Matzah is easily Passover’s most recognizable food, but every year, it seems to be the subject of criticism by people who aren’t thrilled about the prospect of eating it for a whole week. Fret not: It’s easy to transform your matzah into something you love!
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite recipes to transform matzah into foodie delicacies – plus a little bit of the history behind the food itself and a fun way to incorporate the quintessential Passover cracker into a meaningful holiday activity with your family.
Learn the History of Matzah
Our Jewish story tells us that the Israelites created matzah when they hurriedly left Egypt for the Promised Land and didn’t have time to leaven their bread. But the matzah we eat today is likely quite different from the unleavened bread the ancient Israelites consumed.
In this deep-dive into the history of matzah, cultural historian and author Jenna Weissman Joselit explains that ancient matzah was likely disc-shaped (the Torah even refers to “cakes” of matzah) and much rougher around the edges, literally, than the square-shaped crackers we’re so used to today. Those were only popularized in the 1800s.
Get Crafty with Matzah
A common Passover custom is to place matzah beneath a decorative cover before serving it to everyone at the seder table. Want personalize this custom and turn it into a fun, interactive experience for the whole family?
In an easy DIY, Reform Jewish educator Amy Damast teaches kids to create a Homemade Handkerchief Matzah Cover for a “zissen Pesach” (sweet Passover), and artist/teacher Micol Bayer shows how to make an easy-to-pack Matzah Holder that’s perfect for toting to a potluck-style seder.
Say the Blessing Over the Matzah
During the Passover seder, just after Motzi is recited, we say a specific blessing for matzah:
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav, v'tzivanu al achilat matzah.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, who hallows us with mitzvot, commanding us regarding the eating of Matzah.
Here’s the Hebrew text and an mp3 recording of the prayer.
Make Your Own Matzah, Matzah Balls, and More
Got flour, water, oil, salt, and a fork? That’s all you need to make your own matzah! Cookbook author Gabi Moskowitz walks you through the matzah-making process, just 18 minutes long.
And don’t forget about matzah balls, the perfect way to start or complement your seder meal. Matzah ball soup is easily one of the most recognizable Passover (and Jewish) dishes ever concocted.
Check out Matzah Ball Soup Central for a variety of tasty ways to turn your matzah into something spectacular, ranging from soup recipes to unique ways to use matzah balls.
Find Your New Favorite Matzah Recipe
Want to go beyond matzah balls? Here are just a few of our favorite matzah-based recipes, below, or browse all of our Passover recipes for a more complete look.
For matzah-based meals, consider:
- Matzah Brei: Tina Wasserman’s classic recipe is a tasty staple of matzah-based dishes, and it’s also easy to make with kids. Here’s a fabulous vegan alternative, too.
- Matzah Encrusted Portobello Mushrooms: This dish, created by venerated vegan chef Mark Reinfeld, is both healthy and sure to please.
- Passover Bagels: Who says you have to give up bagels during Passover? This fancy but easy-to-make dish is inspired by the classic pâte à choux dough for cream puffs.
- Matzah Spinach Pizza: This recipe was inspired by its creator’s memories of the Passover pizza from his college days, now a fun meal for the whole family.
- Mock Mac and Cheese: Mac and cheese is a universal comfort food. Now, you can enjoy it without the leavening.
You can even turn matzah into dessert! Try one of these:
- Bubele, Modern-Style: This recipe for South African matzah meal fritters is adapted for modern cooks who want to make an old-school dish with new-school flair.
- Key Lime Pie: Blogger and community developer Joan Hocky turned this year-round sweet-and-tart favorite into a kosher-for-Passover treat.
- Chocolate-Dipped Charoset Truffles: Noted Jewish chocolate expert Deborah R. Prinz shares her recipe for combining chocolate and charoset into one tasty confection.
- The Absolute, Hands Down, Best Passover Apple Cake: Rest assured, this recipe from the Sisterhood of Temple Beth Israel in Skokie, IL, lives up to its title and then some.
- Raspberry Squares: The sisterhood of Temple Isaiah in Lafayette, CA, came up with this tasty recipe that’s just as delicious with or without nuts.
Much as we love these matzah-based recipes, remember: Matzah isn’t the only Passover food! Check out all of our Passover recipes, and watch this video for 18 easy, Passover-friendly lunches the whole family will be sure to love.