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Albondigas Mexicanas (Mexican Meatballs)

Albondigas Mexicanas or Mexican Meatballs, are traditionally added to Mexican meatball soup. While this delicious recipe calls for ground beef others use pork or a combination of the two. These are not your ordinary meatballs. Fragrant herbs and flavorful seasonings are used to make these scrumptious albondigas Mexicanas.

Albondigas Mexicanas in a skillet.

The history of albondigas

The history surrounding albondigas is quite interesting. Some say the recipe dates to 13th century Arabia. Others place the dish between the 6th and 8th century. Most agree middle eastern cooking traditions heavily influenced it. They brought the recipe to Spain and eventually made its way to Mexico. According to etymologists, the name albondigas is derived from a Greek word al-bunduq meaning hazelnut.

Ingredients needed

For the albondigas Mexicanas

Ground beef

I prefer to use 80% lean ground beef chuck. I don’t recommend using a fattier meat than that otherwise it will be hard to keep the albondigas Mexicanas from falling apart.

Rice

Raw long grain white rice is what’s typically used. The rice is a good addition to the Mexican meatballs as it will stretch the meat even further. Don’t worry the rice cooks perfectly inside the meatballs.

Onion

Diced onion will add flavor as well as some texture to the albondigas.

Herbs

This recipe uses mint leaves, cilantro and oregano. The three of these will add incredible flavor to the albondigas. A lot of people worry that the albondigas will turn out minty. They won’t! They do add an additional layer of flavor so I highly recommend you give it a try!

Chipotle peppers in adobo

I like to add chopped chipotle pepper for some added flavor and a hint of spice.

Egg

The egg will act as a binder for the albondigas.

Seasonings

For the most flavorful albondigas Mexicanas, I like to use chicken bouillon, onion pwder, garlic powder and ground black pepper.

For the broth

Roma tomatoes

For the best tasting broth, I prefer to use roma tomatoes. Although, if you don’t have it canned tomato sauce works great too!

White onion

Onion will add some additional flavor to the broth.

Garlic

What’s a tomato based broth without garlic? Garlic is essential for adding some essential flavor to this broth.

Chicken bouillon

While salt can be substituted I prefer to use chicken bouillon as it adds flavor.

How to make albondigas Mexicanas

Combine the broth ingredients plus 3 cups of water in a blender and blend until smooth. Then set the broth aside for later use.

Combine all of the meatball ingredients in a bowl and mix together until the ingredients are evenly incoporated. Do not overmix.

Ingredients for Mexican meatballs in a bowl.

Form the ground beef mixture into even sized meatballs.

I was able to get 16 meatballs but it will depend on how big or small you make yours.

Uncooked Mexican meatballs on a cutting board.

Heat up a large skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs to the skillet and brown on all sides.

This will take about 8 minutes. Transfer the browned meatballs to a paper towel lined plate to drain off the exceess grease.

Browning Mexican meatballs in a skillet.

Add the broth to the skillet. Then return the meatballs to the skillet and give it a stir.

Next, bring the broth to a boil then reduce the heat to medium low. Cover and let cook for 25 minutes.

Albondigas Mexicanas in a tomato broth.

After the albondigas are finished cooking I like to add some freshly chopped cilantro.

It adds a pop of color as well as some extra flavor to the broth.

Albondigas Mexicanas and broth in a skillet.

How do you keep albondigas Mexicanas from falling apart?

It is extremely frustrating when your albondigas fall apart. There are a few reasons as to why this happens. For one, the fattier the meat, the harder it is to keep them uniform. Therefore it’s best to use meat that’s not too fatty. Also it’s important that the albondigas have a binder. The egg acts as a binding agent and ensures perfectly round albondigas. There are a few alternatives for your binding agent. You can try any of the following.

  • Milk
  • Buttermilk
  • Plain Yogurt
  • Ricotta Cheese

Note: For a non-dairy alternative try apple sauce or plain vegan yogurt.  

Over mixing the meatball mixture can cause them to become tough once they’re cooked. It is best to mix the meatball ingredients just until the ingredients are evenly combined.

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Is it ok if my albondigas are a little pink inside?

Undercooking is one reason your albondigas may have a pink center. You can use a meat thermometer to check if they are done. It should reach 165°F. Another explanation is that red meat can remain pink after myoglobin releases stored oxygen. This happens during the cooking process. I often find that my perfectly cooked meatballs remain a little pink inside just make sure to use a meat thermometer to ensure your meatballs are fully cooked.

Can you simmer albondigas for too long?

Yes. You can simmer your albondigas too long. This initially causes them to be tough. Then they absorb the soup, resulting in soggy albondigas.

Storage and reheating

Once the meatballs and broth cool down transfer to a container with a lid and store in the refrigerator for up to three days. It can be reheated in a microwave or on the stovetop in a pot over medium low heat.

Albondigas Mexicanas recipe

Albondigas Mexicanas are a yummy Mexican meatball recipe the whole family is sure to enjoy! Serve it over rice or in a soup with additional veggies. Either way, it’s going to be delicious!

Follow me @thriftandspice on Pinterest to discover more delicious recipes!

Albondiga Mexicana on a large spoon.
Albondigas Mexicanas in a skillet.
5 from 1 vote
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Albondigas Mexicanas

Albondigas Mexicanas are a delicious and easy recipe for Mexican meatballs.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword albondigas mexicanas, mexican meatballs
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 276 kcal
Author Carissa

Ingredients

For the albondigas

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup long grain white rice uncooked
  • 1/4 white onion finely diced
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano crushed
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo finely chopped
  • 2 tsp chicken bouillon
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 egg

For the broth

  • 3 roma tomatoes cut in half
  • 1/4 white onion chopped
  • 1 garlic cloves peeled
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon
  • 3 cups water

Instructions

  1. Combine the broth ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside for later use.

  2. Combine all of the meatball ingredients in a bowl and mix together until the ingredients are evenly incoporated. Do not overmix.

  3. Form the meat mixture into 16 even sized meatballs.

  4. Heat up a large skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs to the skillet and brown on all sides. This will take about 8 minutes.

  5. Transfer the browned meatballs to a paper towel lined plate to drain off the excess grease.

  6. Add the broth to the skillet. Then return the meatballs to the skillet and give it a stir.

  7. Next, bring the broth to a boil then reduce the heat to medium low. Cover and let cook for 25 minutes.

  8. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.

Recipe Notes

The chipotle peppers are optional. They don’t make the meatballs spicy but will instead add additional flavor as well as a small hint of spice.

If you don’t like cilantro you can completely omit it from this recipe.

Nutrition Facts
Albondigas Mexicanas
Amount Per Serving
Calories 276 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 81mg27%
Sodium 81mg4%
Potassium 343mg10%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 16g32%
Vitamin A 426IU9%
Vitamin C 6mg7%
Calcium 41mg4%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Recipe Rating




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