Southwestern Meatball Soup

Green chiles and homemade meatballs make this ground beef and rice recipe a dish to remember.

two bowls of soup with bread on the side

Brie Goldman

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
30 mins
10 cups

Our Southwestern Meatball Soup is the perfect go-to recipe, whether you're having a party or a simple night in. It's comforting and packed with green chiles, oregano, and ground ancho chile pepper for a little spice. Our make-ahead meatball recipe is enough for three recipes of this meatball soup. Separate the cooked meatballs into batches and freeze them for later.

The best part? You can make this meatball soup recipe your own by adding any number of toppings. We suggest trying fresh cilantro, chopped red onion, sour cream, shredded pepper Jack cheese, and/or crumbled queso fresco or Cotija cheese.


  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

  • 1 cup chopped carrots

  • ½ cup onion

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 portion Freezer Meatballs

  • 32 ounces low-sodium beef broth

  • 1 14.5-oz. can no-salt-added diced tomatoes

  • 2 cups frozen roasted whole kernel corn

  • 1 4-oz. can diced green chiles

  • 1 tsp dried oregano, crushed

  • 1 tsp, ground ancho chile pepper

  • ½ tsp. salt

  • ½ tsp. ground cumin

  • 1 8.8 ounce pouch cooked whole grain brown rice

  • Toppings such as fresh cilantro, chopped red onion, sour cream, shredded pepper Jack cheese, and/or crumbled queso fresco or Cotija cheese (optional)

Freezer Meatballs

  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 2 tablespoons milk

  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • ¾ cup fine dry bread crumbs

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp black pepper

  • 3 pounds ground beef, 85%


  1. In a 4- to 6-qt. pot heat the oil over medium heat. Add carrots, onion, and garlic; cook and stir until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the Freezer Meatballs and the next eight ingredients (through cumin).

  2. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Stir in rice; heat through. Serve with desired toppings.

Freezer Meatballs

This recipe makes three portions. Only one is required for our Southwestern Meatball Soup, but these are made to freeze! Make all three portions and save two for a rainy day.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line two 15×10-inch baking pans with foil. In an extra-large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients (through pepper). Add ground beef; using clean hands, mix lightly until combined (do not overwork).

  2. Shape the beef mixture into 1-inch meatballs, using about 1 Tbsp. mixture for each meatball. Arrange in prepared pans. Bake until done (160°F), about 15 minutes. Cool in pans on wire racks.

    Test Kitchen Tip: For perfectly sized meatballs, use a small cookie scoop to portion the meat mixture.

  3. Divide meatballs among three 1-gal. resealable plastic freezer bags or airtight containers. Seal and label. Lay bags flat and freeze for up to 3 months.

Stuffed Meatball Variation

For meatballs stuffed with cheese, prepare as directed in Step 1. Cut desired cheese (such as Gouda, provolone, mozzarella, cheddar, Monterey Jack, Colby Jack, pepper Jack, feta, Muenster, or Swiss) into 1⁄2-inch cubes. Shape the meat mixture into balls as directed. Insert a cheese cube into each ball, sealing meat around the cheese. Continue with the recipe as directed.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

945 Calories
51g Fat
43g Carbs
76g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 945
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 51.3g 66%
Saturated Fat 18.2g 91%
Cholesterol 310.7mg 104%
Sodium 1551.3mg 67%
Total Carbohydrate 43.3g 16%
Dietary Fiber 5.1g 18%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 75.6g
Vitamin D 0.6mcg 3%
Vitamin C 16.7mg 84%
Calcium 184.2mg 14%
Iron 9.1mg 51%
Potassium 1380.7mg 29%
Fatty acids, total trans 1.9g
Vitamin D 27.9IU
Alanine 4.4g
Arginine 4.5g
Ash 7.8g
Aspartic acid 6.3g
Caffeine 0mg
Carotene, alpha 993.3mcg
Choline, total 306.5mg
Copper, Cu 0.4mg
Cystine 0.8g
Energy 3954.1kJ
Fluoride, F 14.7mcg
Folate, total 97.9mcg
Glutamic acid 11.1g
Glycine 4.5g
Histidine 2.2g
Isoleucine 3.1g
Leucine 5.5g
Lysine 5.5g
Methionine 1.8g
Magnesium, Mg 101.8mg
Manganese, Mn 0.8mg
Niacin 17.1mg
Phosphorus, P 748.5mg
Pantothenic acid 3.4mg
Phenylalanine 2.8g
Phytosterols 13.6mg
Proline 3.7g
Retinol 54.9mcg
Selenium, Se 68mcg
Serine 3g
Starch 12.2g
Theobromine 0mg
Threonine 2.8g
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 1.5mg
Tryptophan 0.4g
Tyrosine 2.2g
Valine 3.5g
Vitamin A, IU 4906.7IU
Vitamin A, RAE 290.9mcg
Vitamin B-12 6.9mcg
Vitamin B-6 1.5mg
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) 15.6mcg
Water 475.9g
Zinc, Zn 16.5mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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