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.


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 132 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



  • 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


  • 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


  • 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.


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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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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I love Albondigas – when my Grandma would take me to Olvera Street as a little kid, it was always my favorite thing to order! I love this recipe so much – tastes just like I used to get there!

  2. This soup looks perfect for fall and winter! I love hearty soups, especially ones with Mexican flavors. I’ll have to try it out!

  3. 5 stars
    Absolutely amazing. I went a little heavier on thE cumin for taste. Doubled the ingredients everywhere else to yield a big pot n leftovers. Also Went with baby carrots and red potatos. This recipe was a big hit with the family. Thank you

  4. 5 stars

    *Not sure why this won’t let me post not in all caps? I am not yelling…LOL!

  5. 4 stars
    This is a good MEATBALL-TOMATOE SOUP; everyone in our home liked it, but it’s not Abondigas. Abondigas doesn’t taste anything like this.

    I thought a little heavy on cumin overall, but actually really Liked the meatballs.

  6. Sounds wonderful! I don’t like the taste of cilantro…can I leave it out and not ruin the taste of soup?

  7. 5 stars
    This recipe was easy to follow and I doubled ingredients for leftovers.
    Absolutely delicious, added lemon to soup after serving in bowl.

  8. 5 stars
    Love love love! Super easy to follow and make this coming from a person that always buRns food and doesnt cook much so you know its super easy to do. I used my crockpot and didnt use rice as i had none. Super DELICIOUS Just like my mom Use to make it!

  9. Hi i would like to use frozen fully cooked meatballs, what size of bag would i need and how many hours in the crockpot on low

    1. Yes, you could. My recipe made about 24 meatballs, so that’s about half a bag. The count is usually on the bag. It would be low for about 4 hrs.

  10. I am excited to try this as I have only had it only (several times) at one restaurant way across the country and I’m addicted to it. I do find it odd that onion is excluded from the recipe. I also want to add that when I had this at El Tepeyac in LA, it was served with Mexican rice, so consider that option.

  11. 5 stars
    Just wanted to say that I tried the albondigas,so good! Really enjoyed the flavor and I can’t remember the last time I had some.what I liked about the recipe was I already had most of the ingredients. Very GOOD. I think I will make it again around Thanksgiving right now after all it is soup season.

  12. Hi ,I sent you a question earlier i have another question, would zucchini work in this too? we love onion and zucchini in this type of soup!

    1. Any kind of potato would work..I think I used a russet potato & yes, zucchini would be great! Hope you like it!

  13. 5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe over 5 times and I am making it again tonight. Soooo good! I always double the recipe since we love it so much. I omit the cilantro just because i am not a fan (tastes soapy to me) but no one ever complains 🙂 Let’s hope i can impress my husband’s grandparents who are coming over for dinner tonight. THank you for the great recipe!

  14. 5 stars
    I love this Recipe, my family is always excited when i make it. I have only change a couple of things.

    Thank you,

    Katherine Espinosa

  15. 5 stars
    love this recipe, i used pork & beef (cleaning out my frIdge) and it tastes great. Also added zucc towards the end of cooking. Will kerp this in rota.

  16. 5 stars
    Ive made many different variations of albindigas, but this one is ghe best by far! I only made Two changes; i used mexican fLavored tomAtoes and i added fresh corn on the cob. It was somgood, the next time i tripled the recipe but alas, it was still gone in a day (that’s how good this is!)

  17. Hello, I’m going to try this recipe this weekend for my family and some guests. How many servings does the regular recipe serve?

  18. Why precook the rice? Doesn’t the rice cook while it’s cooking in the soup anyway? Just curious if there’s another reason.

  19. 5 stars
    This is my favorite recipe, it’s a hit every single time. I I alway’s add some different spices, just to give it a little kick.

  20. 4 stars
    We liked the flavor but it definitely need more broth. Is the recipe correct with just 4 cups of chicken broth? How would you adapt recipe to accommodate more liquid?

  21. Perfection! I like to do my meatballs in the oven, rather than frying them. 400° for about 10 to 12 minutes is fine. To kick it up a bit, I sometimes add 1 minced chipotle chile with a tablespoon or so of the adobo to the meat mixture. Also, I combine the meat mixture in my Kitchenaid stand mixer – so easy! Thanks for posting such a great recipe!

  22. 5 stars
    I followed this recipe, but tweaked it. I really love a rich broth, so I used more chicken broth. I also added a can of “baby roma’s” sweet and rich. I also added celery seed. I don’t like rice in the meatball.
    OH! In the meatball mixture, I added chorizo, 2 eggs, a little bread crumbs to hold the meatballs together.

  23. 5 stars
    My aunt always made an amazing albondigas soup that I loved. This recipe was not like hers but came close enough. I added a knorr cube and some chipotle adobo. TY

  24. 5 stars
    I added chorizo to the meatball mix, other than that I followed the directions to a tee. The soup is absolutely delicious. Thanks, for the great recipe. This was my first time & I was very pleased.

  25. 5 stars
    Great recipe, thanks for sharing!! It’s very similar to how my mom makes it, but she never uses measurements so it’s nice to have this recipe as a guide 😊👍🏻

  26. 5 stars
    I made this soup today and it’s so good. My picky eater loves it. I used 64 ounces of chicken broth and added, as other commenter did, fresh corn and used Mexican canned tomatoes. I also added zucchini. This will be in my meal rotation as the weather is getting more cool. Thank you. Glad I found your site!

  27. I have a question. I just downloaded your recipe for Albondigas Soup and notice that it says add the potatoes at the same time as the meatballs. The recipe doesn’t mention potatoes. How many do you recommend. I’m looking forward to trying the recipe.

    1. The potato should be listed there under the soup ingredients, but we just recommend using 1. You could add more if you love potatoes, but with all the other veggies in the soup, we’ve found 1 to be great!

  28. 5 stars
    Very tasty! I added potatoes, onion, zucchini and 2 extra cups of broth in it as well and I’m so glad I did. I omitted the cilantro. It was so good! I’m making it for Halloween but I’m going to purée the tomatoes next time and only use half the oregano this re iOS called for. Overall it was very very good. My husband absolutely loves it.

    1. The video is embedded in the post a little ways down. If you scroll just past the heading “Mexican Albondigas Soup”, it should show up there in the post.

  29. 5 stars
    This is my favorite starting point. I added poblano chilies finely chopped and twice the chopped garlic to the hamburger and I added 1 half a roll of rosemary sausage and I added some finely chopped cilantro as well. I did not use tomatoes or cumin. I did add red onion as well. I generally quick pot a bunch of chicken before I make this so that I’m starting with fresh broth. My total volume is around 12 ounces of fluid. I add 4 cups of store bought chicken broth to the pot along with stringed red ions and poblano. Perfect.. Grandma would love it😎

    1. Yum! Thanks for sharing what you did. So glad you enjoyed the soup. I’m sure Grandma would love it!! 🙂

  30. 5 stars
    I love this recipe. My mom who used to make this when I was little loves it too. I put my own spin and add a little bit of spicy sausage to the meatballs because I like the flavor. Thank you!

  31. 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,

  32. 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.

  33. 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?

  34. 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.

  35. Chicken broth. That’s so weird! I want a meaty flavor not chickeny.
    I use beef broth and way more carrots and potatoes. And no rice in the broth.
    Very different. I suppose good , just not authentic.