Albondigas Soup

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Albondigas soup is a delicious Mexican meatball soup with homemade meatballs. This traditional Mexican soup recipe makes a fantastic and easy Cinco de Mayo meal!

Do you love eating Mexican food? We often have cravings for all things Mexican meatloaf, skillet potatoes, Mexican steak or a guacamole burger. But we also love meatballs! This Mexican meatball soup combines our two loves.

ladle full of Mexican meatball soup with orzo pasta and baby spinach

Comfort foods like this Albondigas soup recipe are perfect to make on cold, rainy days. The soup warms you up from the inside out, plus it is hearty and filling, without being heavy. Albondigas soup is authentic Mexican food. Because of this, it’s perfect for a Cinco de Mayo dinner.

What kind of meat is in Albondigas meatballs?

This recipe makes an easy Mexican meatball soup. The meatballs in an Albondigas soup are often made using a combination of ground pork and beef. Cooked white rice is used to bind the meatballs together.

To switch things up, our meatballs are made with lean ground beef. Instead of using rice in the meatballs, our version uses orzo pasta in the broth. The meatball mixture binds together will help from Parmesan cheese and heavy cream.

Albondigas Mexican meatball mixture and uncooked meatballs on a baking sheet

How to Make Albondigas Soup

Here are a few notes on this recipe:

  • This soup works best if you use a lean ground beef. If you’d like you can use ground turkey also. The meatballs cook right in the soup so you don’t want the extra grease.
  • Be sure to refrigerate or flash freeze the meatballs before adding them to the soup. This will help the meatballs hold their shape while they cook.
  • If you don’t want to use white wine, use chicken broth instead.
  • Saffron really makes this dish, please do not substitute it. Saffron can be expensive to buy, but if you leave it out, you’ll know it. Saffron has a slightly sweet, subtle flavor that is really hard to explain.
  • This soup is ready in under an hour, making it an easy weeknight dinner.
adding uncooked Albondigas meatballs and shredded cheese to Albondigas soup

How can I make this soup healthier?

To reduce the fat and calories in Albondigas soup, you can make it with ground turkey. Rather than using cream to make the Mexican meatballs, use half and half or whole milk. You can even take it a step further, making gluten-free and low carb meatballs. To do this, use shredded zucchini in place of bread crumbs.

We make this recipe using a base of chicken broth. If you prefer, you can use beef broth or bone broth.

large pot of Authentic Albondigas soup

Can you freeze Albondigas soup?

A broth-based soup like Albondigas freezes very well. Soups and chowders with cream in them, such as clam chowder, don’t freeze as well. This is because cream tends to separate when frozen, changing the consistency of the soup.

Before freezing Albondigas soup, be sure that the soup is completely cool. If you skip this step, as a result, condensation will form, turning to ice crystals and then, freezer burn.

After the soup is cool, transfer it to freezer-safe containers or gallon-sized plastic zip-top bags. Once frozen, Albondigas soup will keep well in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. If you don’t plan to freeze the soup, cover it well and store it in the refrigerator. Use the refrigerated soup within 5 days.

large white pot of Mexican meatball soup

More Mexican recipes to make for Cinco de Mayo

If you’re planning to host a Cinco de Mayo party, consider making a few of these recipes:

Albondigas Soup in a ladle
Albondigas Soup in a ladle

Albondigas Soup (Mexican Meatball Soup)

5 from 2 votes
Albondigas soup is a flavorful, broth-based Mexican meatball soup with homemade meatballs, baby kale, and tender orzo pasta. This delicious, easy soup recipe is perfect for Cinco de Mayo!
Servings 8
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

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For the meatballs:

  • ½ cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup half and half (or milk)
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (97% lean 3% fat)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

For the soup:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 1 red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon crumbled saffron
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup good quality drinking white wine
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo
  • 2 cups chopped fresh kale (stems removed)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • parsley or cilantro (to garnish)


  • In a medium bowl, add together all of the meatball ingredients. Mix together with your hands and form 2 teaspoon full balls, set the balls on a pan and refrigerate for half an hour or flash freeze for 10 minutes.
  • In a large dutch oven or heavy bottom and wide pot heat oil over medium high and add in onions and red bell peppers. Saute for 5 minutes, or until peppers and onions have softened. 
  • Next add in garlic, continue cooking for 30 seconds then add in paprika, saffron, and oregano. Cook for ten seconds more and then add in white wine.
  • Once the white wine has been added cook for 2 minutes, being sure to srape the bottom of your pot with a wooden spoon and mixing occassionally.
  • Add in chicken broth and bring to a boil. 
  • Next add in meatballs and lower heat to a steady simmer (medium high heat). 
  • Cook for about 20 minutes, then add in orzo and kale and cook for an additional 15 minutes or until orzo is al dente and kale has softened.
  • Taste for seasoning and add in salt and pepper, if needed.
  • Serve and garnish with parsley.


Saffron really makes this dish, please do not substitute it. Depending on the size of the meatballs, it can make anywhere between 12-16 meatballs. Use as lean of a meat as possible, either beef or turkey.
The calories shown are based on the recipe serving 8, with 1 serving being ⅛ of the soup. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**


Calories: 335kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 1253mg | Potassium: 632mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2430IU | Vitamin C: 57.1mg | Calcium: 150mg | Iron: 3mg
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 335
Keyword easy soup recipe, meatball soup, mexican soup, orzo soup
About JulieJulie Clark

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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