Albondigas Soup is made with beef and rice meatballs, carrots, potatoes, and zucchini in a rich tomato broth. Packed with flavor, this simple Albondigas Soup recipe will quickly become a family favorite.
If comfort food is your thing, you have to try this soup! It’s warm and satisfying and packed with flavor. Serve it as an appetizer course before another traditional Mexican dish like Chicken with Mole Sauce or Green Chile Chicken Tamales. Or serve it as the main dish with some Mexican Rice and Homemade Flour Tortillas on the side.
Mexican Meatball Soup
The first time I tried Albondigas Soup was at a little Mexican restaurant in Arizona, just north of the Mexican border. It was a little spicy, so flavorful, and was so rich and comforting. I fell in love.
Since then I have ordered it whenever I had the chance. Living in Southern California we’ve got some pretty spectacular Mexican food, but nothing has tasted the same as that first bowl. I decided I needed to learn how to make it at home, so I researched recipes and finally asked a friend how her Mexican-native family made it. This is her recipe for Mexican Meatball Soup (Albondigas).
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.
How to Make Albondigas Soup
There are two parts to this recipe – meatballs and broth.
Mexican Meatballs: The meatballs are formed from ground beef, raw rice, egg, onion, garlic, and spices, then simmered in the soup broth. 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.
Broth: The broth is made with chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, and zucchini. You can add minced cilantro to the soup if you like, and lime to brighten the flavor.
Albondigas Soup 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.
How do you keep albondigas 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 1/4 cup of raw rice, use 1/2 cup of cooked rice.
Make Ahead, Storage and Freezing
Make Ahead: You can make Albondigas 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.
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.
More Mexican Inspired Recipes
- Mexican Sopes Recipe
- Pozole Rojo with Chicken
- Carne Asada Fries
- How to Make Homemade Taquitos
- Best Guacamole Recipe
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup white onion finely diced
- ¼ cup long grain white rice
- 3 garlic cloves finely minced
- 2 teaspoons salt plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 48 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
- 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes undrained
- 3 large carrots peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 3-4 large russet potatoes about 1 pound, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 2 zucchini squash about 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.