Traditional Italian Wedding Soup Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Traditional Italian Wedding Soup

Total Time
Prep: 30 min. Cook: 40 min.
This recipe for Italian wedding soup results in a truly flavorful, satisfying dish.

Updated: Jul. 16, 2024

A traditional Southern Italian soup that combines meat and vegetables, Italian wedding soup is a savory, comforting dish. Homemade meatballs, rotisserie chicken, greens and pasta are simmered in a rich, well-seasoned broth and topped with Parmesan cheese for a weeknight meal that tastes truly decadent. Keep reading for how to make this ever-popular soup.

Ingredients for Italian Wedding Soup

  • Eggs: Eggs help bind the ingredients in meatballs, which gives the meatballs their shape.
  • Dry bread crumbs: Using panko breadcrumbs will make the meatballs lighter and more tender.
  • Fresh parsley: If you don’t have fresh parsley on hand, substitute for a tablespoon or so of dried Italian seasoning.
  • Parmesan cheese: Be sure to use grated Parmesan, as it distributes more evenly than shredded Parmesan.
  • Raisins: While optional, raisins add a dash of earthy sweetness to the meatballs.
  • Garlic: Take the time to mince your garlic so it cooks up well inside the meatballs (and in a pinch, garlic powder will do).
  • Crushed red pepper flakes: Feel free to double the amount of crushed red pepper flakes if you want more of a kick.
  • Ground beef: Lean ground turkey makes tasty meatballs if you’d prefer.
  • Spicy pork sausage: The combo of ground beef and spicy pork sausage makes for mighty tasty meatballs but if you’re susceptible to spice regular ground pork works well.
  • Reduced-sodium chicken broth: Homemade chicken broth is best but store-bought works, too. Just make sure it’s low-sodium.
  • Rotisserie chicken: Rotisserie chicken is juicy and succulent and will add a serious punch of flavor to your soup.
  • Acini di pepe pasta: You could also use another small noodle shape, like ditalini or orzo.
  • Spinach: Kale or Swiss chard work well, too.

Directions

Step 1: Combine the ingredients in a bowl

In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients.

Step 2: Crumble the meat and shape it into balls

Crumble beef and sausage over the mixture and lightly but thoroughly combine. Shape into 1/2-inch balls.

Step 3: Brown meatballs

In a Dutch oven, brown the meatballs in small batches and drain.

Step 4: Stir in broth, chicken and pasta

Add the broth and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes.
Editor’s Tip: Add a couple of splashes of white wine with the broth to produce a fuller-bodied flavor.

Step 5: Add spinach and cheese

Finally, stir in the spinach and cook until wilted, then sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese if desired.

How to Store Italian Wedding Soup

Store your Italian wedding soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last for three or four days.

Can you freeze Italian wedding soup?

Yes. Before adding the cheese, cool the soup and then freeze it in freezer containers. When you’re ready to use it, partially thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. Then, heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally. Add broth or water if necessary.

Italian Wedding Soup Tips

What should I serve with Italian wedding soup?

Garlic bread (or any bread) and Caesar salad pair nicely with Italian wedding soup.

Can I make this soup vegetarian?

Yes. It won’t be traditional, but you can make this soup vegetarian. Make your meatballs using plant-based ground beef and pork, omit the chicken and add a can of white beans.

Do I have to use a Dutch oven?

A Dutch oven will do the best job of browning the meatballs. Dutch ovens are also particularly well-suited for making soups because of their ability to retain heat and moisture. So, while a large pot will work just fine for this recipe, a Dutch oven is ideal.

Traditional Italian Wedding Soup

Prep Time 30 min
Cook Time 40 min
Yield 9 servings (2-1/4 quarts)

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon raisins, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 1/2 pound bulk spicy pork sausage
  • 2 cartons (32 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups cubed rotisserie chicken
  • 2/3 cup uncooked acini di pepe pasta
  • 1/2 cup fresh baby spinach, cut into thin strips
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese, optional

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the first 7 ingredients. Crumble beef and sausage over mixture and mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 1/2-in. balls.
  2. In a Dutch oven, brown meatballs in small batches; drain. Add the broth and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Stir in chicken and pasta; cook 5-7 minutes longer or until pasta is tender. Stir in spinach; cook until wilted. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese if desired.

Nutrition Facts

1 cup: 253 calories, 10g fat (4g saturated fat), 94mg cholesterol, 797mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 1g fiber), 21g protein.

You don’t have to be Italian to love this easy-to-make soup with tiny round pasta! Homemade meatballs pair beautifully with ready-made stock and rotisserie chicken. —Mary Sheetz, Carmel, Indiana
Recipe Creator