Italian Sausage Soup

November 18, 2020

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Italian Sausage Soup – it’s a perfectly seasoned, richly flavored soup that’s made with Italian seasoned pork sausage, filling orzo pasta, lots of tender fresh vegetables and plenty of herbs and garlic to season. In other words you’ll get plenty of rich and meaty, herbaceous flavor in every spoonful!

Make it super cozy and pair it with homemade breadsticks!

Italian sausage soup shown in a large white pot.

Flavorful Sausage Soup

Who knows how many soup recipes are already here on Cooking Classy but that list will never end.

Soups just warm the soul. Especially as it gets colder and colder out and as the days seem to grow shorter with a lack of the glowing suns rays, even by dinnertime (anyone else already wanting to be in bed by 7 these days?).

This soup is a combination of a few of my favorites, while the leading ingredient is Italian sausage. It brings so much flavor to this simple soup and doesn’t require hours of simmering to build up flavor.

It’s an easy soup that’s perfect for a busy day. And there are a lot of ways to adapt the recipe and use up what you’ve got on hand. I’ll share all plenty of ideas below.

Or of course make it exactly as is and you’ll have a perfectly enjoyable and simply satisfying sausage soup!

Ladle full of sausage soup.

Italian Sausage Soup Recipe Ingredients and Substitutes

  • Olive oil: Another neutral flavored oil like avocado oil or even vegetable oil will work.
  • Italian sausage: Plain pork sausage could be substituted then just up the Italian seasoning to 2 1/2 tsp and add 3/4 tsp fennel seeds if you have them.
  • Yellow onion: A red onion will work if that’s what you have.
  • Carrots: Preferably don’t omit the carrots. If you are up for experimenting you can try parsnips.
  • Celery: Another ingredient not to omit. It really builds up the overall background flavor of the soup.
  • Bell pepper: I use red bell pepper (it’s the ripest and sweetest) but any color will work.
  • Garlic: If you don’t have fresh garlic you could use 1 1/2 tsp dried granulated, just keep in mind it never tastes as fresh (of course).
  • Chicken broth: I recommend using low-sodium so you have more control over the salt. Vegetable broth or beef broth could be substituted
  • Tomato sauce: In some countries also known as passata. Crushed tomatoes would also work here too.
  • Canned diced tomatoes: If needed fresh tomatoes could work here as well if that’s what you have. Use 3 diced Roma tomatoes.
  • Italian seasoning: You could also just use 1/2 tsp dried basil 1/2 tsp dried oregano and 1/2 tsp dried rosemary or marjarom.
  • Dry orzo pasta: See variation notes below on substitutes.
  • Fresh basil and parsley: Preferably stick with fresh herbs if possible. You don’t absolutely have to use both, you could use one or the other.
  • Salt and pepper: Season to taste.

Scroll down for full recipe with print option.

Image of ingredients used to make Italian sausage and orzo soup. Includes mild Italian sausage, orzo, carrots, celery, basil, parsley, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, yellow onion, bell pepper, olive oil and garlic.

How to Make Italian Sausage Soup

  1. Heat oil in pot: Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Break sausage into chunks into pot.
  2. Brown sausage, transfer: Let brown on bottom about 3 minutes, then turn and break up sausage and cook until no longer pink. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate, leave rendered fat in pot over medium-high heat.
  3. Reserve fat: You should have about 1 Tbsp fat in pot, if needed add a little more olive oil or drain off excess fat if there’s too much.
  4. Saute vegetables: Add onions, carrots, celery and bell pepper and saute until starting to soften, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute longer.
  5. Add liquids and season: Pour in broth, tomato sauce, tomatoes, and add Italian seasoning. Return sausage to pot and season mixture with salt and pepper to taste (you shouldn’t need much salt).
  6. Simmer: Bring to a simmer then cover, reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer 5 – 10 minutes until veggies are almost soft.
  7. Cook orzo in soup: Add orzo. Cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally (and scraping along bottom of pot as orzo will tend to stick). Cook until nearly al dente. About 8 minutes.
  8. Cool with ice if desired, add fresh herbs: Remove from heat. Stir in some ice (about 1/2 cup) if you want to help stop the orzo from cooking and getting mushy. Stir in fresh parsley and basil.
  9. Serve: Serve warm, topping servings with grated parmesan if desired.

Collage of six images showing steps to making Italian sausage soup. Includes browning sausage, sauteing veggies and adding broth and seasoning. Collage of four images of continued steps to make Italian sausage soup. Shows simmering with lid on, adding orzo, adding herbs and finished soup.

Can this soup be frozen?

  • Yes this soup will freeze well. If you don’t like soggy pasta then cook and freeze separately (toss with olive oil).
  • Freeze up to 3 months.

Can I use another type of meat?

Yes you could use another type of ground meat in place of sausage. You could use plain pork sausage as noted above, Italian turkey sausage or ground beef.

Overhead image of Italian sausage soup in a pot.

Variatons

  • Add other vegetables such as zucchini, kale or spinach.
  • Try it with another pasta such as ditalini, elbow, or acini de pepe.
  • Or replace pasta with cheese tortellini.
  • Substitute diced cauliflower in place of the orzo to cut some of the carbs.
  • Season with other fresh herbs in place of dried Italian seasoning. Rosemary and oregano are other great options, add to taste.
  • Make it spicy by using hot Italian sausage or adding red pepper flakes to taste.
  • If you want it a little more stew-like use 1 cup orzo.

Tips

  • Break sausage into pieces in pot giving space between so they have a chance to brown on bottom rather than steam, and only toss occasionally.
  • Careful not to over-cook pasta. I even cook shy of al dente because it will continue to cook off heat since the soup is so hot.
  • If you plan on leftovers you can cook pasta separately and store separately (toss with a little olive oil) so pasta doesn’t get mushy.
  • For extra flavor try it with homemade chicken stock.

Two servings of sausage soup shown in bowls.

More Tasty Similar Soups to Try

Italian Sausage Soup
5 from 12 votes

Italian Sausage Soup

It's a perfectly seasoned, richly flavored soup that's made with Italian seasoned pork sausage, filling orzo pasta, lots of tender fresh vegetables and plenty of herbs and garlic to season. In other words you'll get plenty of rich and meaty, herbaceous flavor in every spoonful!
Servings: 6
Prep15 minutes
Cook35 minutes
Ready in: 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage (mild or hot as preferred)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (1 medium)
  • 1 cup diced carrots (2 medium)
  • 3/4 cup sliced celery (2 ribs)
  • 3/4 cup diced bell pepper (1 small)
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, then more as desired to thin
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 3/4 cup dry orzo pasta
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Break sausage into chunks into pot.
  • Let brown on bottom about 3 minutes, then turn and break up sausage and cook until no longer pink. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate, leave rendered fat in pot over medium-high heat.
  • You should have about 1 Tbsp fat in pot, if needed add a little more olive oil or drain off some excess fat if there's too much.
  • Add onions, carrots, celery and bell pepper and saute until starting to soften, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute longer.
  • Pour in broth, tomato sauce, tomatoes, and add Italian seasoning. Return sausage to pot and season mixture with salt and pepper to taste (you shouldn't need much salt).
  • Bring to a simmer then cover, reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer 5 - 10 minutes until veggies are almost soft.
  • Add orzo. Cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally (while scraping along bottom of pot as orzo will tend to stick). Cook until nearly al dente. About 8 minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Stir in some ice (1/2 cup or so) if you want to help stop the orzo from cooking and getting mushy. Stir in fresh parsley and basil.
  • Serve warm, topping servings with grated parmesan if desired.

Notes

  • If you need to cut some sodium in the recipe use unsalted chicken stock.
  • Makes about 10 cups.

Variatons

  • Soup could also be made with Italian turkey sausage instead of pork sausage.
  • Add other vegetables such as zucchini, kale or spinach.
  • Try it with another pasta such as ditalini, elbow, or acini de pepe.
  • Or replace pasta with cheese tortellini.
  • Substitute diced cauliflower in place of the orzo to cut some of the carbs.
  • Season with other fresh herbs in place of dried Italian seasoning. Rosemary and oregano are other great options, add to taste.
  • Make it spicy by using hot Italian sausage or adding red pepper flakes to taste.
Nutrition Facts
Italian Sausage Soup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 462 Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Fat 27g42%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 57mg19%
Sodium 1408mg61%
Potassium 1206mg34%
Carbohydrates 37g12%
Fiber 7g29%
Sugar 13g14%
Protein 19g38%
Vitamin A 8769IU175%
Vitamin C 69mg84%
Calcium 119mg12%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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34 Comments

  • Reggie

    I extremely love this recipe! I truly enjoyed cooking it, simple & very tasty. My husband loves it too. Thank you

  • Peggy

    I made this for dinner last night and it was excellent. It was very flavorful. I used mild Italian sausage, but there was still a ‘zing’ to the flavor. It’s a good soup for cold winter days. Thanks for sharing!

  • Debbie

    Wonderful, flavorful, and easy to prepare soup. Since I am retired and live alone, I have been looking for couple soups to make without running to the store for ingredients. I wanted a soup where ingredients, spices and meat were already in cupboards or freezer.

    I have found my recipe. With Jaclyn suggestions for alternative ingredients, including various meats, spices, pasta, and vegetables, this soup will be a go to for me.

    I do wonder if instead of pasta, brown rice or Navy/Cannellini beans could be substituted. For the meats, small chicken bites or chicken flavored sausages.

    Anyway thanks Jaclyn for a great tasting and easy prepared soup. It’s also quite a hardy soup and fills you up, but yet wanting more. Too me that’s a sign of good food — always wanting more.

    I have been receiving your emails for quite some time but living alone and not wanting to waste food, you must plan in advance to try different recipes. From now on, I will definitely search your site first.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Thanks for your kind words Debbie! I’m so glad you like this adaptable recipe, and I hope you find many more recipes here you love!

  • Lisa

    Another recipe of yours that hits it out of the park and it is going to become a staple. I’ve made it a couple times now, and my family loves it. I’ve made it with bow tie pasta and spiral pasta and one time I just threw in some leftover chicken broth that was not as much as you recommend and it came out like a goulash and not a soup — and my family still loved it. My son, who usually hates onions, even ate it and loved it and didn’t complain about the onions because there are so many other flavors! I love your site — I love everything I have made so far and I love how you explain things. You are really getting me to enjoy cooking!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Thanks so much for your kindness and taking time to send feedback Lisa! I’m excited to hear my recipes have helped you to enjoy cooking :)! I hope you find many more recipes you enjoy here!

  • M

    Another easy excellent recipe from cookingclassy. Thanks to COVID-19 I have become a super fan of yours. Easy to make and a perfect soup for a cool rainy December night.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Thanks for the great feedback! I love to know you’ve been enjoying my recipes :)!

  • Julie

    Question: After working 10 hour days, I like to come home to something good smelling in the crockpot. Do you have any suggestions for modifying this recipe for the crockpot? I was thinking to brown the meat, add it to the crockpot, brown the veggies, add it and all the other ingredients but the orzo? I’d add orzo as soon as I got home to simmer for about 30 mins? This soup sounds delicious!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I would brown the sausage skip sautéing the veggies with a lengthy cook time they’ll get super soft. Then like you say wait until the last 30 to add orzo.

  • Rachel

    I made this on Sunday for my lunches during the work week – I really liked it! Hearty and filling. My 2 year old son loved it also. :)

  • Kris

    This soup is fantastic! I made it twice in two days. I used mild sausage for my parents and hot sausage for my friend. I love how easy AND inexpensive it was to make. Homemade crusty bread is a must with it.