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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.

Some of our other favorite Mexican soups include Caldo de Pollo (Mexican Chicken Soup), Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup and Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Soup.

bowl of albondigas soup, spoons, limes

If comfort food is your thing, you have to try this Albondigas 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.

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What is Albondigas Soup?

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.

white bowl, spoon, meatballs, broth, blue napkin

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

Ingredients For the Soup

  • Low-sodium chicken broth I always choose low sodium so I can have better control of the salt content.
  • Vegetables – Crushed tomatoes, carrots, russet potatoes, zucchini.
  • Optional – freshly chopped cilantro and lime wedges

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 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.
collage of three images showing how to make meatballs

The Broth

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.

albondigas soup in a white pot

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.

Serving Suggestions

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.

white soup pot, ladle, blue napkin, cilantro, limes, albondigas soup

Helpful Tips

  • 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.
  • To add heat, toss in some sliced jalapenos.
pot of mexican meatball soup, spoons, white bowls, limes

More Mexican Inspired Recipes


Albondigas Soup

4.65 from 318 votes
Albondigas Soup is a traditional Mexican Meatball Soup made with beef & rice meatballs, potatoes and zucchini in a rich tomato broth.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 servings


Albondigas (Meatballs)

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup white onion finely diced
  • ¼ cup long grain white rice uncooked
  • 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.


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.


Calories: 320kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 27gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 1031mgPotassium: 1437mgFiber: 5gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 5427IUVitamin C: 28mgCalcium: 94mgIron: 5mg
Keyword albondigas soup, mexican meatball soup

Kristin Maxwell

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.

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    1. Hi Christina, You can use milk or ricotta cheese. The egg adds liquid which helps to create a binding. Please keep in mind that the result may vary if you don’t follow the recipe exactly. But milk or ricotta should work well.

  1. I really liked this soup. The only thing I changed was to add a little beef broth. Next time I make it, I will cut back on the amount of cumin. Thanks for the recipe.

  2. I am so inspired to try this recipe. I have never eaten this soup before so I will be making it, At first I was wondering if the meatballs would cook through in this method but after reading the instruction I believe I will make small meatballs and cook long enough, and the tip to cook the rice before adding also makes sense! I will make a large enough batch to freeze a coupe of portions for those days when I just don’t have the time to whip up a nice meal.I do that ofter with other soup and it is such a great idea.

  3. I had to write a review while am eating and enjoying it!. This recipe is so simple and it came out delicious!!!! Glad I came across it.

  4. Thanks for sharing this recipe, my husband is a chef, he makes the best Mexican food. My husband lives albóndigas Mexican soup, he had to go out of town for a couple of weeks so I had to cook this time. Today I made the Mexican albóndigas soup it came out so good even my kids loved it. I am from Central America, and my favorite food is the pupusa, it’s a traditional Salvadorian food.

  5. I absolutely loved this recipe. Abondigas soup is one of my very favorite soups and I have never made it myself. You can save so much money by making it yourself and my entire family loved it! My husband could not stop raving about it, which just warmed my heart. Thank you Kristen for this yummy recipe.

  6. This was a great albondigas recipe! My meatballs came out a bit more salty than expected, so I definitely would reduce the amount of salt in that mixture next time.

  7. Nothing could ever be just like my moms but this is so darn close! I added cilantro to the meatball mix, I used tomato sauce rather than the canned tomatoes because she would as well, and next time I would just do a tad less on the cumin – 3/4 teaspoon. I can’t believe how good it came out. Thank you so much!

  8. really good!! i made my meatballs smaller and they were firm to cut, but still tender when eating! would try again!!

  9. January, 2023 OUTSTANDING.
    We all loved this soup. I followed the recipe and also added more carrots and used Mexican squash. Since I LOVE corn, I added fresh corn cut into “niblets.” I added mint to the meatballs because, well this is Albondigas! A must. I sautéed the onions before adding them to the meatballs and used the rest for the soup. I also added one sliced jalapeño for heat. I topped with cojita, avocado, green onion, cilantro, a lot of lime and a dash of crema. I have shared this recipe with everyone I know! I am looking forward to making sopas and carne asada!

  10. LOVE this soup! I tweeked it a bit. I used beef broth instead of chicken and added some fresh green beans. Put the fresh cilantro and lime to finish off each bowl! Oh, and I used cooked rice instead of uncooked. Yummy!

  11. Great recipe! Made this last night and followed the recipe somewhat closely, but took the liberty to add a can and a half of El Pato sauce in place of the tomatoes and I added some chopped mint to the meatballs. So good! Thank you!

  12. I usually take some liberty with online recipes. But this one I followed closely. It turned out great!

    The only thing I would do different next time is to dice the onion more finely than I did. And, I might try to mix a little chorizo in with the ground beef.

    I can’t wait to order this at my favorite Mexican restaurant to see how it compares!

  13. Absolutely delicious! Added a little extra Seasoning, reduced the salt & didn’t add water but more chicken broth.

  14. Closest recipie I have found to my family’s Mexican Albondigas, just missing finely chopped mint in the meatballs.

  15. I have made this recipe 3 times as of now 1st time was in Nov,2022, 1st reason I made the soup is because my daughter came down with the covid while I visited her in Tx. and of course, that’s what we do as mothers if someone near and dear to us becomes ill we cook and serve them our homemade medicine (aka FOOD) the 2nd reason I made this soup is because I absolutely LOVE ALBONDIGAS SOUP!
    I compared recipes on several sites and my 1st criteria was the meatball had to start out with raw white rice and seasonings like this recipe. I like to make a new recipe as it is written so you have a good idea if the recipe is what you’re looking for and from that point if I decide that its a good recipe, I will then tailor the recipe, if need be, which is what I did. We love lots of veggies in our soups if it’s called for, so I tripled the amount. I have to tell you if you are looking for delicious authentic Mexican meatball soup Aka Albondigas you just found it, I made my meat balls with
    2meats ground beef and ground turkey both lean very little fat on top after your soup cools.
    the 3rd pot I made was for a friend on restricted diet, so I made the meatballs out of ground turkey and chicken both very lean but everything else was the same as the recipe was written +extra veggies. I made them simultaneously which was 2nd & 3rd time I made the delicious Soup
    and I will most definitely put this in as my go too recipe. and will look for more of her recipes to add to my list of dishes that my loved one’s request and believe me that’s saying a lot, seeing how we have quite a number of excellent cooks in the family. thank you for this awesome recipe I hope others will enjoy making and serving up this Albondigas soup that’s not only delicious but also easy to make even the meatballs which can make or break a recipe if they aren’t made correctly which these were fool proof if you follow directions.

  16. I love just about any kind of soup. But lately, I have been bored with making the same soups year after year, so I was interested in trying this one. I’ve never even heard of a Mexican Meatball soup even though I love every kind of Mexican food. Well, the soup was delicious! It has a very unique flavor especially after adding the lime juice along with the chopped cilantro. I like that it has meatballs and chunky pieces of vegetables in an awesome (chicken) broth. It almost felt like a stew, it was that hardy. It’s an easy soup to throw together quickly. I’ve shared this recipe with my family and friends. I hope that they are adventuresome and try this because it’s definitely delicious. Thanks for sharing!

  17. This, nearly, took my back to my childhood. My family is from Sonora Mexico, and I’ve been struggling to find an albondiga recipe that is similar to what I’m accustomed to. I tweeked to the recipe- no zucchini( didn’t have any), fresh mint in the meatballs, and I served it with lemon wedges and chiltepín. Other than that, I can say it’s spot on, filling, and nutritious!

  18. Is the salt measurement for the meatball (2 – teasponns) correct ? That seems like a lot of salt for 1 lb.of ground beef. I have always used 1 teaspoon salt for every lb. of meat . I want to make this tomorrow for my famliy. It looks delicious but I don’t want to ruinit with too much salt !😋

    1. It is because the rice is also part of the meatball mixture. But certainly, you could use less and salt to taste when it’s done.

  19. Making this for the first time tonight for dinner. I haven’t finished it yet because I am waiting closer to when hubby comes home. I did make the meatballs and cooked it in the broth and crushed tomatoes. I used Better then Bouillon for the 48 oz of chicken broth. I noticed it said you might need 2-3 more cups of water or broth, since I like a lot of liquid I did just that. I made 3 cups of broth using 1 tsp each of Better then Bouillon Roasted beef and Roasted garlic. I added it to the pot and gave it a taste. Oh my goodness! 🤩 This recipe is just like what my local restaurant makes. I am definitely keeping this recipe! 😊 Thank you for sharing your recipe!

  20. I’m in the process of making the albondigas soup. But I had a question, I’ve noticed this in other recipes as well. Why is chicken broth used for a recipe that is beef, or turkey, etc?

    1. That’s a great question! You can use beef broth for this recipe if you like. I just happen to prefer chicken broth for the lighter flavor so it’s what I use. And it’s more likely what I have on hand.

    1. I’m not sure about brown rice since it has a different texture and cooking time. If it was already cooked before mixing (as shared in the notes) I think you’d be fine.

    2. I made with brown instant rice and the meatballs were great ! My family loves this recipe and I make a pot of soup every week- it’s our lunch. Tjank you!!

    1. The recipe calls for putting uncooked rice. However, you can use cooked rice, just double the amount (1/4 cup uncooked rice, or 1/2 cup cooked rice).


    3T is the max for warm Smokey heat.
    I food processed a bit into the meatballs…and blended the other 1.5 T in the tomato’s for the soup base.

    I think corn is a must also for Albondigas.
    Thank you for this wonderful recipe.

        1. If you want to add rice to the soup, cook it separately and add a couple of spoonfuls to the bowls of soup.

  22. What do you think about baking the meatballs instead of cooking them in the soup? I don’t want the soup to be greasy, but I also like a flavorful soup. I defer to your expertise. Thanks in advance for your help.

    1. I recommend cooking them in the soup – I actually just made this again yesterday and it was delicious! Not greasy at all.

      1. In the FAQ it states you can cook this in the crockpot on low for 4 hours. Does that mean just the veggies and no meatballs? Or everything?

  23. Out of all the times I’ve made Albondiga soup, this recipe is the best one. So flavorful and my kids really enjoyed it. This one is a keeper. I’m glad I found it.

  24. Scrumdilliumptious! I haven’t had Albondigas Soup in years…sooooooo I thought it would be so appropriate & delicious to have it today on this rainy/snowy day, and it was!
    Thank you Kristin for sharing this quick, wonderful & easy recipe. I live up near Lake Tahoe, CA and our weather can be so weird & crazy at times so it’s great to have recipes that I have all the ingredients for without having to run to the store.
    I followed this recipe to the T and it is definitely a keeper. Thanks again 👍🏻

  25. I love this recipe. I have ordered this soup at restaurants and have been disappointed; unless I order from a Mom and Pop place. When you make it at home you can adjust the ingredients to your taste. I added mint and parsley to the albóndigas which is how my Mom makes it. Perfect soup for those rainy days.

  26. I’ve never had this soup, but a friend ordered it when we went out to a Mexican restaurant, and it smelled and looked amazing. Found your recipe, and decided to try it. Very simple to make, and very delicious!! I added 2 ribs of celery, a cup of white wine, and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Very good soup and the family liked it!!! I will definitely make it again, and highly recommend this to anyone. Thank you for this recipe.

  27. Absolutely amazing and extremely easy to make. Both my 11 year old and Husband loved it. This recipe is now officially added to our meal rotation.

  28. Came out soooo good! Perfect for a snowy day! Very flavorful. Added a little crushed chili flakes for spice!

  29. This recipe is very delicious mine came out screaming compliments lol not really but my guests at dinner were full and happy and wanting the recipe sent them here thanks!

  30. Wow! Made this tonight! OMG, turned out great, gave a bit of a twist and added Mexican squash, so good! Thanks for the recipe. Wish I can add a picture!

  31. Would adding rice to the soup also be ok with this recipe? I know it’s in the meatballs but I wanted to see if you can add additional rice to the soup. If so when would I add it in the soup?

    1. You can if you’d like to. I would make a separate batch of rie and add it to the individual bowls when serving. Rice is very starchy and could thicken your soup if you add it to the pot.