5 Ingredients or Fewer

Brown Butter Matzo Brei

March  1, 2022
5 Ratings
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 2 minutes
  • Serves 1
Author Notes

To my grandmother, matzo brei isn’t just special-occasion food. It’s special, period, be it for breakfast or lunch or dinner, be it during Passover or many months past it, when matzo itself can be less than easy to find. She makes it all the time, “all the time!” she repeated. “It’s one of my favorite meals.” And me too.

Everyone in my family makes matzo brei differently, including me. My grandma prefers oil, my mom and I like butter. My grandma soaks her matzo, my mom and I rinse it under the faucet. My grandma and mom like a one-to-one matzo-to-egg ratio, while I prefer to double up on the latter, for something that blurs the line between pancake and omelet. I also favor whole-wheat matzo, for its malty nuttiness. And I brown the butter for the exact same reason. What seems like a subtle, simple step—one that requires no additional active time—makes all the difference. Many people top their matzo brei with salt and call it a day. And some sleepy mornings I do just that. But other mornings, I opt for maple syrup and cultured butter. Or a sunny egg and snipped chives. Or berry jam and sour cream. Or a squiggle of mayo and shimmy of hot sauce. Because it’s halfway between sweet and savory, matzo brei is the sort of blank canvas you can dress up with whatever you want. If you celebrate Passover, I’d love to know how you and your family make matzo brei—tell me all about it in the comments below. —Emma Laperruque

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Brown Butter Matzo Brei
  • 1 matzo, preferably whole-wheat
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  1. Rinse the matzo under cold running water for about 15 seconds per side until saturated. Using your hands, crumble it into a bowl. Add the eggs, salt, and 2 teaspoons of water. Beat with a fork until the eggs are smooth.
  2. Set a 10-inch (or similar) nonstick skillet over medium heat and heat the butter. Watch it closely—also a nice opportunity to stretch or focus on your breathing or drink a glass of water—until it just starts to turn golden brown and smells like toasting nuts. Pour in the matzo-egg mixture and spread as much as possible, encompassing all of the brown butter, then leave it in the shape of a big pancake. Cook for about 1 minute, until the top has only a few wet spots left and the bottom is golden, then flip with all the confidence in the world. Cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute, until bouncy to the touch. Slide onto a plate. Eat as is, or top with whatever the heck you want.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Karen Leibowitz
    Karen Leibowitz
  • Stephanie Banyas
    Stephanie Banyas
  • Laurie Heyman
    Laurie Heyman
  • KarenSiena
  • Marve Adler
    Marve Adler
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

25 Reviews

[email protected] April 10, 2023
Am I the only one who adds a little matzoh meal to the beaten eggs and then dip water soaked matzoh pieces in the egg mixture. Then fry in a mixture of vegetable oil and butter. I think the matzoh meal makes it a little crispier. My grandmother broke the matzoh into fairly large squares, but I break it into smaller pieces and cook it more like scrambled eggs. Season with salt and pepper, never anything sweet.
JLH April 10, 2023
I would try that other than the vegetable oil. I would stay away from that, pro-inflammatory vegetable seed oils are one of the top three causes of disease. Olive oil perhaps? Definitely not vegetable oil.
[email protected] April 10, 2023
I meant to say canola oil.
JLH April 10, 2023
Canola oil is one of the worst oils for you.

Most canola oil is chemically extracted using a solvent called hexane. Heat is applied which affects the stability of the molecules turning it rancid and destroying the omega-3 in it. As a result of this process trans fats can be created. Trans fats are a toxin, processed food manufacturers get around this by having less than 10% in their foods but that adds up. Staying away from trans fat and from foods high in omega-6 is important.

Vegetable fats have been marketed as a healthy alternative to saturated fat. Unfortunately nothing is further from the truth. Please get rid of the canola oil and any other vegetable seed oils. They are all high in Omega 6 and our diet is too high in omega-6 and very low in omega-3s.

Use olive oil, avocado oil in moderation for high heat cooking, ghee, butter and if it doesn't bother you, animal fats.

It's beyond the scope of this comment to go into more detail and there will no doubt be push back from people who believe that vegetable oils are healthy.

I wish you a happy Passover!

Hag Sameach!
[email protected] April 8, 2023
Great comments you left at the end. I love the debate on how best to prepare. I am like your grandmother, I soak and I use 1:1. I actually use olive with melted salted butter that browns quickly. To me, MB is a savory dish. One twist I love is to add everything bagel seasoning generously into the mix. Another trick I learned is to let it sit for an extended period and let the matzah absorb the egg. It cooks up even crispier. Smaller pancakes also are crispier than one larger one. This has been a go to meal since I left home for college decades ago. I still make probably twice a week. I agree it’s a blank slate and would be a perfect food truck business where you could customize the toppings! Introduce an old food to the world! We were in Israel for Passover a few years ago and had MB as a pizza crust and it was amazing. Maybe the best and most versatile food ever invented. Thanks for posting your version!
Marlene March 23, 2022
Growing up my Dad made the brie. The end result was individual flakes of brie. I've never been able to match his outcome.; my brother comes close. As for flavor, out cooking fat was chicken schmaltz, homemede, very oniony. Topping was a little sugar (for me), salt and pepper.
Roberta B. April 2, 2021
I just made the recipe exactly as written and it was just perfect. I particularly appreciate its more pleasing appearance than your typical matzoh brei, which tends to look sloppy. You "messed around" with the tradition and turned it into something that looks far more appetizing on the plate. Thanks, Emma!
Emma L. April 2, 2021
So glad you enjoyed, thanks Roberta!
Josephsm March 19, 2021
Dice up some onion and soften it in butter and a little kosher salt in a 10" or (better) 12" nonstick or cast iron pan over medium heat. Crack 3 eggs in a large bowl and stir with a fork. Hold 3 sheets of matzoh under the faucet and get the matzoh wet but not particularly saturated. Crumble the matzoh into large pieces into the bowl and use the fork to get every piece covered with some egg. Dump the bowl of wet matzoh on top of the onion in the skillet and spread out. Here's the key: grind a LOT of pepper on this and also add a bit more kosher salt. Cook until no more wet spots remain, flipping the pieces as needed and try for distinct pieces, not a pancake. Add more pepper and enjoy. And don't even think about adulterating this culinary goodness with anything sweet. Bacon on the side, sure, don't tell Bubbie.
Karen L. March 19, 2021
I break up the matzo into a colander and run hot tap water over it until the matzo is softened. In the meantime, I heat butter and olive oil in a pan. Then I put the matzo into the pan and let all the pieces crisp up (I don't see that anyone else does this before adding the eggs). In the meantime, I beat the eggs in a bowl, adding kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, vanilla and a little cinnamon. Once the matzo is crispy, I add the egg and do a scramble method until the egg is all cooked and there are some crispy bits. I top it with maple syrup.

That said, I'm definitely on board for the browned butter and will try this pancake method. Thanks for sharing!
w226MLW March 22, 2022
I also crisp up the matzah before I add the egg. But I also caramelize lots of onions with the matzah and then the eggs.
JLH March 18, 2021
These recipes are odd. Here is the recipe for classic matza brie. Run the matza under the tap, shake the excess water off and wrap in a tea towel. You don't want to soak or oversaturate it or you get mush.

Let the matza sit wrapped in the towel for 2-3 minutes, about the amount of time you'd need to get a bowl and the eggs, beat them and start melting butter in a pan.

For two people I'd use four matzas, three eggs and about 2-2.5 tablespoons of butter. Break the matza into pieces as you add it to the eggs and add salt. Cover the pan until the matza starts to brown on the bottom then break it up and continue cooking until you have brown bits and lighter parts and it's cooked to your liking.

Serve with sour cream.

I guess I'd try some of these other recipes but I don't think I'd call it matza brie. One person suggested bacon and that seems very wrong!
andrew57jm March 25, 2021
When a post is titled”Matzo Brei is Meant to be Messed With” I’m expecting odd, not classic. I’ve been making it your classic way for 50 years, and it’s a classic, but this looks interesting, no?
Bacon? As a wise person once told me “Bacon is not Pork.”
LinK29 March 23, 2022
I don't know - "classic" according to who? What's classic is however one's family has been making it from generation to generation. What's classic to me is that matza or matzo or matzah or matzoh brie (it's all the same once it's on the plate, right?) is made with matza, eggs, butter and water. It's like the old saying that if you get like - what - three Jews in a room, you'll get four different opinions? The most important thing is that it tastes good!
JLH April 10, 2023
That is a borderline anti-Semitic stereotype. Three Jews in a room, four different opinions? What would make you say something like that? Let's perpetuate anti-semitic memes!

Let's not. I'm fairly sure you could have found a way to say that without unearthing that tired old saw.
TerryGoldin March 18, 2021
i suggest adding crumbled cooked bacon as the matzo brei is cooking top with maple sugar.
JLH March 18, 2021
Bacon? to matza brei? That sounds so very wrong. Matza brie (that's the way it's pronounced, not "matzo") is Jewish comfort bunch food for Passover. Adding pork to it is just wrong. It might taste okay, I guess but no, never.
Stephanie B. March 16, 2021
Maple syrup and butter! Looks fab. Love your demos!
salena March 16, 2021
This is what I do, albeit with regular matza. What could be better? Figured it out when my butter went just a tad beyond melted. Again, what could be better?
Laurie H. March 16, 2021
We love left over Matzoh Brie, so 1 box of Matzoh, crack into medium size pieces. Don't worry about size, and put into a colander. Pour boiling water over them, and let them sit for about 5 minutes while you crack about 5-6 eggs into a large bowl and whisk them with 1-2 tbls vanilla extract, some salt and pepper to taste. Pour soaked matzoh into bowl with eggs, mix gently, let sit about 10 minutes or so until the matzoh has absorbed most of the egg. Melt butter in pan, pour in matzoh and cook. The matzoh will be in pieces, this is not a matzoh egg pie. The goal is to get as many crispy brown pieces as possible. Cook, turn as needed. Serve with powdered sugar, jam, peanut butter and jelly, or my personal favorite, Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt.
KarenSiena March 16, 2021
You made the skillet flip look so easy!
Marve A. March 16, 2021
Blueberry Syrup!
Ann W. March 16, 2021
This is my Mother's recipe and she was always making it for 6 people and would use a whole box of matzoh! I don't think I've ever made this with just one piece of matzoh!

I always seem to be making it for at least 2-3 people on a late morning weekend.

I use half a box of matzoh, which is around 6 pieces (thin salted tea matzoh is my go to). I use an old electric Presto frying pan and turn the heat to the highest setting (400). I add a stick of butter, and a splash of vegetable oil to keep the butter from burning.

I break up the matzoh into a large bowl, in big irregular pieces, cover with hot tap water and let it sit, while I beat up 3-4 large eggs with some salt and a splash of water to thin it out ever so slightly.

I drain the matzoh by just putting my hand over it and pressing down a bit to get out the excess moisture. Add the eggs and mix gently as I don't want it to become mealy or more broken down. I flop into it into the hot, sizzling by this time, pan and COVER IT!

I don't touch it for at least 5 minutes, lift the cover off, lift a corner of the brei and see if it's become nice and almost dark golden crispy. Because the pan is full, making this amount, I flip it over in chunks, but only when it is very cooked on the bottom and use the spatula to make slices in the chunks to let the steam out.

During the cooking, taste test for needing salt and salt till it's how you like it. Being careful not to oversalt it. Unsalted matzoh will need more.

I still keep it covered and keep cooking for another five or so minutes. Each time I toss the brei, little by little you get smaller clumps of it (I guess you would call this scramble style) and since it is one egg to two pieces of matzoh, it's less eggy and more like french toasted matzoh.

I keep it covered the whole time I cook it till near the end, I'll uncover it and let it get really browned.

Add a little more butter here and there, letting it melt down into the scramble and tossing it around till all of the clumps have become golden brown nuggets of matzoh brei with crispy edges. This takes about 30 minutes in total.

We serve ours with salt and maple syrup!

P.S. When I have a yen, I will try this one piece method, but the non-eggy version!
susielou March 16, 2021
Matzo brei is good, no matter how it's made. Here's my take on it: Melt butter, add about 1/2 c. chopped onions, and cook over low heat until golden. Then add the matzo, eggs, and salt. Cook till lightly browned on both sides. Serve with raspberry jam. Lots of it!
Arrxx March 16, 2021
Agree! Shallots work too!