Albondigas Mexican Meatball Soup

Albondigas Mexican meatball soup is a simple dish with light broth, vegetables, and meatballs flavored with chorizo.

This recipe first appeared on the blog in 2013.  This post has been updated with new photos! 

Albondigas soup in a brown bowl with fresh lime juice squeezed over the food


If you want a simple and economical flavorful soup, then you are going to want to add this albondigas soup recipe to your meal plan.

What is albóndigas (al-bon-dee-gus) you ask?

Albondigas are the Spanish version of small meatballs, derived from the Arabic al-bunduq meaning hazelnut, or a small round object, suggesting the size of the meatball.

The Spanish albondigas variation can be served as an appetizer or main course, often in a tomato sauce.

While the Mexican albondigas are commonly served in a soup with a light broth and vegetables like you see here.

Albondigas with vegetables in a brown bowl

Easy Mexican albondigas soup

This meatball soup has been enjoyed by my family FOREVER.

My grandmother, mother, aunts, and now I all make this soup!

However, like most recipes that have been floating around no one ever took the time to write down any detailed instructions until now!

Perhaps because it’s a simple recipe, and we all learned by hovering over each other.

Honestly, I believe no one wrote down the recipe because it changes each time.  Slight adjustments are made based on what is in the refrigerator.  This is a great clean out veggie drawer recipe!

Ingredients to make albondigas

For the meatballs gather the following:

  • lean ground beef
  • Mexican chorizo sausage or regular sausage
  • Egg
  • Garlic
  • Rice, cooked or raw (alternatively, riced cauliflower for low carb version)
  • Cilantro, chopped (or mix 1/4 cup mint and 1/4 cup of cilantro)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cumin

For the soup base:

  • Chicken broth
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Carrot
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Cilantro
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Zucchini
Ingredients used for albondigas soup

Variations to this albondigas recipe

Chicken broth is used when making this Mexican soup, but vegetable or beef broth are variations that are also tasty.

The type of meat is adaptable to your preference as well.

Chorizo adds sooo much flavor, so I don’t recommend substituting that, but go ahead and use turkey, chicken or ground pork instead of beef for the meatballs if you would like.

Albondigas with mint

Another common way to add flavor to this soup is to incorporate fresh mint in the meat mix. Mint adds a fresh depth of flavor, which tastes scrumptious!

If fresh mint is not readily available then no problem!  This soup tastes delicious with either option.

Also, don’t be afraid to experiment with a mix of squash.  Summer squash is a delicious variation to use in this dish.

Mixed meat in a stainless steel bowl for albondigas soup

What type of rice should be used in Mexican meatball soup?

Only a small amount of rice is used to bulk up the meatballs. Leftover cooked rice is perfectly fine as well as raw rice. 

The raw rice will cook and get fluffy while the soup is simmering.

Brown rice (my favorite) will require additional cooking time, so cooked brown rice might be best in that case.

round uncooked meatballs on a baking sheet for albondigas soup

Low carb albondigas

Now, I feel like I need to whisper this because I’m not sure my late grandmother would approve, but yes, this can be made low carb by adjusting the recipe:

  • Reduce the rice to 1/4 cup to keep the recipe authentic, which will only give you 8.8 carbs for the whole recipe.
  • Replace the rice with riced cauliflower
  • Leave the rice out completely

Personally, my recommendation is the following:

  • Keep the recipe as it and adjust your carbs elsewhere.  A 1/2 cup of white rice is only 16.5 carbs for the whole recipe.

Albondigas Frequently Asked Questions

Is albondigas soup healthy?

This meatball soup is considered healthy. The light broth and vegetables are not only filling but are filled with nutrients.

Is albondigas soup low carb?

The carbs from albondigas soup is from the vegetables and the rice. Depending on your macronutrient preference, this can easily fit within your food plan. See above tips on lowering the carbs in this soup.

Can you freeze albondigas soup?

Yes, this soup can be frozen after it has been cooked and cooled. Remove any fat that collects at the top, then place and freezer containers or bags. Leave room for the liquid to expand. For best tasting frozen soup, use before 6 months.

Albondigas soup in a brown bowl with line and cilantro on the side of the dish

Interested in trying another tasty Latin soup?

Give Nana’s Pozole Mexican Soup a try

Pozole Mexican Soup an original family recipe #pozole #soup #Mexican |

this Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup a try!

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup - The Foodie Affair
Albondigas soup with vegetables in a brown bowl

Albondigas Soup

Mexican meatball soup in a light broth with vegetables. Albondigas is an economical and delicious meal the whole family will enjoy
4.54 from 47 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: meatballs, Mexican, soup
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 -8 servings
Calories: 394kcal
Author: Sandra Shaffer


  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 lb Mexican chorizo sausage or regular sausage
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 cup rice optional cauliflower, cooked or raw
  • 1/2 cup cilantro chopped (or mix 1/4 cup mint and 1/4 cup of cilantro)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup onion chopped
  • 3 stalks celery cut in chunks
  • 1 carrot sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1 16 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 large zucchini sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste.


  • Combine all ingredients for meatballs, mixing well. Form into 1 1/2 inch meatballs (about 24), and set aside.
  • In a stock pan, combine broth, onion, celery, carrots, cumin, oregano, cilantro, and tomatoes with the liquid. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Get the soup to a slight boil and drop the meatballs in the soup. Reduce the heat to a simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • Add zucchini and cook 10 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper.



See note in post for low carb rice-free option.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 394kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 119mg | Sodium: 1628mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g


Please note that the nutritional information provided are guidelines and may vary based on the brand of products used. For your specific nutritional goals use My Fitness Pal or Verywell Fit recipe calculators. All content within this site is not intended as medical diagnosis or treatment and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical expertise.

Mexican meatball soup in a brown bowl with a gray spoon
Albondigas is a light and tasty Mexican meatball soup with vegetables. This easy recipe is a family favorite dish! #albondigas #meatballsoup #mexicansouprecipe |
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  1. 4 stars
    Made this today and it was a HIT. Used 1lb extra lean ground beef and 1lb of Mexican chorizo. Plus I added about a cup of diced potato, bell pepper and spinach. Wonderful recipe. Perfect for a cool Florida winter night.

  2. You might as well leave out the cilantro. You’ve waaaaaay over cooked it and 2 Tbsp is not enough any way. Some herbs just disappear the more you cook them and cilantro is possibly the most notorious in that regard. If you look at other cooks’ albondigas recipes, you’ll see that many of the better known cooks avoid cooking cilantro too much. One way to avoid cooking it away is to add it to the meatball mixture and then not over-cooking the meatballs. Cilantro just cooks away like it wasn’t even there.

    1. Hi Margarita! You may not realize that the ads are what help pay for running this blog (and other blogs). It pays for the hosting service and other business expenses to keep this free for readers. At the top of my posts there is a jump to button that takes you directly to the recipe. That doesn’t help pay for the services I mentioned, but I do add it purely for your convenience.