How to Make Albondigas Soup for a Satisfying Winter Meal

You'll love albondigas soup - meatballs in broth with vegetables and spicy Mexican seasonings.

What's better than a bowl of steaming hot soup on a cold winter's day?

Soup is my favorite lunch during the winter. Usually I serve warm homemade bread with soup, but this one is perfect with warm flour tortillas if you have some. True comfort food!

Albondigas soup is basically a Mexican meatball soup. I've sometimes heard these meatballs referred to as "porcupine meatballs" because the rice in the meatballs reminded someone somewhere of porcupine quills. There is a bit of prep work involved in making this soup, but it is so worth it.

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The meatballs are simmered in the broth so it's a one-pot meal, but if you prefer to use your slow cooker, you'll find out how to convert this to a slow-cooker recipe further down in the post.

Make this albondigas soup for a satisfying winter meal.

To begin, make the meatballs by combining one pound of ground beef, 1/3 cup of uncooked rice, one teaspoon of salt and one raw egg. Squish it all together with your hands, then form into meatballs.

Make the "porcupine meatballs" for this spicy Mexican soup.

Albondigas soup, or Mexican meatball soup, is made with meatballs, vegetables and spicy Mexican seasonings.

Bring three quarts of chicken broth (or use a combination of broth and water) to a simmer and gently add the meatballs. Simmer for about 20 minutes. About halfway through, the meatballs will rise to the top of the broth.

Combine chopped vegetables and spices in this delicious "porcupine meatball" soup.

While the meatballs are simmering, peel and chop the celery, garlic, onions and carrots.

Chopped vegetables are added to meatball soup for a hot filling meal on a chilly winter day.

After the twenty minutes have passed and the meatballs are swimming in the broth, add the chopped vegetables. Add a can of diced tomatoes and the spices - everything except the spinach - and continue simmering for another hour and 15 minutes.

Add the spinach and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

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Provide sour cream, shredded cheese, guacamole, and/or cilantro as toppings. Serve with warm flour tortillas or homemade bread. Warm, homemade bread goes with anything!

Albondigas, or porcupine meatball soup, combines meatballs, vegetables and spicy Mexican seasonings in a delicious hearty bowl of soup.

Albondigas Soup


1 lb ground beef
1/3 cup uncooked rice
1 tsp salt
1 egg
3 quarts chicken stock, or part stock/part water
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
3 onions, cut into quarters
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 can of diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp cumin
A dash of cayenne (optional)
1 tsp dried oregano
Fresh spinach or other greens
Cilantro for garnish if desired


1. Mix ground beef with rice, salt and the raw egg. Form into meatballs.

2. Bring broth to a boil in a large pot. Turn down to a slow simmer and gently add meatballs. Simmer gently for 20 minutes.

3. Add the remaining ingredients except spinach. Simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until rice in meatballs is cooked through. Add spinach or other greens and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

Serve hot with fresh flour tortillas, and with toppings such as sour cream, shredded cheese, guacamole and/or cilantro.

To make this soup in a slow-cooker, add the meatballs and all other ingredients except spinach to the broth in your slow-cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Add spinach or other greens and cook for another 15 minutes. I love my Crock-pot (affiliate link); it has plenty of room for a big pot of soup so I'll have leftovers.

Variations: Add a small zucchini, chopped, when adding the carrots and other vegetables. Substitute kale or other greens for the spinach. Use frozen meatballs for faster preparation (even though they wouldn't be true "porcupine meatballs").

How to make Albondigas soup with porcupine meatballs and toppings.

You might also enjoy these recipes:
Ham and Bean Soup
Broccoli and Cheddar Soup
French Onion Soup

Albondigas soup made with meatballs and warm Mexican spices.

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