How many calories does a bowl of albondigas soup have?

Albóndigas soup, also known as Mexican meatball soup, is a hearty and flavorful soup made with vegetables, broth, rice, and bite-sized meatballs. It’s a popular dish in Mexico and many Latin American countries. But many people wonder just how many calories are in a typical bowl of albóndigas soup?

What Is Albóndigas Soup?

Albóndigas soup starts with a base of broth, which can be chicken, beef, or vegetable broth. It’s flavored with tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, cilantro, and spices like cumin, oregano, and chili powder.

Small, bite-sized meatballs are added to the soup. The meatballs are made from a mixture of ground beef or pork, breadcrumbs, eggs, and seasonings. Some variations also include rice in the meatballs.

In addition to the meatballs, albóndigas soup includes diced carrots, potatoes, zucchini or squash, and sometimes green beans or peas. The soup is finished off with cooked rice.

The combination of the seasoned broth, meatballs, vegetables, and rice makes albóndigas a very hearty, filling, and nutritious soup. It’s commonly eaten as a main course or entrée.

Calories in Albóndigas Soup Ingredients

To determine how many calories are in a bowl of albóndigas soup, we need to look at the calorie contents of each ingredient:


– Chicken broth: 46 calories per cup

– Beef broth: 86 calories per cup

– Vegetable broth: 30 calories per cup


– Ground beef meatballs: Approximately 100 calories per 2-3 oz meatball

– Ground pork meatballs: Approximately 90 calories per 2-3 oz meatball


– Tomatoes: 22 calories per 1/2 cup diced

– Onion: 64 calories per 1 cup diced

– Carrots: 25 calories per 1/2 cup diced

– Potatoes: 67 calories per 1/2 cup diced

– Zucchini: 18 calories per 1/2 cup diced

– Peas: 62 calories per 1/2 cup


– White rice: 103 calories per 1/2 cup cooked

– Brown rice: 108 calories per 1/2 cup cooked

Other ingredients

– Garlic: 4 calories per clove

– Cilantro: 2 calories per tablespoon chopped

– Spices: Negligible calories

Calories in a Bowl of Albóndigas Soup

Now that we know the approximate calories in each ingredient, we can estimate the total calories in a bowl of albóndigas soup:

For a typical bowl with:

– 2 cups broth (60-170 calories)

– 3-4 meatballs (270-400 calories)

– 1/2 cup each diced carrots, potatoes, zucchini (115-135 calories)

– 1/2 cup rice (100-110 calories)

– 1/2 cup tomatoes, onions, peas (148-184 calories)

– Garlic, cilantro, spices (~10 calories)

The total calories per bowl comes out to approximately 700-1000 calories.

This estimate can vary based on the exact ingredients and portion sizes. But in general, a bowl of albóndigas soup will contain 700-1000 calories.

Factors that Affect Calorie Count

There are several factors that can cause the calorie count of albóndigas soup to vary:

Type of broth

– Vegetable broth is lowest in calories (30 calories per cup)

– Beef broth is higher in calories (86 calories per cup)

– Chicken broth is somewhere in between (46 calories per cup)

Type of meat used in meatballs

– Pork meatballs are slightly leaner than beef

Size of meatballs

– Larger 3-4 oz meatballs will be more calories than smaller 2 oz meatballs

Amount of vegetables

– Loading up on low-calorie vegetables like zucchini and carrots will lower the calorie count

Amount of rice

– Soup with 1 cup of rice will be higher in calories than soup with 1/2 cup of rice

Cooking techniques

– Frying meatballs in oil will add more calories than boiling or baking them

Ways to Reduce Calories in Albóndigas Soup

If you’re looking to lighten up this soup, there are a few easy ways to reduce the calories:

  • Use vegetable or chicken broth instead of higher-calorie beef broth
  • Make smaller, 2 oz meatballs instead of large 3-4 oz meatballs
  • Bulk up on low-calorie vegetables like carrots, zucchini, peas
  • Use brown rice instead of white rice
  • Limit oil for frying, or boil/bake meatballs instead of frying
  • Skip potato, which is one of the higher-calorie vegetables
  • Use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream for toppings

With some simple substitutions like these, you can shave off up to 200-300 calories from a bowl of albóndigas!

Nutrition Benefits of Albóndigas Soup

While albóndigas soup is definitely a high-calorie dish, it does offer some great nutrition perks when enjoyed in moderation:

  • Protein – The meatballs provide lean protein needed for muscle repair and satisfaction.
  • Fiber – From the vegetables, rice, and beans.
  • Vitamin C – Tomatoes are high in this immune-boosting vitamin.
  • Iron – The meatballs, rice, and beans contain iron to prevent anemia.
  • Zinc – Meatballs are a good source of this mineral.
  • B Vitamins – The rice provides B vitamins like niacin, thiamine, and folate.

Should You Avoid Albóndigas Soup When Trying to Lose Weight?

Albóndigas soup is definitely one of the higher-calorie soup options out there. The meatballs, rice, potatoes, and some broths make it quite high in calories compared to broth-based or cream-based soups.

However, albóndigas soup can absolutely still fit into a healthy weight loss diet when enjoyed in moderation and balanced with low-calorie foods.

Some tips for enjoying albóndigas soup on a weight loss diet include:

  • Having a small 6-8 oz portion as a starter or side dish instead of a main meal
  • Choosing lower-calorie ingredients like vegetable broth, chicken, brown rice
  • Eating it only occasionally as a treat, not multiple times a week
  • Balancing it out with low-calorie foods at other meals and snacks
  • Avoiding high-calorie toppings like sour cream, cheese, tortilla chips

At the end of the day, albóndigas soup can be worked into a healthy diet for weight loss when eaten mindfully and in moderation. Just be sure to account for the higher calorie count when meal planning.

Healthy Albóndigas Soup Recipe

Here is a healthier version of albóndigas soup that cuts down on some of the calories without sacrificing flavor:


  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can no salt added diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb 96% lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup brown rice, cooked
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
  2. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, zucchini, peas, cilantro, and all the spices. Bring to a boil.
  3. In a bowl, mix together the ground turkey, bread crumbs, egg, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Form into 1″ meatballs.
  4. Drop the meatballs into the soup. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Stir in the cooked brown rice and lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

This version uses lean ground turkey, skips the potato, uses brown rice, and loads up on vegetables to create a healthier, lower-calorie albóndigas soup.

Per 1 cup serving, this recipe comes out to approximately 220 calories when made with 6 meatballs.


A typical bowl of albóndigas soup contains around 700-1000 calories, depending on the exact ingredients and portion sizes. The meatballs, rice, potatoes, and certain broths make this soup quite high in calories compared to other soups.

There are several easy ways to lighten up albóndigas, such as using leaner meats, skipping potato, bulking up on veggies, and using brown rice. With some modifications, albóndigas can fit into a healthy weight loss diet when eaten in moderation and balanced with lower-calorie foods.

Enjoy this hearty Mexican soup occasionally as a treat, and be mindful of higher-calorie ingredients to keep your diet on track.

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