A hearty Albondigas Mexican Soup is packed with fresh veggies, tasty meatballs, and a yummy broth that is sure to fill you up!
My History with Albondigas Mexican Soup
My first time making Albondigas Mexican Soup was in 2011. I remember it quite vividly actually. It was our first Cinco de Mayo in our home and I wanted to start making this a yearly tradition. I scoured the internet trying to find the best Albondigas recipe, bought all the ingredients, followed it exactly as it stated, and came out with a subpar meal. I was a little disappointed. Hubby ate it, but he could have waited another year to have it haha!
I’ve made Albondigas at least 10 more times since then. I always tried different recipes, tweaking them a ton, but nothing ever stood out. Until now. Yep! I finally perfected the Albondigas recipe I’d been looking for, for nearly a decade. Of course, this may not be the traditional Albondigas you might find in any Mexican restaurant, but this has such a great flavor and is a family favorite every year for Cinco de Mayo. But most importantly, this Albondigas Mexican Meatball Soup is something my husband raved about and is actually excited to have again soon! This soup is great for the entire family.
The Players for this Albondigas Mexican Meatball Soup
- Ground Beef – I use 85/15 ground beef for this recipe, but you can also substitute ground chicken or ground pork if you’d like!
- Mexican Pork Chorizo – While not a traditional albondigas recipe, I like the addition of Chorizo. The chorizo gives a nice smoky flavor to not only the juicy meatballs but to the beef broth as well. This gives it such a unique flavor.
- Egg – I use one large egg for these Mexican meatballs.
- Long Grain White Rice – I use long-grain rice in this recipe.
- Fresh Cilantro – I chop lots of cilantro leaves for the meat mixture and to top off my soup.
- Onion – I use yellow onions but feel free to use sweet, white, or even red onions if that’s what you have in your kitchen.
- Olive Oil – I always use extra virgin olive oil in my recipes.
- Celery – Three stalks chopped up finely.
- Carrots – I always have baby carrots in my kitchen, but you can use 2 medium size bulk carrots.
- Garlic – Freshly chopped garlic cloves is my favorite, but you can substitute with garlic powder.
- Zucchini – I prefer slightly larger chunks of zucchini so that it’s not super mushy in the broth.
- Potatoes – I use 3 medium-sized russet potatoes, but you can also use red potatoes or gold potatoes as well.
- Chili Powder – This gives a nice smokiness to the broth.
- Oregano – Has a pungent, spicy flavor but brings some earthiness to the soup.
- Cumin – Brings a rich and hearty flavor to the rich tomato sauce.
- Beef Broth – I prefer to use beef broth for this simple Mexican meatball soup recipe, but you can also substitute it with chicken broth.
- Diced Tomatoes – This gives a nice acidity to the flavorful tomato sauce.
The Veggies for Albondigas Mexican Soup
I love a ton of fresh vegetables in my Albondigas and so do my kids, so use as little or as much as you’d like. This soup is a good way to get more vegetables into our diets, since it’s jammed pack with veggies!
I’m a firm believer in using what you have on hand. While most soups or stews usually calls for bulk, large carrots to chop, I usually always have baby carrots in the fridge from my grocery hauls, so that’s what I use!
Personally, I like to saute my onions, carrots, and celery in extra virgin olive oil rather just adding it all cold to a pot and bringing the broth to a boil. I feel it helps keep the structure of the vegetables than making them mushy. But you do you, friend! Don’t have time for that? No worries, just throw it all in there.
In my variation of Albondigas Mexican Meatball Soup, I used 3 medium sized Russet Potatoes cut into about 1 inch pieces. Lots of recipes call for large chunks of potatoes, but I like them to be slightly smaller. I want the meatballs to be the standout in this dish, not the potatoes.
The Homemade Meatballs
There are so many variations to make Albondigas, but in my version of albondigas, my favorite way to make them is with ground beef (85% Lean/15% Fat) and a little bit of Mexican chorizo! The chorizo really helps bring a smoky element to the meatballs. Also, I like adding a little bit of long-grain white rice to my meatball mixture. Lots of recipes call to throw it into the soup itself or to omit it entirely.
While it’s not necessary, I like to form my meatballs ahead of time and stick them into the fridge for at least 15-20 minutes before adding to my broth. I feel like they hold up better when they are cooking.
How to Make this Homemade Albondigas Mexican Meatball Soup Recipe
In a large bowl, combine ground beef, chorizo, egg, uncooked white rice, 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro, and 1/4 cup of the diced onions. Wet your hands under cold running tap water (or you can use olive oil, but water is cheaper haha!) and begin to roll the rice meatballs into 1 1/2 inch golf-ball sized balls. Place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper or on a clean plate and place in the fridge to allow them to firm up for about 20 minutes.
In a large pot, dutch oven, or large saucepan, add the olive oil over medium heat. Add the remainder of the diced onion, celery, and carrots and saute for 5 minutes. Toss in the chopped garlic and cook for 1 additional minute, being careful not to burn the garlic.
Add in all of your spices and saute the spices with the chopped veggies for 1 minute. Add in your chopped zucchini and potatoes.
Time for the Broth
Now’s the time to add in your beef broth (or chicken stock, I prefer beef broth to match the ground beef flavors in these Spanish-style meatballs), 2 cup of water, and your can of diced tomatoes. No need to drain the tomatoes, we want that liquid in this albóndigas soup. Bring the flavorful tomato broth up to a simmer, cover with a lid, and lower the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes.
After the broth has cooked for 10 minutes, very carefully begin to drop in your meatballs one at a time, into the simmering broth. I use tongs and take one meatball at a time to submerge them fully into the soup to avoid splash back and burns.
Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the meatballs are fully cooked through. Serve this with crusty bread to soak up the amazing broth or with chips and salsa!
Absolutely! My two boys (9 and 6) ate this up so quick! My daughter (1.5) had the meatballs cut up along with several pieces of the vegetables on her plate and she gobbled it up.
If you end up making this, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think! Or if you modified it to make it your own, i’d love to hear what you did!
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Looking for other easy family dinner recipes? Check these out next!
- Classic Meatloaf with Ground Beef (and Ketchup Glaze)
- The Best Baked Fish Tacos with Crispy Broccoli Slaw
- Easy Oven-Fried Italian Chicken Drumsticks
- Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Dinner
- Easy Shrimp Scampi with Linguine
- Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
Albondigas Mexican Meatball Soup Recipe
- 1.34 pounds Ground Beef (I used 85/15)
- 1/2 package Mexican Pork Chorizo (I buy a 9oz package and save the rest for chorizo con huevos)
- 1 Large Egg
- 1/2 cup Long Grain White Rice
- 3 tbsp Chopped Cilantro, Divided
- 1 Yellow or White Onion, Diced, Divided
- 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 Stalks of Celery, Diced
- 1 cup Carrots, Chopped (I used baby carrots)
- 2 Garlic Cloves, Diced
- 1 Large Zucchini
- 3 Medium Russet Potatoes, chopped into 1 inch chunks
- 1 tsp Chili Powder
- 1 tsp Oregano
- 1 tsp Ground Cumin
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 4 cups Beef Broth
- 2 cups Water
- 1 14.5 oz Can of Diced Tomatoes
Make the Meatballs
- Combine the ground beef, chorizo, egg, white rice, 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, and 1/4 cup of the diced onion. Wet your hands with cold water to help roll the meatballs into 1 1/2 inch golf-ball sized balls. Place on a clean plate and place in fridge for 20 minutes.
Make the Soup
- In a large dutch oven, add the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the rest of the diced onion, celery, and carrots and saute for 5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and cook for 1 additional minute.
- Add the chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper to veggies and saute for 1 minute. Then add in the zucchini and the potatoes.
- To the same dutch oven, add beef broth, water, and diced tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, cover and lower heat to low and cook for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, drop the meatballs into the simmering broth. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.
- Serve with additional chopped cilantro.