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Italian Wedding Soup

This Italian Wedding Soup can be made on the Stove Top, Crock Pot, or the Instant Pot! Make it with homemade meatballs, or use frozen meatballs for an quick and easy dinner idea!

Love easy soup recipes?  Try my super popular Crock Pot Chicken Stew and Split Pea Soup recipes next!

Overhead view of a white bowl of Italian wedding soup with a hand holding a spoon in it and rolls next to the bowl.

Italian Wedding Soup

Other than the fact that this is the best freezer soup ever, (which is why I recommend doubling the recipe), I love that you can make it in any cooking vessel  you want.

The ingredients are simple, but when you combine them together it creates the most comforting soup recipe for chilly Fall and Winter weather.

Meatballs in a pot being browned.

Browning the Meatballs

  • I like to brown the meatballs in the soup pot as it adds “fond” to the pot, which transfer big flavor into the broth. It also adds a nice outer crust/texture to the meatballs.
  • This process takes just a few minutes, they’ll finish cooking in the soup.

Baking The Meatballs

  • If you prefer to bake the meatballs, do so in a 400° oven for 15 minutes.

To Make a Double Batch of Meatballs

  • PRO TIP: Double the meatballs in this recipe and save them for another soup day.
  • Assemble the meatballs as outlined and flash freeze them on a baking sheet.
  • Place them in a freezer bag once frozen. Freeze for 3-4 months.
  • Add the frozen meatballs into the simmering broth once you’re ready to serve this again, or let them thaw in the fridge and brown them in the pot first.
  • Frozen meatballs take 20-25 minutes to cook through in the broth.

Using Frozen Meatballs

  • To save time, frozen meatballs may be used. I recommend Italian or Chicken Meatballs. (These mini meatballs are a good choice as well.)
  • No need to brown the meatballs first, you will simply add them to the soup and simmer until heated through. For the Crock Pot, they can be added at the beginning of the cooking process.

Using Frozen Spinach

  • A 10 oz. package of frozen spinach may also be used.
  • Let it thaw, pat it dry, and add it at the end. Give it a few minutes to heat prior to serving.

Storage

  • Refrigerate in an airtight container for 3-4 days or freeze in an airtight container for 3-4 months.
  • If you anticipate leftovers: I recommend cooking and storing the pasta separately as it absorbs a lot of broth during storage. You can add the pasta right to serving bowls and ladle the soup on top.

What to Serve with Italian Wedding Soup

A white bowl of Italian wedding soup on a white tray with a spoon in it and rolls in the background.

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Overhead view of a white bowl of Italian Wedding Soup with a hand holding a spoon.

Italian Wedding Soup

4.99 from 106 ratings
This Italian Wedding Soup can be made on the Stove Top, Crock Pot, or the Instant Pot! Make it with homemade meatballs, or use frozen meatballs for an quick and easy dinner idea!

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil

Meatballs

  • ½ lb. ground beef, 80% lean
  • ½ lb. ground pork
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs, homemade is best
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated into a powder
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • salt & freshly ground pepper

Soup

  • 1 ¼ cups carrots, diced
  • 1 ¼ cups yellow onion, diced
  • ¾ cup celery, diced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 8 cups chicken broth,
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • salt/pepper
  • ¾ cup acini de pepe pasta, uncooked
  • 8 oz. fresh spinach

To Garnish

  • Fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

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

  • Note: If you anticipate leftovers, I recommend cooking and storing the pasta separately as it absorbs a lot of broth during storage. You can add the pasta right to serving bowls and ladle the soup on top.
  • Gently combine the meatball ingredients, don’t overwork the meat, we want tender meatballs.
  • Roll the meat into 1-inch balls. This will give you about 35 meatballs.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • Brown the meatballs in batches for 2-3 minutes. The inside of the meatball will finish cooking in the soup.
  • Remove the meatballs and set aside.
  • Add the onions, carrots, and celery and sauté for 5 minutes, until softened.
  • Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute.
  • Add the chicken broth, Italian seasoning, and season with salt and pepper if desired.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium. Add the meatballs and pasta.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.
  • Stir in the spinach.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese and serve!

Notes

Pro Tips:
  • Orzo pasta can be used instead of Acini De Pepe Pasta as well.
  • If you plan on having leftovers, it’s a good idea to keep the pasta separate and add it to serving bowls before serving as the pasta absorbs a lot of broth during storage.

Crock Pot Method
  • Assemble and brown the meatballs as outlined in stove top method above. Transfer to the Crock Pot along with the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, chicken broth, and Italian seasoning.
  • Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
  • Add the acini de pepe and cook on low for 30 minutes.
  • Stir in the Spinach and heat through until wilted, about 3 minutes.
  • Top with Parmesan cheese, fresh parsley, 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, sauté for 1 minute.
  • Add the chicken broth. Run a silicone spatula along the bottom of the pot to release the brown bits, his helps mitigate the burn indicator that we tend to see with Instant Pots.
  • Add the Italian seasoning and meatballs.
  • Close the lid and seal the valve. Pressure Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Flip the quick release valve and allow the steam to escape.
  • Add the acini de pepe and press the sauté button. Cook for 9 minutes.
  • Stir in the spinach, garnish with fresh Parmesan and parsley, and serve!

Nutrition

Calories: 344kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 20g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 81mg, Sodium: 1398mg, Potassium: 887mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 8126IU, Vitamin C: 38mg, Calcium: 126mg, Iron: 4mg
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279 comments on “Italian Wedding Soup”

  1. I’ll be using the frozen meatballs option tonight and I’m wondering if there’s any way to ensure a good flavor without that initial meat fond 

  2. Hi Stephanie,
    I recently discovered your recipe for Italian Wedding Soup and thought it was very good. Had a hard time keeping the meatballs in shape when browning. Substituted kale for the spinach and added cut up cooked chicken. Anyway it turned out great and flavorful. Thanks for sharing the recipe. On my way to trying another one of your recipes.

    • Hi Steven, I’m so happy that you enjoyed this recipe and I can’t wait for you to try more! I handle the meatballs super gently when browning them and leave plenty of space around them so that I can easily roll them without having to handle them too much, to brown on all sides. Thank you for letting me know how it came out!

  3. Instead of browning meatballs on stove could you cook in stove? If so what temp and how long? Sounds delicious!

    • Hi Chandra, do you mean could you brown them in the oven? I haven’t tested this but I highly recommend browning them in the soup pot because it adds “fond” to the pot which transfers flavor into the soup!

  4. I’m no stranger to making homemade soups. But for some reason I had never made an Italian wedding soup before so I went looking for a recipe that was simple enough to make during the busy holidays. I am so glad I found this recipe. OMG! Outstanding!!!!!  Maybe my favorite soup I’ve ever made. Thank you so much for sharing. 

    • You’re very welcome Chris! I’m so happy you enjoyed this one so much, It’s one of my favorites too! Thanks so much for the great comments and for taking the time to leave a review!💖

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