How to Make Authentic Albondigas Soup

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: 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.

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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: April Anderson)

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

(Image: 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: 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: April Anderson)
(Image: 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: 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: April Anderson)
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