Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup

This is the best Italian wedding soup I’ve ever made! It is packed with homemade meatballs, loads of veggies and fresh herbs. And it’s done in about half an hour!

We are including instructions for making this soup in the slow cooker and Instant Pot too! You can choose the cooking method that works best for you and your schedule.

Why Italian Wedding Soup?

Did you know I used to work for Jet Blue? Yup. Totally worked from home before that was even a thing answering a bazillion calls clear through the night at times and occasionally getting screamed at and not once was it deserved. 

I know, you’re tempted to not believe me, but here’s an example:

A huge hurricane all 2009 style was hitting and flights were grounded everywhere. A woman had booked a vacay to an island right in the path and was INFURIATED we had cancelled her flight. As she was screaming at me that this was unprofessional because a ticket is a contract she suddenly got the idea that we should rebook her like other airlines do if a flight is cancelled. I tried to explain that all airlines weren’t flying because of the hurricane at which point she used some colorful language to demand a private plane. 

I couldn’t even respond at that point. 

It. Was. A. Hurricane.

Now before you get all worked up that I’m telling a story instead of teaching to cook, this has a purpose. 

A bowl of Italian wedding soup. A spoon is in the soup and it is packed with meatballs, carrots and spinach.

Before we could work we had to do a training for several weeks until midnight every night at the call center a good 45 minutes away. When we got there it was dinnertime, and if we were lucky a little cafe had an Italian wedding soup that was so good!

I’ve dreamed of it ever since, but it has taken me years to create the recipe and this is it! 100% exactly as I remember it. 

Ingredients for Italian Wedding Soup

We love to make our own meatballs for this recipe, but if you want to cut out that step, you can totally buy frozen chicken meatballs at the grocery store. If you buy your meatballs, skip to the ingredients list for just the soup.

Meatballs

  • Ground Turkey (or chicken)
  • Italian Sausage
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Fresh Parmesan
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Garlic
  • Egg
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper

For the Soup

  • Olive Oil
  • Yellow Onion
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Fresh Thyme
  • Chicken Broth
  • Acini di Pepe
  • Baby Spinach
  • Fresh Dill
  • Fresh Parmesan

All measurements for each ingredient can be found in the recipe card below.

A bowl of Italian Wedding soup with a spoon in it. The soup is packed with colorful vegetables and meatballs. The bright green spinach brightens up the soup.

How to Make Italian Wedding Soup

Again, if you’re buying meatballs pre-made, skip to the soup instructions. Let’s start with making the homemade meatballs:

For the Meatballs

  • Combine the meats, breadcrumbs, parmesan, Italian seasoning, garlic and egg in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Form into mini meatballs (about 1/2″ diameter).
    • PRO TIP: We use a very small cookie scoop. Don’t fill it full all the way. The smaller the better.
  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook the meatballs in batches until they are browned on the outside and they are cooked through.
  • Remove from the pot and set them aside.

Browning the meatballs adds so much flavor! Don’t skip this step!

For the Soup

  • Heat more oil and add the veggies and thyme. Then add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  • Add the pasta and meatballs and lower the temperature to a simmer. Cook long enough to cook the pasta.
  • Toss in the spinach and cook for about 1 minute.
  • Garnish servings with fresh dill, and more thyme and parmesan.
Detailed instructions can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.

What to Eat with Italian Wedding Soup

I can’t sit down with a bowl of soup unless there is some bread for dipping. Here are a few of my favorites:

If you’re not into dipping bread in soup, then we can’t be friends! Haha! Ok, jk…we can be friends, but I don’t understand you! Make a sweet quick bread to eat with it:

A bowl of Italian Wedding soup with a spoon in it. The soup is packed with meatballs and carrots and spinach.

How Long Will Italian Wedding Soup Keep?

Refrigerate in a container with a tight fitting lid for up to 5 days.

What is Acini di Pepe?

Acini di Pepe is a form of pasta that is very small.

What is a Substitute For Acini di Pepe Pasta?

If you can’t find acini di pepe, you can use another small shaped pasta such as orzo, pastina or small stars.

Can You Freeze Soups With Pasta in Them?

Soups containing pasta do not hold up very well in the freezer. Pasta tends to absorb the liquids and gets mushy when frozen.

You can freeze this soup without the pasta and then heat it up on the stove and add the pasta before serving.

 

One of my favorite things is trying to copycat a recipe that I’ve had somewhere and fallen in love with. I love to test and test different combinations and flavors until I get it just right. That’s how this Italian wedding soup came to be! It is so flavorful and easy!

Raised in the Kitchen - Carrian Cheney

64 days

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A bowl of Italian wedding soup. A spoon is in the soup and it is packed with meatballs, carrots and spinach.

Print

Italian Wedding Soup

.wprm-recipe-rating .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-full svg * { fill: #343434; }

Course 50 of the Best Easy Soup Recipes for Families
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 348kcal

Ingredients

Meatballs *See Note

  • 3/4 Pound Turkey ground, or chicken
  • 1/2 Pound Italian sausage casings removed
  • 1/2 Cup Bread Crumbs White
  • 1/3 Cup Parmesan freshly grated
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 3 Cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 Egg large
  • Kosher salt
  • Black Pepper freshly ground

For the Soup

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil extra-virgin, divided
  • 1 Cup Yellow Onion chopped
  • 2 Carrots medium, peeled and chopped
  • 3/4 Cup Celery chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Thyme freshly chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 8 Cups Chicken Broth low sodium
  • 1 Cup acini di pepe
  • 4 Cups Baby Spinach
  • 1 teaspoon Dill freshly chopped, for garnish
  • 1/3 Cup Parmesan freshly grated, for serving

Instructions

For the meatballs

  • In a large bowl, stir ground meats, bread crumbs, Parmesan, seasoning, garlic, and egg until combined. Season with salt, pepper. Form into meatballs approximately 1/2″ in diameter.
  • In a large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Cook meatballs in batches, until outsides are golden and insides are cooked through. Remove from pot with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate.

For the soup

  • Heat remaining oil and then add onion, carrots, celery, and thyme. Cook until fragrant about, 3 to 4 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a rapid boil. Add pasta and meatballs and lower to a simmer. Simmer until the pasta is cooked, 5 to 7 minutes. Add in the spinach and cook, stirring occasionally until wilted, about 1 minute more.
  • Garnish each bowl with dill, thyme and more Parmesan.

Notes

Note: you can buy chicken meatballs in the freezer section at some stores.

This soup will keep for 3-5 days in the refrigerator.

 

INSTANT POT: Brown the meatballs in batches in saute mode then cook them all on high for 3-5 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients except the pasta and spinach cook on high for 3 more minutes. Remove lid and add pasta and cook a final 3 min , stir in spinach and allow to sit for up to five minutes before serving to wilt the spinach.

SLOW COOKER: Cook the meatballs on the stove top as stated in the instruction. Add all the ingredients (except the pasta and spinach) to a crockpot on low for 5 hours or high for 2-3 hours. Add the pasta for the last hour and the spinach for the last 10 minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 348kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 1323mg | Potassium: 544mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 4139IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 175mg | Iron: 3mg

A bowl of Italian wedding soup. A spoon is in the soup and it is packed with meatballs, carrots and spinach.

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READ: Italian Wedding Soup

Originally posted at Oh Sweet Basil

Parmesan Meatball Soup

Parmesan Meatball Soup

The weather may be getting colder, but you can warm up inside with this delicious Parmesan Meatball Soup. It is packed with flavor and served in a toasty bread bowl. So yummy!

Claire had her first soup in a bread bowl at California Adventure last year, and she has been obsessed ever since, as she should be! Hello, a bowl made of bread?! Carb heaven!

I had originally made meatballs for spaghetti, but when I told her I was going to go snag some bread at the store she asked if I would buy bread bowls. Instead of ditching dinner, I ditched my original plans and legit made soup out of meatballs, and it was bomb diggity delicious!

A bread bowl filled with parmesan meatball soup. The bread bowl and soup have been baked to a perfect toasty brown and the cheese on top is gooey melted perfection.

Everything and anything that involves meatballs are always, always something I can get on board with! They are just dang good! We have our sweet and sour meatballs that are amazing. Then there is our porcupine meatballs that are a staple in our house. And don’t miss our chili sauce and grape jelly meatballs that should be at every party you ever have. Now you have meatballs in a soup!

Ingredients Needed for Parmesan Meatball Soup

Before you decide to make this soup, you need to decided if you are going to make meatballs from scratch or if you are going to buy them pre-made. If you are going to make the meatballs yourself, you need the following ingredients:

Meatballs

  • Bread Crumbs
  • Milk
  • Ground Beef
  • Italian Sausage (mild)
  • Egg
  • Yellow Onion
  • Garlic
  • Parmesan (fresh)
  • Italian Parsley (fresh)
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Basil (dried)
  • Oregano (dried)
  • Crush Red Pepper Flakes
  • Kosher Salt
  • Pepper

Those meatballs are going to be your new best friend! They are totally divine! Now for the soup…here is what you will need:

Soup

  • Olive Oil
  • Yellow Onion
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Tomato Paste
  • Crushed Tomatoes
  • Beef Broth
  • Milk
  • Mozzarella
  • Parmesan (fresh)
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Lemon
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Parsley
  • Bread Bowls

The exact measurements for all the ingredients can be found in the recipe card below.

A baking sheet with three bread bowls filled with parmesan meatball soup. They have been baked to a golden brown and the cheese on top is melted to perfection. They are sprinkled with fresh parsley.

How to Make Parmesan Meatball Soup

I’m going to break up the instructions into two parts – making meatballs and making soup. If you are buying your meatballs, jump straight to the making soup section.

Making Meatballs

  1. Combine the bread crumbs and milk in a bowl.
  2. Add all the meatball ingredients into a large bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Don’t over-mix!
  3. Roll into meatballs that are about 1″ in diameter and place them on a baking sheet lined with foil.
    • PRO TIP: I like to use my smallest cookie scoop to keep a uniform meatball size.
  4. Bake until browned and cooked all the way through. Remove from oven.

Making Soup

  1. Add the veggies to a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook them until they are soft and golden. Toss in the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the tomato paste and seasonings and stir to combine.
  2. Add the tomatoes, beef broth, and milk and stir everything together.
  3. Gently add the meatballs and bring everything to a simmer.
  4. Add half of the mozzarella and all of the Parmesan. Season with the salt and pepper. Squeeze in a lemon and stir.
  5. Fire up the broiler.
  6. Fill your bread bowls with the soup and top with the rest of the mozzarella. Broil them until the cheese is melted and starting to brown.
  7. Serve with some fresh parsley and dig in!
A bread bowl filled with parmesan meatball soup. A spoon is in the soup and cheese is melted on top.

How Long will Meatball Soup Keep?

This soup should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will be good for 3-4 days.

Can Soup Be Frozen?

Freeze in an airtight container or heavy duty freezer bag for up to 6 months.

Can I Use Frozen Meatballs?

Yes! You absolutely do not have to make your own meatballs. To use frozen meatballs you’ll probably want to cut them in half otherwise they are a bit too large. Sometimes I even quarter them because they are easier for little ones to eat. 

  • Use 1 pound frozen meatballs instead of making your own.

Three toasted bread bowls filled with meatball parmesan soup. there is melted cheese sprinkled with fresh parsley on top.

Can I Substitute the Ground Beef?

Why yes you can! You can use ground chicken, ground turkey or a meatloaf blend.

What Can You Substitute For Italian Sausage?

You could possibly use breakfast sausage and add 1 teaspoon fennel seeds and 1 teaspoon basil per pound of sausage. You could also use ground pork.

Or you can double the ground beef and totally skip the Italian Sausage. 

Can You Make Meatballs Ahead and Freeze Them?

You can make meatballs and freeze them to use later, in fact I almost always double the meatballs and freeze half for next time.

  1. Place the meatballs in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze for 1-2 hours.

  2. Transfer frozen meatballs to a heavy duty freezer bag and freeze for 3-4 months.

 

So what is the lesson we learn from this recipe? First, meatballs are always a YES! Second, get creative with dinner! You might have something planned and then something else comes up. Instead of ditching your plans and heading to the drive-thru, be flexible and innovative! It’s parmesan meatball soup for dinner tonight!

 

More SOUP RECIPES You’ll Love:

Raised in the Kitchen - Carrian Cheney

72 days

Our new book is live for preorders!

From food prep to clean-up, this unique cookbook guides the way through every step, including meal lists and easy-to-follow recipes, and features dollops of heartwarming family stories, insights, and kid-friendly food activities to keep young chefs focused on fun in the kitchen.

Pre-order now

A bread bowl filled with parmesan meatball soup. The bread bowl and soup have been baked to a perfect toasty brown and the cheese on top is gooey melted perfection.

Print

Parmesan Meatball Soup

.wprm-recipe-rating .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-full svg * { fill: #343434; }

Course 50 of the Best Easy Soup Recipes for Families
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 877kcal

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • Frozen Meatballs Halved if you aren’t going to make them yourself
  • 1 Cup Fresh Bread Crumbs see note
  • 1/3 Cup Milk
  • 1/2 Pound Ground Beef
  • 1/2 Pound  Italian sausage mild
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1/4 Yellow Onion grated
  • 2 Cloves Garlic minced
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Parmesan Grated
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Italian parsley chopped or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Dried Basil
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Dried Oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon Crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 Pinch Black Pepper freshly ground

Soup

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup Onion yellow, diced
  • 1 Carrot peeled, finely diced
  • 1 Stalk Celery finely diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic large, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato paste
  • 1 Can Crushed Tomatoes 28 oz.
  • 3 Cups Beef Broth low sodium
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 3 Cups Mozzarella shredded
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan freshly grated
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 Squeeze Lemon
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper freshly ground
  • Parsley freshly chopped, for garnish
  • 4 Bread bowls

Instructions

For the Meatballs

  • Dump the bread crumbs and milk into a bowl and stir until softened. Set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350º and line two baking sheets with foil. In a large bowl, combine all meatball ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Do not over-mix.
  • Roll into meatballs, about 1/2-1” in diameter and transfer to one prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake until browned and cooked through, 15 minutes, remove from the oven. 
  •  In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onion, carrots and celery to the pot and cook until soft and golden, 6 minutes.  Quickly add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add tomato paste and seasonings and stir until combined, then add tomatoes, beef broth, and milk and stir until everything is mixed together.
  • Add the meatballs to the pot by gently lowering in with a spoon and bring to a simmer, then add half the mozzarella and all of the Parmesan. Season with salt, and pepper then squeeze in a little lemon and stir again.
  • Heat the broiler
  • Ladle soup into four bread bowls and top with remaining mozzarella and broil until browned and bubbly, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve hot with a dash of fresh parsley.

Notes

  • To make bread crumbs, place bread in a food processor or blender and pulse until it is bread crumbs.

Left overs should be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

 

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 877kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 50g | Fat: 62g | Saturated Fat: 26g | Cholesterol: 164mg | Sodium: 2196mg | Potassium: 1112mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 4016IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 772mg | Iron: 5mg

A bread bowl filled with parmesan meatball soup. The bread bowl and soup have been baked to a perfect toasty brown and the cheese on top is gooey melted perfection.

REMEMBER TO SUBSCRIBE TO our FREE Oh Sweet Basil NEWSLETTER AND RECEIVE EASY RECIPES DELIVERED INTO YOUR INBOX EVERY DAY!

When you try a recipe, please use the hashtag #ohsweetbasil on INSTAGRAM for a chance to be featured in our stories!  FOLLOW OH, SWEET BASIL ON FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | TWITTER FOR ALL OF OUR LATEST CONTENT, RECIPES AND STORIES.

READ: Parmesan Meatball Soup

Originally posted at Oh Sweet Basil