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Italian Wedding Soup

This classic Italian Wedding Soup recipe has juicy meatballs in a flavorful broth with spinach and pasta! It’s easy to make on the stove top, Crock Pot, or the Instant Pot!

Be sure to pair this with my crusty, airy, No Knead Bread for dipping!

Italian Wedding Soup in a white bowl with meatballs and spinach.

Italian Wedding Soup

This Italian Wedding Soup is something that I have been making for years now, you just can’t beat it. It’s one of my favorite things to make in bulk and freeze. When I need a quick, satisfying lunch, there’s nothing better!

The meatballs are juicy and tender, the broth is flavorful, and the overall recipe is super simple. The most time consuming part is rolling out these little meatballs, which is fun to do while you watch a show or listen to music!

Be sure to check out my PRO TIPS below!

How to Make it

See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

Combine meatball ingredients and roll into 3/4-inch balls. Brown in batches in olive oil and set aside.

Mini Meatballs on a plate before and after browning.

Soften onions, carrots, celery, and garlic in the same pot. Add seasonings and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the meatballs back and simmer gently for 10 minutes. 

Making Italian Wedding Soup with vegetables, broth, seasoning, and meatballs.

Add the spinach and cook for 2 minutes, until wilted. 

Pro Tip: Boil the pasta separately and add it to serving bowls to ensure it doesn’t absorb too much broth, especially during storage. Ladle the soup on top and serve!

Adding spinach to a pot of Italian Wedding Soup.

Pro Tips

  • Flavor Enhancers: 1 tsp of Hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard powder can be used as flavor enhancers in this recipe and they can’t be tasted outright. I use Frank’s Hot Sauce and it doesn’t make this spicy.
  • Browning the Meatballs: This adds “fond” (brown remnants) to the bottom of the soup pot, which gets worked into the broth and transfers flavor into the soup. It also adds a nice color and texture to the outside of the meatballs. 
  • Be sure to roll the meatballs nice and small for this soup.
  • Frozen Mini Meatballs may be used for a shortcut if needed. No need to brown them first, just add them to the soup until heated through. For the Crock Pot method, add them at the beginning.
  • Spinach: 10 oz. frozen spinach may be used instead of fresh. Let it thaw and pat it dry.
  • Pasta: For best results, cook the pasta separately and add it directly to serving bowls, this will ensure it doesn’t absorb all of the broth during storage if you have leftovers. Any leftover pasta can also be stored in its own airtight container, or fresh pasta can be boiled before serving leftovers.
  • Acini Di Pepe, Ditalini, and Orzo are all small pasta varieties that work well in this soup.
  • Be sure to pair this with my crusty, airy, No Knead Bread for dipping!
  • This recipe is in The Cozy Cookbook on page 44!

Storage

  • Refrigerate in an airtight container for 3-4 days or freeze in an airtight container for 3-4 months. 
  • This soup freezes very well, be sure to store without the pasta and boil fresh pasta for serving.

Italian Wedding Soup in a white bowl with meatballs, spinach, and acini de pepe.

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Italian Wedding Soup in a white bowl with meatballs, spinach, and acini de pepe.

Italian Wedding Soup

4.99 from 140 ratings
This classic Italian Wedding Soup recipe has savory meatballs in a flavorful broth with spinach and pasta! It's easy to make on the stove top or in the crock pot!

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil

Meatballs

  • ½ lb. ground beef, 85% lean
  • ½ lb. ground pork
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs,
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Soup

  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 ¼ cups carrots, diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups chicken broth,
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • ¾ cup acini de pepe pasta, uncooked
  • 4-5 cups fresh spinach
  • salt/pepper, to taste

To Garnish

  • Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Instructions

Stove Top Method (See notes for Crock Pot & Instant Pot Methods)

  • Gently combine the meatball ingredients, don’t overwork the meat. Roll into 3/4-inch balls.
  • Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.
  • Brown the meatballs in batches for about 2 minutes. The middle of the meatballs will finish cooking in the soup. Remove and set aside.
  • Add the onions, carrots, and celery and soften over medium heat for 6 minutes, until softened. Add a splash of olive oil during cooking if needed.
  • Add the garlic and Italian seasoning and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  • Add the cooked meatballs and simmer gently while you boil the pasta separately until al dente. Drain once cooked through and add the pasta to serving bowls. (Otherwise the pasta tends to absorb the broth during storage. If you don't anticipate leftovers, you can cook the pasta in the soup or add the cooked pasta to the pot of soup.)
  • Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes.
  • Ladle the soup into serving bowls and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Serve!

Notes

Pro Tips:
  • Flavor Enhancers: 1 tsp of Hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard powder can be used as flavor enhancers in this recipe and they can't be tasted outright. I use Frank's Hot Sauce and it doesn't make this spicy. They can be added when the Italian seasoning is added.
  • Be sure to roll the meatballs nice and small for this soup.
  • Spinach: 10 oz. frozen spinach may be used instead of fresh. Let it thaw and pat it dry.
  • Acini Di Pepe, Ditalini, and Orzo are all small pasta varieties that work well in this soup.
  • Be sure to pair this with my crusty, airy, No Knead Bread for dipping!
  • This recipe is in The Cozy Cookbook on page 44!

Storage:
  • Refrigerate in an airtight container for 3-4 days or freeze for 3-4 months. 
  • This soup freezes very well, be sure to store without the pasta and boil fresh pasta for serving.

Crock Pot Method
  • Assemble and brown the meatballs as outlined in recipe card above.
  • Transfer to the Crock Pot along with the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, Italian seasoning and chicken broth.
  • Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
  • If possible, boil the pasta separately and add it directly to serving bowls. This ensures it doesn't absorb all of the broth if you have leftovers. Alternatively, you can add the pasta to the crock pot of soup and cook on low for 30 minutes. 
  • Stir in the Spinach and heat through until wilted, about 3 minutes.
  • Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and serve!

Instant Pot Method
  • Gently combine the meatball ingredients and roll the meat into 1-inch balls.
  • Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode and add the olive oil.
  •  Brown the meatballs in batches for about 3 minutes, until all sides are brown.
  • Remove the meatballs and add the onions, carrots, and celery. Sauté for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, mustard powder, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce & sauté for 1 minute.
  • Add the chicken broth. Run a silicone spatula along the bottom of the pot to release the brown bits, this helps mitigate the burn indicator that we tend to see with Instant Pots.
  • Add the meatballs.
  • Close the lid and seal the valve. Pressure Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Flip the quick release valve and allow the steam to escape.
  • If possible, boil the pasta separately and add it directly to serving bowls. This ensures it doesn't absorb all of the broth if you have leftovers. Alternatively, you can add the pasta to the pot of soup, press the sauté button, and cook for 9 minutes.
  • Stir in the spinach, garnish with fresh Parmesan and serve!

Nutritional information is an estimate and is per serving. There are 6 servings in this recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 328kcal, Carbohydrates: 24g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 88mg, Sodium: 1755mg, Potassium: 604mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 6733IU, Vitamin C: 15mg, Calcium: 135mg, Iron: 4mg
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380 comments on “Italian Wedding Soup”

  1. My mom and grandma just rolled and dropped meatballs into the boiling broth. 

    • You can drop them into the broth if preferred! The purpose of browning the meatballs is to add fond to the skillet (which gives the broth flavor), but also creates a nice texture and color on the outside of the meatballs 🙂

  2. How many ounces does this recipe make?

  3. DIANE:
    It was delicious, (did not have meatballs, therefore used a pork chop, cut it in cubes,) It turned out very good!

  4. DELICIOUS!!!! Excellent recipe!

  5. Delicious. Cooked recipe at a campout. Prepped veggies. Par-cooked the meatballs. Prepared in Lodge dutch oven. Cooked pasta separately. Dads love it. Some had 3 helpings.

  6. This was delicious and husband approved. I used frozen meatballs and put in some Franks hot sauce. Thanks!

  7. I’ve used this recipe twice and I am obsessed! Thank you! I’ve used stock instead of broth and it’s great either way

    • I’m so happy that you love this soup as much as I do Kelly! (Yes, stock is great in soups!!) Thank you so much for the review, I really appreciate it! -Stephanie

  8. OK I’m lazy I used frozen meatballs and escarole instead of spinach I love wedding soup.

  9. Excellent recipe! Easy but took me longer than 50 minutes. Meatballs were tender and flavorful. I will definitely make this again and double the recipe for lots of leftovers. Thank you!

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