Appetizers and Snacks, Meat and Poultry

Albondigas, Spanish-style Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Loreto February 2, 2020

Jump To Recipe

Albondigas, Spanish-style Meatballs in Tomato Sauce.  Good quality ground beef lovingly treated, with free-range chicken eggs, Italian-style breadcrumbs, milk-soaked stale bread, Parmigiano Reggiano, and lots of paprika and seasoning. Taking over the top with a rich sweet tomato sauce. Have I got you hungry yet?  I hope so because these meatballs are the real deal! Talk about super rich and flavorful, tender morsels of love!

Song of the day: “Hearts” by Yes. 

Albondigas, Spanish-style Meatballs-piled in the black plate

Valentine’s Day is coming and I am laying out many wonderful appetizer recipes for that special night with the one you love. But you know what? Any night can be a Valentine’s celebration, after all, it is a celebration of the heart!

Blogging from two sides of the world……………………………….

These days I am blogging from Canada and Nicoletta from Italy. It’s not easy being apart and even harder when we work so well together and have to do it separately for a bit. I have to say I love having the food blog. All my life I have been passionate about food. I was so happy when I met Nicoletta and found she had the same foodie spirit and that she really introduced me to the world of traditional Italian cooking, and I am so respectful and grateful!

It is hard work blogging, recipes, photographing, writing, researching, and trying to make a life and career doing it. Sometimes I feel the pressure to be creative, figure out what works, what people want to see, and what will be successful! It’s hard. I am the type of person that needs to be relaxed and in the moment of creativity to actually access those juices. Furthermore, you can’t get water from a rock but water will shape a rock into a glass, and you know the rest, lol.

Do What You Love……………..

Someone once said do what you love doing and the rest will take care of itself. I sure hope that is true so I am just going to release that thought because I am doing what I love doing and with the utmost authenticity that is me!

Enough reflections, now time for Albondigas, Spanish-style Meatballs in Tomato Sauce!

I could go on and on and go into a one-hour monologue but I am not food blogging for that purpose, I want to cook for you so you can be inspired, furthermore hopefully make you extremely hungry!

Albondigas, Spanish-style Meatballs-making meatballs

What you are going to need to make Albondigas, Spanish-style Meatballs in Tomato Sauce…..


  • Good quality ground beef
  • Italian-style breadcrumbs
  • free-range chicken eggs
  • stale bread
  • milk
  • grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • fresh chopped parsley
  • salt, pepper, smoked paprika
  • all-purpose flour

Tomato sauce:

  • onion
  • garlic
  • stewed tomatoes or passata
First things first………………………
  1. Firstly you will want to get that ground beef all mixed up and into the fridge to mingle and develop flavor and moisture. 

Albondigas, Spanish-style Meatballs-in the plate with flour  

Roll ’em Roll ’em Roll ’em…………………………
  1. Secondly, once the meat has had some time in the fridge, it is time to roll them. I used a spoon to measure the amount, then placed that into the palm of my hand rotating until I had a nice round meatball. Pretty cute, eh!
  2. Thirdly, a dusting of seasoned all-purpose flour making sure to dust off any loose bits. Into an olive oiled saute pan you go to get nice and golden and to release those natural sugars.
  3. While this is happening, a good time to get that sauce going for the Albondigas, Spanish-style Meatballs in Tomato Sauce. Olive oil, garlic, onion, and tomatoes. That’s it!

Albondigas, Spanish-style Meatballs-one in the hand

Now that’s a beautiful meatball!………………

Look at that meatball! Wait till you taste it all sauced up and moist and tender. Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is, lol.

Let’s recap……………………………….

Meatballs are all sauteed after being coated in flour. The sauce is simmering low and slow. Now time to lay these amazing meatballs into the sauce and covered so they can just mingle with the sweetness of the sauce. Just a little more time and some finishing with parsley and guess what. These babies are ready to eat. 

Albondigas, Spanish-style Meatballs-in the pot

Oooohh……. This Albondigas, Spanish-style Meatballs in Tomato Sauce look so good………………..

Look how rich that sauce looks, however, the meatballs look even more scrumptious as that sauce just hugs the texture of the meat. Totally yummy! Bread is on the table because you can’t let that sauce go to waste and even if you want to do a meatball slider we are prepared!

  Albondigas, Spanish-style Meatballs-in the plate, with bread

Finally, time to taste these Albondigas, Spanish-style Meatballs in Tomato Sauce……….

Wine’s poured, fork is in position, however, I only have one thing on my mind. Getting this meatball into my mouth. Here it goes, are you with me? OMG, it is so tender and moist. I taste the cheese and paprika and that sauce has flavored this meatball beyond belief! The sauce is so sweet and smoky and the caramelized onions have just melted into the mix. Hey, I am going to try one with a sauce-slathered piece of bread. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm that is crazy good.

Valentine’s Day………………..

I love surprising my wife Nicoletta. Imagine your loved one being surprised with a very romantic candlelight tapas-style dinner. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate. Oh, okay, sitting on a beach watching the sunset and sharing a plate of these Albondigas, Spanish-style Meatballs in Tomato Sauce,  lol.

Stay tuned because I have more delicious appies coming! It doesn’t have to stop here!

Cheers, and most of all, enjoy!

Song of the day: “Hearts” by Yes.

Albondigas, Spanish-style Meatballs-piled in the black plate

Albondigas, Spanish-style Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

  • Author: Loreto
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4 1x
  • Category: Appetizer, Meat
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean


Albondigas, Spanish-style Meatballs in Tomato Sauce.  Good quality ground beef lovingly treated, with free-range chicken eggs, Italian-style breadcrumbs, milk-soaked stale bread,  Parmigiano Reggiano, and lots of paprika and seasoning. Taking over the top with a rich sweet tomato sauce. Have I got you hungry yet?  I hope so because these meatballs are the real deal!



  • 650 g ground beef
  • 2 medium fresh range chicken eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/4 cups Italian-style breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup broken up stale bread
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp each salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 3 Tbsp e.v.o. oil

The Sauce:

  • 700 ml  tomato passata or stewed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp e.v.o. oil
  • 23 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 clove garlic pressed
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste



  1. In a bowl, break up ground beef and add in eggs, breadcrumbs, grated Parmigiano, milk-soaked bread, salt, pepper, paprika, and parsley.
  2. Mix well with hands until seasoning and herbs are well incorporated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for an hour.
  3. Take out of the fridge and using a tablespoon scoop meat mixture and place it in the palm of the hand. Use both hands to shape the meat into a ball. Place on a dish. Do this repeatedly until all meat mixture is completed.
  4. Sprinkle meatballs with all-purpose flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Rotate the meatballs and sprinkle again to make sure they are totally coated with the flour.
  5. Heat up olive oil in a saute pan. Shake excess flour off meatballs and place in the pan and sear for about 2 minutes, turning to make sure the total surface of the meatball is seared.

The Sauce:

  1. In a deep cast pot, drizzle in oil, and toss in garlic and onions. Heat up and saute for about 5 minutes on medium heat.
  2. Pour in the passata or tomatoes and throw in basil leaves. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar. Partially cover and let simmer on low for about 25 minutes, remember to turn frequently to prevent the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Take meatballs and place in sauce, cover meatballs with the sauce and place the lid on the pot. Cook on a low simmer for 30 minutes turning the meatballs to prevent from sticking.
  4. Take off heat, and spoon meatballs onto a serving dish. Top with sauce.


  1. Sprinkle freshly chopped parsley all over the top.
  2. Ready to serve!



You can use a combination of ground beef and veal and even do a trio adding in pork. Just divide the quantities to equal the total amount of meat used.

Recipe Card powered byTasty Recipes

Albondigas, Spanish-style Meatballs-in the plate    

You Might Also Like


  • Avatar
    Reply Veena Azmanov February 5, 2020 at 10:29 am

    Thanks for such a lovely, easy and yummy recipe. Love the flavors and the tomato style gravy to the meat balls. Definitely a special dish.

  • Loreto Nardelli
    Reply Loreto Nardelli February 5, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    You are very kind and it is our pleasure to share these delicious comforting recipes. We are sk happy that you enjoyed it. Thank you so much!
    Happy cooking!

  • Avatar
    Reply Denise February 6, 2020 at 11:29 am

    What a delicious and juicy meatball! Your sauce looks incredible as well.

    • Loreto Nardelli
      Reply Loreto Nardelli February 6, 2020 at 3:56 pm

      Hi Denise. Thank you. I use a really good quality Italian tomato and some fresh basil , a little caramelized onion to sweeten the pot. A great dance partner to those luscious meatballs. Hey I am getting hungry now!

  • Avatar
    Reply Mimi February 6, 2020 at 1:15 pm

    Very nice. The meatballs are nice and tender. And the sauce looks rich and flavorful.

    • Loreto Nardelli
      Reply Loreto Nardelli February 7, 2020 at 11:30 am

      Hi Mimi
      Yes with the soaked bread and low and slow cooking plus dredging the meatballs and frying them first makes for a very moist and delectable meatball! Thanks!

  • Loreto Nardelli
    Reply Loreto Nardelli February 6, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    Thank you Mimi. I use some milk soaked bread in the meat mixture to keep the moisture in and help the meatballs stay tender and so delectable!
    Happy cooking!

  • Avatar
    Reply Aleta February 6, 2020 at 9:08 pm

    Well, you have certainly succeeded in making me hungry hungry hungry! These Spanish-style meatballs look so incredibly delicious, I can’t wait to make them for my family!

    • Loreto Nardelli
      Reply Loreto Nardelli February 7, 2020 at 11:31 am

      Thanks Aleta, I have done my job well if you are hungry. Just the look of these morsels makes me salivate and growl in my stomach, lol.
      Have a great weekend!

  • Avatar
    Reply Anna February 7, 2020 at 4:39 am

    What a delicious and satisfying meal! They remind me of my mum’s meatballs, she used to make them just like that! Perfect dish for any day of the week!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto December 20, 2020 at 10:23 am

      Thank you Anna, so glad it brought back those memories, and that you enjoyed these so much. I love the richness and moistness of the meatball and so so good in that sauce. Where’s the bread?

  • Avatar
    Reply Tammy February 7, 2020 at 11:08 am

    I love the trick of lightly coating them in flour before frying…what a delicious and beautiful meal! Fried meatballs are honestly the best…def worth the extra bit of effort 🙂

  • Loreto Nardelli
    Reply Loreto Nardelli February 7, 2020 at 11:33 am

    Thanks Tammy. Most definitely. Seals all those juices and flavors and then schmoozed by the rich sauce. I have to wipe my chin again!

  • Avatar
    Reply Lori | The Kitchen Whisperer February 7, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    Thank you for sharing such a lovely recipe! I’d love a big bowl of these meatballs with some crusty bread on the side right about now! They look absolutely scrumptious!

    • Loreto Nardelli
      Reply Loreto Nardelli February 8, 2020 at 9:53 pm

      Hi Lori that’s the way to do it. You definitely have some Italian going on! Thank you!

  • Avatar
    Reply Kelly Anthony February 7, 2020 at 12:48 pm

    There is nothing better than a homemade meatball, especially when sharing it with the people you love. This Spanish style meatball will be a crowd favorite at our house.

  • Loreto Nardelli
    Reply Loreto Nardelli February 8, 2020 at 9:55 pm

    Thank you Kelly and you said it very well food shared among the ones you love is the greatest gift life can bring! Can’t wait for you to make these for your family!
    Happy cooking! And may the food force be with you!

  • Avatar
    Reply Elaine February 9, 2020 at 8:40 am

    I’ve tried so many different meatball recipes, and every time I do, it is another fun discovery. Excited to try yours – they look like they could wow anyone.

  • Loreto Nardelli
    Reply Loreto Nardelli February 9, 2020 at 11:26 am

    Hi Elaine
    That is such a great attitude. Yes this recipes has been a great success. Anyone who has tasted them has been craving them again. They are so luscious, moist and tender! Thanks for checking these out and commenting!

  • Avatar
    Reply Danielle February 9, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    Fantastic choice of ingredients to make these meatballs taste like a dream! I think I am going to add this recipe to my holiday menu and really enjoy it some time next week!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto December 20, 2020 at 10:25 am

      Hey Danielle, that’s fantastic. I think it will be a hit for the holidays. So glad you are enjoying these!
      Happy holidays!

  • Avatar
    Reply Claire | The Simple, Sweet Life February 9, 2020 at 8:03 pm

    These meatballs sound so delicious! I studied in Spain for a term while I was in college, and although my host mom never made meatballs, all of her pasta dishes were AMAZING. Can’t wait to give this a try!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto December 20, 2020 at 10:26 am

      Thank you Claire for sharing. Wow very lucky to study in Spain. I can only imagine the dishes. Full of flavor and texture! Good for you!

  • Avatar
    Reply Jennifer Banz February 10, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    Smoked paprika was the perfect addition to makes these a little smoky, but not too much. I love to use milk soaked bread in my meatballs and it made them super moist.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto December 20, 2020 at 10:27 am

      Hi Jenifer, Thank you so much! Yes the milk soaked bread was fantastic in giving that moisture to the meatballs and that paprika subtle yet delicious!
      thanks again!

  • Avatar
    Reply Devyn March 10, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    These turned out amazing! Practically bursting with flavor 😀

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto March 11, 2020 at 9:17 pm

      Thank you Devy. We are so happy that you are trying our recipes and doing them so well. These meatballs are amazing and you did IT!!!!!!!!!
      Great work and congrats on coming into the foodie world!!
      Happy cooking!

  • Avatar
    Reply Alyssa December 17, 2020 at 11:16 am

    Is it possible to make the meatballs, put them in the fridge, then leave them longer than an hour prior to cooking? At least 2 hours or possibly even overnight? Trying to time things out properly! Thanks!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 17, 2020 at 11:22 am

      That is not a problem, they are going to deliver more flavor. I wouldn’t leave them more than a day, though.

      • Avatar
        Reply Alyssa December 17, 2020 at 2:51 pm

        Thank you for your prompt response! I’ll let you know how they turn out! Looking forward to them!

      • Avatar
        Reply Alyssa December 19, 2020 at 7:09 pm

        This was so delicious!!! Will definitely be making these again! Thank you for the great recipe!

  • Loreto
    Reply Loreto December 20, 2020 at 10:28 am

    Thanks Alyssa, so glad these worked so well for you. It is definitely a keeper for favorite meals!
    have a wonderful Holiday season!

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.