Mexican Meatball Soup



Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • 6 to 8


Appears in

Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor

Muy Bueno

By Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack

Published 2013

  • About

Albondigas is a very traditional Mexican meatball soup. Yup, Mexican meatballs, who knew? The exotic trio of cilantro, coriander, and safflower petals gives this soup its distinctive flavor. I say if it doesn’t have these three spices it’s not albondiga soup. Some soups are great before the main course, but this soup is the meal. With the carefully crafted meatballs, bountiful vegetables, and rice you will be more than satisfied. I fondly remember my grandmother rolling out each little meatball. I always wondered how she managed to make every miniature meatball the exact same size. Next time you want the perfect cold weather meal, try a hefty serving of albondiga soup, a tall pile of freshly made corn tortillas, and a little salsa casera. Aye que bueno.



  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped yellow onion
  • ¼ cup long-grain rice


  • 2 (32-ounce) cartons chicken broth (recommend low sodium)
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup long grain rice
  • ½ cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 to 3 potatoes, cubed
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • ¼ cup tomato sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon safflower petals (azafran)
  • Cilantro sprigs and lime wedges for garnish


Prepare Meatballs

In a large mixing bowl combine ground beef with garlic powder, salt, black pepper, onions, and rice. Mix all ingredients together and roll out about 36 to 40 1-inch meatballs.

Make Soup

In a large pot, bring broth and water to a boil with salt. Lower heat to medium and carefully drop meatballs into water. Cook meatballs for about 10 to 15 minutes or until meatballs float to the surface, then lower heat to simmer.

In skillet, over medium heat, add oil. Add rice and cook for about 2 minutes. Add onions and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes.

Add tomatoes and garlic to skillet and continue to cook for another 3 minutes. Add entire skillet contents to meatball pot.

Add potatoes, carrots, and celery to meatball pot. Simmer over medium heat until vegetables are cooked, about 20 minutes.

Add tomato sauce, coriander seeds, cilantro, and safflower petals and allow to come to a boil so all the flavors come together, about 10 minutes.

Ladle soup with about 5 meatballs per bowl.

Garnish with cilantro sprigs and lime wedges, and serve with warm corn tortillas. If you would like your soup spicy, add a spoonful of salsa casera.