Spanish Albondigas

When you want to add some Spanish flavor to your family’s traditional meatball dinner, Spanish Albóndigas are the way to go.

When you want to add some Spanish flavor to your family's traditional meatball dinner, Spanish Albóndigas are the way to go.

We went on a search for the very best way to make albóndigas and quickly found out there are two very different dishes when it comes to albóndigas. There is the traditional Mexican soup featuring meatballs, referred to as albóndigas, and then there is the Spanish meatball, also referred to as albóndigas.

Spanish albóndigas are meatballs that are cooked in a thick, smoked paprika sauce and you’ll find them served in most tapas bars across Spain. Of course, we found many different versions of Spanish albóndigas so we researched different recipes to see what they all had in common with each other. With all the variations the sauce’s flavor profile remained the same – slightly spicy and a tad smoky, which pairs perfectly with the rich flavor of ground beef.

These meatballs are best served with crusty bread as you don’t want to leave behind any of the smoky sauce that smothers them. Mmmmmm.

Spanish Albondigas

Yield: 30 meatballs

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes


  • 1 egg
  • 1 lb. ground beef (we used 20% lean, 80% fat)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic, divided
  • 1 /4 cup breadcrumbs, like panko
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup diced fresh tomatoes (like roma)
  • 1 /2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 /4 cup red wine
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg until beaten. Add the ground beef, 1 of the garlic cloves and breadcrumbs. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper and 1 teaspoon of the smoked paprika. Lightly mix together with hands until incorporated, but be careful not to over mix. Roll into 3 /4 - 1 inch balls - you should have about 30 of them.
  2. Heat large pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to pan. Cooking in batches so you don't overcrowd pan, brown the meatballs for about 7 minutes, rotating frequently to brown on all sides. Transfer browned meatballs to plate and set aside. Repeat with remaining meatballs. When meatballs are finished, wipe out grease with paper towel.
  3. To the same pan, add the remaining teaspoon of smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine, red pepper flakes and honey. Bring to a boil over medium high heat stirring occasionally. Turn heat to low. Add meatballs to pan and stir carefully to cover with sauce. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until meatballs are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with chopped cilantro if desired.

Emily Dingmann

Emily is a Nutritionist and Recipe Developer who creates easy and healthy recipes for busy families on My Everyday Table. She drinks coffee in the morning, wine at night, and sometimes a green juice in between!