Albóndigas (Spanish meatballs) Recipe and Wine Pairing

Juicy meatballs in a slightly spicy tomato sauce, with a nice glass of slightly chilled red wine. What’s not to love? Make these albóndigas part of your tapas spread, but make plenty because they’ll go first! 

Albóndigas is the Spanish word for meatballs. You’ll typically only find them in Spain as tapas, not on the dinner table. They’re much smaller than their international counterparts, usually comparable to a ping pong ball or even smaller. This size, they form the perfect, one-bite snack. 

We suggest you use a mix of pork and beef for the meatballs. By browning them before simmering in the sauce, they get a great depth of flavour.

These meatballs are easy to make ahead of time. Warm them up in the oven for about 10 minutes before inviting your guests to sit at the table. 

Albóndigas Wine Pairing

A Spanish, young red wine without much time in oak would be great with these meatballs. Look for “jovén” or “crianza” on the label. Slightly chill the red wine down by popping it in the fridge for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Albóndigas Recipe and Wine Pairing

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Recipe by WineCollective Course: TapasCuisine: SpanishDifficulty: Easy
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  • For the meatballs:
  • 500 gr ground meat (beef/pork mix)

  • 1 egg

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 4 tbsp breadcrumbs

  • Few sprigs parsley, finely chopped

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • For the tomato sauce:
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 500 ml strained tomatoes (passata)

  • 1 glass white wine

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 tsp oregano

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika powder

  • Salt

  • Few sprigs parsley, chopped, for garnish


  • In a large bowl, mix the meat, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic, and parsley into a homogenous mixture. Season with salt and pepper and mix. Let it rest for a bit.
  • For the sauce, heat olive oil in a Dutch oven. Sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat until they brown a bit. Add the strained tomatoes, white wine, 2 cups of water, a bay leaf, oregano and paprika powder. Season with salt. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, roll ping-pong ball-sized meatballs with your hands. Heat olive oil in a skillet and fry the meatballs until browned on all sides. Transfer them to a plate lined with absorbent paper to remove excess fat.
  • Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for about 15 minutes until they are fully cooked, and the sauce has thickened. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with parsley.

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A completely different but equally delicious tapas is the Anchovies, Manchego and Red Pepper Pincho that’s up next. It’s easy to make, with a variety of flavours packed in each bite. If you enjoy these types of recipes and pairing suggestions, consider signing up for WineCollective! Members get access to exclusive wines, and we’ll always give you great tips on what food to serve with them.