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    Albondigas Soup (Mexican Meatball Soup)

    Albondigas Soup – This one is legit Delicious. This is the soup for your soul. Plump meatballs floating in a hearty tomato infused flavorful broth, loaded with tons of veggies. That’s sopa de albondigas for you.

    Try this Mexican soup, aka comfort food, and get amazed how such a light and refreshing thing in a bowl is jam packed with flavors.

    Albondigas soup in a clay bowl.

    We’ve been whipping up a lot of new soups lately, from traditional recipes like Avgolemono Soup and Yakamein, to some fun “soupified” creations like Egg Roll Soup and Jambalaya Soup. This Mexican meatball soup is another cracker!

    It doesn’t have to be cold outside to enjoy this bowl of soup, but it sounds like a mighty good thing to try along with a roaring fire on some chilly windy or rainy night. After having one sip though, I realized that this could be your “all the year round” contender. Yes, even in summer time.

    The light broth with tons of veggies, just the right amount of spice and fresh herbs, and yes, those albondigas, aka meatballs. Who wouldn’t want this caldo de albodigas all the time…

    What is Albondigas Soup?

    This Mexican meatball soup, also known as Sopa De Albondigas or Caldo De Albondigas, in a red dutch oven.

    Pronounced as “al-bone-dee-gus”, in Mexico this soup is commonly referred as Sopa De Albondigas or Caldo De Albondigas. This is one you will find cooked lovingly in every household, with the recipes passed on from generation to generation.

    Some like it plain brothlike, and some like it spiked with a little of their famous chilies. Whatever way you try it, you can always notice the fresh veggies flavors and those delicious meatballs.

    Albondigas means “meatballs” in Spanish. This Mexican soup has a special kind of meatballs with rice, herbs and spices. It also features whatever veggies are in your refrigerator according to the season. The broth gets enhanced by tomatoes, lime juice and Mexican warm spices.

    Although Albondigas originated in Spain and are typically enjoyed as tapas there, this soupified Mexican version is quite different. They are typically made with ground beef, but a mix of ground pork and beef is not uncommon. Here, the meatballs are cooked directly in the broth, so they soak up a lot of flavor.

    What veggies you can find in this Albondigas soup recipe?

    Close up of this Albondigas soup.

    This can very greatly, depending on what’s in season and what’s in your refrigerator. Typically, any hearty veggies that can hold together well after simmering in a pot. The most common veggies you will see in this sopa de albondigas are potatoes, carrots, corn, celery, green beans, zucchini and chayote (Mexican squash).

    Although it might be tempting to throw all the vegetable into the pot at once, by adding each type at a specific time, you will get perfectly cooked veggies. For example, zucchinis and green beans will take much less time to cook than carrots and potatoes, so they go in the pot much later.

    Albondigas Soup Ingredients

    For Albondigas:

    • Ground beef – Using leaner beef is recommended, as fattier meat can leach a lot of fat into the soup. We used 90% lean.
    • Garlic – Always use fresh.
    • Rice – We used uncooked as its more traditional. Some people use cooked rice.
    • Eggs – Great binding agent.
    • Herbs – parsley and mint (optional).
    • Spices – oregano and cumin, black pepper and salt.

    For Soup:

    • Oil – We used olive oil, you can use whatever is on hand.
    • Vegetables & aromatics – Onion, garlic, carrots, celery, potatoes, canned diced tomatoes, zucchini and green beans.
    • Broth – We used chicken broth. Either beef broth or vegetable broth can be used instead.
    • Herbs and seasonings – Cumin, oregano, cilantro, lime juice, chili flakes and salt.

    How to make Albondigas Soup?

    Meatballs on a plate prior to cooking.
    1. Make the meatballs: Mix all the ingredients for the albondigas in a bowl and roll the meatballs. Most of the times, they are on the larger size, plump and round, rather than smaller meatballs. Keep them in the refrigerator until ready to go into the soup pot.
    2.  Sauté the aromatics: Heat olive oil and sauté onion till translucent. Add in garlic and cook for a minute or two.
    3.  Add the veggies that take a while to cook: Like carrots, celery and potatoes. Cook for a few minutes.
    4.  Simmer: Add in tomatoes and broth along with cumin and oregano. Bring it to a boil and then simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes.
    5. Add the meatballs: Drop the meatballs gently into the soup. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring gently a few times.
    6.  Add the remaining veggies: Add in green beans and zucchini, along with cilantro and red chili flakes. Cook for 8-10 minutes, till all veggies and meatballs are cooked through.
    7.  Garnish and season: Stir in lime juice and taste and season for salt. Garnish with cilantro and extra lime.
    The dutch oven full of simmering soup.

    What to serve with this Mexican Meatball Soup?

    1. It’s a full meal in itself. Nutritionally well rounded, loaded with vegetables, rice and lean protein. Very hearty and filling.
    2. It’s very common to serve some tortillas with this soup. Simply char them over flame or in a hot pan. Roll them up and dip into the soup.
    3. Mexican rice is very often added on the corner of the soup bowl and enjoyed in between the sips.

    How long you can store Albondigas Soup?

    This soup is excellent the next few days, as all the flavors get enhanced while it sits. Simply refrigerate it in an airtight container up to 3-4 days and reheat when ready to eat. Meatballs tend to soak up the broth, you might need to add some extra chicken broth when reheating.

    This soup freezes well also, up to 2 months for best quality. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and reheat on stovetop.

    How do you keep Albondigas from falling apart?

    Two bowls of albondigas soup.

    Different binders are used to keep meatballs intact while cooking. Breadcrumbs, eggs and soaked bread are just a few examples.

    In the case of albondigas, eggs and rice acts as the binders. Mix the ingredients well and refrigerate the meatballs for some time, this helps them keep their shape.

    Another reason they might break is not handling them gently. Don’t add them to the soup pot all at one time. Lower then one at a time gently with the help of large serving spoon or strainer. When stirring, take caution not to break them.

    Can I make this soup with other ground meat?

    Yes, of course. Though it’s traditionally made with ground beef, you can make it with ground turkey or ground chicken for a lighter dinner option. You can even use half and half of ground beef and pork for more enhanced flavors.

    Side view of the soup bowls.

    How to get juicy, tender meatballs?

    Don’t overmix the meatball mixture. Overwroking the ground meat tends to yield dry and tough meatballs. Just combine all the ingredients well enough and start rolling the meatballs.

    Can I make Crockpot Albondigas Soup?

    Yes, you can. All you need to do is make the meatballs and throw all of the ingredients into the crockpot. Cover and cook for 5-6 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high. The meatballs should have an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees when fully cooked.

    Can I make Instant pot Albondigas Soup?

    Of course. After making the meatballs, turn your instant pot to the Saute setting, then sauté onion till translucent. Add in garlic and sauté for a minute.

    Add in celery, potato and carrots and sauté well for 5 minutes. Add in tomatoes, broth, spices and bring it to a boil. Add in meatballs. Close the lid and seal it. Pressure cook it for 4 minutes on High Pressure.

    When the cook cycle is finished, allow pressure to natural release. Add the zucchini and green beans along with cilantro, lime juice and red chili flakes. Let it cook on sauté mode till they are all cooked.

    Close up of one of the bowls.

    There you go… everything and anything you want to know about this special Mexican soup. So delicious and soul warming. Try all these new flavors this winter, or any time through out the year. We love bringing you all these ethnic and regional classics from all over the world…

    Now, where would you find an authentic albondigas soup? Right in your very own kitchen… 🙂

    Albondigas Soup, on my Gypsy Plate… enjoy!

    A clay bowl full of albondigas soup atop the Gypsy Plate.

    Check out some of our other favorite soup recipes!
    Grilled Cheese Tomato Soup
    Fasolada (Greek Bean Soup)
    Bahamian Fish Soup
    Loaded Cauliflower Soup
    Moroccan Lentil Soup
    Keto Zuppa Toscana
    Meaty Cabbage Soup

     

    Featured image for albondigas soup post.

    Albondigas Soup (Mexican Meatball Soup)

    Yield: 8-10 servings
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 50 minutes
    Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

    This Albondigas Soup, or Mexican Meatball Soup, features plump meatballs and lots of veggies in a super flavorful broth. So comforting!

    Ingredients

    For Meatballs

    • 2 lbs lean ground beef
    • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 1/2 cup rice, uncooked
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/3 cup parsley, chopped
    • 3 Tbsp mint, chopped (optional)
    • 2 tsp oregano
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper

    For Soup

    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 2-3 carrots, cut into big chunks
    • 2 celery ribs, cut into big chunks
    • 8 baby gold potatoes, halved (or 2 large potatoes, cut into big chunks)
    • 1 15oz can of diced tomatoes
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 2.5 tsp oregano
    • 8 cups of chicken broth
    • 2 small zucchinis, cut into big chunks
    • 1/4lb green beans, halved
    • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
    • 2 Tbsp lime juice
    • 1 tsp red chili flakes
    • 2 Tbsp olive oil
    • Salt to taste

    Instructions

    Stove Top Method

    1. Mix all the ingredients for the meatballs (ground beef, garlic, rice, eggs, parsley, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper) in a big bowl and roll mixture into large meatballs. You can get about 14-15 meatballs. Keep them in the refrigerator till they are ready to go into the soup.
    2. Heat oil in soup pot on medium high heat and sauté onion till it become soft and translucent. Add in garlic and sauté for a minute.
    3. Add in carrots, celery and potatoes and combine well. Cook for 5 minutes
    4. Add in tomatoes along with cumin and oregano and stir well. Add in chicken broth and bring it to a boil. Reduce to medium heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
    5. Slowly add in meatballs, being very cautious not to break them. Give a gentle stir. Cover and cook for for 20 minutes.
    6. Add in green beans and zucchini along with cilantro and red chili flakes and cook for 8-10 minutes, till zucchini and green beans are cooked and meatballs have an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees.
    7. Add in lime juice and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
    8. Serve it with more lime and cilantro for garnishing.

    Slow Cooker Method

    1. Mix all the ingredients for the meatballs in a big bowl and roll mixture into large meatballs. Keep them in the refrigerator till they are ready to go into the soup.
    2. Add all other ingredients into slow cooker and mix well. Gently lower meatballs into the broth,
    3. Cover and cook on 3-4 hours on high or 5-6 hours on low.


    Instant Pot Method

    1. Mix all the ingredients for the meatballs in a big bowl and roll mixture into large meatballs. Keep them in the refrigerator till they are ready to go into the soup.
    2. Turn your instant pot to the Saute setting, then sauté onion till translucent. Add in garlic and sauté for a minute.
    3. Add in celery, potato and carrots and sauté well for 5 minutes. Add in tomatoes, broth, spices and bring it to a boil. Add in meatballs.
    4. Close the lid and seal it. Pressure cook it for 4 minutes on High Pressure.
    5. When the cook cycle is finished, allow pressure to natural release. Add the zucchini and green beans along with cilantro, lime juice and red chili flakes. Let it cook on sauté mode till they are all cooked.
    Nutrition Information
    Yield 10 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 336Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 122mgSodium 1194mgCarbohydrates 18gFiber 3gSugar 4gProtein 31g

    Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

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