How to Make Authentic Albondigas Soup

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This Cinco de Mayo, ditch run-of-the-mill tacos and make a big batch of albondigas soup instead. Spicy meatballs, green beans, and summer squash simmer in a flavorful broth, resulting in a soup that is hearty, comforting and filling. It's an unexpectedly delicious way to celebrate the holiday — and any other day of the year.

Image Credit: April Anderson

Things You'll Need

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 1/3 cup uncooked long grain white rice

  • 1 egg

  • 1 can (4 ounces) diced green chiles

  • 1 teaspoon dried epazote

  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt, divided

  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1 cup diced red onion, about ½ large onion

  • 1 zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 1 summer squash, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • ½ pound green beans, ends trimmed and cut into thirds

  • 1 can (14½ ounces) diced tomatoes

  • 1 box (32 ounces) chicken broth

  • ½ tablespoon cilantro


Dried epazote is a traditional Mexican herb that's available online or at speciality grocery stores.

Step 1: Make the Meatballs

In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, rice, egg, green chile, ½ teaspoon salt and the black pepper together until combined.

Image Credit: April Anderson

Scoop a generous tablespoon (about one ounce) of the meat and roll it between your hands to form a ball.

Image Credit: April Anderson

Step 2: Cook the Meatballs

Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the meatballs and cook them until they are browned on all sides, but not cooked through. Transfer the browned meatballs to a plate.

Image Credit: April Anderson


Don't crowd the pan with meatballs, otherwise they will steam and not brown. If necessary, cook the meatballs in batches.

Step 3: Saute the Vegetables

In the same pan, add the onion, zucchini, squash and green beans. Cook them over medium heat for five minutes, or until they start to soften. As they release their moisture, scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan using a spatula or a wooden spoon. Then, add the tomatoes and stir to combine.

Image Credit: April Anderson
Image Credit: April Anderson

Step 4: Make the Soup

Add the chicken broth and one cup of water to the vegetables. Carefully drop the meatballs into the soup, and then bring the pot to a boil.

Image Credit: April Anderson

Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a simmer. Simmer the soup for 20–30 minutes. Toward the end of the cooking time, stir in the cilantro and one teaspoon of salt. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

Image Credit: April Anderson