Albondigas – Spanish Meatballs
Make these classic Mexican meatballs at home with this recipe and serve them up as appetizers, the main course with a spicy red sauce, or in soup. It’s a traditional Mexican comfort food with Spanish roots and they’re incredibly tasty.
And now, my friends, it is time to make the meatballs. But not just ANY meatballs. We’re making a zesty version using more traditional Mexican flavors and we’re serving them up however you like.
The name “Albondigas”means “meatballs” in Spanish. The recipe made its way to Mexico via Spain and even has an Islamic influence, but truly, it has become a traditional Mexican recipe over the centuries. It’s a beef based recipe, made with ground beef and vegetables, then seasoned with chili powders, cumin, herbs and cheese.
You can, of course, include other seasonings to your preference. The albondigas are thickened slightly with masa harina, which helps them stay together and not crumble apart when you sear them.
If you can’t find masa, used crushed tortilla chips.
This is a bit of a go-to recipe for me, as you can serve it up in so many ways. I like to serve it as a simple appetizer with toothpicks at parties. People can’t resist the allure of a good meatball, sitting there in the warmer, staring up at them, beckoning with their aroma and flavor.
And, the size is perfect for a simple quick bite of food. You won’t overstuff your guests, unless they want to overstuff themselves, which is a big possibility if you serve these!
Perhaps you should make an extra batch. When I make them at home, I like to serve them with a spicy tomato sauce and either toss them with pasta or roll them onto a toasted roll with extra sauce.
Maybe top with with a little cheese, some roasted chili peppers, a bit of hot sauce and yeah! You’re good to go.
I’ve seen them more traditionally made into a soup, and that’s a great way to serve them, too. However you serve them, you’re sure to love them. I mean LOVE!
I know I do.
Try Some of My Other Popular Spicy Meatball Recipes
- Spicy Meatballs in Chipotle-Lime Sauce
- Spicy Meatballs Sub Sandwiches
- Albondigas – Spanish Meatballs
- Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
- Spicy Italian Meatballs
If you make this recipe, please let us know! Leave a comment, rate it and tag a photo #ChiliPepperMadness on Instagram so we can take a look. I always love to see all of your spicy inspirations. Thanks! — Mike H.
- 1 poblano pepper
- 1 jalapeno pepper
- Olive oil for cooking
- 1 small yellow onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 1.25 pounds ground beef ground chuck is great
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro + more for serving
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup masa harina crushed tortilla chips works great here as well
- 1/2 cup crumbled Cotija cheese divided
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
Set your oven to broil. Place poblano and jalapeno pepper onto a baking sheet and broil about 7-8 minutes,flipping once half way through, until the skins are blistered and bubbling. Remove from heat and cover to allow them to steam a bit. Cool, then peel off the skins. Chop them and set them into a mixing bowl.
Heat a pan to medium heat and add a dash of olive oil. Add onion and cook about 5 minutes to soften.
Add garlic and cook another minute, until you can smell the awesomeness of the garlic. Remove from heat, cool slightly, and add to the mixing bowl.
Add ground beef, cilantro, cumin, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper, masa harina, and half of the Cotija cheese. Hand mix, but do not over mix or the meatballs will become mealy.
Form into 1 to 1-1/4” meatballs. You can make them larger if you want large bites.
Heat your pan to medium heat again and add a bit of olive oil. Add the meatballs and sear them on each side until you get a nice outer crust all over them, about 10 minutes.
Add chicken broth and allow it to steam up. Reduce the broth by about a half, then cover and reduce heat. Cook another 10 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.
Set into a serving dish and top with extra cheese and cilantro. Serve with toothpicks for an appetizer, or make a great meatball sandwich. Or serve with spicy red sauce. Or with a pasta. Or with soup. Or…go crazy!
Makes about 16-20 meatballs.