Italian Wedding Soup

January 30, 2017

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Best Italian Wedding Soup! I used to be intimidated to make Italian Wedding Soup. I have no Italian lineage and my mom never made it growing up, so for whatever reason it seemed easy to mess up.

But I’m here to tell you it is so easy to make and following this simple recipe people may likely think it was passed down from an Italian Grandmother.

Closeup overhead image of Italian Wedding Soup in a large white bowl.

Tips for the Best Italian Wedding Soup

This is my idea of the best Italian Wedding Soup! What makes it the best you’re likely asking? It’s a number of things so here we go:

  • Searing the meatballs is a game changer in my opinion. Why just simmer them in broth them when you can brown them first add add all that flavor?
  • Make the meatballs small. This is soup, not a big bowl of pasta.
  • Use fresh herbs. They really add great flavor.
  • Stick with the combination of the two meats.
  • Use fresh bread crumbs. Again we’re building better flavor. The texture of dry would throw this recipe off anyway.
  • Don’t be skimpy with the garlic. This is an Italian soup. I like to use 4 cloves here.
  • Bring on the parm! The shredded parmesan will really compliment the soup nicely. It may not be pictured as a finishing garnish, but don’t leave it off!
  • Stick with tiny pasta, I love how it sets this soup apart.

 

Two white bowls filled wit Italian Wedding Soup set over a gray surface.

Want to see how easy this Italian Wedding Soup recipe is? Watch the video!

What Pasta to Use for Italian Wedding Soup?

I like this best with acini de pepe. Acini de pepe are just those tiny little round pasta that can usually be found by the other pastas at the grocery store. If you can’t find them orzo will work here as well.

Italian Wedding Soup in a large white enameled pot. Soup includes meatballs, bits of pasta, carrots, celery, spinach and broth.

Can I Substitute Other Greens Here?

I prefer the flavor of the spinach best here but kale, endive or escarole are other greens commonly used in Italian Wedding Soup and they would work fine in this recipe.

If using one of those previously listed I’d recommend adding them along with the pasta as they’ll need a longer cook time. The spinach cooks almost instantly whereas those others wont.

This soup might require a little more prep than some of your average soups (such as grinding up fresh bread crumbs and shaping and browning the tiny meatballs) but the extra steps and extra pan are so worth it in the end. Hope you love it too!

Italian Wedding Soup. Two servings shown in a white bowl with a white pot half full in the background.

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4.99 from 116 votes

Italian Wedding Soup

The BEST Italian Wedding Soup! Filled with homemade browned meatballs, fresh veggies and tiny bits of pasta. Total comfort food any day of the year!
Servings: 6
Prep25 minutes
Cook25 minutes
Ready in: 50 minutes

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 8 oz lean ground beef
  • 8 oz ground pork
  • 1/2 cup fresh hearty white bread crumbs*
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced fresh oregano
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan
  • 1 large egg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Soup

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups 1/4-inch diced carrots
  • 1 1/4 cups diced yellow onion
  • 3/4 cup 1/4-inch diced celery
  • 4 cloves garlic , minced (1 1/2 Tbsp)
  • 5 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry acini de pepe or orzo pasta**
  • 6 oz fresh spinach , chopped
  • Finely shredded parmesan , for serving

Instructions

  • For the meatballs:
  • Add beef and pork to a large mixing bowl. Add in bread crumbs, parsley, oregano, parmesan, egg, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
  • Gently toss and break up mixture with hands to evenly coat and distribute. Shape mixture into very small meatballs, about 3/4 inch to 1 inch and transfer to a large plate.
  • Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the meatballs and cook until browned, turning occasionally (to brown on 2 or 3 sides), about 4 minutes total.
  • Transfer meatballs to a plate lined with paper towels while leaving oil in skillet. Repeat process with remaining meatballs (note that meatballs won't be cooked through at this point, they'll continue to cook through in the soup).
  • For the soup:
  • While meatballs are browning, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add carrots, onions and celery and saute until veggies have softened about 6 - 8 minutes, add garlic and saute 1 minute longer.
  • Pour in chicken broth, season soup with salt and pepper to taste and bring mixture to a boil. Add in pasta and meatballs, reduce heat to light boil (about medium or medium-low).
  • Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until pasta is tender and meatballs have cooked through, about 10 minutes, while adding in spinach during the last minute of cooking. Serve warm, sprinkle each serving with parmesan cheese.

Notes

  • *I recommend using bread such as a La Brea french loaf. Just grind up a slice in a food processor to find crumbs. Save the remaining bread for serving (slathered with butter of course) or freeze for another later use.
  • **If you like a more brothier soup you can reduce pasta to 3/4 cup. Note that as the soup sits the pasta will absorb more broth so you can add more broth to thin the soup as desired.
Nutrition Facts
Italian Wedding Soup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 396 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Fat 20g31%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 85mg28%
Sodium 362mg16%
Potassium 911mg26%
Carbohydrates 25g8%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 29g58%
Vitamin A 7490IU150%
Vitamin C 16.6mg20%
Calcium 190mg19%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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258 Comments

  • LM

    Solid bas recipe. To make more like my Nonna’s version, I subbed pecorino- Romano (what my Nonna used) vs. parm, skipped carrots (too sweet), and boiled chicken in the broth then shredded. Yummy. Will make again.

  • Crystal Kelso

    Thanks for this recipe it’s amazing! I made this today, it was delicious 😋 I used orzo pasta & I also used extra veggies vs. the amount called for in the recipe & I added beef stock also. It was amazing! Lunch was delicious today! Thanks!!!

  • Lyn Hunt

    Really yummy!! Whole family loved it!! Had buttered Hawaiian bread on the side. I used bone broth for a super rich flavor. Thanks so much for a delicious dinner.

  • Countryboyontario68

    After trying Italian Wedding soup for the first time (from a can), it didn’t take me long to start Googling recipes
    A road trip to the grocery store in the morning is now on my agenda to grab the Ingredients
    I know what my daughter and I will be having for supper tomorrow night
    Thanks for the recipe

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Yes but I would cook pasta separately (reduce broth in soup slightly), toss with olive oil after draining and freeze separately.

  • Amanda

    Great recipe! I followed it exactly, except used my own meatball recipe (which is very similar to the one written here). The soup was wonderful!

    I will say though, that I reheated some today and it definitely needs more chicken broth added to it, since the pasta soaked up most of the broth in the fridge overnight (as the recipe stated it would). So make sure you have extra broth on hand for this, if you added the whole cup of pasta to the soup when you made it.

  • Rod Bobke

    I made this today and it was incredible

    I used ground turkey, but deep fried the meatballs and then added to the broth

    Outstanding!!!

    I also used fresh grated Parmesan and olive oil on 1/2 inch slices of baguettes and served with the soup

    This was 5 star all the way

  • Carrie

    The meatballs make this! I am making another batch of meatballs just for spaghetti or other Italian dish. This delicious soup is easy and looks just like the video. Instead of browning the meatballs in a separate pan, I browned them in the soup pot, took them out and then sautéed the vegetables in the meatball juices.