Spanish meatballs - the classic recipe-rootsandcook

Spanish meatballs – the classic recipe

The real Spanish meatballs recipe, the classic ones – Albóndigas.

If you ever been to Spain I am sure you had albondigas or Spanish meatballs tapas.

Juicy meatballs with an absolutely delicious vegetable sauce.

It is not a difficult recipe but there are a few key steps that you need to follow to get those real Spanish meatballs, the grandmas recipe.

Spanish meatballs - the classic recipe-rootsandcook

PRO TIPS to get the best Spanish meatballs:

There are 3 key steps that you need to follow to get the best Spanish meatballs.

1. “Marinate” the meat mixture

It is key to prepare the meat mixture upfront, ideally the day before and store it in the fridge over night. If you do not have much time, 2-3 hours will do it, but I strongly suggest do prepare the mixture at least 8 hours before. Meatballs will be a lot juicier and flavourful.

2. Sauté the vegetables until golden

Slightly caramelising the vegetables is important to get those natural sugars out of the vegetables and making the sauce a little bit sweeter and simply better.

3. Sear the meatballs and deglaze the pan

Sear the meatballs until golden, remove the extra fat from the casserole and deglaze the pan with the sauce. Deglazing the pan will add lots of meat flavours to the sauce, turning it a little bit brown and making it heavenly tasty.

Spanish meatballs – the classic recipe

Recipe by Enara ParraCourse: MainCuisine: SpanishDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 1 kg ground meat (half beef-half pork)

  • 1 large egg

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs

  • 4 tablespoons milk

  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • Pepper

  • Sauce:
  • 1 green bell pepper

  • 1 red bell pepper

  • 1 onion

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 1 zucchini

  • Optional: 1/2 celery stalk

  • 2 carrots

  • 1 can chopped tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup white wine

  • 1 cup water

  • Salt and pepper

  • Olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme


  • Place the ground meat, garlic, egg, parsley, milk, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Mix with your hand until combined. Cover the bowl and store it in the fridge overnight or at least for 2 hours.
  • Sauce:
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Chop all the vegetables; there is no need to chop them finely because we will blend the sauce later on. Pieces of 2-3 cm are good.
  • Sauté all the vegetables over high heat for 5 minutes until golden.
  • Season with salt and pepper and stir in the wine. Cook the wine for 2-3 minutes and add the tomato, water, oregano, and thyme.
  • Stir well and bring to a boil.
  • Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
  • In the meantime, prepare the meatballs.
  • Take 1 tablespoon of the meat mixture each time, and form the meatballs by hand. You need to make around 35-38 meatballs.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a low casserole and fry the meatballs in batches.
  • They need to be brown on all sides.
  • Turn off the heat and transfer the meatballs to a platter. Remove the fat/oil from the pan but leave all the brown parts that are stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  • When the vegetables are cooked, blend the sauce with an immersion blender until smooth.
  • Place the sauce in the casserole and turn on the heat to low-medium.
  • Place the lid and cook for 1-2 minutes. This will help to deglaze the casserole and transfer all those browned meat parts stuck to the bottom to the sauce. This is key for a tasty sauce.
  • Give the sauce a good stir and add the meatballs back to the casserole with the sauce.
  • Cover with the lid and cook on low heat for 5-8 minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Cookware I use:

  • Cast iron – enamel casserole: Vancasso

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