Authentic Albóndigas Soup Recipe from Guatemala | Flavorful Meatball Soup

Albóndigas Soup

Authentic Albóndigas Soup Recipe from Guatemala | Flavorful Meatball Soup
Region / culture: Guatemala | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 45 minutes | Servings: 6


Albóndigas Soup
Albóndigas Soup

Albóndigas Soup, a comforting and hearty dish, is a traditional Mexican soup that features savory meatballs swimming in a rich and flavorful broth, accompanied by a variety of vegetables. This recipe offers a delightful blend of textures and flavors, making it a perfect meal for any occasion. Whether you're looking for a warm dish on a cold day or a nutritious meal that the whole family can enjoy, Albóndigas Soup is sure to satisfy.


The history of Albóndigas Soup can be traced back to Spain, with its origins deeply rooted in the culinary traditions brought to Mexico during the Spanish colonization. The word "albóndigas" itself is derived from the Arabic al-bunduq, meaning "hazelnut," or a small round object, which aptly describes the shape of the meatballs. Over time, the recipe has evolved, incorporating local ingredients and flavors, to become a beloved staple in Mexican cuisine.




How to prepare


  1. Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute longer.
  4. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients.
  5. Working with about 1 tsp of the mixture at a time, roll it between the palms of your hands to form balls.
  6. Place the balls on a plate, cover loosely, and refrigerate for about 20 minutes before cooking.
  7. In a saucepan, bring 4 cups of the stock to a boil over medium-high heat.
  8. Add as many meatballs at a time as will fit comfortably in the pan and cook, skimming off foam as necessary, until done, about 5 minutes.
  9. Remove the meatballs with a slotted spoon and set aside; cook the remaining meatballs in the same way.
  10. Strain and reserve the cooking liquid for another use.


  1. In a soup pot or large saucepan, combine the remaining 2 qt (1.89 liters) of stock, carrot, chayote, potatoes, and mint.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to low and simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente.
  4. Drain and set aside.
  5. About 5 minutes before the vegetables are done, add the meatballs and pasta to heat through.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Ladle into preheated bowls and garnish with herb sprigs.
  8. Alternatively, pour into a container and refrigerate, uncovered, until cold, then tightly cover and store for up to 3 days.
  9. Slowly reheat before garnishing and serving.


  • For a spicier version, add diced jalapeños to the meatball mixture or a pinch of chili flakes to the soup.
  • Substitute ground turkey or chicken for the beef in the meatballs for a lighter option.
  • Add other vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, or corn to the soup for added nutrition and color.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure your Albóndigas Soup turns out perfectly, consider the following tips:

- For tender meatballs, mix the ground beef gently and avoid overworking the mixture.

- Chill the meatballs before cooking to help them hold their shape.

- Cook the meatballs in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan, which can lead to uneven cooking.

- Use fresh herbs for the best flavor in both the meatballs and the soup.

- Simmer the soup gently to allow the flavors to meld together without breaking apart the vegetables or meatballs.

Serving Suggestions

Serve Albóndigas Soup hot, garnished with fresh oregano or mint sprigs for an added touch of flavor. A side of warm corn tortillas or a slice of crusty bread complements the soup well, perfect for soaking up the delicious broth.

Cooking Techniques

The key techniques in this recipe include sautéing the onions and garlic to enhance their flavors, carefully forming and chilling the meatballs to maintain their shape during cooking, and simmering the soup to meld the flavors together harmoniously.

Ingredient Substitutions

If fresh mint is unavailable, dried mint can be used in the meatballs, but reduce the amount by half.

- In place of bread crumbs, rolled oats or crushed crackers can be used as a binder in the meatballs.

- Chicken or vegetable stock can substitute beef stock for a different flavor profile.

Make Ahead Tips

The meatballs can be formed and refrigerated up to a day in advance. The soup itself can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, making it a convenient option for meal prep.

Presentation Ideas

Ladle the soup into deep bowls, ensuring a generous portion of meatballs and vegetables in each. Garnish with fresh herbs and a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese for an elegant touch.

Pairing Recommendations

A light, crisp salad dressed with a citrus vinaigrette pairs beautifully with the richness of the soup. For wine enthusiasts, a glass of medium-bodied red wine such as a Merlot or a Zinfandel complements the flavors of the meatballs and broth.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, gently warm the soup over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Avoid boiling to prevent the vegetables and meatballs from becoming overcooked.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A serving of Albóndigas Soup contains approximately 250-300 calories, making it a hearty yet calorie-conscious option for a meal. The balance of protein, fats, and carbohydrates provides sustained energy without excessive calories.


This Albóndigas Soup recipe is relatively low in carbohydrates, with the primary sources being the vegetables and pasta. A serving of this soup contains approximately 20-30 grams of carbohydrates, making it a suitable option for those monitoring their carb intake.


The lean ground beef and vegetable oil used in the meatballs contribute to the fat content of the soup. However, by using lean beef and a minimal amount of oil, the total fat content is kept moderate. Each serving contains about 10-15 grams of fat, with a balance of saturated and unsaturated fats.


Protein is a key component of this dish, thanks to the lean ground beef used in the meatballs. Each serving of Albóndigas Soup provides a substantial amount of protein, approximately 20-25 grams, making it an excellent choice for muscle repair and growth.

Vitamins and minerals

Albóndigas Soup is rich in vitamins and minerals, courtesy of the variety of vegetables used. Carrots, summer squash, and potatoes contribute vitamins A, C, and B6, along with minerals such as potassium and magnesium. These nutrients support overall health, including vision, immune function, and heart health.


This recipe contains common allergens such as eggs and wheat (from the bread crumbs and pasta). Individuals with allergies to these ingredients should consider suitable substitutions.


Overall, Albóndigas Soup is a nutritious and balanced meal, offering a good mix of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates, along with essential vitamins and minerals. It's a wholesome choice for those looking to enjoy traditional Mexican flavors in a health-conscious way.


Albóndigas Soup is a versatile and nourishing dish that combines the rich flavors of Mexican cuisine with the comfort of a homemade soup. With its blend of savory meatballs, hearty vegetables, and aromatic broth, it's a satisfying meal that appeals to a wide range of tastes. Whether you're looking to explore traditional Mexican recipes or simply seeking a wholesome and delicious meal option, Albóndigas Soup is sure to delight.

How did I get this recipe?

The first time I saw this recipe, I was captivated by its flavors. The rich broth simmering with tender meatballs, vegetables, and fragrant herbs drew me in like a moth to a flame. I knew I had to learn how to make this Albóndigas Soup, and so began my journey into the world of Mexican cuisine.

I first encountered Albóndigas Soup when I was a young girl living in a small village in Mexico. My abuela, a master in the kitchen, would often make this hearty soup for our family during the colder months. I would watch in awe as she deftly formed the meatballs, seasoned them with a blend of spices, and simmered them in a flavorful broth.

As I grew older, I began to help my abuela in the kitchen, assisting her with the preparation of the soup. She would patiently teach me the art of forming the perfect meatballs, guiding my hands as I shaped them into small, round orbs. She would explain the importance of using fresh ingredients, such as ground beef, rice, onions, and garlic, to create a delicious and wholesome soup.

Over the years, I continued to hone my skills in the kitchen, learning new techniques and experimenting with different flavors. I would often visit local markets and talk to vendors, asking for their tips and tricks on making the best Albóndigas Soup. I would jot down notes, scribbling down every detail and secret ingredient that I came across.

One day, while visiting a friend in a neighboring village, I stumbled upon a small, family-run restaurant that served the most delicious Albóndigas Soup I had ever tasted. Intrigued, I struck up a conversation with the owner, a kind elderly woman who had been making the soup for decades. She graciously shared her recipe with me, explaining the importance of patience and love when making the soup.

Armed with this new knowledge, I returned home and set to work perfecting my own version of Albóndigas Soup. I spent hours in the kitchen, carefully measuring out ingredients, adjusting seasonings, and tasting the broth until it was just right. My abuela watched me with pride, her eyes twinkling with joy as she saw me carry on the tradition of making this beloved soup.

As the years passed, I continued to make Albóndigas Soup for my family and friends, sharing the recipe with anyone who expressed interest. Each time I made the soup, I would think back to my abuela and the lessons she had taught me in the kitchen. I could almost hear her voice guiding me through each step, urging me to trust my instincts and never be afraid to experiment.

Now, as I sit here reflecting on my journey with Albóndigas Soup, I am filled with gratitude for the experiences and memories that have shaped me into the cook I am today. The soup has become a staple in my household, a comforting and nourishing dish that brings joy to all who taste it. And as I pass down the recipe to future generations, I know that a piece of my abuela will live on in every spoonful of this delicious soup.


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