Even picky eaters will love the delicious ranch meatballs in this soup!
My family isn’t big on eating meat. My husband and son eat very little meat while my daughter and I eat some. So, when I tell you I’ve found a ranch meatball recipe our family really likes, then you know it has to be good! Paired with taco flavors and a slightly cheesy soup, this taco ranch meatball soup recipe is a great family dinner option.
I have served this with tortilla chips and with cornbread. Since the cornbread pairs so well with taco flavors in the taco cornbread bake, I figured it was worth a try with this soup. Turns out I was right! We’ve decided that cornbread is our favorite. In fact, we put the cornbread in the bowl and then put the soup and meatballs on top. It’s a filling dinner with a bit of Mexican flavor.
Make the ranch meatballs
The taco ranch meatball soup starts with making the meatballs. The soup comes together and simmers for a few minutes while the meatballs cook. When I first made this recipe, I used half the amount of ground beef called for because we aren’t big on eating meat. But since then I’ve used the full 1-1/2 pound of ground beef. Our family of four ends up with a few extra ranch meatballs, but not too many! (And they make a good meatball sub topped with a bit of ranch dressing!)
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees (F). If you are making cornbread to go along with this, mix it and set it aside. I use a JIF cornbread mix and pour it into my loaf pan to bake a loaf. It bakes in the same amount of time as the meatballs, so it works quite well! This is how my finished loaf turns out:
Put 1-1/2 pounds of ground beef in a mixing bowl. Add in 1/2 cup of crushed tortilla chips. I fill a sandwich bag about 3/4 full and then crush the chips with a glass. While I use corn tortilla chips, I think these ranch meatballs would also be good with flavored cheddar or ranch tortilla chips.
Add the tortillas to the meat.
Next beat one egg in a small glass (I use the same one that I use for crushing my chips). Add the beaten egg to the meat mixture.
Next, add 1 tablespoon of ranch dressing mix and 1 tablespoon of taco seasoning to the meat mixture. (There is also something called rancho taco seasoning. If you buy that, then put in one 1-ounce packet. Save an additional packet for the soup.)
Use a spoon to combine the meat mixture together well. You can use your hands if you really want to, but I find this stirs together well with a spoon. Do what works for you!
Once the meat is combined, then form it into 1-inch balls and place them on a rimmed baking sheet lined with non-stick aluminum foil or parchment paper. I use the non-stick aluminum foil to make for even easier clean up!
Put the meatballs (and cornbread if you’re making it) into the preheated oven and baked for 15 minutes.
Make the soup
While the ranch meatballs are baking, put 32-ounce of chicken broth into a large pot over medium-high heat on your stove. Add in one 15-ounce can of crushed tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of taco seasoning and 1 tablespoon of ranch seasoning. Cover it and cook for about 15 minutes.
Turn the heat down, leave the lid off and add in one 12-ounce package of thawed frozen corn and 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese. It’s best to add the cheese in slowly. I usually do it in thirds. Let the cheese melt. Simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes.
Putting it all together
By the time your soup is ready, your ranch meatballs should be as well.
You have two options with this taco ranch meatball soup recipe: you can mix the meatballs right into the soup or you can leave them on their own and let everyone mix them in themselves. Our family prefers to leave the ranch meatballs separate. That also works better if you end up with leftover meatballs that you want to turn into a meatball sandwich! So, I move the meatballs to a plate covered with a paper towel to remove some grease. If you prefer, pat them off and put them right into the soup.
You’re ready to build your bowls of taco ranch meatball soup. You can put cornbread on the bottom, then top with soup and meatballs or skip the cornbread and just do the soup and meatballs.
Either way, it’s yummy to sprinkle some extra cheddar cheese on top.
And if you’re a big fan of sour cream like my family is, plop a dollop of sour cream on there as well!
Taco ranch meatball soup
- 1-1/2 pound ground beef
- 1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips
- 1 egg beaten
- 2 tablespoons ranch seasoning
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
- 1 32-ounce carton chicken broth
- 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 12-ounce bag frozen corn thawed
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese plus extra for topping if desired
- Preheat the oven to 400-degrees (F).
- In a mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, crushed tortilla chips, beaten egg, 1 tablespoon of ranch seasoning and 1 tablespoon of taco seasoning.
- Form the meat mixture into 1-inch balls and place them on a rimmed baking sheet lined with non-stick aluminum foil or parchment paper.
- Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes.
- While the meatballs bake, put the chicken broth, tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of ranch seasoning and 1 tablespoon of taco seasoning into a pot over medium-high heat. Cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Reduce the heat on the stove and add in the corn. Gradually add shredded cheese. Simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes.
- When the meatballs are finished, you can pat them dry and place them in the soup or move them to a plate covered with a paper towel to dry and serve separately. (One benefit of serving separately is it makes leftover meatballs easier to use for sandwiches!)
- Serve the soup with the meatballs and top with additional shredded cheese, if desired. Sour cream is also good with this soup. It pairs very well with cornbread.