wendy

    I do a sweet version with diced apple in with the matzo/egg mixture and maple syrup poured over the top for serving.

  8. Susan

    How interesting! I’ve never heard of this! Would it work with unsalted soda crackers, for those of us who can’t get matzo? Does the sweetened brei become custardy?

    Never heard of it with soda crackers. Try using hardtack instead. And the sweet one would only get sorta-kinda custardy if you let the matzo soak a long time. ~Hank

  9. sandy price

    Thank you for this great article. I feel compelled, since Hank said something about butter needing to be kosher, to clarify something (not the butter). If someone kept kosher, whatever they used would be have to be kosher, including the birds from which fat was rendered! The more important point is that whether you would use butter, oil or shmaltz – beyond being a health decision – would be determined by whether you wanted to add meat to your matzah brei, as in matzah brei with chopped salami, or whether you perhaps wanted to make it a sweeter treat, topped with a dallop of yogurt or sour cream. Meat and milk products cannot be mixed. You would never use fat where you plan to add any dairy to the final dish, and you would never use butter where you plan to add meat to the final dish.

    Exactly! Thanks for clarifying that. I’d always hear people ask, “dairy or deli?” as shorthand for meat OR dairy, never both. ~Hank

  10. Jules

    I have to go savory. Sweet is just wrong. And I add caramelized onions and chunks of salami to mine. Yum!

    To be honest, I prefer savory, too. ~Hank

  11. Kerri

    When I hear Matzo Brie, my mind flashes to my father, standing over the stove whipping up a batch. He would soak the broken pieces of matzo in a colander, with hot water, then mix them with the beaten eggs, and fried in vegetable oil “pancake” or “frittata” style. Nothing else was added to the egg mixture because in our family half topped the finished product with maple syrup or jam and the other half with salt and pepper. Favorite Sunday breakfast ever!

  12. Rowan Foley

    I too grew up in a big Jewish neighborhood, and love the matzo brei! We made it annually in a non-Jewish household. We liked it made with hot water till softened, equal matzo to eggs, salted, and topped with maple syrup! Delicious!

  13. L.D. Meyer

    I wonder if you could substitute melba crackers for matzah? I finally found some matzah meal the other day to make “matzah ball soup”. I don’t recall this super market handling any Kosher items before, maybe this is for Passover? I hope they continue doing so. I know this Kosher thing is a pain in the appetite but, it’s a dietary standard that has been around for thousands of years. Some of the reasons for the standards are very obscure and I bet a rabbi couldn’t explain it either. As for combining dairy with red meat, it is viewed as the animal being coddled in it’s own juices which is deemed an abomination.
    L.D.

  14. Penny

    We always poured maple syrup over our matzo brei. Yum!

  15. Rjsimon

    I’m a bit of a matzoh brei minimalist..1:1 matzoh:eggs. No soaking. Use peanut oil (from the days we kept kosher when I was a kid). It gets very hot. These days I use a nonstick pan and cook like scrambled eggs. Just salt. Yum! Better go get a box of matzoh!
    Thanks for the post.

  16. Gary

    It looks more like migas than huevos rancheros. Sounds good, though.

  17. tori Manzi

    Thank You so Much! As a freshman at College many moons ago, my roommate made sweet matzah brei on a little hot plate….good, but I can’t wait to bring back those memories….

  18. Michael

    Tried this this weekend. AMAZING! I’ve always wanted to try this after hearing my grandparents speak of it but no one knew how to make it.

  19. Matthew H

    Detested the stuff growing up…there’s a growing list of things I’ve had again in recent years that I now seem to like on some sort of a level however. Perhapse this is the year I give Motzah Brei a second chance.

  20. Denise @ Creative Kitchen

    Just recently heard of matzo brei for the first time, and love reading the different variations of making it. Our American Girl club will be having a Passover Seder, and we’re each making something for the meal.

    I’m getting a little excited about Jewish cooking while researching it. :) I did just discover migas last summer, and our whole family loves those. This seems a bit easier.

  21. Lauren

    My mother now makes matzah brei spicy with some chopped jalpeleno peppers in the egg mix. She uses the hot water pour through method and prefers to fry in schmaltz (rendered chicken fat)but uses vegetable oil more frequently. We do use onions and fry those first and we make the scrambled form of the dish. The dish uses a lot of salt!

  22. cheryl

    Elise and Hank,

    I’ve been meaning to stop by for days now to thank you both for sharing the matzo brei love. While I’m a stickler for the syrup-doused version (thanks for linking to my recipe), I’m going to commit to (finally) giving the savory take a try. Hank’s version looks so easy that I’ve got no excuse for not branching out. Plus, I just really like the word schmaltz.

    ~cheryl

  23. marcie

    try it using mexican tortilla instead matzah, its called “migas con huevo” its easy and tastes great! Or you can use “fritos” instead

  24. Cheryl S.

    My husband makes the Matzo Brei around here. Just 1:1 egg/matzo, with a quick rinse of the matzo under hot water. Cooked in butter, and topped with cinnamon/sugar. Although I’d enjoy the savory kind, he doesn’t like onions.

  25. Sara

    What a nice recipe.. here in Italy it’s not so easy to find Jewish recipes, but I’m always curios about them because they have absorbed a lot about all the countries in which Jews have been, without losing their identity..

  26. heather

    Wish I could find the gluten-free matzo, but thanks for the memories! We always called it “Jewish French Toast” whenever we had to explain it to the kids we’d invite for sleep-overs – never had any complaints from them. =)

  27. karengreeners

    I always thought of matzo brei kind of like a passover french toast as well, and though I’ve never been able to make it as well as my mother, I get cravings for it well beyond Passover.

  28. Ellie Kustin

    My mother always made it savory with schmaltz. But nowadays with chicken fat being a high cholesterol no-no, I use either oleo or oil and season the milk/egg mixture with onion powder. It fools my palate into thinking “chicken fat”. I always ate it with fresh strawberry preserves and still do. As a matter of fact I whipped up a batch tonight for supper. Also, one of the comments said not to use egg matzoh because it’s too soft – I don’t agree. It just doesn’t have to soak in the liquid as long to soften up. I make mine like a cross between an omelet and frittata with the matzoh broken up into small pieces. If anything can bring back childhood memories, Matzoh Brei fills the bill. Yummy.

    Ellie in Connecticut

  29. Jerome Weinraub

    Matzo brei is Jewish French toast-pure and simple. A way of using leftovers. My mom made it ,frying the brei in chicken fat rendered from chicken skin and other fatty parts,which was rendered with the addition of an onion.The brei was served with sugar sprinkled on it,and the onion flavor was terrific. Really-sweet and fried onion togethter. It was wonderful,but probably not to everyones taste.

  30. Irina

    I make scrambled-style matzah brei, with the matzah pieces briefly soaked in hot water. Mine is always savory and includes things like herbs, cheese, and caramelized onions (not necessarily all together). Salsa is a great topping for plain matzah brei or one that has been scrambled with cheese!