Albondigas

Albondigas is a delicious Mexican soup filled with meatballs, vegetables, and spices! It’s easy, flavorful, and sure to be a favorite. 

Enjoy it with Warm Flour Tortillas or Tacos, but be prepared to fall in love with this simple Albondigas soup recipe. It’s a soup recipe handed down for decades and is so delicious.

Albondigas Soup served in a blue bowl.

Mexican Albondigas Soup

Albondigas soup is known as Caldo de Albóndigas but its origin goes back to Spain and has some Arabic influences. The word albondiga translates to meatball, which is the star of this soup. 

This traditional Mexican meatball soup has a flavorful broth base and is filled with tomatoes, veggies, and homemade meatballs. It occasionally has rice in it too!

This recipe was recreated based on the soup my Great-Grandma would make, and we finally nailed it! It’s flavorful and hearty, just like my Grandma’s!

All of the flavors of this soup are SO delicious and simple. It’s a perfect main dish or side to your favorite Mexican spread.

Albondigas ingredients in bowl for making meatballs

How to Make Albondigas Soup

I always start by making the meatballs. You could use frozen or pre-made meatballs, but these are really simple to make and taste so good!

I promise homemade meatballs are the way to go when making Albóndigas soup.

MEATBALLS. Combine all ingredients together thoroughly. Form 20-24 tight meatballs by rolling the mixture between your palms (we made ours about 1½ inches wide). Brown on all sides in a hot pan with olive oil for a few minutes. Set aside.

BROTH. In a large pot, combine chicken broth, carrots, celery, tomatoes, cumin, oregano, and cilantro leaves. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a mild. Simmer for 10 minutes.

COMBINE + SERVE. Drop meatballs and potatoes in the soup and slightly boil so that the meatballs cook quickly. Return to simmer and cook another 20 minutes. Salt and Pepper to taste. Enjoy warm.

Add rice to the soup. Add as much as you like to the soup, cooking it for the last 20 minutes of simmering.

Make in a crock pot

COOK. Add all of your ingredients (except for your cilantro) to your slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 4 hours.

GARNISH + SERVE. Add cilantro at the very end and salt and pepper if needed.

How to make albondigas in skillet

Meatball Tips

  • Use a cookie scoop to make all the ground beef meatballs the same size.
  • Instead of breadcrumbs, use uncooked instant white rice, crushed crackers, crushed cornflakes, or rolled oats. 
  • Adding too many bread crumbs, or too few, can cause the meatballs to fall apart.
  • For the most tender and flavorful meatballs, stick with fattier meats. The most popular meat choice is ground beef (80/20 or 70/30). Meatballs made using lean ground beef tend to fall apart easier.
  • Use only ground pork or a combination of pork and beef.
  • Use 4-6 fresh garlic cloves to make 2 teaspoons of minced garlic.
Mexican Albondigas Soup cooking a large pot.

Soup Tips

  • Fresh herbs can be substituted for dry herbs and vice versa. 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs equals 1 teaspoon of dry herbs. 
  • Add extra flavor with chopped onions and diced zucchini.
  • Top the soup with a dollop of sour cream and sliced avocados. 
  • Garnish bowls with lime wedges which you can squeeze to add lime juice to each bowl. 
  • Add heat to the soup using hot sauce, sliced jalapeños, or red chili flakes.
  • Thicken with tomato sauce or tomato paste.
  • Use stock in place of broth.

storing info + SERVING SUGGESTIONS

STORE. Let cool, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

FREEZE in containers or double bagged in freezer bags.

To reheat, let thaw in the fridge overnight and return to the stove. Cook until heated through. You can microwave it as well.

Here are some recipes we love to have with albondigas.

The smell of this Mexican Albondigas soup is so yummy. Your family will be begging for second and third helpings! Let us know if you try Grandma’s recipe, and we hope you love it as much as we do.

Albondigas Soup Recipe served in a blue bowl.

More Soup Recipes:

Albondigas Recipe

4.98 from 113 votes
Albondigas is a delicious Mexican soup filled with meatballs, vegetables, and spices! It's easy, flavorful, and sure to be a favorite. 
Course Soup
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 273 kcal
Author Lil’ Luna

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice optional
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Soup

  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 carrot sliced
  • 1 celery stalk cut into chunks
  • 1 (16oz) can diced tomatoes undrained
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 potato diced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Meatballs: Combine all ingredients together thoroughly. Form 20-24 tight meatballs by rolling between your palms (we made ours about 1 ½ inches wide). Brown on all sides in a hot pan with olive oil for a few minutes. Set aside.
  • In a large pot, combine chicken broth, carrots, celery, tomatoes, cumin, oregano, and cilantro leaves.
  • Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a mild simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Drop meatballs and potatoes in the soup and slightly boil so that the meatballs cook quickly. Return to simmer and cook another 20 minutes. Salt and Pepper to taste. Enjoy warm.

Video

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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Comments:

  1. 5 stars
    Delicious—as a quick sub I used ptrmade frozen mearballs. My husband doesn’t like spicy foods or hot foods so the spices in this soup are perfect. Greatt for fall days–could serve with Mexican cornbread or tortillas,

  2. 5 stars
    I made the soup a few months ago. I had misplaced the recipe I usually make. Well, not only does my family love Lil Luna’s albondigas soup but I have shared the recipe with friends and other family and they love it too! Your recipes always give my food a new delicous flavor to food I have always made. Thank you.

  3. Under meatball tips, it says:

    Instead of breadcrumbs, use uncooked instant white rice, crushed crackers, crushed cornflakes, or rolled oats.
    Adding too many bread crumbs, or too few, can cause the meatballs to fall apart.

    But there are no breadcrumbs in the recipe. What am I missing?

  4. 4 stars
    I like the idea of mixing cilantro into the meatballs but I wouldn’t cook the rest of the cilantro until just turning off the soup. The reason is, cilantro cooks away almost instantly and you won’t even know it’s there if you cook it but I’m thinking maybe the cilantro that’s in the meatballs would stay in the meatballs. I have 2 albondigas redcipes that are pretty much my own compiled from studying other people’s recipes and I don’t put cilantro in the meatballs. I’ll try that and see how it goes. Cilantro is my favorite herb and I find it difficult to put it into a recipe without it disappearing.

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