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!

A white bowl full of Italian wedding soup with a spoon and a roll in the background.

Ingredients for Italian Wedding Soup

Meatballs

  • Olive oil– to brown the meatballs in the pot.
  • Ground Beef– 80% lean works well.
  • Ground Pork
  • Egg
  • Italian Breadcrumbs– Preferably homemade breadcrumbs. (See below for instructions.)
  • Parmesan Cheese- Grate your own from a block.
  • Garlic– Use fresh garlic cloves and mince them yourself for best flavor.
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Salt/Pepper

Soup

  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Celery
  • Chicken Broth– preferably homemade
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Acini De Pepe Pasta
  • Spinach

Meatball ingredients for Italian wedding soup in a glass bowl before and after mixing it.

Homemade Breadcrumbs for Meatballs

Making breadcrumbs from scratch is really good in homemade meatballs. Here’s an easy way to get it done:

  • Cut bread into cubes, (any kind, I like French bread but even hot dog buns work).
  • Use a food processor to grind the bread into course or fine breadcrumbs, depending on preference.
  • Spread evenly over a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes.
  • Stir, bake for 5 more minutes.
  • Stir and bake for up to 5 more minutes until completely dry. Let them cool.
  • For Italian breadcrumbs, season with salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and Italian seasoning.

Jessica Gavin has a great reference with more information on making homemade breadcrumbs!

A collage of homemade breadcrumbs in a blender and then in a bowl with a spoon in it.

Browning the Meatballs

  • Browning the meatballs in the same pot that you cook the soup adds a ton of flavor to the broth.
  • This process takes just a few minutes, they’ll finish cooking in the soup.

⭐PRO TIP: Double the meatballs in this recipe and save them for another soup day:

  • 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.

Meatballs in a pot being browned.

☝️ Brown bits in the pot = BIG flavor in the broth. This is why I prefer to brown my meatballs in the soup pot instead of baking them.

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


How to Make Italian Wedding Soup

Stove Top Method

  • Gently combine the meatball ingredients, roll into 1-inch balls.
  • Brown the meatballs in batches, remove from pot.
  • Add the onions, carrots, and celery and sauté for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in 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!

Crock Pot Method

  • Gently combine the meatball ingredients, roll into 1-inch balls.
  • Brown the meatballs in batches, remove from pot. This Crock Pot is stove-top friendly.
  • Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, chicken broth, Italian seasoning, and cooked meatballs.
  • Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8.
  • Add the acini de pepe and cook on low for 30 minutes.
  • Stir in the Spinach.
  • Top with Parmesan cheese and serve!

Instant Pot Method

  • Gently combine the meatball ingredients, roll into 1-inch balls.
  • Brown the meatballs in batches on saute mode, remove from pot.
  • Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Saute for 5 minutes, until softened.
  • Add the garlic, saute for 1 minute.
  • Add the chicken broth, Italian seasoning, and meatballs.
  • Pressure Cook for 5 minutes. 
  • Add the acini de pepe, simmer on saute mode for 9 minutes.
  • Stir in the spinach, garnish with fresh Parmesan cheese and parsley.

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

Can You Use 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, about 10 minutes.

Can You Use 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.
  • Freeze in an airtight container for 3-4 months.

What to Serve with Italian Wedding Soup

Try These Next!

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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Print
5 from 1 vote
Servings: 6
Italian Wedding Soup
Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
45 mins
 
Author: Stephanie
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Italian Wedding Soup, Italian Wedding Soup Crock Pot, Italian Wedding Soup Instant pot

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 Parmesan Cheese finely grated into a powder
  • 3 cloves garlic finely diced
  • 1/3 fresh Parsley roughly chopped
  • Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper
Soup
  • 1 ¼ cups carrots diced
  • 1 ¼ cups yellow onion diced
  • ¾ cup celery diced
  • 8 cups Chicken broth homemade is best
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • Salt/Pepper
  • ¾ cup dry Acini De Pepe Pasta
  • 8 oz. fresh Spinach
To Garnish
  • Fresh parsley roughly chopped
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
Stove Top Method
  1. Gently combine the meatball ingredients, don’t overwork the meat, we want tender meatballs.

  2. Roll the meat into 1-inch balls.

  3. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat.

  4. Brown the meatballs in batches for 2-3 minutes. The inside of the meatball will finish cooking in the soup.

  5. Remove the meatballs and set aside.
  6. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and sauté for 5 minutes, until softened.

  7. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute.

  8. Add the chicken broth, Italian seasoning, and season with salt and pepper if desired.

  9. Bring to a boil.

  10. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the meatballs and pasta.

  11. Simmer for 10 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.

  12. Stir in the spinach.

  13. Garnish with fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese and serve!

Crock Pot Method
  1. Gently combine the meatball ingredients. Don't overwork the meat.

  2. Roll the meat into 1-inch balls.

  3. This Crock Pot allows you to brown the meatballs on the stove top first. I recommend this as the brown bits left on the bottom of the pot transfer lots of flavor into the soup.

  4. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, chicken broth, Italian seasoning, and browned meatballs.

  5. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

  6. Add the acini de pepe and cook on low for 30 minutes.

  7. Stir in the Spinach.

  8. Top with Parmesan cheese, fresh parsley, and serve!

Instant Pot Method
  1. Gently combine the meatball ingredients. Don't overwork the meat.

  2. Roll the meat into 1-inch balls.

  3. Set the Instant Pot to saute mode and add the olive oil.

  4. Brown the meatballs in batches for about 3 minutes, until all sides are brown.

  5. Remove the meatballs from the pot and add the onions, carrots, and celery. Saute for 5 minutes, until softened.

  6. Add the garlic, saute for 1 minute.

  7. 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.

  8. Add the Italian seasoning and meatballs.

  9. Close the lid and seal the valve. Pressure Cook for 5 minutes.

  10. Flip the quick release valve and allow the steam to escape.

  11. Add the acini de pepe and press the saute button. Cook for 9 minutes.

  12. Stir in the spinach, garnish with fresh Parmesan and parsley, and serve!

Recipe Notes

Orzo pasta can be used instead of Acini De Pepe Pasta as well.

Nutrition Information
Calories: 344, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 81mg, Sodium: 1398mg, Potassium: 887mg, Carbohydrates: 25g, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 4g, Protein: 20g, Vitamin A: 8126%, Vitamin C: 38%, Calcium: 126%, Iron: 4%