Albondigas Soup

If fresh mint is not available, you can use a couple teaspoons of dried mint from herbal mint tea. You can also vary the vegetables depending on what you have on hand. Spring peas in their pods instead of shucked peas, for example. Or you could add some chopped fresh zucchini or corn. My mother often puts a couple extra tablespoons of chopped fresh mint directly into the soup. Feel free to substitute ground turkey for the ground beef, we do it often.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 3 quarts of chicken stock or beef stock OR water OR a mixture of both (we usually use half stock half water as the meatballs will create their own stock)*
  • 1/2 cup of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 lb of string beans, strings and ends removed, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1/3 cup of raw white rice
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup of chopped parsley
  • 1 raw egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • A dash of cayenne (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cup of frozen or fresh peas
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, crumbled, or 1 Tbsp fresh chopped oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

*If using prepared stock, be sure to use gluten-free stock if you are cooking gluten-free.


1 Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed pot (5-qt) over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a minute more. Add broth mixture and tomato sauce. Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer. Add carrots and string beans.

2 Prepare the meatballs. Mix rice into meat, adding mint leaves and parsley, salt and pepper. Mix in raw egg. Form mixture into 1-inch meatballs.

albondigas-1.jpg albondigas-2.jpg

3 Add the meatballs to the simmering soup, one at a time. Cover and let simmer for 1/2 hour. Add the peas towards the end of the 1/2 hour. Add a few pinches of oregano and sprinkle with salt and pepper, and a dash of cayenne, to taste.

Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.

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  • Tina

    Finally a recipe thats pretty much like my grandma used to make..I’ve seen lots of recipes using bread crumbs in the meatballs, but it was always rice for us. And the MINT!! Gosh so many other recipes don’t even use mint..but like oregano or whatever..I think its the mint that gives it it’s unique flavor.

  • Elise

    Mint is the super special secret ingredient. It is what makes Albondigas Soup taste like no other meatball soup.

  • jen

    as a child i grew up camping, i remeber a friend of ours making for us a soup called soupe de albondigas, but the only thing i could remember about it was that there was rice in the meatballs. Thank you for this recipe it is not only the only recipe i could find that uses rice rather than bread crubs and it also brings back a lot of memories.

  • cameron

    I just made this soup tonight. It was very good. I made a mistake at the store and bought half pound beef, half pork (!!!) From what I could tell, my hybrids were pretty tasty. (Oh, and to talk about meatballs…this soup was filled with meatballs!) I used 2 quarts chicken stock, 1 quart water and everything else was the same. I also used frozen peas — they literally cook in a flash. Two minutes tops.

    Elise, thanks so much for this great recipe. I LOVE to cook (and I’m a good one at that!) but I would never have found this recipe (or cooked it) if it weren’t for the site and your great pictures.

  • Elise

    Hi Cameron, you are very welcome! This is one of my favorite family recipes; I hope it becomes one of yours. :-)

  • denise

    This soup was OK, but I’d leave out the mint. I live in Tucson, AZ 90 miles for the Mexican Border. Mexican food is a part of our every day life. I made the soup for my husband. We hated the mint in the meatballs. I took out the minted meatballs from the rest of the soup and made a new batch of the balls, omitting the mint. It was much better without the mint.

  • Elise

    Hi Denise,

    It just goes to show you that people have different tastes! By the way, my mother, from whom I got this recipe, is also from Tucson, as is my grandmother and so on, several generations back to the time of the founding of the state actually. Mom is Hispanic which is how I got to grow up cooking Mexican food. I’m pretty religious when it comes to my albondigas soup. I won’t have it any other way than as described, with mint in the meatballs. But as with so many things, perhaps it is an acquired taste. It took my dad 20 years to get used to cilantro which is such an important part of Mexican cuisine. Note I have seen the soup in recipes both ways – with mint and without. I just think the mint is what really distinguishes this soup – sort of like saffron in paella. That said, everyone’s taste is different, so one can certainly leave out the mint!

  • Diane

    I’ve never seen it with mint! I’ve always made it with cilantro – can’t wait to try it a new way!

  • rachel

    those of us who grew up on albondigas made by grandma can definately appreciate this recipe.
    of course it’s all about the mint!!! a little twist i kicked in while trying to perfect my family’s recipe was just a bit, (maybe half of a small can) of tomato paste to thicken the broth…. anyway, i’m off to cook albondigas for my boyfriend as he has never had it and i look forward to experimenting with your recipe.
    good call!

  • Abby

    The mint really did remind me of Spain- where the senora with whom I lived used it in chicken noodle soup. Mmmm.
    I didn’t have peas or beans on hand, so I used some fresh swiss chard that had just come in my CSA box today from Full Belly Farms. It worked very well.
    We drank a pinot noir with dinner- which was a fantastic combination.
    Thanks for the recipe, Elise. It was perfect for this drizzly Berkeley day.

  • pbev

    Thanks for the fabulous recipe. Easy to make and the flavor payoff is excellent. Very authentic mexican taste.

  • Lisa

    This sounds yummy! But for those of us who don’t eat red meat, I would like to try it with ground turkey for the albondigas and chicken stock.

    Has anyone tried it with turkey meatballs?


  • Elise

    Hi Lisa – We’ve made albondigas soup with ground turkey meat. You might try making it with ground “dark” turkey meat, if you can get that from your local butcher. It’s more flavorful.

  • Nan

    This was perfect for a cold winter evening. I added a chopped, seeded jalapeno for some additional heat. Used ground turkey rather than ground beef. It was a hit with my spose and teens.

    We especially like the mint! I would never have thought of that…

  • denise

    This was fantastic – Delicious and Easy! I am new to cooking and couldn’t believe how easy this was to make. The meatballs were flavorful and plentiful. The bonus on this was that my mom’s albondigas doesn’t even compare to this, these were her words, not mine!

    Thank you for another great recipe Elise!!! :)

    p.s. I added oregano to the meatballs and they were SO TASTY!!!

  • happylilvegemite


    Just whipped these up- only had frozen beans, so added them with the peas. Yummy!

    Am cooking this in Australia, so am curious as to what your “tomato sauce” is – I guessed it isn’t ketchup (known as tomato sauce down under) but not sure what it is – tomato puree? paste? canned tomatoes?

    But an awesome recipe – thanks Elise for your great site. Am loving the rss feed!

  • Elise

    Hi Nan and Denise – so glad you liked the soup!

    Hi Happy Lil Vegemite – I love your name! (Although you Aussies can please keep Vegemite down under.) Hmm tomato sauce is definitely not ketchup. It’s more like puréed canned/cooked tomatoes that have been reduced a bit.

  • Dolores

    FINALLY I found an albondigas recipe w/ mint and rice in the meatballs. I cannot tell you how long I’ve searched, and searched! This is how my grandparents from Guadalajara, Mexico made the soup, and as far as I’m concerned, if the meatballs are not made w/ rice and mint, it’s not authentic albondigas. THANK YOU!!!!

  • steve

    I’ve used the recipe and it is quite good as published. However I use turkey thigh meat, 1/2 recommended mint, zucchini/celery in place of peas/beans. Instead of salt I use a 1/2 c of tomatillo. This way I get a no red meat/lo salt version perfect for my diet. Thanks.

  • Ann

    THIS is the first Albondiga’s recipe that I have seen w/mint in it..My mother is mexican-american and this is the way she made Albondigas and its the way I make it as well. Although when I talk to friends and co-workers about albondigas they have never heard of mint in it, nor have they ever tried it…To me, Albondigas without mint is just meatball soup….I use ground beef, mint (easy on the mint), egg, rice and of course garlic salt and pepper and the vegetables I use are carrots, potato, a bit of celery, a small amount of whole stewed tomatoes. When the soup is ready to eat I add fresh squeezed lemon juice and eat with flour tortillas…mmmmmmmmmm..

  • Bad Kitty

    I am a native Tucsonan and have grown up eating and cooking mexican food. I went to Culinary Art school and certain dishes native to the hispanic culture were never addressed which surprised me. My mother is hispanic, born in Tombstone, Az and she taught me her original recipe on how to make Albondiga soup. I was home one day with my new boyfriend (who is part German) and had a craving for this soup. I have been on this site and have made the above recipe several times with modications depending on who I was serving it to. For example; my boyfriend loves the mint in the soup making the flavor like none other. My young nephews however can do with out it. I have made the recipe as listed above. I have also added zucchini and carrots in leiu of the peas. I have also used potatos at times in the soup. Most recently I have added diced tomatos and chicken broth for a more healthier alternative. Any way I have made it the soup turns out fantastic and I have gotten rave reviews from those it is served to. Thanks for posting this fantastic recipe.

  • ana zavala

    Your recepie is fantabulous! I’m from Guadalajara, Jalisco (1970)and I remember my mother, grandmothers and even one of my great grandmothers adding the veggies in the mix as well. Try adding carrots, zuccini, tomato, and onions all minced in the mix of the albondiga balls. One way to ensure that our children, and other loved ones, eat vegetables in their delicious soup. Also accompany the soup with a squeeze of lemon/lime and an adobo chipotle hot pepper with warm tortillas. Add avocado when served, if you like. Mmmmm, yum!

  • browneyedladyinla

    I haven’t yet made this soup, but after just looking at the picture and reading the list of ingredients this looks like the albondigas soup I have been craving for years!!!! I can hardly wait to get all the stuff needed to make it. Thank you so much Elise for your fabulous recipe!!! When I make it I will come back to let you know how it turned out.


  • Sonoran Dessert

    I am from San Diego and I have never heard of Alboniga’s without mint. My family was originally from Baja California as are many other San Diegans. I wonder if it is a regional thing. This is a staple in the Mexican American households here. It is very hearty and inexpensive and is great for a large family. I have tried many variations through friends and families the one common factor was that they all had mint.

  • elsa

    This is now a family favorite. It’s delicious!

  • lorena

    My mom always made her albondigas with mint. If you ask me, is not an albondiga without the mint,or the rice,or the tomato or the yummy veggies. and now i’m off to make my sopa de is a cold night in San Diego.

  • tarus

    This is my favourite recipe. I have become addicted.

  • Jen

    We make this at least twice a month in the fall and winter. We use ground turkey and brown rice for the meatballs and it is quite delicious. We do also omit the mint, and I also toss a handful of raw brown rice in the broth before bringing it to a boil. Thank you for the great recipe.

  • Anita

    Hi Elise,

    Thank you so much for the TERRIFIC albondiga soup recipe on this website! I made this soup today (after going back to the store for mint).
    I used parsley and mint and cilantro.
    This is the best tasting soup I have ever made because the broth flavor is so unique. Don’t know how anyone would know this has mint in it. Maybe their broth was too weak and picked up too much of the mint flavor. I used 2 quarts of Swanson Beef broth low sodium and 2 cups of water and 8 oz tomato sauce. Perfect! Next time I’ll add more meatballs and consider it a full dinner.

    Thanks again,

  • Karen

    We are in love!
    I had searched high and low through online searches and cookbooks to find the common thread through Albondigas recipes, to identify the special something about the soup served by our favorite local restuarant.

    I found some recipes with mint, some with rice meatballs, non seemed to come together in the correct harmony as yours; so we gave it a go this evening.

    I used organic chicken stock, very lean organic beef, & parsley & mint with the meat balls. After making the soup, we removed the meatballs and veggies quickly with a slotted spoon and reduced the broth. Outstanding!!!!

    Our 4 and 6 year old boys are looking forward to a breakfast of Albonigas soup :)

    I would love suggestions for creating the meatballs with pork for the next time we make this.

  • Nancy

    I just got back from Mexico and was looking for a traditional recipe. Looks like I finally found one. I can’t wait to make this one.

  • Beverly

    What kind of mint do you use? I have a very mild mint growing around my milking barn. The person who gave it to me called it orange mint but I certainly don’t get an orange taste from it and it isn’t peppermint or spearmint. Could I use either dried spearmint or dried peppermint which I have?

  • NewaveGirl

    I tried this recipe last night and it was a huge hit! My husband is an extremely picky eater when it comes to authentic recipes, so I was cautious when I served it to him. He loved it. I reduced the mint to 1/4 cup, added some potatoes and extra rice to the meatballs, for some more depth, and it came out terrific. The only other modification that I would make for future recipes is to add some summer squash with the peas during the last half hour of cooking time, and then garnish with Queso Fresco and Cilantro. Try it tonight. It was absolutely yummy!

  • carolina esparza

    I live in México, the recipe of albóndigas used cumin in the meat, too, a little only

  • lilly

    Well, just wanted to add that in my little family it’s cumin; we don’t use mint. We’ll add a little cumin to the meatballs and a little to the sauce. We also slightly fry the meatballs, I think it’s so they won’t get as soggy. I like them, I’ve gone to some restaurants where they are even a little spicy. But this recipe is the real deal.

  • RK

    What a fantastic recipe. I grew up in Yuma, so am no stranger to authentic mexican food. I was about to write down the ingredients for the artichoke soup but am switching to this one and am so excited to try it. Thanks for such a delightful recipe!

  • Meredith

    My husband and I loved this soup. Next time we make it though, we are going to change up the broth a bit, taking our cue from America’s Test Kitchen’s tortilla soup recipe. Instead of the can of tomato sauce, which doesn’t really have much flavor, we are going to combine 2 medium tomatoes, half an onion, 2 garlic cloves, a jalapeno, a chipotle chili in adobo, and a teaspoon of the adobo sauce in a food processor until smooth. You heat a little oil in a dutch oven and add the mixture and cook it down about 10 minutes and then add the chicken broth. It makes such a wonderfully flavorful soup. That broth and your meatballs are sure to be a wonderful combo. Thanks!

  • Tiggy

    Really Good and easy Albondiga Soup. Oh…. the memories of being kids growing up going to the garden and picking the (Yerba Buena) mint. for the best albondiga soup ever that Mom used make and abuelita also used make. Now here I am practicing and cooking this great recipe that is so very like the albondiga soup we grew up with. Thankyou Elise.

  • Machelle

    Great recipe, I love it. How well would the soup do being frozen for later?

  • jennifer romero-rimer

    My grandmother used to own a mexican restaurant in LA and has shown me how to cook some of the best food ever! Now that Ived moved to Oregon, I miss her real “down home” mexican food. I will never be as good as her, but this site will certainly help me bring those great tastes up here to my family. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Ernesto

    This recipe seems legit, but I wouldnt use the mint. For the past 21 yrs I’ve seen my mother use fresh oregano to flavor and aromatize Caldo de Albondigas, but the mint makes sense I guess. A staple of my childhood diet, I’ve actually tweaked it now that I cook it for myself by adding Chayote as one of the vegetables along with the usual potatoes, celery stock, carrots, peppers and freshly ground nutmeg. This makes a hearty soup loaded with vegetables you can sink your teeth into and gives you more than the typical meatballs and rice. If by chance you want a healthier alternative I’ve made it with ground turkey before. If the thought doesn’t quite appeal to you, try using dried cracked red pepper in the meatballs, its livens them up and hides the fact that yes *you are using turkey meat*. But if you really want the deep flavors and a lively kick, use some canned chipotle. It will throw it up another notch. Think I’ve shared more than enough So I’ll get back to the kitchen!!!

  • Maria

    My mother used to make a soup very similar to this (she is from Mexico) but I remember it with a cream-style liquid. Has anyone heard of that? She is now deceased and no one in my family remembers how she made it…..

  • Powderdog

    When I prepare an ethnic recipe, I like to keep it as “authentic” as possible because that makes it a little more interesting and adventurous. I researched Sopa de Albondigas recipes and their sources quite a bit and this recipe is almost identical to the recipe that I use. The characteristics that I think are really important are the mint and rice in the meatballs and not cooking the cilantro. This recipe calls for the cilantro as a garnish and my recipe calls for just adding it when the soup is completely finished and then turning off the heat. That way I can freeze the soup and the cilantro is already in it when I heat it up some time later. Adding the cilantro as a garnish would, of course, give the soup a fresher cilantro flavor but my method is almost as good.

  • Karen

    Thank you for the wonderful recipe, Elise. This is the first thing I’ve made from your beautiful web site and I’m impressed! I must say I’ve never had a better albondigas soup.

    I used a combination of ground beef and ground pork for the meatballs. The mint really made the dish. I didn’t put the peas in as I’m not wild about them. Next time I’ll probably add more green beans to substitute for the missing peas. I can’t wait to try your other recipes (especially the Mexican ones)!

  • Maria

    Meatballs without Yerbabuena (mint) are not meatballs!

    This recipe is very good.

    For those of you who have a difficult time getting tomato sauce, it is very easy to make your own. just put a couple of fresh tomatoes in the blender, a wedge of onion, a little piece of chile any kind you have is good. and a clove of garlic. blend until it has a sauce consistency and pour onto sauteed onions and garlic, let it cook a couple of minutes and there you have it. I do not like to use canned tomato sauce, I always make it fresh as above listed.


    Instead of using beef, use ground chicken or ground fish or shrimp (no mint on fish or shrimp).

  • Gregg

    I made this last night and used ground buffalo instead of ground beef. Lower in fat than both pork or beef and has a wonderful flavor. Not a mint lover so deleted that as well. Used fresh zucchini instead of green beans and added some fresh salsa to the mix. Very good recipe, thanks.

  • Debra Smith

    I made this and added some hot Turkish red pepper paste for a bit of a kick.I notice several people complaining about the mint.The recipe calls for fresh mint.If you are substituting dry for fresh you use 1/10 of the amount! Its so subtle you would not be able to define the mint if you tasted it this way.Its supposed to give a whisper of a taste,and it makes it delicious! Without it you might as well be eating spagetti soup,and that sounds less than appealing!

  • Sara Keppler

    OM My God! I am so excited to see this recipe online. I am a huge fan of Albondigas soup and our local Mexican resteraunt went under new management, and changed the recipe! its just not the same. AT ALL. I had been going there for YEARS and all i ever ordered was the soup, because it was so amazing. Now, they use frozen Italian style meatballs that tase like they bought in bulk from Costco! (nothing against Costco, i work there) Its just not authentic! After reading these ingrediants, I must tell you, I cant wait to taste what they took away from me. THank you sooo much. I think making a big pot of this and serving into individual containers will make great Christmas gifts for the neighbors, for cold winter nights =)

  • Diane

    My husband is originally from LA and treasured his mother’s albondigas soup. He and my daughter love your recipe. We do use ground turkey and add potato pieces like his mother did. I have made it for others as well,including my mother, and everyone loves it.
    I enjoy making it because it comes out alittle different each time and always yummy!!!
    Happy in Florida….Thanks Elise

  • Susan Medina

    Once again Elise, you have looked into my kitchen and pulled out a recipe for me! Not only do I have all the ingredients, but I have fresh mint growing on my roof garden! The mint is so lovely, but how many cups of mint tea can one drink?! :) Hopefully it is the “right” mint.
    I won’t be changing this recipe one iota.
    I am sure it will turn out delicious!

    Albondigas~ my friend in high school(37 years ago) asked me to teach her a word in Spanish. I was studying Spanish (ALM method) and there was a dialog with ~Albondigas~! I taught her the word and she said it to one of her mother’s Spanish speaking customers. She said that the guy had a very hearty laugh. Is there a double meaning?! lol.
    I told her that it meant meatballs.

  • Susan Medina

    Dear Elise,
    I made the soup with NO changes for my family and it came out superb.
    EVERYONE liked it.
    Thank-you! :)

  • april

    Thank you Elise for another wonderful recipe! Tried it tonight and it was a hit. I use your recipes as a starting point, since I usually add much more portionwise of everything than you do because I’m really into *big* flavor (for instance, I added minced habaneros to the meatball mixture, and probably 14 cloves of garlic to the broth). Perfect for a cold december night! :-)

  • Elizabeth

    This soup is really good! My husband had talked about it for years, and I finally made it! I added zucchini, and I used Hunt’s tomato sauce with Italian seasonings. This soup smells wonderful as it’s cooking, and the result is very satisfying when it’s cold outside. Thank you!

  • Fran

    Elise. what a wonderful recipe! I made this delicious soup 2 nights ago and finished it last night. I folllowed your recipe to a tee..except… (don’t you love that?) I used about 1 tablespoon dried mint instead of fresh, in the meatballs. It was fantastic. Ole! Tonight I’m making the Greek version..youvarlakia… Opa!

  • Serene

    Hi Elise, I’ve been reading this blog for a long time now but have never left a comment. Today, I just have to. My husband is having a bad flu and hasn’t been in the mood to eat anything. I decided to make this soup (also because it’s REALLY COLD here in Michigan right now…). And voila! He not only finished the entire bowl, but asked for more! I followed the recipe exactly and it’s absolutely delicious! And it clearly has restorative properties too! Thank you so much! :)

  • Dena

    Well I did end up making this (half batch to try out) the other night. I didn’t have mint, and really am not a big fan, so I didn’t use any.

    I was impressed at how quick it was to put together. That was great.

    I used equal parts chicken broth and beef broth.

    Overall, it was was just “ok” tasting for me. I definately wasn’t super impressed, and I’ll probably never make it again. But thats ok, I’m really glad I experimented and tried it! I love trying out new recipes and am never sorry I made something, even if I don’t end up enjoying it that much. How else are you going to stumble across gold mines if you don’t try anything?!

    Also, I thought it needed more broth/liquid, for sure. Just my two cents.

    I definately don’t mean to sound like Debbie Downer, I just wanted to give a different perspective on this. I’m glad the majority of people seemed to love it!

    Thank you, Elise!

    • Ty

      I have to agree with this review. Granted I’ve never had Albondigas soup so I can’t judge it against anything else, but it looked so good and the reviews were so great, I had to try it! I ended up adding more garlic to the broth, at least 3 tbsp of cayenne, and 1 tbsp of cumin just to give it more of a Mexican flavor. It was good but not as great as I had hoped for :-/

  • Mel

    This is a wonderful recipe! I tried it for the family last night – none of us ever having eaten albondigas before and we loved it! It is light yet filling. I used half extra lean beef and dark turkey meat. I didn’t have fresh parsley so I used dried. I don’t know if it destroys the traditional flavor – but we added a squeeze of lime and it was delicious! This one is going in The Book!

    Thank you!

  • Wendy

    Another yummy recipe! I love this blog! I made this on a very cold winter day, minus fifteen degrees + wind chill factor + a lot of snow…it surely warmed our tummies! Thank you for sharing, it was delicious!

  • Claudia

    I had a craving for albondigas soup this morning so I thought I’d check my Rick Bayless cookbook…not the right type of albondigas. I checked Joy of Cooking and and still not the thing I was looking for, so I did a search for it. I checked through several recipes and none looked like the right recipe. I finally called my mom. She has never cooked using a recipe, so I didn’t call her first. The first ingredient she listed was mint! I had no idea after all these years. I told her I had seen a recipe using mint. I used your recipe as a base, adding the vegetables I remember…zucchini and potatoes (no peas), 1/2 chix stock and 1/2 water. It brought back memories and was so good. My 3 yr old ate the whole thing without us having to keep bugging him to eat his dinner. Thanks getting this down in “ink”.

  • sudesna

    A very good recipe- can’t wait to try this- my husband and I have fallen in love with Mexican, hispanic, etc cuisine- can’t get enough of it! Though I have a question- the meatball- is is fried or steamed before adding to the broth? seems like they would break when the broth starts boiling! Pls let me know I’ll be storing this recipe till I find out what to do exactly. Thanks so much for posting this.

  • Chris

    We made a variation of this last night. Hooray for mini-meatballs! :)

  • Annalisa

    I love albondigas, this recipe is very similar to the one my mom made for us when I was a kid. She put potatoes, no peas or green beans, and of course she added the mint. Sometimes there was tomato sauce sometimes just chopped tomato, both very good.

    I will make this and try the green beans. My girl friend doesn’t like peas :o(

    And yes, my son loves this soup. He calls it nabonygus. :o)

  • ~M

    Hi Elise!
    This sounds delicious and satisfying. Would it work to use raw brown rice in the meatballs? Thanks!

    Brown rice takes 3 times as long to cook as white rice, so no, it probably wouldn’t work raw. If you want to use brown rice, cook it first. ~Elise

  • Maribel

    The recipe was very good! I modified it a little. I diced carrots and italian squash to put in the meatballs and used carrots, potatoes, and italian squash as the vegetables. Very good, will make again! Yummy!

  • Ramona

    Hello Elise,

    This recipe reminds me of the albondiga soup my mother used to make–delicious! I would like to prepare this soup for our church’s soup kitchen and am wondering if other than multiplying the ingredients to serve approximately 125 people, is there anything you would adjust? Also, about how many albondigas are there per serving?

    Thank you!

    Hello Ramona – No idea on the making of that big of a batch. Regarding albondigas per serving, we aim for 3 or 4. ~Elise

  • ej

    Love finding this recipe. For anyone who wants to skip using the mint (not me!) consider substituting it with basil.

    Not as common a switch as the cilantro or oregano, but a very wonderful twist of flavor.

  • helen

    Yummy! I cook Albóndigas at least every 2 weeks. I add chopped zucchini and carrots, and as I turn the heat off, I add a bunch of chopped spinach. Nutritious. And yes, mint is the original one, but you can use chopped cilantro as well.

  • Jorge Diaz-Santiago

    I am from Mexico, though I live in the US. All my family is still there and I checked with my mother, grandmother, aunts, etc (as any self respecting chef would do :-) They all agree that ‘Albondigas’ have to have cumin and spearmint (hierbabuena or yerbabuena). No pepper, no basil, no cilantro, no parsley. I got scolded for even suggesting the oregano (which is very mild and I believe helps the broth). People like improving and improvising, as I do, but for the purist out there and the ones that want the most “original” Albondigas I hope this helps. You can also try substituting plum tomatoes for the tomato sauce and adding a chipotle chile into the sauce for flavor and a little ‘heat’.

  • Erika

    This is a great recipe however the way we have always done it in our family as I have noticed some people not liking mint. We have always used fresh oregano and the rice. That adds a lot of flavor to the meatballs. So for those of you who do not like the mint taste, try putting in fresh oregano. It’s quite tasty.

  • mary

    My mother in law from Cuernavaca Morelos Mexico makes it different. 1/2 ground beef 1/2 ground pork, add raw egg while mixing two meats. Boil more eggs and peel then when you roll your meatball you stuff each and every one with boiled egg. Bake meatballs. Broth is tomato paste on high with lots of garlic, then add water, then Knorr consome de polla flavoring. Add meat without all the oil thats the nice part of baking them. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Make rice seperate, she always used white rice with mixed veggies. Serve two Albondigas per person with or without rice. Lime or crema is always addded individually at the table. The best hot sauce to add while eating is chipolte from the can. I just got finished making this tonight for husbands birthday on Saturday as it always taste best two days later. I am tired made two pots tonight 35 albondigas total, my daughters will bring tuperware haha. This is hubby’s favorite soup. Now I am on to making tres leche cake.

  • Jean

    My husband and I love this soup. We think it’s one of the best we have ever made or had. I made it for dinner last night, had some for lunch today, and I’m freezing the rest. Huge hit. The only thing we added was a pepper for a bit of heat.


  • jody from omaha

    OMG so stuffed! Just finished off a big bowl of this soup and it was wonderful my husband is from Michocaan Mexico and he loved it though he had never heard of the mint but liked it. I did it with mixing the pork and hamburger and I used zucchini instead of potatoes my husband not big on papas and for a little zing I used a can of el pato with the tomato sauce. Anyway this is something I will definitely be making again thanks so much for the great idea can’t wait to try the catus, tomato and onion.

  • Patti

    Our family recipe calls for fresh thyme. The fresh thyme compliments the other flavors in the meatballs perfectly.

  • Cynthia

    I just wanted to say ‘thanks’ for this recipe. My mom use to make this when I was younger too!! I remember not liking it too much, but as I got older I enjoyed it more. Mom is gone now, and unfortunately she didn’t share any cooking skills with me, so I was excited to see this recipe. I had forgotten all about albondigas soup!

    Can’t wait to share it with my family.

  • Bj

    I found your recipe last year and kept meaning to leave a comment. My husband LOVES this recipe, I do too. We first tried this soup at our fav Mexican Rest. – Via De Los Santos (Phoenix) we fell in love with it, my husband tried to get a friend of ours that works there to get the recipe for us but it wasn’t going to happen. So…I went online and found your recipe and it’s just as good if not better than theirs. Thank you!!!

    BTW, for those who didn’t love it or like it, they must’ve done something wrong…seriously! If you don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer, then don’t say anything.

  • tessie

    This soup is amazing! I’ve been checking your recipe site for the past half year, it’s a fantastic site. I love it bc it’s a personal website with photos of the food and your lovely parents—makes all the difference.

  • tomoko

    Another GREAT recipe, loved the soup. We’re having an especially COLD days in the south and this was perfect. Instead of peas, I used spinach for added green which I’d seen in Italian Wedding soup. Really yummy.

  • Joy

    A wonderful recipe! I cooked it and gave it to my friend who is mexican to taste. She said ‘yep, that’s authentic albondigas!” My husband LOVES it and his mouth started watering yesterday when I told him I’m making it today. Thank you for a GREAT recipe. PS: I LOVE the mint leaves – wouldn’t have it any other way!

  • Cristina Maria

    I loved reading all of the comments! People are passionate about this soup!
    I know we all love to personalize recipes, but I think the idea here is traditional, authentic Albondigas Soup. It has to have mint, rice, and the fresh cilantro garnish.
    The veggies and stock will vary from house to house (usually the recipe started from what was in the garden with my grandma). And every family has their traditional table condiments of different chiles, sauces,and limes on the table, but this is the basis for the real thing. Mint and rice! Muy Bueno!

  • David

    Yum! I made this a couple of nights ago, and it’s very good.

  • Kelly

    I made this, but doubled the meatballs-YUMMY!
    Love your website, love that your local, I live in the Delta, and love all your recipes(:

  • deborah

    I’m from the UK and wanted to try this recipe. How much stock should I use (in metric measurements) – I presume 3 quarts is three quarters, but three quarters of what? also, do you know any other names for string beans – I think we call them something else over here.

    Please use the measurement converter in the left-hand sidebar of this site to convert quarts to liters. As for string beans, another name for them is haricots verts. ~Elise

  • Nikki

    This looks wonderful. I am surprise about the spearmint though. I have never seen a recipe that calls for it. I love trying new flavors though. Thanks!

  • dominique (de vous à moi...)

    I love the combination of meat and fresh mint. I don’t know mexican cooking (except guacamole, tortillas and chili con carne). I’ll try your recipe. thank you…

  • Susan

    I’d love to make this soup but my son is allergic to eggs. Meatballs, especially in broth fall apart without the egg to bind. In your culinary travels have you seen a suitable replacement for the binding ability of egg (be it in meatballs, meatloaf or even holding lean ground beef patties together)? We have credible replacements for an egg’s leavening and moisture retaining capabilities but not the binding. Thank you.

    You might try making the meatballs smaller than usual and/or mixing in some breadcrumbs. Make sure to keep the soup at a low simmer to help gently cook the meatballs. ~Elise

  • Lisa

    I’m just wondering if the meatballs could stand alone, or do they need to be in the soup to get the full flavor? I’m liking the idea that the mint (of which we have a lot growing) meatballs do not use pork but, rather, beef/turkey.

    These meatballs need to be made in soup because they are made with raw rice, which requires the liquid in the soup to absorb. ~Elise

  • kat

    This sounded good, just from reading the recipe. Then after reading all the comments, I definitely will be trying this! I’ve never seen rice nor mint in meatballs, but I can’t wait to try it!

  • June

    Thanks Elise – can’t wait to try this recipe, as I’ve recently been researching the many variations…isn’t that what cooking’s all about? There’s no right or wrong – just personal preference. I love the addition of mint, though I’ll have to substitute other veggies for the peas and beans. My redneck hubby doesn’t go for much “green”. By they way, I’m in Tucson too, not a native but a transplant. Love the food, hate the summers! Ha.

  • sarah

    I learned to make this soup in Puebla, Mexico. I was taught to use a combination of mint (hierbabuena) and cumin. The combination is superb! Another variation of albondigas is to use a chile verde instead of a red chile. Combine raw tomatillos, garlic, cumin, and mint (salt to taste)in the blender, then “fry” the chile in oil. Add broth or water, then the albondigas and there you go!

    Love the idea of a tomatillo-based albondigas soup, thank you! Will have to give that a try later on in the summer when our garden is producing tomatillos. ~Elise

  • Memoria

    Oh, I’ve always wanted to make sopa de albóndigas (acute accent should be on the “o”). Thanks for this recipe and the enticing photo.

  • Laura [What I Like]

    I just ate the most forgettable Vietnamese noodle salad for lunch so my mouth is quite literally watering at the thought of this…you’re killing me! I can’t wait until I get home tonight!

  • La Comadre

    I has made this recipe without the mint all my life. I try wit de mint to see if taste differen pero no me gusto, guac! Y why you put de green bean? No me gusto tampoco. Y a mi espozo no le gustaron la hierba bueno O con ejotes. We try it, pero no thank you.

    ..and just for the record, my mother taught me this recipe, and her grandmother taught her that recipe and her great great grandmother taught her the recipe she learned from la comadre Cuca who live on a farm in La Angostura.

  • Dallas from Bitchin' Kitchen

    Now THAT is an authentic, delicious-looking recipe. If only the abysmal tex-mex places in Montreal would take a hint from you!

  • Regina

    OK – now I hate the fact that it’s 80 degrees here in Montgomery. This sounds heavenly! I am all about some Latin recipes without cumin. I don’t know what it is about cumin, but I just don’t like it. And I can taste a little in a big batch of soup/stew/chili/whatever.

  • Susanne

    Wait, wait!! You add uncooked/raw rice to the meatball mix?? Really? Does the rice absorb enough water in the half-hour cooking time? I’ll try it, I just wasn’t sure I was reading correctly. Thanks

    Yes, uncooked, raw rice. And yes, the rice absorbs enough water in the cooking time. It helps that beef is 60% water (did you know that?) ~Elise

  • mayra

    My mom always added mint to her albondigas! She always grew what she called Yerba Buena which she used for teas and cooking. I think it is essentially mint and she used it in the albondiagas. They were always my favorite.

    Yes, Yerba Buena is mint. ~Elise

  • Chris

    I can’t believe it, I was thinking about albondigas soup just this weekend and now you’ve posted a recipe for it! I’ve never made it before, but I’m very excited to try.

  • barbara

    I am curious as to what kind of mint,, Spearmint or Peppermint ? I think that would make a huge difference in flavorings .
    This soup does sound like a soup that Id like to try. We love homemade soups. I am always game to trying a new one. And this one looks appetizing.

    Spearmint. We grow it in our backyard, but it is the variety of fresh mint that is most commonly for sale in the supermarkets. ~Elise

  • Beatriz

    Thank you for posting this. I love your website! My Mom used mint (hierba buena which she grew in her garden). I’m so glad I paid attention when she made albondigas. The vegetables she preferred were zucchini and chayote.

  • Ari

    Hi again, Elise… My mother always used spearmint (is that how you say hierbebuena?), not mint. And in the broth, she used to add more, but whole, not chopped. You’re right, it’s all about that!

    You mean spearmint versus peppermint? Yes, we use spearmint. I’ve only seen fresh spearmint for sale in the markets, not peppermint. It doesn’t say “spearmint” but just “mint”. ~Elise

  • Mariela

    Thank you! Oh thank you for posting this! Albondigas is not quite the same without mint! I actually made some recently and I knew they weren’t like my mom makes them, of course I was missing the mint. But I’m glad that my neighbors are more than willing to share their mint from their garden. I think I’ll have albondigas for tomorrow’s lunch! Thanks for this post…took me back to my childhood and I’m only 24!

  • Ari

    Elise, question: if hierbabuena is “mint”, then what is “menta” called in English? I have always had that particular question… thanks!

    Don’t know. I’ve always known yerba buena to be mint. ~Elise

  • Ari

    Then “menta” must be peppermint… I grow both…

  • Denise

    This soup is also a family favorite of ours. Our grandmother was born in the Mexico but lived in the US till she died. She would make this soup without veggies and the meat she used was very fatty. It became too “rich” for our taste because of the fat. I know that she did use PLENTY of mint leaves in the water as it boiled and her meatballs were huge. She would add eggs to the ground meat and par-boiled rice as well as more mint leaves. Once the water was at a rapid boil she would add all of her meat balls to the pot at once. When the meatballs began to float the soup was almost ready. She said the eggs held the meatballs together. She would then make her sauce on the side with oil,flour, garlic,onions,cumin, and tomato sauce and salt and pepper. This sauce looked almost like a pink gravy but she would add it to the boiling meatballs. As time went by everyone began to make their own version (I use ground sirloin and have added veggies, like carrots,celery, potatoes and corn to the soup)but our basic recipe always includes the egg in the meatballs, plenty of mint,cumin and par boiled rice. Cilantro is nice too but not always. Also, each of my sisters and mom and aunts all have mint growing somewhere in our yards just for Albondigas and mint tea for whatever may ail you. This soup is good for breakfast, lunch or dinner and will help you keep your weight down too!

  • Barbara Ann Day

    This is almost the same recipe I have used for years. Mine came from a book with all Guatemalan and Mayan foods. The book is entitled False Tongues and Sunday Bread, by Mark Copeland and was published in 1985. He studied the foods of the area and the book is quite interesting because his recipes came directly from the source. He lists the names of 56 women of those countries in the acknowledgements at the front of the book. Anyone interested in the cooking of the area would enjoy his book tremendously. I find it refreshing that this blog has posted recipes from other lands that are true to their roots!

    What an interesting book! Thank you for the recommendation. ~Elise

  • Espahan

    Oh my. This is our favorite soup. I was born in Santa Fe and although I have not lived in the Southwest for many years, our family continues to eat the traditional foods of New Mexico, and this is one of them. For me and my family Albondigas would not be the same without the mint. There really is no one way to make this soup as every cook makes a variation. I like a clear broth and tiny meatballs and only a few well- spaced out vegetables floating in the broth, (I always use sliced carrots) but add other vegetables as well. We like green chile in ours, fresh from New Mexico, when we can get it, or relatives send care packages.

    Elise, I vote you the best all around cooking site for a modern spin on old fashion good recipes. I hope you have a book planned in the future, and get as many of those recipes from your parents as you can.

    No book planned, but thanks for the vote of confidence! And yes, I’m working at extracting as many recipes I can from mom and dad. Regarding this soup, I love the way that people put different vegetables in it, and that some people have big meatballs and some small. ~Elise

  • Espahan


    I forgot to mention that I plan to try your recipe for Albondigas.

  • Lisa

    Thanks so much for this, Elise. I love albondigas soup, though I haven’t had it very many times. It’s great to have a wonderful recipe like yours to try. I can see how the mint would be just the ticket.

  • Tia

    Delicious! I always love finding a new way to use mint. I may have overwatered it, but I found a little lemon juice really gave it some body. Will definitely be making this again. :)

  • adriana

    This recipe makes me want to call my grandmother. She always says that a person who makes albondigas without yerba buena (spearmint) doesn’t know how to make albondigas. Along with the green beans and carrots we put in potatoes and chayote and garnish with a squirt of lime.

    Sometimes we make chicken albondigas. We omit the rice and use maseca to help bind the meatball. We call it Mexican matzo ball soup. It’s so good!

    What a great idea! I love it, Mexican matzo balls. :-) ~Elise

  • magpie

    This recipe is so easy and tastes delicious.

  • Clara

    Made this tonight-So Delicious!!! I added cilantro and mint to the meatballs and it tasted great. You’re right Elise, mint adds a different refreshing flavor to the meat. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Linda

    OMG, Girl! I just made this soup for tomorrow (Cinco de Mayo). It is excellent. Your instructions were perfect, of course; and I made no substitutions. What a nice surprise with the mint in the meatballs. I love the broth with the tomato sauce in it. I used homemade chicken stock and a half box of the organic stock I had in the fridge. The meat does add its own flavor, doesn’t it? I have never heard of this soup before, but you can bet I will be making it again. Thanks, again and again, for this recipe.

  • Myrna Carmona

    Elise, simply recipes site is my favorite, and this albondigas recipe has become a staple in our home. Thanks

  • Kelly

    This is the BEST albondigas soup EVER! I have a favorite family owned mexican place I get albondigas at and this turned out a tad bit better! YESSSS! I am SOOO happy! Now I can have all I want! I am so picky when it comes to albondigas and this seriously was amazing! The mint was the trick! THANK YOU so much for posting this very easy to make soup! OH and I used the half chicken broth and half water trick! Perfect!

  • Marie

    I followed the directions perfectly and I honestly think this has to be one of the best soups I’ve made! I love the mint! Thank you so much for the recipe–a keeper for sure.

  • Liz

    I love this recepie! Just like my grandma’s albondiga soup that she used to make us when we visted her in Jalisco! :) Thanks!!

  • [email protected] dates

    This stuff is fantastic. Ditto on the mint. It is just not the same with the mint. Also lets not forget the lime, without the fresh lime or lemon it is just not the same. I am rather surprised there is no mention of the lime or lemon.

  • lenala

    OMG, another culinary success! It is very good, the broth is full of flavor and is so harty. Will make it often! Even my ultra picky son ate the whole bowl of it:-) Thank you for the great recipe!
    I have a question. How do you make meatballs more tender? The taste is great, i was just wondering (in general) if there is a secret to a tender meatball.:-)

    Don’t over-work them when you make the meatballs. That should help. ~Elise

  • karla

    Hi, I’m from Guatemala and I grew up eating this soup. We call it sopa juliana and eat it during the cold rainy months. The only thing we do differently is that we add the raw rice directly into the broth with the veggies. That way, you add the meatballs at the end and they take only around 5 minutes to cook and don’t get tough. They float to the surface, like gnocchi, and that’s how you know they’re done. Here in the US, it’s one of the soups in my fall-winter-spring menu rotation. When my daughters come from school and smell it, they cheer, just like I used to do.

  • Clementina

    My mother always made her albondigas with cilantro, but in her later years she started using fresh basil instead.
    Authentic? Why not? Basil is used in Oaxaca and in other parts of Southern Mexico.
    At any rate, it was a stroke of genius, because it catapulted our humble little albondiga dish into the stratosphere!

    Great idea, especially for those who don’t like the taste of mint. ~Elise

  • Jennifer Miller

    This is my favorite comfort soup of all time. My dad makes a pot of this any time one of his kids comes down with an illness. We don’t put mint in the meatballs, but we do put LOTS of fresh mint leaves in the broth. When the meatballs poach in the broth, they become infused with the mint flavor. I won’t eat this soup if mint isn’t involved. It’s pointless!

  • Lauren

    Thank you for posting such a terrific recipe. Albondigas! Mmmmmmm. I made it with mint which I would consider to be an essential flavor component that really defines this delicious soup. I didn’t have green beans so I left them out and since I do tend to like most soups tomato-y I added a medium can of diced tomatoes with their juice. I’m also a sucker for a tart, tangy note in Mexican soups so I garnished mine with some fresh lemon wedges. It was divine.
    Again- thank you!

  • Leslie

    Yum, this looks so good! I can’t wait to try it. It’s fun to read all the comments – people have very strong opinions about the mint!

    When I lived in Russia, I was taught to make borscht by a friend whose father was from Turkmenistan, a country in Central Asia. She used dried mint in her borscht and I didn’t figure out for a long time that that’s not “traditional” at all in borscht – it was just something she added because her father liked it. Mint with meat is prominent in Turkic cooking; Turkish beef-stuffed manti (ravioli) are served with yogurt, tomato paste and dried mint on top, and it is out of this world!

  • Nathaly

    Thank you I am the daughter of a mom that never learned to cook, so we had carnita con papas y arros everyday, except when my grandma came on Sundays. She would make flour tortillas from scratch and some of my dad’s favorite foods. Albondigas was one of my favorites. She would use water and 2 pounds of ground turkey. She also put a handful of flour in the meatballs. This recipe with her modifications brought back so many memories. Thank you.

  • Devery

    Made this evening, adding two minced red chilis for extra spice . . . delicious !!

  • Gary

    Hi Elise, Thanks so much for sharing such a wonderful recipe. I’ve had Albondigas many times but none were as good as this sounds. I plan on making this over the holiday to surprise my GF & grand son.

  • Amelia

    I am so glad I found your recipe. I made it for my husband (he did not remember having it at ‘the inlaws’ as my mother made it often at home in Houston) and it was great. I did not use mint but cilantro which he loves. Although the taste is a bit different, the herbs are both minty and yummy in this dish. I overdid the tomato sauce thinking it didn’t look right at the beginning (by adding 1 cup vs. 1/2 cup) but I think it would be perfect with just the 1/2 cup. Thanks again for posting this recipe and bringing this wonderful homemade Mexican comfort food to central Pennsylvania.

  • Kim

    This is the second time I’ve made this. It is so good! The second time I used fresh mint in the meatballs and WOW what a difference than using dried!!! Definitely use the fresh mint! The meatballs are to die for!!! We just love this soup! It’s even better the next day.

  • Anonymous

    Love it! My suegra has made Albondigas for us since my firs pregnancy. It’s a craving that is insatiable. I have always relied on her to make it for us, but I thought I would get adventurous and try it myself. I asked my husband to call her and get the recipe… she was unavailable. So…. I came online with hopes I would find something remotely close. This is it; the real deal! My family loves it – and we will certainly make this time and time again!

  • Alison

    This was so yummy! I made it exactly as written, and I liked your suggestion of adding some extra mint directly to the soup. I had never had albondigas soup before, but I’m definitely a convert. I want to try making this with lamb!

  • Car

    When I came across this recipe 2.5 hours ago, I knew I had to make it! I had almost all ingredients on hand, except for the mint and other fresh herbs. I used Oregano in my meatballs. I followed the recipe until the end. Even if you dont have the fresh herbs but have the dry ones, the soup taste just as great! I also only have french cut green beans and used that till the end. Just want to say I will continue making this! I come from a Mexican family, and I remember my mom making this when I was a young girl. She passed away 5 years ago, and never got the recipe. Thank you for posting this recipe! It comes close to that soup Mom made, and will pass this recipe to my family and friends.!

  • leisa

    Hi, Elise—-
    First, I would like to say how much I enjoy your website. I’ve made many recipes. YUM. My favorite and go-to is your mother’s Spanish Rice. I make it a couple times a month. It’s yummy and filling and since I am currently unemployed, economical. I am going to try the Albondigas Soup and I have a couple of questions: Since I can’t really justify the expense of fresh herbs in my situation (why can we not buy just a smidge—like in the bulk bins), does the dried mint really taste similar or would the meatballs be better without? And, I have been in the habit of making a couple of soups each Sunday and eating them all week. Will this soup—-and especially the meatballs—hold up so I can add this to my current soup rotation?
    Thanks so much. :)

    Hi Leisa, In the winter when the mint has all died back, my mother will use herbal mint tea (dried mint) in the meatballs. Works fine. The soup should last several days, especially if you bring it to a simmer for 10 minutes when you reheat it. We usually enjoy the leftovers for days. So glad you like it! ~Elise

  • tom cappiello

    Perhaps some of the mint preferences have to do with the type of mint. The spanish mint or yerba buena Clinopodium douglasii is most likey the intended mint, which tastes a bit different than the Mentha species, like peppermint and spearmint. Sometimes Yerba buena is available in the hispanic food sections with the chilis, panela, etc.

  • Kimberly

    Just made this for the second time tonight. This has to be one of the best soups I’ve ever eaten. I follow your recipe exactly except for doubling pretty much all the fresh herbs. Had to use dried oregano instead of fresh since I couldn’t find it, too.

    I’m looking at my bowl right now – too hot to eat just yet, but soon….

  • Ali

    Made this today, and loved it! But I only used 2 quarts (litres) of stock. It was plenty.

  • Krystle

    Just wanted to write and say that I *LOVED* this recipe – it’s one of my favorites from your site so far. It was definitely comfort food! It was easy to make, delicious to eat, and lasted a long time. My only problem was that when I made it, the rice in the meatballs was still a little crunchy. I think that’s my issue and not the recipe’s, though, as I am totally inept when it comes to making rice. :) Thanks for sharing, and I LOVE your site!

  • Dianette Tolentino

    This is the closest recipe to my grandmother’s albondigas. I just recently moved and lost my original recipe. So I was so glad to find your recipe. Next time I will try it with the mint. It sounds like a delicious alternative to cilantro. Thanks Again.

    We use mint and cilantro in the soup, so good! ~Elise

  • Theresa

    I recently found this recipe and made the soup tonight…delicious!! I ended up putting it in a crockpot for 5 hours on high and it came out great. I didn’t have stock, so I used 1 qt mushroom broth, 1/2 qt chicken broth, and the rest water. I also made the meatballs with turkey and short grain brown rice. The mint is fabulous in the meatballs.

  • Tumble

    Hi Elise, I joined today and your abondiga soup sounds delicious. After browning my abondigas I cook them in four cups of chicken bouillon adding a can of tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano and a can of tomato sauce with the same stuff. I also add a can of Mexicorn. To warm up the leftover I add a can of french style green beans and two more cups of chicken bouillon. I always loved my mother’s abondigas a real comfort food but experimenting and trying something new is fun.

  • the real meatball soup!

    Now this is the receipe I was taught how to use for 30 years! :)

    good receipe…

    Huntington Beach California

  • anna

    I just made the soup for my friends and family. I didn’t have enough of all the ingredients but I think I did OK for never in my life making this soup. Everyone liked it. I’ll make it again. Only next time it’ll be much better!

  • Shari

    Great soup!!!! Made it last night for my husband and daughter. They both loved it!! We served it with some crusty bread and wine. I love the mint in the meatballs, which is why I wanted to try out the recipe when I came across it. It is so simple to make, wouldn’t change a thing. Gave some to my other daughter for lunch and she loved it as will. Will be making this recipe again, and again.

  • Stacy

    Yum. All I can say, really. Like another post my rice was still a bit on the crunchy side, but not bad. I think that might be an altitude effect and will add an extra 10min simmer before adding the veggies next time. As it was the veggies were cooked and I didn’t want to over-do it by cooking much longer. I used homemade beef broth I made from local grassfed beef bones this week, and ground turkey. Love, love, LOVE this soup! Definitely made it onto the from-scratch soup circuit, and I think I’ll double the meatballs in the next batch to freeze for a quick soup assembly at another meal since mint and ground meat are the only two ingredients I need to buy special for this. Thank you SO much for this recipe!!!

  • Eileen

    I was one of those kids who lived on PB&J sandwiches & refused to try anything new. Well, now I’m making up for lost time, and I love to try new recipes and flavor combinations. I never would have thought mint would taste good in meatballs, but man, does it ever! The only change I made was to reduce the liquids to 2 quarts. I like a little less broth in my soups. Otherwise, I followed your recipe exactly, and it was wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing, and thank your mother for me, too!

  • REi

    Well I called up my grandma and asked about the mint and she spit at me…she said cumin was what’s supposed to go in it. Also she said loose the string beans and god forbid you insult the soup with FROZEN anything. (She’s a funny old woman) Anyway the carrots are ok, but she said summer squash OR Zucchini and FRESH tomatoes (she told me what to do with the canned sauce, and I won’t share that with you). Also she was VERY CLEAR about adding the lemon/ or lime to the soup as it gives it the kick.

    Oh and she also said it should be served with flour tortilla strips for garnish, and that most people wouldn’t be able to pick a reliable ‘Mexican Cheese’ from something that would give you the runs.

    Your grandmother sounds like a real character! ~Elise

  • Cathy

    My favorite ingredient in Albondigas soup is Chayote squash. We just love it along with carrots, a little potato and sometimes cabbage, whatever veggies we have on hand. I love the mint in the meatballs but most of my family prefers just the cilantro. Thank you for sharing this awesome recipe Elise!

  • Anonymous

    Wow! So enjoyed this soup. Have never made it before, but loved every bit of it! Listened to some of the comments and kept the mint, used multi-grain rice, added some corn, 1/2 can diced tomatoes and used mainly chicken stock. Definitely a keeper!

  • Carolyn

    I’d never had Albondigas soup. Never even heard of it, in fact. But I was craving meatballs and in a search landed on this recipe. I was a wee bit skeptical, but I couldn’t find any other meatball recipe that looked appealing, so I gave this a shot. So glad I did! Turned out a terrific soup! I was sort of bummed that I couldn’t find fresh beans and had to use frozen. I used cooked brown rice in the meatballs. I went without the mint. Yum! Yum! Yum! I may have to have it again for breakfast. :) Thanks for posting this.

  • Fern

    My husband hates mint anything. Is the mint really noticeable or could I get away with adding it and he wouldn’t notice? If I cut back on the amount of mint, would that help? I really would like to make this, but hesitate as to his reaction to the mint. Thanks for any suggestions.

    The mint is noticeable, so if your husband can’t stand mint, I would leave it out. ~Elise

  • Lulu

    It has been flippin freezing here in New York, so I made this soup last night and it hit the spot! Another keeper. Thanks Elise!

  • Chad Dore

    I made this soup last night and followed the directions quite closely. In my opinion, it needs to simmer on low for 60-90 minutes, then even sit a while. I’ve found this to be true with most soups though. I’m sure it will be fantastic when reheated today.

  • Rose

    My mom also added marjoram along with the mint and it was great.

  • Caria

    Made the soup for the first time tonight. It came out great! The rice was a bit crunchy so I think I’ll let it cook a bit longer. I left out the cilantro since my dh doesn’t care for it. Would make it again. Thanks for the great recipe – on these rainy days, soups are the best thing to eat.

  • Daniel Ornelas

    Elise, Thank you for THE MINT!! It brought back memories of my grandmother and her Albondigas. Today I made them, but with pork, Curry, that I toasted and ground up, and Hmeli Suneli, a spice from the Republic of Georgia, whose main ingredient is marigold leaves. I took my twist a little further by adding 6 habaneros, 6 jalapenos and 6 vserranos. Lots of cilantro, the rice , black sesame seeds ,black and gold raisins and, of course, the mint. It was great. Thank you!!!

  • Mario

    What kind of mint do you use? I have a very mild mint growing around my milking barn. The person who gave it to me called it orange mint but I certainly don’t get an orange taste from it and it isn’t peppermint or spearmint. Could I use either dried spearmint or dried peppermint which I have?

    Spearmint. You can use dried spearmint if you want. Sometimes when it’s not mint season we’ll use dry spearmint from herbal mint tea packets. ~Elise

  • rob

    Hi Elise, I have a good friend here in Vegas that always tells me how great her mother’s albondigas soup is. So I started to search in Google and low and behold – your recipe comes up in the first result. I am going to try and make this for my wife – she loves different types of soups. I have a question though: will it still taste as good if I leave out the mint or substitute with oregano (as you suggest)? Just wondering since neither of us are big fans of mint (except in tea).

    I think the taste in the meatballs is subtle and is important to the dish. But if you don’t like mint, just leave it out. ~Elise

  • Marion

    Hi! My kids love albondigas but I kind of got bored of the original recipe although it is super yummy. So I make the albondigas and fill them w creamcheese and cook them in a tomato chipotle sauce!! The kids love it and it’s an alternative way to eat albondigas!!


    I looked up a recipe that was similar to my mom’s recipe in order to have exact measurements instead of winging it like my mom does and oh my… this was PERFECT!! Sooo good! Now I can make at home for my family too!!

  • HD

    This recipe looks great! My husband is a Mexican citizen who grew up in Mexico City. We use his 90-year-old grandmother’s recipe for Albondigas and love it! It is a bit different from the versions I’ve seen made here in the US by American or Mexican-American cooks though. In her recipe the soup is a pureed mixture of red tomatoes, tomatillos, onion, fresh garlic, a little water, chicken bullion powder, a dash of salt, mint (of course!), and cumin. 1/4 c. of the mixture is combined with the ground beef, bread crumbs and one egg to make the meatballs. Then the meatballs are poached in the soup for about 20 minutes. Simple, but absolutely delicious!

  • Andrew

    This is kinda what my mom makes, but she cannot stand mint, and even well disguised she can always
    fiqure it out, and almost all of the time she can smell it! She adds plenty of finely chopped cilantro, cumin, oregano, thyme. She said her Dad hates cilantro, and that is our favorite!
    We always use rice in our meatballs, as our big brother is gluten intolerant, he has celiac disease. Some times Mom uses gluten free oats to stretch the meat, and if she does, she adds an extra egg. Sometimes to be onery I will snatch an after dinner mint at a restaurant, and wait until we are all in the car to suck on it, and Mom really gets upset, she says the smell makes her sick…LOL! Every one laughs except Mom and she threatens to make us walk home, LOL!

  • mars

    MMM MMM M Just like my mommas.. I always make this in the winter.. I always try to eat healthy so I tried with ground turkey. 1st time they fell apart, thats because I kept stirring the broth. Now I just leave it alone while the meatballs cook.. Comes out perfect. There is just ingret. that my mom use to put that gives it the extra mm mm taste..

  • April

    The name of this put me off as well as some of the ingredients in this recipe that I have never tried before but I’m glad I did because it tasted great…

  • Jan

    Wow! This soup is really tasty and delicious – just made it for myself the other day.

    I’m going to be making this much more often indeed. Thanks for sharing all of these great recipes :-)

  • Libby

    I made this yesterday and it was a hit. This soup was the perfect antidote to an allergy-induced sinus headache that’s been dragging me down for days. The mint has a lovely cooling effect in the back of the throat. Next time I want to try making it with ground lamb! Thank you for the recipe.

  • Michelle

    I made this soup this weekend for a friend and it was a huge hit. We loved the hint of mint in the meatballs and even add some chopped mint and cilantro as garnish before serving. YUM! The mint will make this recipe an unforgettable new favorite. A beautiful and delicious addition to any dinner table.

  • RMG

    Closest recipe I’ve found to those made in San Luis Potosi, where my mom’s family lives. Must have mint — they used mint in Spain, where albindigas came with our families tossed ou of Spain! We only use beef.

  • Renee

    Loved this recipe. Simmered it twice as long due to doubling the recipe, yet the rice in meatballs was still crunchy — it was okay, nobody complained — After reviewing the comments, I think I have an altitude issue. I added zuchinni and corn to truly authenticate it as the comfort food that I was seeking. This was just like my Abuela used to make (w/mint) and it was very satisfying even to those who never had the benefit of my granny’s cooking. We had 11 over for dinner, including a very picky teen, a very picky 8 yr old, several gringos and very americanized-hispanics. Everyone had seconds. We added several bowls of garnishes on the side(avocado, cilantro, oregano, various chiles) and a bowl of cornbread muffins. Happy cook tonight!

  • Carrie

    I have been using the recipe from this site for several years now. It is so good; better than any I have had at restaurants. The rice is preferable to bread crumbs and the mint gives it a special quality. If one is out of tomato sauce or would like to add some extra spice, we have tried using jarred salsa and that works very well, too. We also like to cut corn tortillas into thin strips and fry them up, and then we toss them on top of the soup along with some grated cheese for some extra flavor and texture. This soup is hearty and perfect on a cold day. It is a favorite in our family! Thanks!

  • danielle

    this recipe was so simple! my first time making albondigas it came out great i made double the meatballs by mixing the groung turkey and ground beef together.also using carrots zucchini and corn as the veggies ,this is the closest recipe to my father in always included really makes the soup! we topped it with cilatro lime and avocado. thanks again!!

  • Doc


    I’ve been trying to find an Albdoigas soup recipe forever it seems. They mostly tasted alright but were missing something… Mint!
    I couldn’t locate any fresh so I improvised and used Penzey’s dried mint.
    My wife even commented about the interesting flavor note in the background.
    This is the one I’ll use from now on!

  • Andrea G

    I’m planning on using this recipe soon.

    It’s so interesting that some people had not heard of using raw rice in meatballs – it was a recipe that was prevalent in my youth in girl scouts and home ec. Back then they called them porcupines because the rice grains stick out, I guess.

    I’m looking forward to trying out the mint for the meatballs. Seems really good for a cold evening.

  • Annie

    I was searching albondigas recipes and knew just where to look. Elise, you are so my go-to girl. I loved the comments almost as much as the recipe. (I did *not* know that beef is 60% water. Now, I do!)
    The only thing that surprised me was that not a single person familiar with the Mexican recipe mentioned epazote, although it can be difficult to get here in the U.S. I understand that it is in the mint family and the flavor is a mixture of cilantro and mint, explaining the presence of those ingredients in this recipe.
    Thanks again for sharing all your hard work on this beautiful blog.

  • Marisa Budds

    as with all of the recipes i have tried on this site, this soup is delicious! thank you so much for sharing! i love the mint, and the uncooked rice in the meatballs. delicious!

  • jen

    Thanks for this recipe — I think that my grandmother would approve. She has zero tolerance for albondigas without enough meatballs. My aunt recently told me that grandma once asked the waiter at a restaurant how many meatballs in the soup? The waiter said, “one” and Grandma said, “what a rip-off! I’ll have salad”.

    Elise, this site is an inspiration! I am going to spend more time with my family trying to dissect the familiy recipes. I have done that some, but no where to the extent that you have here.

  • Joelle

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe. As it was simmering, it reminded me of a soup my Portuguese mother-in-law used to make, and she got her inspiration from an Italian restaurant in Southern New England!!! But, OMG, the mint in the meatballs (grabbed from our backyard along with the beans and peas ) really gave it a special flavor that we all loved.

  • Alisha

    Hi Elise, this is one of my favorite recipes! And my absolute favorite soup! I never heard of it until I saw it here and I absolutely love it. Plus it’s budget-friendly and lasts quite a few days. I made it with your cheddar and jalapeño biscuits, and wow, that is a great combo!

  • Marie Halton

    Elise, I love your site. It’s my go to when I need something quick or a good idea for a party. I’ve never commented yet, but felt compelled to with this recipe. I’ve made it a few times now and it’s so delicious. . In fact, I’m off to the store to buy the ingredients to help fight the cold I have. Thank you for all of your wonderful recipes and sharing your family stories along with them!

    • Elise

      Hi Marie, I’m so glad you like it! It’s one of our family’s favorite recipes; I grew up eating that soup and still have it several times a year. I love it. :-)

  • Amy B

    Hi Elise,
    Just wanted to say hello and thank you. This holiday season (and after) I’ve dipped into your recipes to great success. Edamame dip, peeled a pineapple for roasting and this soup. I haven’t made meatballs very often but I’m hooked. I used Persian mint in this recipe because it grows in my garden. It seems milder than the more common mint, so that could be an option for anyone wary of the mint flavor. I use your recipes all the time and often think of your family. Making a riff on the meat ball soup right now. Thank you for cooking your way into my families’ hearts.

  • Janet L.

    I made this yesterday. I tweaked the recipe slightly also referencing the recipe on Hispanic Kitchen

    It was delicious. Every recipe I’ve made off of your site has been good. Your tips and techniques are great. Thank you!

  • steve

    Made this soup today and we found the meatballs very bland and not sure how to liven them up. Could barely taste the mint. If we hadn’t added extra Valentina hot sauce to our bowls we would of never known it was a Mexican dish. It tasted like vegetable soup with meatballs.
    Sorry but I will not be making this recipe again. Maybe I will try a Hispanic site for variations.

    • Elise

      Hi Steve, sounds like the meatballs needed more salt for your taste, and perhaps more mint. This isn’t a spicy soup, but it is a very traditional Mexican soup, just as written. I find that cilantro is an important addition as well. Some people don’t like cilantro so they skip it, but the soup needs it in my opinion. You might also check the ground beef that you are using. It should be ground chuck, and regular, not super lean.

    • IFortuna

      Not all Mexican food is spicy or made with hot peppers. Many people think it is all supposed to be hot. It is a big mistake. And, some people add a hot pepper or tortilla to their recipe and think that makes it Mexican. My hubby, does not like his food hot spicy does that mean he is not Mexican?

  • ItalianCypress

    Just made this soup with what I had on hand. I used butter, a blend of water, beef and chicken stock, a blend of ground bison and pork, dried herbs and spices, and a bag of frozen mixed vegetables.

    I am allergic to black pepper so I used alligator pepper which is a less potent slightly sweet alternative. I also added dried lemon peel and cumin seed to the broth.

    I made the soup according to the instructions aside from the frozen vegetables, which I added during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

    Very good soup. The bison and pork really gave the meatballs a light yet rich flavor. Since I added lemon peel the broth was very refreshing with notes of lemon, mint, and oregano. I used a dash of a hotter version of cayenne pepper and it gave the soup a subtle hot punch.

    I made this soup before going to bed so that it could marry in the fridge overnight. I think albondigas taste best the next day and I think this soup is no exception. Looking forward to soup on Sunday. It is supposed to be a cold rainy day.

  • Arlene

    I am about to be the office hero again for making this soup and bringing it to my office mates. Some of us are battling colds and this definitely heals! Thanks so much for showing me my/our favorite soup!

  • Dana

    Excited to try! The rice that is mixed into the meatballs in uncooked, correct? And it cooks in the soup?

  • Banty

    I have made this recipes several times, and its ingriedints are just like the way my mother used to make it, we love albondiga soup.