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Buckle up and get ready to spice up your life because this incredibly delicious Albondigas Soup is going to take you on a tasty journey to Mexico! It’s an unbelievably good Mexican meatball soup chock-full of hearty vegetables in a super flavorful broth layered with fresh herbs and spices that bring a burst of deliciousness to every spoonful!
Best Albondigas Soup Recipe
Looking for a meal that’s hearty, comforting, and packed with layers of Latin flavor!?! Then look no further than this delicious Mexican albondigas soup recipe! Just like my Romanian Meatball Soup it’s made out of meatballs. So for me, a self-confessed meatball lover that says it all! In fact, it’s sometimes even referred to as “Mexican Soul Food”! This dish is truly the perfect one-pot easy meal that your whole family will love!
So let’s talk about these meatballs! Given the name, which literally translates to “meatballs” in Spanish, you’ve probably figured out they are the star of the show! And they totally deserve the honor! These tasty tender meatballs are a combination of ground beef and rice blended together with plenty of fresh herbs and spices and then cooked all nestled into a savory broth along with some diced tomatoes, potatoes, and carrots. Talk about a comforting bowl of yummy goodness.
And this Mexican soup is super easy and comes together in under an hour from start to finish. Once it’s ready, just serve it up in big bowls with some homemade Flour Tortillas or crusty No Knead Bread on the side and you’ve got a complete meal. Not to mention, the leftovers are incredible which means that this is a fantastic make-ahead meal!
Why You’ll Love This Albondigas Soup
- Easy Recipe! This homemade soup recipe shows you how simple it is to make meatballs from scratch and have a ready to eat meal on the table in less than an hour.
- Authentic Mexican Deliciousness! The perfect combination of fresh herbs and Latin spices is the key to this incredibly tasty classic Mexican meatball soup.
- Meal Planning Perfect! This dish keeps incredibly well in the fridge and freezer, which means it’s a great option for both make-ahead meals or weekly meal prep.
- Ground Beef – I used extra lean ground beef to keep the soup from getting oily, but any type will work. You can also use ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground pork if you like. Just keep in mind fatty meat will add oil to the soup.
- Garlic – Fresh minced garlic cloves are always the best choice. Jarred minced garlic can sometimes have an odd taste due to preservatives.
- Onion – I like to use yellow onion, but any type of onion will work.
- Long Grain – You will need some uncooked long-grain rice. I used basmati rice which is one of my favorites.
- Eggs – Used to bind the meatballs together.
- Herbs – Fresh mint, parsley, and oregano are blended into the meatballs to add layers of flavor.
- Spices – Ground cumin and chili powder add some yummy classic Mexican flavor.
- Salt – A pinch of salt is used to season the meat mixture and work its flavor enhancing magic.
- Black Pepper – Regular ground black pepper is perfect.
- Olive Oil – I always use extra virgin olive oil for the added flavor, but any kind of vegetable works.
- Aromatics – Sauteed onion and garlic infuse the broth with loads of flavor. I always use yellow onion and fresh garlic cloves.
- Veggies – Carrots and potatoes are the fresh veggies that make this soup both healthy and hearty. Any type of potatoes you have on hand will work perfectly. You could also add some celery too if you’d like.
- Canned Diced Tomatoes – They add some mellow tomato flavor and a little more texture to the soup.
- Beef Broth – I like to use a low-sodium variety to control the amount of added salt. Chicken broth and vegetable broth are other options.
- Water – Soup almost always includes a bit of water to make a broth.
- Seasonings – Salt and black pepper are used to season the soup.
- Lemon Juice – You’ll need some fresh lemon juice to add a touch of acid that brightens up the soup and develops the flavor even more. Lime juice is another option!
- Cayenne Pepper – Just a pinch is added to give the soup some spice! You can omit the pepper if you like or add even more.
- Herbs – Fresh parsley and fresh cilantro are used to add some herby goodness to the broth. You can use dried herbs but fresh is always best.
This totally foolproof meatball soup takes less than an hour to make! And don’t worry if you’re not a meatball making expert, it will still taste amazing even if your meatballs are a little lopsided!
Of course, the first step of this meatball soup recipe is to make the homemade meatballs! To begin, put the ground beef in a large bowl and then add all the other meatball ingredients. Next, use a wooden spoon or your hands to mix everything together really well until it’s fully incorporated.
Once the meat mixture is made, form it into about 25 to 30 small meatballs that are each about 1 inch in diameter. You can make them bigger if you like. Yet, they should all be about the same size so that they cook evenly. Then put the meatballs in the fridge while you continue with the recipe.
Now, let’s start making the soup. First, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven that will hold at least 5 quarts. Then add the onions and garlic to the heated oil and cook them until the onion is translucent, but be extra careful not to burn the garlic. Next, add the carrots and potatoes and cook everything for another 3 to 5 minutes or until the veggies start to caramelize a little.
Once the veggies have gotten a little color on them, add the diced tomatoes, beef broth, water, salt, and black pepper to the pot. Now, bring the soup to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer and let it cook for 5 minutes. Now, slowly add the meatballs to the pot one at a time while very carefully stirring the soup with a wooden spoon.
Now, cover the pot with a lid and let the soup simmer over medium-low heat for another 15 minutes or until the meatballs are fully cooked. Next, add the lemon juice and herbs. Then give the soup a taste and add more salt if needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are albondigas?
Albondigas are Mexican meatballs typically made with ground beef, rice, and seasonings.
How do you keep albondigas from falling apart?
The meatballs can fall apart if you don’t measure your ingredients properly or if you stir the soup too much. So to begin, you want to make sure that the meat mixture isn’t too dry so that the meatballs hold together. If it is, just add a bit more egg, which will make forming meatballs easier. Then once the uncooked meatballs are added to the soup it’s imperative that you don’t stir the soup too much. You just want to drop the meatballs in and give the soup a gentle stir to make sure that the meatballs have space to evenly cook. Then just let the soup simmer covered without stirring it.
Why is my albondigas soup so greasy?
The most common reason for oily albondigas soup is due to not using lean ground beef for the meatballs. If the meat is fatty then all that fat is going to escape into the broth. So I always suggest using lean ground beef that has less than 15% fat, ground turkey, or ground chicken.
Can I make this soup in a slow cooker?
Yes, you can make albondigas soup in a slow cooker by combining all ingredients (except for the garnishes) in the slow cooker and cooking on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
- Don’t cut the potatoes too big. You want to chop the potatoes into 1-inch bite-size cubes so that they are fully cooked when the meatballs are ready.
- Use a cookie scoop. You can use a small cookie scoop to portion out the meat mixture. This is an easy way to form meatballs that are all the same size, which is important for even cooking.
- Add other veggies. Feel free to add other veggies to the soup like green beans, zucchini, yellow squash, corn, or even greens like kale.
- Season at the end. Because soup reduces as it cooks it’s really important to wait until the soup is complete before you taste it and add more salt.
Leftover albondigas soup will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container. To reheat, just pop it in the microwave for a few minutes or warm it up in a saucepan on the stove. You can also freeze the soup for up to 4 months and then just let it thaw out overnight in the fridge before reheating.
Other Delicious Soup Recipes To Try
- Romanian Meatball Soup
- Italian Wedding Soup
- Broccoli Cheese Soup
- Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
- Beef Stroganoff Soup
- Chicken and Rice Soup
- 1 pound ground beef (extra lean)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- ½ onion (chopped)
- ½ cup rice (long grain, uncooked (I used Basmati))
- 1 egg (beaten)
- ¼ cup mint (fresh, chopped)
- ¼ cup parsley (fresh, chopped)
- ¼ cup oregano (fresh, chopped or about 1 tbsp dry oregano)
- 1 teaspoon cumin (ground)
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- ½ teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
For Albondigas soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ large onion (chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 large carrot (chopped to your liking)
- 2 medium potatoes (peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes)
- 14.5 ounce diced tomatoes (1 can)
- 3 cups beef broth (low sodium)
- 3 cups water
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons cilantro (fresh, chopped)
- 2 tablespoons parsley (fresh, chopped)
- In a bowl add all the meatball ingredients together and mix well. Shape into meatballs about 1 inch in diameter. You should get about 25 to 30 meatballs, depending on how big you make them. Place meatballs in fridge until ready to add to soup.
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottom 5 qt pot to medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until onion is translucent, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add chopped carrots and potatoes to pot and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes until you get a nice caramelization going.
- Add the tomatoes, broth, water and seasonings. Bring to a boil and turn down heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Add meatballs to pot one at a time, slowly. Using a wooden spoon slowly stir. Cover and let cook over low to medium heat for another 15 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through. Add lemon juice and herbs and taste and adjust for seasoning.
- To prevent the meatballs from falling apart, avoid over-mixing the ground meat mixture and shape them gently.
- Adding a pinch of cumin to the broth will enhance the overall flavor of the soup.
- For a healthier version, consider using ground turkey instead of beef or pork.
- You can make the soup ahead of time and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days, allowing the flavors to meld and intensify.
- Top the soup with fresh cilantro, lime wedges, and sliced avocado for a burst of freshness and color.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.