Our Italian wedding soup recipe marries homemade meatballs with a rich and savory broth. This soup is so good, I have a hard time only eating one serving! Jump to the Homemade Italian Wedding Soup Recipe
I Love This Italian Wedding Soup
Our version of Italian wedding soup is inspired by the Italian-American take, which consists of a brothy soup studded by small pasta, mini meatballs and something green like spinach. (For a more detailed view of what this soup might look like in Italy, see this article.)
After a bit of research, it seems that Italian wedding soup is not actually served at weddings and instead is named for the blending or marrying of ingredients when making the soup. (That said, I’d happily eat a bowl of this at the next wedding I attend.)
Our recipe may not be authentic, but I promise you, it’s absolutely delicious. It’s so tasty that the last time we made it ourselves, we loved it so much that we decided to make it again for dinner the next evening.
How we make Italian wedding soup
We make this soup from scratch and think you should, too. It’s not that difficult and takes less time than you might think. Let me walk you through the (easy) process. The full recipe is found below.
For the meatballs, you need ground meat (more on that below), breadcrumbs, milk, an egg, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and a little oregano. Tips for making these dairy-free are in the notes section of the recipe.
The type of ground meat you use is up to you. Ground beef, pork, turkey and chicken all work well. You can use one or combine two types of meat for a more complex and tasty meatball.
When we make this recipe at home, we love to combine ground pork and ground turkey. The pork makes the meatballs ultra juicy and rich and the turkey keeps them light. I absolutely love the combination!
The soup base is very simple. You will need a good quality stock (bought or homemade), onion, carrot, celery, garlic and a bay leaf. Rounding out the soup is a green like spinach, kale or escarole and some pasta — any small shape works, although if you can find it Ancini di Pepe is what we like to use.
The steps for making the soup are straight-forward. Cook your meatballs, cook the veggies, add stock, simmer, and then finish with pasta and greens. You can watch the entire process in our video and the recipe below walks you through every single step.
Before I leave you, I want to share my biggest tip for the best Italian wedding soup: brown your meatballs. Browning the meatballs in the pot you plan on using adds so much flavor to the soup.
You could roast the meatballs in the oven or just drop them right into the soup while it simmers, but both of these options miss the opportunity of adding flavor to the broth.
By browning the meatballs in the pan used to make the soup, you are able to scrape up any brown stuck bits at the bottom of the pan and stir them into the broth. This adds flavor and keeps dishes to a minimum.
Watch our video and look for all the browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot after browning the meatballs. There’s lots of flavor there. You don’t want to miss that.
More homemade soups
Ultra-Satisfying Italian Wedding Soup
Our Italian wedding soup recipe marries homemade meatballs with a rich and savory broth. The type of ground meat you use is up to you. Ground beef, pork, turkey and chicken all work well. You can use one or combine two types of meat for a more complex and tasty meatball. When we make this recipe, we love to combine ground pork and ground turkey. The pork makes the meatballs ultra juicy and rich and the turkey keeps them light. I absolutely love the combination!
Makes 6 servings
Watch Us Make the Recipe
You Will Need
For the Soup
2 tablespoons neutral oil like grape seed or vegetable oil
1/2 medium-large onion, chopped (140 grams)
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced (140 grams)
2 celery ribs, finely diced (140 grams)
2 garlic cloves, minced (2 teaspoons)
1 bay leaf
8 cups chicken stock, here’s our recipe for homemade stock
1/2 cup (4 ounces) small pasta like Ancini di Pepe, orzo or pearl couscous
4 cups (4 ounces) baby spinach, substitute kale or escarole
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Handful fresh dill, optional
For the Meatballs
1/2 cup (35 grams) bread crumbs, we prefer panko or homemade bread crumbs)
1/2 cup milk, dairy or non-dairy
1 large egg
1/4 cup (1/2 ounce) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 pound ground beef, pork, chicken, turkey or a combination; we prefer a 50-50 blend of pork and turkey
- Prepare the Meatballs
- Make the Soup
Stir breadcrumbs and milk in a large bowl, and then let sit for 5 minutes. Add the egg, cheese, oregano, salt and the pepper. Stir until well blended.
Add the ground meat and use a fork or your fingers to gently mix everything until combined. For the most tender meatballs, try your best not to over mix.
Wet your hands, and then form the mixture into ½-inch balls (about 2 teaspoons). You should get about 35 meatballs. A small cookie scoop is useful, here (see our video).
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in the bottom of a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Place the meatballs down into the hot oil and cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Depending on the shape or size of the pot, this might need to be done in two batches. Transfer the browned meatballs to a plate.
Check the bottom of the pot used to brown the meatballs. If there is a lot of oil/fat left, remove most of it. Place the pot back over medium heat, and then add the onions, carrots, and celery to the pot and cook, stirring every few minutes until the vegetables begin to soften; 5 to 6 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and bay leaf. Cook, while stirring the garlic around the pan, about 1 minute.
Pour in the stock and bring to a low simmer. Use a spoon to scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Taste the soup then adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Depending on the stock used, you might need to add 1/2 or more teaspoons of salt.
Simmer the soup for 20 minutes then add the pasta and browned meatballs. Simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the pasta is cooked. Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes.
Adam and Joanne’s Tips
- Dairy-free meatballs: Substitute the milk for unsweetened dairy-free milk and the cheese for 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast.
- Gluten-free meatballs: Substitute the bread crumbs for crushed gluten-free cereal or crackers
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values. We included 8 ounces of turkey and 8 ounces of pork for the meatballs.
Nutrition Per Serving: Serving Size 1 of 6 servings / Calories 372 / Total Fat 16g / Saturated Fat 5.5g / Choletserol 90mg / Sodium 625.3mg / Carbohydrate 31.2g / Dietary Fiber 3g / Total Sugars 4.5g / Protein 27.3g