Homemade meatball soup or Caldo de albóndigas is a hearty meal and the perfect comfort food for chilly El Paso days or nights.

L&J Cafe
L&J Cafe

While we didn't have an extraordinarily super cold winter season last year, we have been experiencing chiller days lately, which begs for a hearty bowl of Caldo de albóndigas.

You can find a delicious bowl of meatball soup at just about any Mexican eatery, such as L&J Cafe or El Crucero, but there's nothing like making a pot from scratch. For that reason, I am sharing an easy family recipe that can be table-ready in about an hour.

Oda Jennys
Oda Jennys

This Caldo de Albóndigas yields about 6-8 servings and is super easy to make, so have at it and cozy up with a delicious bowl tonight.

Ingredients For Meatballs 

  • 1 pound ground beef or ground turkey 
  • 1/2 cup long-grain rice, uncooked
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 egg 

Ingredients For The Soup

  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced or blended if you prefer
  • 1 small poblano diced
  • 6 stalks of celery  
  • 6 carrots
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 serrano pepper, minced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped and more for garnish
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 cups of low sodium chicken broth
Freddie Nevarez
Freddie Nevarez


  • In a large bowl, combine the meatball ingredients, form into bite-sized meatballs, and then cover and refrigerate. 
  • In a Dutch oven or regular pot, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat.  
  • Add the onions, bay leaves, poblano, and serrano pepper, season lightly with salt and pepper, cook for 2 minutes.  
  • Add the celery and carrots and sauté for about 2 minutes. 
  • Add the garlic and cook for no more than 1 minute and then add the tomatoes, cilantro, oregano, chicken broth and bring it up to a boil. 
  • Once the soup is boiling, reduce heat slightly and carefully drop in the meatballs.  
  • Stir gently and then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 35 to 40 minutes. 
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro, avocado, and lime wedges

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