This is the best Italian wedding soup I’ve ever made! It is packed with homemade meatballs, loads of veggies and fresh herbs. And it’s done in about half an hour!
We are including instructions for making this soup in the slow cooker and Instant Pot too! You can choose the cooking method that works best for you and your schedule.
Why Italian Wedding Soup?
Did you know I used to work for Jet Blue? Yup. Totally worked from home before that was even a thing answering a bazillion calls clear through the night at times and occasionally getting screamed at and not once was it deserved.
I know, you’re tempted to not believe me, but here’s an example:
A huge hurricane all 2009 style was hitting and flights were grounded everywhere. A woman had booked a vacay to an island right in the path and was INFURIATED we had cancelled her flight. As she was screaming at me that this was unprofessional because a ticket is a contract she suddenly got the idea that we should rebook her like other airlines do if a flight is cancelled. I tried to explain that all airlines weren’t flying because of the hurricane at which point she used some colorful language to demand a private plane.
I couldn’t even respond at that point.
It. Was. A. Hurricane.
Now before you get all worked up that I’m telling a story instead of teaching to cook, this has a purpose.
Before we could work we had to do a training for several weeks until midnight every night at the call center a good 45 minutes away. When we got there it was dinnertime, and if we were lucky a little cafe had an Italian wedding soup that was so good!
I’ve dreamed of it ever since, but it has taken me years to create the recipe and this is it! 100% exactly as I remember it.
Ingredients for Italian Wedding Soup
We love to make our own meatballs for this recipe, but if you want to cut out that step, you can totally buy frozen chicken meatballs at the grocery store. If you buy your meatballs, skip to the ingredients list for just the soup.
- Ground Turkey (or chicken)
- Italian Sausage
- Fresh Parmesan
- Italian Seasoning
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper
For the Soup
- Olive Oil
- Yellow Onion
- Fresh Thyme
- Chicken Broth
- Acini di Pepe
- Baby Spinach
- Fresh Dill
- Fresh Parmesan
All measurements for each ingredient can be found in the recipe card below.
How to Make Italian Wedding Soup
Again, if you’re buying meatballs pre-made, skip to the soup instructions. Let’s start with making the homemade meatballs:
For the Meatballs
- Combine the meats, breadcrumbs, parmesan, Italian seasoning, garlic and egg in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
- Form into mini meatballs (about 1/2″ diameter).
- PRO TIP: We use a very small cookie scoop. Don’t fill it full all the way. The smaller the better.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook the meatballs in batches until they are browned on the outside and they are cooked through.
- Remove from the pot and set them aside.
Browning the meatballs adds so much flavor! Don’t skip this step!
For the Soup
- Heat more oil and add the veggies and thyme. Then add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
- Add the pasta and meatballs and lower the temperature to a simmer. Cook long enough to cook the pasta.
- Toss in the spinach and cook for about 1 minute.
- Garnish servings with fresh dill, and more thyme and parmesan.
What to Eat with Italian Wedding Soup
I can’t sit down with a bowl of soup unless there is some bread for dipping. Here are a few of my favorites:
If you’re not into dipping bread in soup, then we can’t be friends! Haha! Ok, jk…we can be friends, but I don’t understand you! Make a sweet quick bread to eat with it:
How Long Will Italian Wedding Soup Keep?
Refrigerate in a container with a tight fitting lid for up to 5 days.
What is Acini di Pepe?
Acini di Pepe is a form of pasta that is very small.
What is a Substitute For Acini di Pepe Pasta?
If you can’t find acini di pepe, you can use another small shaped pasta such as orzo, pastina or small stars.
Can You Freeze Soups With Pasta in Them?
Soups containing pasta do not hold up very well in the freezer. Pasta tends to absorb the liquids and gets mushy when frozen.
You can freeze this soup without the pasta and then heat it up on the stove and add the pasta before serving.
One of my favorite things is trying to copycat a recipe that I’ve had somewhere and fallen in love with. I love to test and test different combinations and flavors until I get it just right. That’s how this Italian wedding soup came to be! It is so flavorful and easy!
Italian Wedding Soup
Meatballs *See Note
- 3/4 Pound Turkey, ground, or chicken
- 1/2 Pound Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1/2 Cup Bread Crumbs, White
- 1/3 Cup Parmesan, freshly grated
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 Egg, large
- Kosher salt
- Black Pepper, freshly ground
For the Soup
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, extra-virgin, divided
- 1 Cup Yellow Onion, chopped
- 2 Carrots, medium, peeled and chopped
- 3/4 Cup Celery, chopped
- 2 teaspoons Thyme, freshly chopped, plus more for garnish
- 8 Cups Chicken Broth, low sodium
- 1 Cup acini di pepe
- 4 Cups Baby Spinach
- 1 teaspoon Dill, freshly chopped, for garnish
- 1/3 Cup Parmesan, freshly grated, for serving
For the meatballs
- In a large bowl, stir ground meats, bread crumbs, Parmesan, seasoning, garlic, and egg until combined. Season with salt, pepper. Form into meatballs approximately 1/2" in diameter.
- In a large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Cook meatballs in batches, until outsides are golden and insides are cooked through. Remove from pot with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate.
For the soup
- Heat remaining oil and then add onion, carrots, celery, and thyme. Cook until fragrant about, 3 to 4 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a rapid boil. Add pasta and meatballs and lower to a simmer. Simmer until the pasta is cooked, 5 to 7 minutes. Add in the spinach and cook, stirring occasionally until wilted, about 1 minute more.
- Garnish each bowl with dill, thyme and more Parmesan.
SLOW COOKER: Cook the meatballs on the stove top as stated in the instruction. Add all the ingredients (except the pasta and spinach) to a crockpot on low for 5 hours or high for 2-3 hours. Add the pasta for the last hour and the spinach for the last 10 minutes.
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