Venezuelan Cuisine: Beef Meatballs (Carne Albondigas)

Typically, shredded beef is served in the Pabellon Criollo, Venezuelan’s national dish. However, Maria substituted the shredded beef with beef meatballs.


Maria made giant beef meatballs, almost the size of golf ball. These Carne Albondigas is great and it can be served with spaghetti or in a sub too.


  • 1 kilogram ground beef
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs, more or less
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Worcestershire sauce to taste, optional
  • 1 carrot, finely grated
  • 1 or 2 beef bouillon, optional
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar
  • oil for frying


Source: Maria

Prep time: 30 minutes;  Cook time: 40 minutes;  Serve 8 to 10


Meat-Balls-2-300x200Combine ground beef, chopped onion and red peppers, eggs and breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Season with salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.
Meat-Balls-3-300x200Mix well with hand and form into 1.5″‘ diameter meatballs.
Meat-Balls-4-600x400Heat a large frying pan with a few tablespoons of oil. Fry the meatballs until golden brown on all sides.

Do not crowd the pan, you may fry the meatballs in batches.

Drain on paper towel if necessary.

Meat-Balls-10-200x300Prepare sauce by diluting the crushed tomatoes with some water.
Meat-Balls-5-300x200Add grated carrots, bay leaves and season with sugar, salt or beef cube.
Meat-Balls-11-200x300Add the sauce to the all browned beef balls and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.

Do not let the sauce dry up and burn, add some water if it gets too dry.

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  1. etranger

    I have always wondered what goes into albondigas. I knew the word meant “meatball” and they taste good, but did not know the specific ingredients. No doubt there are variations, but this looks like a standard meatball plus red pepper. It’s always good to get more vegetables in there!

    The sauce with all the carrots is something I haven’t seen and will try.

    Funny that a golf ball size meatball is giant! In New Jersey, which has a lot of Italian food everywhere, the meatballs you get are about baseball size. I don’t go smaller than golf ball size because it takes too much time to make them all. I usually make 4 or 5 pounds worth at a time and freeze them in bags after cooking to a pink stage.

    You can bake meatballs, too, and they taste the same. I use a cookie rack on a cookie sheet so the fat drains off.

  2. Pinoy Gourmet

    I just tried using the meatballs with pasta and they are great in that use.They are more tangy then regular meatballs.

  3. fart guy

    i liked it all but the carrot fact i took it out and it tasted better

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