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Mexican Meatball Soup

This Mexican Meatball Soup or Albondigas Soup is a delicious and hearty dish with flavorful meatballs and a rich broth. The meatballs are made with ground beef, rice, and spices, giving them a perfect flavor and texture. 

Best of all, this one-pot soup is loaded with vegetables, making it the best bowl of delicious comfort food your family will love!

Bowl of Mexican Meatball Soup topped with avocado slices.

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This soup is also called Albondigas Soup. Albondigas means meatballs in Spanish, and it's a popular soup in Mexico.

The meatballs are the star of this Mexican meatball soup. They are super easy to make with ground beef, rice, and bold spices like cumin and chili powder.  They turn out so flavorful and tender, you won't believe it.

Pro tip: Bake a batch of those meatballs ahead of time and freeze them. When you're craving this soup, just drop them into the simmering broth straight from the freezer for a quick and easy dinner.

The soup itself is a hearty mix of carrots, potatoes, zucchini, and rice, in a delicious broth with fire-roasted tomatoes and green chilis. If you want to add a little spice, toss some jalapenos are poblano peppers in the mix, too! 

When it comes to serving, pick your favorite toppings. I like a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of fresh cilantro, and some avocado slices. And a squeeze of lime brightens everything up.

Ingredient Notes

See the printable recipe card below for all ingredients, specific measurements, and complete instructions.

Ingredients to make Mexican Meatball Soup set out on the counter.
  • Ground Beef: Forms the base for the tasty meatballs. 
  • White Rice: Adds texture and holds meatballs together.
  • Egg: Keeps meatballs nice and tender.
  • Yellow Onion: Boosts flavor in meatballs with a hint of sweetness.
  • Garlic: Adds a strong, nice smell to both meatballs and soup.
  • Herbs and spices like cilantro, parsley, oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper ensure that your Mexican meatball soup is full of flavor.
  • Olive Oil: Used for cooking the veggies.
  • Vegetables like carrots, celery, zucchini, potatoes and fire-roasted diced tomatoes add color and nutrition to your meatball soup. 
  • Beef Broth: Forms the flavorful base of the soup.

How To Make Mexican Meatball Soup

Making this Mexican Meatball Soup is easy. First step is making the meatballs.

Meatball ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Meatball ingredients are mixed in a mixing bowl.
Scooping meatballs onto baking pan.
Rolled meatballs placed on baking pan.

To make the meatballs, mix the ground beef with rice, egg, onion, garlic, cilantro, parsley, oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.

Then roll the mixture into meatballs, about 1.5 inches each.

Onions, celery, and carrots in stockpot.
Seasonings added to onion, celery, and carrots in stockpot.

Next, heat the Olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add in the onions, carrots, and celery, and stir until soft. Add garlic, chili powder, oregano, and paprika and stir for 30 seconds.

Diced tomatoes, green chilis, potatoes, rice and beef broth added to stock pot.
Mexican Meatball Soup simmering in the stock pot.

Next, add diced tomatoes, green chilis, potatoes, rice and beef broth. Mix it all together. Drop in the meatballs gently and let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Zucchini added to Mexican meatball soup in stock pot.
Mexican Meatball Soup in stock pot.

Now, zucchini goes in. Simmer again until everything's tender. Pro tip: Some fresh mint is delicious to throw in now, too!

When serving, top it with whatever you like—sour cream, cilantro, avocado, and a squeeze of lime are my favorites.

Cooked Mexican Meatball Soup in stock pot.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Lighten up the meat. Swap out the ground beef for ground chicken or turkey in the meatball mixture. It brings a lighter flavor to the soup.
  • Add a spicy kick. Amp up the heat by adding a diced jalapeno or poblano pepper to the sautéed vegetables. You can also sprinkle some red pepper flakes into the broth.
  • Add cheese to the meatballs. Mix shredded cheese into the meatball mixture for an extra layer of richness. Think cheddar, Monterey Jack, or even pepper jack for a kick.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Freezing

Make Ahead: Prepare the meatball mixture, roll them into balls, and store them in the fridge for up to 24 hours. When you're ready to cook, just follow the steps for the soup. It's a real time-saver. You can also freeze the meatballs and just drop them into the simmering soup when you’re ready for them. 

Storing: If you end up with leftover soup, let it cool a bit before storing it. Put it in airtight containers and into the fridge. It should be good for about 3-4 days. The flavors often get even better the next day!

Freezing: Let the Mexican Meatball Soup cool completely, then transfer to airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. Label them with the date, and it should be good in the freezer for about 2-3 months. When you're ready to enjoy it, thaw it in the fridge overnight and warm it up on the stove. 

Recipe Tips

  • When making the meatballs, don't overmix the ingredients. Mix until everything is just combined; overmixing can make them dense.
  • When adding the meatballs to the simmering soup, do it gently to avoid breaking them apart.
  • When simmering the meatballs, keep it gentle. You want them to cook through without falling apart. Low and slow is the key.
  • Dice the potatoes into 1-inch bite size pieces so they will be done at the same time as the meatballs.
  • This recipe is quite forgiving, so don't hesitate to throw in any extra veggies you have in the fridge. It's an excellent way to use up leftovers.

Recipe FAQs

Can I make this soup in a slow cooker?

Absolutely. For a slow cooker, you can follow the directions for assembling the ingredients and cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Can I use brown rice instead of white rice?

Yes, you can. Keep in mind that brown rice takes longer to cook, so adjust the cooking time accordingly or partially cook it before adding to the soup.

Can I add other vegetables to the soup?

Definitely! Feel free to customize with your favorite veggies. Bell peppers, corn, or spinach would be great additions.

Serving of Mexican meatball soup in a soup bowl.

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This Mexican Meatball Soup is a must-try - easy to make, comforting, and full of delicious flavors. I can’t wait for you to try it!

A serving of Mexican Meatball Soup in a bowl topped with avocado slices.

Mexican Meatball Soup Recipe

Author: Judy Wilson
This Mexican Meatball Soup is a delicious and hearty dish with flavorful meatballs and a rich broth.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 243 kcal


Meatball Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef (extra lean)
  • cup white rice
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup yellow onion (diced)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 2 Tablespoons cilantro (chopped)
  • 2 teaspoons parsley
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Soup Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup diced carrots (about 2 carrots)
  • 1 cup diced celery (about 2 celery ribs)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • cups potatoes (diced 1-inch bite size)
  • ½ cup white rice
  • 2 15.9 ounce cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 can green chilis
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 1 zucchini, chopped


  • Combine all the meatball ingredients, roll into 1½ inch balls, and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a 6 quart or larger pot over medium heat.
  • Add onions, carrots, and celery. Sauté until softened.
  • Add garlic, chili powder, oregano, and paprika, and stir together, cooking for 30 seconds or so.
  • Stir in the potatoes and rice.
  • Add diced tomatoes, green chilis, and beef broth, and stir together.
  • Carefully add the meatballs and bring to a simmer.
  • Simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through.
  • Add zucchini, and bring back to a simmer until rice and vegetables are all tender.
  • Serve with preferred toppings.


Make ahead: Prepare the meatball mixture, roll them into balls, and store them covered in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When you're ready to cook, follow the steps for the soup.
Store soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


Calories: 243kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 18gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 902mgPotassium: 705mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 3113IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 64mgIron: 3mg
The nutritional information provided is approximate and should only be used as a general guideline. It is an estimate that will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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Recipe Rating

Linda Primmer

Sunday 14th of January 2024

Looks so delicious. We love Mexican food and meatballs. I am happy to feature your lovely recipe at Love Your Creativity.

Esme Slabbert

Saturday 13th of January 2024

Sounds perfect for the cold weather we have at present. Super delicious. I visited you via Katherines Corner: Getting Organized and the TFT Blog Hop My links: 44+45. It would be awesome if you would share your links with us M-S at SeniorSalonPitStop. You will find it under BLOGGING.

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