Caldo de Albondigas | Meatball Soup

A Mexican meatball and vegetable soup in a tomato broth

Caldo de Albondigas is a meatball and vegetables soup that is commonly boiled in a tomato broth and served with Mexican rice or warm tortillas.

Caldo de albondigasIt has taken me more than three years to get this recipe posted. Not because I had to learn how to make it, but because I was never happy with the pictures. Meatballs are my nemesis when it comes to food photography. They are dull and not eye appealing at all without any color next to them. Taste, on the other hand,  they are amazeballs!

The broth in this soup is a base for a few other soups I like to make, such as chicken soup, beef shank stew, or shrimp soup. Sometimes I will use chicken broth or shrimp stock instead of water. It all depends on what kind of soup I’m making. In this case, the meatballs have enough seasoning and herbs to give this soup plenty of flavor, so I always stick with water for these albondigas.


Caldo de albondigas 1I should also mention, you can add other vegetables in the soup as well. I typically like to add zucchini or potatoes. Sometimes chayote. I’ve seen others use green beans or peas. It’s all up to you. Just remember to add them toward the end of cooking. Especially for potatoes and zucchini since they get mushy if you boil them too long.

This was the first soup I made by myself after I moved out of my Mom’s house because it has always been a favorite of mine. Especially during the winter. I hope you like it.

Caldo de albondigas 2Start by combining all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl. Mix it all reeeeealy good. Set it aside when you’re done and start getting the rest of the ingredients ready.

Mince the onion and garlic in a food processor. Set that aside on a separate plate so that you can chop the tomatoes in the food processor as well. You can do this all by hand if you want, but I sometimes prefer to have the tomatoes chopped to the point of becoming a tomato sauce. That way there aren’t too many pieces of tomato skin floating around the soup. Some people don’t like that. I don’t mind it, by my kiddos try and pick out the tomato skin pieces, so for us this works best.

Caldo de Albondigas (Meatball Soup)Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil on medium heat for about two minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce and chicken bouillon. Simmer covered for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, add the chopped carrots and six cups water. Stir to loosen the browned bits at the bottom of the pot. Begin rolling the meat into meatballs about the size of two teaspoons. Drop them in the pot one at a time. Add the corn and bring the soup to a low boil.

Caldo de Albondigas (Meatball Soup)Depending on the type of meat you are using, you might have to skim off some of the grease or foam from meat fat that builds up at the top once it starts to boil.  If you have good quality lean meat, there won’t be much fat to skim out. If you bought ground beef that is higher in fat you can cook the tomato base in a separate pan and cook the albondigas alone in the main pot. Skim out as much of the fat as you can before adding the tomato base and vegetables.

Cover and finish cooking on low for 25-30 minutes or until the meatballs and rice are fully cooked through.

Serve with chopped cilantro and avocado slices. Other additions we like to pair this caldo with are warm tortillas or Mexican rice, lime juice, and hot sauce.

Caldo de Albondigas (Meatball Soup)



5 from 4 votes

Caldo de Albondigas | Meatball Soup

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 servings
Author Stephanie Chavez


  • For the meatballs
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1/3 cup long grain white rice
  • ½ cup mint minced
  • ½ cup cilantro minced
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • For the Caldo
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 gloves garlic
  • ½ cup white onion
  • 4 Roma tomatoes cut in quarters
  • 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon
  • 4 carrots chopped about 2 cups
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 small frozen corn-on-the-cobs


  1. Combine all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl. Set aside to let the meat rest while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the garlic and onion together until finely minced; transfer to a small plate or bowl. Add the tomatoes to the food processor and pulse four or five times or until smooth.
  3. In a five-quart pot, heat oil on medium heat. Add garlic and onions; saute until soft and they begin to brown. Stir in tomato sauce and chicken bouillon; simmer 10 minutes covered.
  4. After 10 minutes, add carrots and six cups water. Stir to loosen browned bits at the bottom of the pot. Begin rolling meatballs (about the size of two teaspoons). Drop them in the pot one at a time. Add the corn and bring to a low boil. Carefully skim off any grease or foam from meat fat that builds up at the top after it has started to boil. Cover and finish cooking on low 25-30 minutes or until the meatballs and rice are fully cooked through.
  5. Serve with warm corn tortillas, chopped cilantro and avocado slices. Lime juice and hot sauce can also be added to your preference.


by Stephanie Chavez

Author & Content Creator for Spanglish Spoon.

  1. Amanda@craftycookingmama

    I absolutely love caldo de albondigas but have never made it myself. I’ve had good intentions, but somehow always end up making Italian wedding soup lol. Your soup sounds & looks wonderful. I love the photo of the perfectly round meatball getting ready to go in the pot 🙂

  2. Annette Diaz

    This was my first time making Caldo de Albondigas. I really enjoyed your recipe. I will continue to use your recipe and of course use my spices to it. Gracias/Thank you.

  3. Marlene

    Mexican from Veracruz speaking here. Make this. The mint gives it an amazing flavor. I’ve been making this recipe again and again for a couple years but had never rated it. If you’re on the fence, give it a try. Please use fresh mint. I usually don’t use the full amount because it’s too expensive where I live, but even just the amount I add makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE.

    • Stephanie Chavez

      You made my day, Marlene! Thank you so much for coming back to comment on this recipe. It’s one of my favorites, too.

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