Thursday, November 4, 2021

Italian Wedding Soup Recipe

This Italian wedding soup recipe can be thrown together in 30 minutes for an easy weeknight meal. Enjoy a warm, comforting bowl on chilly nights!

Sautéed vegetables, acini di pepe, spinach leaves, and homemade meatballs come together in a rich, fragrant broth. Top each bowl with freshly grated Parmesan and dig right in!

Love this Italian meatball soup? Try a version with ditalini pasta and rich tomato broth or swap the meatballs for thick sausage links instead.

I also have a stuffed pepper soup with plenty of rice and seasoned beef to keep you feeling full.

Italian Wedding Soup Recipe in a white bowl

Italian Wedding Soup Recipe

  • Soak the breadcrumbs! The key to moist meatballs is allowing the breadcrumbs to absorb the milk before adding the other ingredients. You can also use regular or herb-seasoned breadcrumbs instead of the panko if you prefer.
  • Use a combination of meats. I used equal amounts of ground chicken and ground sausage for this recipe, but ground beef or pork can be used as well. A combination will provide plenty of texture, moisture, and flavor.
  • Stick with chicken broth. While it’s possible to use vegetable broth, your Italian meatball soup won’t have the same rich flavor.
  • Tip for perfect meatballs: These tend to become misshapen while pan-frying, so rotate them gently and frequently while cooking. You can also roll them by hand to compact them instead of using a scoop. 
  • Want to save some time? Skip the pan-frying and add the meatballs directly to the pot to cook! They will be lighter in color but just as delicious.

italian wedding soup recipe ingredients

Serving Suggestions

Throw together seasonal greens with leftover carrots and celery, then add your favorite dressing. Or, try my copycat Olive Garden salad instead!

Homemade garlic knots would go well with this Italian wedding soup recipe, as would a thick slice of crusty bread to mop up every last drop!

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

italian meatball soup making meatballs in skillet

FAQ - Common Recipe Questions

How many meatballs does this make?

This recipe will yield about 12 meatballs total. If you’d like, you can double or triple the amounts and refrigerate the extra for pastas and sauces.

Or, freeze them for up to 3 months to use in future meals! They would be delicious in my cheesy pull apart bread.

What is acini di pepe?

It’s a tiny round pasta that is similar in size to pearl couscous. While it’s a staple in every traditional Italian wedding soup recipe, it may be hard to find locally.

In that case, you can purchase it online or substitute another tiny noodle such as orzo or ditalini.

italian wedding soup recipe in dutch oven

How long does Italian meatball soup last in the refrigerator?

It will keep for 3 to 4 days when stored in an airtight container. Heat on the stove or in the microwave until warmed through.

You can also freeze it for up to 3 months and thaw in the refrigerator before reheating. Leave some space at the top of the container when freezing so the liquid can expand.

italian meatball soup on a ladle


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italian wedding soup recipe served in a bowl

Yield: 8
Author: Donna Elick
Italian Wedding Soup Recipe

Italian Wedding Soup Recipe

This Italian wedding soup recipe can be thrown together in 30 minutes for an easy weeknight meal. Enjoy a warm, comforting bowl on chilly nights!
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 30 MinTotal time: 45 Min


  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 pound ground meat (any combo of chicken/beef/sausage) we used ½ pound ground chicken and ½ pound ground italian sausage
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for garnish)
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 12 cups (96 ounces) chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup Acini di pepe pasta
  • 5 ounces fresh baby spinach


  1. In a medium mixing bowl, stir the milk into the breadcrumbs and allow the bread crumbs to absorb the moisture before continuing. This will make an extra moist meatball.
  2. Add ground meats, garlic salt, Italian seasoning, black pepper, egg, and ½ cup Parmesan cheese. Use your hands to thoroughly mix the meatball mixture.
  3. Use a 1 1/2 tablespoon cookie dough scoop to form the meatballs. You can add them directly to the soup mixture to cook or brown them for more color.
  4. To brown the meatballs, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the meatballs just until browned on all sides (they will cook the rest of the way in the soup).
  5. Meanwhile, add a bit of olive oil to a heavy bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven.
  6. Saute celery and onions in the oil until soft and the onions become translucent. Add carrots and chicken broth to the pan and bring to a simmer.
  7. Stir in the pasta and add the meatballs. Continue simmering until the pasta is cooked to your liking and the meatballs are cooked through (8-10 minutes).
  8. Remove soup from heat and stir in spinach leaves.
  9. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a bit of fresh parsley, if desired.
  1. Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  2. This makes about 12 meatballs for the soup. The recipe can easily be doubled and extra meatballs can be cooked through and added to pastas or sauces, or frozen up to 3 months for another time..
  3. The meatballs tend to become misshapen while pan-frying. Rotate them frequently and gently while cooking to help them keep their shape. You can also roll the meatballs in your hands to help compact them. The meatballs will cook through just fine and stay nice and round if you scoop them directly from the mixing bowl into the simmering soup. They will not be browned on the outside, but otherwise will be just as good.
  4. You can use regular or herb-seasoned breadcrumbs instead of the panko if you wish. The key to moist meatballs is letting the breadcrumbs absorb the milk before adding any of the other ingredients.

Italian Wedding Soup Recipe closeup

Originally published November 2021

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