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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.

Great-Grandma’s Mexican soup

This Albondigas recipe was recreated based on the soup my Great-Grandma would make, and we finally nailed it! We love it because:

  • Yummy + Hearty. Just like grandma made it but it’s so delicious and so hearty with all of the meatball and soup ingredients.
  • Easy to Customize. This recipe is easy to change up based on the ingredients you love most, especially the spices and vegetables.
  • Perfect with so many dishes. We love to have this soup with so many recipes, including our: Chicken Tacos, Flour Tortillas, Chips + Salsa

What is Albondigas?

Albondigas soup is also known as Caldo de Albóndigas but its origin goes back to Spain and has some Arabic influences. The Spanish 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 and sometimes rice.

Meat and rice ingredients in bowl for making meatballs.

Albondigas Ingredients

  • Ground beef – 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.
    • You can substitute half of the ground beef with pork sausage. You can also use ground pork, ground chicken, or ground turkey.
  • Egg
  • Minced Garlic
  • Spices – Cilantro, ground cumin, salt, black pepper – Fresh herbs can be substituted for dry herbs and vice versa; 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs equals 1 teaspoon of dry herbs. 
  • Rice – It’s added to the meatballs and acts as a binder to help them hold together.
  • Olive oil

Soup Ingredients

  • Chicken Broth – Use stock in place of broth. You can also use beef broth in place of the chicken broth.
  • Veggies: carrot, celery, diced tomatoes, potato
  • Spices: ground cumin, oregano, cilantro, salt and pepper
Homemade meatballs for Albondigas recipe.

How to Make Albondigas

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!

  1. MEATBALLS. Combine all ingredients together thoroughly. Form 20-24 tight meatballs by rolling 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.
    • Over-mixing the meat mixture and over-cooking the meatballs can cause them to fall apart. Browning also helps keep the meatballs from falling apart.
  2. VEGGIES. In a large pot, combine chicken broth, carrots, celery, tomatoes, cumin, oregano, and cilantro leaves.
  3. HEAT. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a mild simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. 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 topped with some fresh parsley (if desired).

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 homemade albondigas process image.

Recipe Tips

Since they are the star of this albondigas soup recipe, it’s important to get the meatballs just right. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Meat. Use a cookie scoop to make all the ground beef meatballs the same size.
  • Garlic. Use 4-6 fresh garlic cloves to make 2 teaspoons of minced garlic.
  • Add extra flavor with chopped onions and diced zucchini. Top the soup with a dollop of sour cream and sliced avocados. 
    • Traditional albondigas soup has fresh mint, feel free to add it if you wish.
  • Garnish bowls with lime wedges which you can squeeze to add lime juice to each bowl. 
  • Add heat to the soup using hot sauce, chili powder, sliced jalapeños, or red chili flakes.
  • Thicken with tomato sauce or tomato paste, or by adding white rice.
  • Use stock in place of broth. You can also use beef broth in place of the chicken broth.
Veggies and meatballs in a broth cooking in a pot.

Storing + Serving Soup

  • STORE. Let cool, and store Caldo de Albondigas 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.

For more Mexican Soups:

5 from 346 votes

Albondigas Recipe

By: Lil’ Luna
Albondigas is a delicious Mexican soup filled with meatballs, vegetables, and spices! It's easy, flavorful, and sure to be a favorite. 
Servings: 6
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 50 minutes

Ingredients 

Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup cooked rice optional
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Soup

  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • ½ carrot sliced
  • 1 celery stalk cut into chunks
  • 1 (16-ounce) can diced tomatoes undrained
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ 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 1½ 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

Notes

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.

Nutrition

Calories: 273kcal, Carbohydrates: 11g, Protein: 18g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 80mg, Sodium: 317mg, Potassium: 549mg, Fiber: 1g, Vitamin A: 1100IU, Vitamin C: 5.5mg, Calcium: 46mg, Iron: 3.5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Making this recipe? Tag us!
Share it with us on Instagram using the hashtag #lilluna, so we can see what you’re creating in the kitchen!

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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Recipe Rating




168 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This soup is simple, yet very flavorful! It’s easy to make and doesn’t take long. Those are very important in my life right now. We love this soup! I like to double, or even triple the amount of celery and carrots I put in it though. After I make it, I always remember that I want to try adding zucchini in it as well. I think that would be wonderful!

  2. 5 stars
    This soup is so good. I brought some to my son and he said he thought he was going to have leftovers but it was so good he slurped it all up. That’s a good complement.

  3. 5 stars
    This soup was easy to make and was very yummy! The only thing I did differently was to add an extra pinch of cumin to both the meatballs and the soup. Everyone loved it and wanted seconds! I will definitely make it again and will double the recipe.

  4. 5 stars
    Love your recipe and ours came out absolutely delicious. Thank you ! Great for a cold day here in Orange County, California.