This matzo brei recipe is one I make every Passover! Savory scrambled eggs with soaked and fried matzah, matzo brei is truly one of life's most perfect foods: eggy, pillowy and full of delicious matzos, it's the best brunch with which to celebrate Passover.
What is Passover Matzo Brei?
Ruth Reichl once lovingly referred to Matzo Brei as "one of life's perfect foods" (Letters from the Editor, Gourmet, April 2014). Though I would usually hesitate to refer to anything containing matzo as perfect, I believe matzo brei is the exception to the rule.
Matzo Brei (also known as "fried matzah") is a dish of Ashkenazi Jewish origin that is typically prepared during Passover, a Jewish holiday that commemorates the Israelites' liberation from slavery in ancient Egypt. The dish is made with matzo, a cracker-like unleavened bread that symbolizes the haste with which the Israelites left Egypt. This bread is soaked in water until it becomes soft, then it is mixed with eggs and seasonings, and fried in butter or oil until it is crispy and golden brown.
There is just something special about the act of submerging that crispy, crackly, dry cracker in a bath full of eggs and (non-dairy) milk, swirling it around until all of its defences are broken, its body swells with liquid, and its heretofore tough, prickly exterior becomes soft and pillowy like the best cheese. It's the best kind of kitchen alchemy.
Each year, making matzo brei is my favourite part of Passover - and the best way to use up any leftover matzos.
When do you serve Matzo Brei?
Usually, matzo brei is served during the week of Passover, when Jews cannot eat leavened bread or any other flour products (except matzo and matzo meal). Matzo Brei is often served as a breakfast or brunch dish, and it can be enjoyed sweet or savory, depending on the ingredients that are used.
It is a delicious and versatile comfort food dish that has become a cherished tradition among Jewish families around the world.
Nowadays, making fried matzo for my family is the easiest thing ever. With a batch of homemade matzos on the kitchen counter, making "one of the life's most perfect foods" on Passover morning takes minutes.
Prepared with a pinch of Dijon mustard, a little bit of milk, and lots of help from the world's tiniest cook, this matzo brei is always a huge success - and has everyone convinced that matzos are actually God's gift to the Jews (or to parents whose toddlers won't eat anything that doesn't come in a squeeze packet, apparently).
Passover is the perfect chance to dive into a plateful of matzo brei. Whether you have a Jewish grocery store around the corner, or if, like me, you were forced to make your own homemade matzos this year, finish off the holiday with a bang, and make yourself a skillet's worth of matzo brei. Your stale matzos will thank you.
What are Matzos?
Matzo, also spelled as matzoh, matza or matzah in Hebrew, is an unleavened flatbread that is traditionally eaten during the Jewish holiday of Passover. It is made from flour and water and must be baked within 18 minutes of the flour coming into contact with water to prevent it from rising. This symbolizes the haste in which the Jewish people fled from Egypt during the Exodus.
Matzo is one of the symbolic foods eaten during the Passover Seder. Matzo is often used in place of bread during the week of Passover and can be eaten plain, topped with spreads or used in various recipes. It is also a common food for Jewish people during other times of the year (my husband is addicted to matzo pizza - it's his favorite type of pizza dough!).
What Kind of Matzo Works Best for Matzo Brei?
Matzo Brei is made from leftover matzo, and it's a great use for all the broken little bits of matza that one finds at the bottom of the matzo package. The staler your matzos are, the better!
The type of matzo used in this dish can significantly impact its flavor and texture. Traditional matzo, which is made from just flour and water, is the most commonly used type of matzo in matzo brei.
However, egg matzo, which contains eggs in its dough, can also work well and add a richer flavor.
Ultimately, the choice of matzo depends on personal preference and availability. Experimenting with different types of matzo can help you discover which works best for your perfect matzo brei.
Can Matzo Brei be made Gluten Free?
If you are like me, and have a dietary restrictions that prevents you from eating gluten, gluten-free matzo is also an option. Although it is more brittle than traditional matzo, it works perfectly for matzo brei! Just don't soak it too long in the water or it can crumble.
What else can I make with matzo?
Though not known for its arresting flavor, the best thing about matzo is that it can be used to make a variety of dishes throughout the year.
One popular recipe is matzo ball soup, where the matzo is finely ground and mixed with eggs and other ingredients to form fluffy balls that are added to chicken soup (I love to make this with gluten free matzos).
Matzo can also be used as a substitute for bread in sandwiches, or turned into a crispy coating for fried foods (just grind it in the food processor briefly).
For a sweet treat, matzo can be used as a base for one of the best toffee treats I've ever had - matzo toffee. It can also be made into a dessert pizza topped with Nutella, fruit, or other toppings.
The possibilities with this versatile ingredient are endless and can add a unique twist to any recipe.
- matzo sheets - you can use store bought matzo crackers, homemade matzah, egg matzah or gluten free matzah.
- milk - you can use any regular or non-dairy milk you like, or even water
- Dijon mustard or paprika (optional) - this is optional to add more flavor to your fried matzo.
- Butter - you can also use Earth Balance or olive oil, for frying
- Thinly slivered onions, mushrooms, or thin ribbons of fresh spinach (optional)
See recipe cards for exact quantities.
How To Make Matzo Brei
Run matzo under a tap of running water for 30 seconds. Alternatively, fill a large bowl or casserole dish with cold water and submerge the matzo crackers in it for 20-30 seconds (if using gluten-free matzo, 20 seconds are enough).
Break matzo into small pieces
Break matzo into small pieces or about 1-2 inches. Transfer to a large bowl or casserole dish.
Make egg mixture
In a small bowl, beat eggs thoroughly. Add milk, salt and pepper, and mustard/ paprika (if using), and mix well to combine.
Pour the egg mixture on top of the pieces of matzo. Mix well to combine.
Cook matzo brei
Melt butter, Earth Balance, or olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
OPTIONAL: If using onions, mushrooms, or any other mix-ins, add them to the skillet first and fry for 10 minutes, until the sautéed onions change colour (if using spinach, do not add it yet).
Add matzo mixture to the pan, and mix well. Cook, stirring constantly, until the eggs are set, about 2-3 minutes (if using spinach, add along with egg mixture).
Serve matzo brei with your favorite toppings
Taste and correct seasonings, topping with more salt and pepper to taste.
Serve matzo brei with your favorite toppings, like sour cream or apple sauce.
Variations and add-Ins
I love making savory matzo brei with onions, mushrooms and spinach added in.
Matzo brei with caramelized onions and gouda is an amazing savory treat.
Some popular variations include:
What to Serve with Matzo Brei
Matzo brei, whether sweet or savory, is a delicious dish that is perfect for any occasion. When it comes to what to serve with matzo brei, the options are endless. Some of my favorites include:
Brei (rhymes with fry) is German for a mash, or semi-solid food. In Yiddish, brei means to fry. So Matzo Brei literally translates as, "Fried Matzah".
Absolutely! What makes matzo unkosher is if you soak it too long in water. In this case, matzo is soaked in water for 20-30 seconds, not enough time to break the 18-minutes rule.
The word “matzo” is pronounced “maht-zoh,” with the emphasis on the first syllable. The word “brei,” on the other hand, is pronounced “bry” like in “try,” with the stress on the second syllable. To say “matzo brei,” you should start by saying “maht-zoh,” then pause for a brief moment and say “bry.”
A basic matzo brei recipe made with two sheets of matzo, two eggs, and salt would have around 30-35 grams of carbohydrates. Adding sugar or other sweeteners would increase the carb count. Those following a low-carb or ketogenic diet may need to limit their portion sizes or choose alternative recipes with fewer carbs.
A serving size of matzo brei with one matzo and one egg, cooked in a tablespoon of butter, contains approximately 230 calories. However, this figure can increase to up to 400 calories per serving if larger portions, more eggs, or additional butter are used.
Matzo brei is a traditional Jewish dish that originated in Eastern Europe and has spread throughout the world.
Yes, you can freeze matzo brei! While it's best to eat matzo brei fresh, leftover portions can be frozen for later use. To freeze matzo brei, let it cool to room temperature and then transfer to an airtight container or freezer bag. Label with the date and freeze for up to three months. To reheat frozen matzo brei, heat it in a pan on the stove or in the microwave until warmed through. Frozen matzo brei may not be as crispy as freshly made, but it's still a delicious way to enjoy this classic dish.
Tried and loved this recipe? Please leave a 5-star review below! Your reviews mean a lot to me, so if you've got any questions, please let me know in a comment.
More Passover Recipes:
Classic matzo Brei
- 2 matzo sheets regular, gluten free or 2 large homemade matzah crackers
- 3 eggs
- 2 tablespoon milk
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard or 1 teaspoon paprika optional
- 2 tablespoons Butter you can also use Earth Balance or olive oil, for frying
- Thinly slivered onions, mushrooms, or thin ribbons of fresh spinach optional
- Run matzo under a tap of running water for 30 seconds. Alternatively, fill a large bowl or casserole dish with cold water and submerge the matzo crackers in it for 20-30 seconds (if using gluten-free matzo, 20 seconds are enough).
- Break matzo into small pieces or about 1-2 inches. Transfer to a large bowl or casserole dish.
- In a small bowl, beat eggs thoroughly. Add milk, salt and pepper, and mustard/ paprika (if using), and mix well to combine.
- Pour the egg mixture on top of the matzo pieces. Mix well to combine.
- Set a skillet to medium-high heat. Melt butter, Earth Balance, or olive oil.
- OPTIONAL: If using onions, mushrooms, or any other mix-ins, add them to the skillet first and fry for 10 minutes, until the onions change colour (if using spinach, do not add it yet).
- Add matzos and egg mixture to the pan, and mix well. Cook, stirring constantly, until the eggs are set, about 2-3 minutes (if using spinach, add along with egg mixture).
- Taste and correct seasonings, topping with more salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve matzo brei with your favorite toppings, like sour cream or apple sauce.