Stories / Awards, Recipes

How to Make New York City's Most Iconic Soup

JBF Editors

November 01, 2016


It’s practically illegal to walk into the 2nd Avenue Deli and not order the chicken soup with matzoh balls. The deeply flavored chicken broth and fluffy, perfectly round matzoh balls are as good, if not better, than any your bubbe has ever made.

The secret? The JBF America's Classics Award–winning restaurant uses a pound of chicken parts plus a whole chicken to make its golden broth. The recipe also calls for dropping a trussed-up bunch of dill into the soup for a minute before serving, which infuses the soup with just the right amount of the herb’s aromatic essence. The matzoh balls, a favorite of chefs around the city, are light yet infused with the rich flavor of schmaltz, or rendered chicken fat.

One of the last remaining certified-kosher delicatessens in New York City, the 2nd Avenue Deli has been a mecca for matzoh ball soup and corned beef lovers since it opened in 1954, in the heart of what used to be the Yiddish Theater District. Make it at home.


Our America's Classics cookbook, James Beard’s All-American Eats: Recipes and Stories from Our Best-Loved Local Restaurants, makes the perfect gift.​ Order a copy today!