Spanish Meatballs (Albóndigas Español) – Simply Superb

Spanish Meatballs (Albóndigas Español) are one of my preferred tapas dishes. Unfortunately, they are much-loved by all other tapas fans as well. That could well be the reason why when I have ordered them in tapas restaurants, they always seem to be sold out.

No worries. My friend Manillo was kind enough to give me his recipe. Nobody makes Spanish Meatballs like Manillo. His are by far the best and …

… he was kind enough to give me his recipe so that I could make them at home.

Now, I would like to share this superb recipe with you. They are very easy to make too.

I do suggest however, that you use the leanest beef mince, freshest tomatoes, and freshest herbs you can find for the best results.


The Meatballs


1 lb Fresh and Very Lean Minced Beef
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs
1 Large Egg (beaten)
1 Small Onion (finely chopped)
2 Garlic Cloves (Crushed or finely chopped)
1 tsp Fresh Parsley (finely chopped)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Method (The Meatballs)

Place the mince in a large mixing bowl.

Add the finely chopped onion, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper and beaten egg.

With a fork, mix all of the ingredients together until well blended. The consistency of the mixture should be fairly wet.

Gradually mix the breadcrumbs to the mixture until it becomes slightly stiffer. If you feel you need more breadcrumbs you can add more but be careful not to overdo it.

Roll the mixture into even round balls about 1 inch in diameter.

Lightly fry the meatballs in olive oil on a low heat for a few minutes until they start to brown on all sides. The meatballs do not need to be fully cooked in the middle as they will cook through in the sauce that you will be preparing next.

The Sauce


5 – 6 Fresh Ripe Tomatoes
1 Large Onion
2 – 3 Garlic Cloves (finely chopped)
2 Tablespoons Freshly Chopped Parsley
1 Tablespoon Freshly Chopped Basil
1 tsp Granulated Sugar
1 Beef Stock Cube
1/4 cup water
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 – 3 Large Bay Leaves

Method (The Sauce)

Boil some water in a medium sized saucepan. Once boiled turn off the burner and place the tomatoes into the hot water.

Carefully remove the tomatoes from the hot water and let stand to cool on a large plate.

Once cooled, peel off the skins.

Once tomatoes have been skinned, chop the tomatoes and place aside in a bowl.

Fry the chopped onion and garlic in olive oil on a medium-low heat until the onion becomes transparent.

Add the chopped tomato, about ¼ cup water, sugar and beef cube and simmer for about ½ hour or until sauce starts to thicken.

Add all spices and simmer for 5 minutes more.

Place the meatballs and tomato sauce in a Dutch oven, Pyrex dish or other oven dish with a lid. Slide two to three Bay Leaves into the meatball and sauce mixture.

Cover the dish and place in an oven for approximately 1 hour at a medium heat (approximately 170 degrees C) depending on your oven of course.

Check the dish every twenty minutes to ensure it is not burning or that the sauce is getting too thick. Remove the lid and gently stir the mixture carefully (as not to break the meatballs) whenever you check the mixture.

Serve Hot from the oven in a ceramic serving bowl either alone or alongside some of your other favourite tapas recipes.


Although this Spanish Meatballs recipe is enjoyed in Majorca and other parts of Spain as Tapas, I have found other uses for it.

For example:

– The Tomato Sauce can be used as a pasta sauce with or without the meatballs. Thus, it can be a great recipe for vegetarians. My husband and I love it on the fresh stuffed pasta such as ravioli or cappelletti, found in most supermarkets today.

– If you have hungry teenagers to feed, why not serve the Spanish Meatballs in Tomato Sauce in a Submarine Sandwich topped with mozzarella cheese and melted in the oven.

You could use the Meatball Portion of this recipe to make your hamburgers for this summer’s BBQ’s.

I’m certain you will enjoy this Spanish Meatballs (Albóndigas Español) authentic recipe. It is simply Delicioso.

Spanish Meatballs served with Barra Bread (French Stick Bread)

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