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Albondigas – Spanish Meatballs

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Last Updated on January 8, 2022 by Lisa Johnson

Albondigas, or Spanish Meatballs, served in a rich tomato sauce are perfect for sharing as part of a tapas spread. Tapas are small plates of food, or bar snacks, that are typically served in Spain alongside beer or wine.

These small portions of food great to serve before a late dinner, or sample several different types of tapas to create a full meal.

a blue bowl filled with meatballs and sitting on a yellow striped napkin.

When you read the title, were you expecting this post to be about soup? I was! While flipping through a tapas book looking for ideas, I came across a recipe for Albondigas. Well it’s summer, I don’t want soup…and then I continued reading the recipe.

It would have been easier if the book included photos, but the recipe was clearly an appetizer. Huh? I set off to search the origins and best that I can tell, Albondigas soup is comfort food from Mexico and Albondigas, the Spanish word for meatballs, originated in Spain. I learn something new each day!!

Well I was in need of an easy to make appetizer and these were perfect! While I was searching around for more information, I took notes on all of the different versions and came up with my own….cause that’s how I roll!

How to make Albbondigas (Spanish Meatballs):

I decided to use a combination of ground beef and ground lamb. Feel free to substitute ground pork if you don’t like lamb.

Mix the meat together with the garlic, and chopped onion. Mix in the chopped parsley, bread crumbs, milk, egg, paprika, salt and pepper.

Ground meat and chopped parsley in a mixing bowl.

Scoop into walnut sized balls.

Mixture scooped into a small scoop.

Roll into round balls and set aside.

Rows of meatballs lined up.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet, then add the chopped onion. Heat until soft, 3 to 5 minutes.

Diced onions and oil in a skillet.

Add the diced tomatoes (including the liquid) and parsley.

Diced tomatoes mixed with the diced onions and parsley in the skillet.

add the wine and tomato paste. Stir to combine. When the mixture starts to simmer, add the meatballs.

Raw meatballs added to the simmering tomato sauce.

Cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until thoroughly cooked. Serve with toothpicks.

A large bowl filled with meatballs in tomato sauce sitting outside on a white table cloth.

or forks, whatever works.

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a blue bowl filled with meatballs and sitting on a yellow striped napkin

Albondigas {Spanish Meatballs}

Albondigas {Spanish Meatballs} in tomato sauce are the perfect appetizer for a simple summer party!
5 from 2 votes
Print Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Spanish
Keyword: beef, lamb, tomatoes, meatballs, tapas, appetizer, recipe, party
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 35 Servings
Calories: 116kcal
Author: Lisa Johnson


For the Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 0.5 pound ground lamb or pork
  • 0.5 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 3 large cloves garlic pressed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • .25 cup dried bread crumbs
  • .25 cup milk I used cashew milk

For the Tomato Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 0.5 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • sea salt and pepper to taste


To make the meatballs:

  • Mix together the ground beef, ground lamb/pork, garlic, and onions.
  • Add the bread crumbs, parsley, milk, paprika, and eggs. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Scoop meatballs with a small cookie scoop (or by hand) about the size of a walnut.
  • Roll into round balls and set aside.

To make the Tomato Sauce:

  • Heat oil in a large skillet.
  • Add the onions and cook until soft, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes (without draining), parsley, wine and tomato paste, stir to combine.
  • When sauce begins to simmer, add the meatballs, cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until thoroughly cooked.


Calories: 116kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 43mg | Potassium: 104mg | Vitamin A: 135IU | Vitamin C: 1.3mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 0.8mg

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  1. I often order these when we go out to a tapas restaurant because they are SO GOOD! I never thought about making them at home, though. I think the combination of meats makes them special…

  2. I grew up near the Mexican border, so Mexican food is my favorite. These look very good. I’d add some roasted green chile when I added the tomato for an even more Mexican flare (and we like it hot). Lamb was too expensive for most of the families I knew, unless they raised it themselves, so in New Mexico these would probably be made with beef and pork.

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