Turkey Albondigas Soup


Albondigas, Spanish for "meatballs," are the stars in the traditional broth-based Mexican soup. Our version uses turkey rather than beef or pork.

Active Time:
45 mins
Additional Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs
6 servings, about 1 2/3 cups each

How to Make Turkey Albondigas Soup

This version of albondigas soup features turkey meatballs, veggies and brown rice. Here are tips on how to make it:

Make Lean Ground Turkey Meatballs

Meatballs made with ground turkey are a lean alternative to beef or pork meatballs, provided you choose lean ground turkey. Keeping tabs on saturated fat for heart health? Lean ground turkey is a good choice. A mixture of whole-wheat breadcrumbs, egg, cumin and oregano keeps these meatballs moist, tender and flavorful.

Add the Veggies

This soup is loaded with healthy carrots, poblano peppers and plum tomatoes. If you can't find poblano peppers, substitute with 2 green bell peppers plus 1 minced jalapeño pepper (or more to taste).

Add the Meatballs and Brown Rice

Refrigerating the meatballs for at least 20 minutes helps them hold their shape when adding them to the soup. The meatballs are gently submerged in the simmering soup and cooked for about 8 minutes, then the instant brown rice is added and cooked for about 5 minutes until tender. We use instant brown rice to cut down on cook time, but you can also use cooked brown rice. Check out our step-by-step guide on how to cook brown rice perfectly.

Can I Make Turkey Albondigas Soup Ahead?

Yes, you can. Prepare the recipe through Step 2. Cover and refrigerate the soup and meatballs separately for up to 1 day. To serve, reheat the soup in a Dutch oven and proceed with Step 3.

Additional reporting by Jan Valdez


  • 1 pound 93%-lean ground turkey

  • 1 cup fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs (see Tip)

  • 1 large egg

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided

  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, divided

  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided

  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

  • 1 large white onion, diced

  • 2 carrots, diced

  • 3 poblano peppers, diced (see Tip)

  • 3 plum tomatoes, diced

  • 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

  • 1/2 cup instant brown rice, or cooked brown rice

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

  • 1 jalapeño, minced

  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro


  1. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin, 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Mix gently until combined. Shape the mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls and transfer to the baking sheet. (You should have about 20 meatballs.) Place in the refrigerator and chill for at least 20 minutes or until ready to use.

  2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrots and cook, stirring often, until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add peppers, tomatoes, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broth, increase heat to high and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

  3. Carefully submerge the meatballs in the simmering soup; return to a simmer and cook for 8 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in lime juice. Garnish with jalapeño and cilantro.


Large rimmed baking sheet, Dutch oven


To make fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. One slice of bread makes about 1/2 cup of fresh crumbs.

Poblano peppers can be fiery or relatively mild; there's no way to tell until you taste them. You can find them at most large supermarkets. Alternatively, substitute 2 green bell peppers plus 1 minced jalapeño pepper (or more to taste).

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

257 Calories
6g Fat
27g Carbs
28g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 257
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 27g 10%
Dietary Fiber 6g 20%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 28g 55%
Total Fat 6g 7%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 61mg 20%
Vitamin A 5502IU 110%
Vitamin C 13mg 14%
Folate 33mcg 8%
Sodium 842mg 37%
Calcium 42mg 3%
Iron 3mg 17%
Magnesium 34mg 8%
Potassium 627mg 13%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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