Italian Wedding Soup

Published January 30, 2017. Updated April 16, 2019

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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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4.95 from 254 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




  • 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


  • 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.


  • *I recommend using bread such as a La Brea french loaf. Just grind up a slice in a food processor to fine 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.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.

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  • Starr Wallace

    Followed recipe and it turned out amazing! Definite keeper! Thanks for the recipe!

  • Tiffany

    I made this with a few modifications.

    1. I doubled the meatballs. Mostly because when I buy ground meat, it comes in 1 lb packages, and I didn’t have a pot big enough to make a full double batch of the soup.

    2. I used Italian bread crumbs. 1/2 cup for 2 lbs of meat.

    3. I browned the meatballs in the same pot I ended up cooking the soup in. That way, the vegetables deglazed the flavor from the meatballs from the bottom of the pot.

    4. I’ve made this 3 times so far. The last time I made this, I used chicken stock instead of broth (because that’s what was in the pantry). It came out SO much tastier than before. Definitely recommend stock.

    5. I cook the pasta separately, in chicken stock, and then dump it into the soup. That way the soup retains the brothiness.

    All in all, this has become a family favorite, and will be a regular on our dinner menu.

  • Greg

    I used the package of 12 fresh Aldi Italian meatballs and quartered them and re-formed them. Placed on a sheet pan and roasted in the oven @ 350F for 20 minutes (stirring mid-way) while prepping and sauteing the vegetables. I used one cup of GF pasta to approximately 8 cups stock/water. All other ingredients and steps as outlined. Turned out delicious! Definite keeper.

  • Sha

    My sister makes this soup, and I love it. I have to avoid gluten, so can rice be used instead of pasta?

  • Kara M.

    Soup came out tasty, but my only suggestion would be to cut the pasta down to almost 1/4 a cup. I only used about a 1/2 cup and it was an obnoxious amount of pasta, barely any broth. Otherwise, the soup came out great!

    • Denise

      Cook the Pasta separately and then add it to your soup. So it does not absorb all of your broth in the soup.

    • Denise

      And after I have cooked my pasta in the water, I drain the water and count it towards the chicken broth…I use bouillon paste!!

  • Janie

    Delicious soup!!! The meatballs are wonderful!!! My husband kept getting extra meatballs (lots of extras) with his soup. I’m going to use this meatball recipe next time I’m making Italian meatball sandwiches. Thanks for another terrific recipe!!!

  • Shaun

    I’m a chef so I know better, but I have an issue with recipes that use no salt, half the reason home cooks food have no flavor and they don’t like it, is for that exact reason. As people that write recipes we need to give the home cook a baseline salt level. Maybe not a ton but enough to bring out the flavors within the dish.