Albondigas Soup is made with beef and rice meatballs, carrots, potatoes, and zucchini in a rich tomato broth. Packed with flavor, this simple Mexican Meatball Soup recipe will quickly become a family favorite.
Albondigas Soup is a flavorful Mexican meatball soup, that is both satisfying and comforting. It’s full of thick, juicy meatballs, potatoes, vegetables and Mexican spices in a rich tomato broth.
The Albondigas Soup recipe is similar to an Italian Wedding Soup, where the meatballs and broth are cooked together to make the meat super tender and for the best flavor. The potatoes are starchy and thicken the soup just slightly, while the veggies add bulk.
Ingredients for the Meatballs
Lean ground beef – You don’t want a lot of grease seeping into your soup, so stick with the leaner 90% ground beef.
Egg – to moisten and help hold the meatballs together.
White onion – Finely chopped. You can substitute yellow or red onion.
Long grain white rice – This acts as the binder (similar to breadcrumbs in Italian meatballs), and it cooks within the meatball.
Garlic cloves – 2 or 3, finely minced.
Salt – Needed for flavor. Ground beef need to be properly seasoned.
Spices and herbs– ground cumin, garlic powder, black pepper, dried oregano
Optional – freshly chopped cilantro and lime wedges
How to Make Albondigas Soup
There are two parts to this recipe – meatballs and broth.
The meatballs are formed from ground beef, raw rice, egg, onion, garlic, and spices, then simmered in the soup broth over medium heat for about 30 minutes. Feel free to add fresh herbs if you have them on hand.
The rice is added raw and will cook with the meatballs as they are simmered.
You can make the meatballs large or small, but they are traditionally fairly large. Aim to make similarly sized meatballs for even cooking.
The broth is made with chicken broth or beef broth, crushed tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, and zucchini. You can add minced cilantro to the soup if you like, and lime to brighten the flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you keep the meatballs from falling apart?
If you are worried about your meatballs falling apart, using cooked rice will help. As the raw rice cooks, it expands, which can cause the meatballs to break apart. It doesn’t happen to me all the time, but it has happened. Instead of ¼ cup of raw rice, use ½ cup of cooked rice.
What is Albondigas Soup Made of?
This soup has tender meatballs made with ground beef, rice, onions, garlic, an egg, cumin, and oregano. The broth is simple and made with chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, and zucchini. Sometimes carrots or celery are added, and occasionally you’ll find some jalapeno added for heat. Cilantro or lime juice are usually added at the end.
Can you make Albondigas Soup in the Slow Cooker?
You can! Just add all of the ingredients to your crockpot and cook on low for 4 hours. Taste and add salt and pepper at the end.
This hearty soup can be served in smaller portions as a starter or appetizer. Or, you can serve it as a complete meat with flour or corn tortillas on the side.
This soup is actually quite beautiful on it’s own, with the rich broth and colorful veggies. To dress up the soup before serving, sprinkle on some chopped cilantro or parsley.
Using a different meat. You can use basically any ground meat – ground turkey, ground pork veal, chicken etc.
Make it spicy. Add a slice jalapeno to the broth or some red chile flakes or a pinch of cayenne pepper.
Store bought meatballs? I don’t recommend store bought meatballs. This recipe is all about fresh, homemade meatballs and you just won’t get the same flavor with store bought, frozen meatballs. It will just be plain meatball soup, which i fine, but it won’t have the traditional Mexican flavors and spices.
Make Ahead, Storage and Freezing
Make Ahead: You can make this soup a couple of days in advance, and store it, tightly covered (or even in the soup pot), in the refrigerator. To serve, bring to a simmer on the stovetop until everything is warmed through.
Storage: Cool soup completely, then store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheating on the stovetop is recommended, but you can also use the microwave.
Freezing: Cool completely, then store in airtight, freezer-safe containers or freezer bags for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, then reheat on the stovetop (recommended) or in the microwave.
Combine the meat mixture with your hands, to avoid overmixing.
Squeeze some fresh lime into your bowl for a burst of freshness.
Feel free to adapt this recipe, using fresh herbs, different veggies like green beans or use tomato sauce instead of the crushed tomatoes.
3large carrotspeeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
3-4large russet potatoesabout 1 pound, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
2zucchini squashabout 12 ounces once chopped, cut into 1-inch pieces
Optional: freshly chopped cilantro and lime wedges
Add the ground beef, egg, onion, rice, garlic, salt, cumin, garlic powder, pepper, and oregano to a large bowl and stir by hand or with a spoon just until combined.
Form 2-inch balls from the mixture and set the balls on a plate for later.
Add the chicken broth and crushed tomatoes to a large soup pot or Dutch oven and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat.
Gently add the meatballs to the broth and let them cook for 10 minutes then add the carrots, potatoes and zucchini to the pot and let them boil for another 5 minutes then reduce the heat to medium-low.
Add 2-3 more cups of water if needed and let it simmer for 10-15 more minutes, or until the vegetables are fork tender.
Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes before serving with freshly chopped cilantro and lime wedges.
Make Ahead: You can make this soup a couple of days in advance, and store it, tightly covered (or even in the soup pot), in the refrigerator. To serve, bring to a simmer on the stovetop until everything is warmed through.Storage: Cool soup completely, then store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheating on the stovetop is recommended, but you can also use the microwave.Freezing: Cool completely, then store in airtight, freezer-safe containers or freezer bags for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, then reheat on the stovetop (recommended) or in the microwave.
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Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.