Colombian-Style Meatballs (Albondigas Colombianas)

by Erica Dinho on September 11, 2009

Albondigas Colombianas

I absolutely love meatballs and my grandmother made the best albóndigas (Colombian-Style Meatballs) I ever had. One of her secrets was to add a little piece of pork belly to the center of the meatballs, which made them incredibly moist, but I prefer to omit the pork belly for health reasons :). My sister came to visit from Colombia, so we are very excited to eat them.

Enjoy this dish!

Colombian Style Meatballs

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(About 4 servings)

  • Meatballs
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ cup precooked corn meal (masarepa)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoon oil to cook to meatballs
  • Sauce
  • 2 cups hogao
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro



  1. Place the ground beef and pork in a large bowl. Add onions, garlic, scallion, red bell pepper, masarepa, egg, salt and pepper. Mix well using your hands.
  2. Form the meatballs and place them on a platter.
  3. Place the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the meatballs until well-browned on all sides, about 7 minutes total. Remove the meatballs to a platter lined with paper towels.
  4. To make the sauce: Sprinkle in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to dissolve into the fat. Pour in the beef broth, and stir with a wooden spoon to loosen the bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer and stir until the liquid is reduced and a sauce starts to form. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Add the hogao and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. Return the meatballs to the sauce. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly and the meatballs are heated through, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve over white rice.
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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 rebecca subbiah September 11, 2009 at 12:03 PM

oh these look great i get so inspired by your blog, why dont you do a guest post for me on you fav Columbian food? rebeccasubbiah at yahoo dot com


2 Taste Traveller September 11, 2009 at 12:38 PM

I love to make meatballs when I have guests over – they’re a great little snack. I’ll try the addition of cooked cornmeal next time- sounds like it helps to add moisture too!


3 Pam September 11, 2009 at 12:39 PM

I love meatballs and your’s look really great!

Congrats. on the FFF!


4 Natasha - 5 Star Foodie September 11, 2009 at 1:34 PM

I would love to try this version of meatballs, they sound delicious! I love the addition of cornmeal.


5 Sarah Naveen September 11, 2009 at 1:37 PM

Meat balls looks so yumm Erica!!!


6 Danielle September 11, 2009 at 11:54 PM

great, beautiful meatballs! I think I’d skip the pork belly too. The sauce sounds incredible too.


7 Kim September 12, 2009 at 7:53 AM

Meatballs are popular this week!! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. You gave me a great idea for my little 2 year old. He is allergic to beef and wheat and can’t have traditional meatballs. It never dawned on me to use cornmeal to hold a meatball together. I think I make something work with ground pork and cornmeal. Kids just love meatballs!! These look delicious and I love that you grandma would put a piece of pork belly in the middle : )


8 Erica September 12, 2009 at 8:09 AM

Thank you all for the comments!


9 Anna September 12, 2009 at 3:44 PM

Pork belly inside the meatballs, that must be delicious. It looks very yummy and I love anything with cilantro, it’s such an aromatic herb.


10 nora@ffr September 13, 2009 at 2:09 AM

yummm!! i loveee meat balllsss!! i shud try ye way sometime sooner!! thanx


11 jeanine September 13, 2009 at 2:40 PM

Excellent recipe…just made for my boyfriend –he is from Cali. Loved it !! Okay whats next…thanks


12 Erica September 13, 2009 at 4:53 PM

Hi Jeanine,

Thank you very much for your feedback :)


13 Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen September 14, 2009 at 12:18 PM

I love any kind of meatballs, and these look scrumptious!


14 Erica September 20, 2009 at 7:29 AM

Thank you everyone for visiting:)


15 Stephanie in Phoenix December 14, 2010 at 11:47 AM

I made albondigas last night. We loved them. I am planning on making them for an upcoming casual holiday party. I am sure it make a great crock pot dish!


16 Emily January 14, 2014 at 6:36 PM

Can I use Maseca in place of Masarepa?


17 Erica Dinho January 14, 2014 at 7:14 PM



18 Lola Ramirez August 31, 2014 at 9:55 AM

I might be missing it, but I don’t see where it says how much oil to use. And I’m a bit confused where it says: “Sprinkle in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to dissolve into the fat” , does this mean we use the same pan where the meat balls where?
Sorry this might seem silly but I’m new to cooking and I’m really looking forward to making these.


19 Erica Dinho September 1, 2014 at 8:25 PM

2 tablespoons of oil.

Yes, use the same pan.


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