20-Minutes Italian Meatball Soup Recipe – Comforting Dish

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Savor the rustic charm of Italy in every spoonful of our Italian Meatball Soup, a hearty symphony of flavors that transports you straight to a quaint Italian village. Juicy, hand-rolled meatballs nestle in a robust tomato broth, bursting with the vibrant goodness of fresh vegetables and aromatic herbs. A sprinkle of Parmesan and a dash of love complete this soul-warming dish, promising a comforting escape and a dance of flavors in every bite.

Savor the soul-soothing warmth of our classic Italian Meatball Soup recipe, a dish steeped in a rich blend of cultural heritage and homely love. Experience a journey through rustic Italian kitchens as each spoonful unfolds the magic of generations-old culinary craft. 

Filled with tender, hand-rolled meatballs, vibrant vegetables, and delicate pasta, this soup pays tribute to Italy’s iconic food panorama. The recipe melds time-honored techniques with our modern, health-conscious tweaks for a balanced, nourishing meal. 

As we guide you through every step, relish the empowering confidence of crafting a homemade, wholesome, and heartening meal. 

A nod to tradition, a celebration of simplicity—experience the joy of cooking Italian with our authentic Meatball Soup recipe. The only thing better than reading about this flavorful voyage? Embarking on it from your own kitchen. 

So tie on your apron, grab your ladle, and let’s set sail to Italy—bowl by steaming bowl.

What Is Italian Meatball Soup Recipe?

Italian Meatball Soup is a comforting and hearty dish, combining delicate homemade meatballs, a variety of vibrant vegetables, and small pasta in a flavorful broth. It originates from Italian nonnas’ kitchens, typically prepared with love as a nourishing meal. 

The meatballs, crafted from a mix of beef and pork, are seasoned with herbs and parmesan. Vegetables like carrots, celery, and tomatoes lend a healthy, delicious crunch. Rounded off with pasta, it’s a wholesome soup that truly showcases the simplicity and richness of Italian cuisine.

Can You Vary Italian Meatball Soup Recipe With Other Ingredients? 

The Italian Meatball Soup recipe is highly versatile and can be modified to suit various dietary preferences or requirements.

  • Keto: Use meatballs made from fatty cuts of meat and replace traditional pasta with low-carb options like zucchini noodles or cauliflower rice.
  • Paleo: Choose grass-fed meats for the meatballs and use grain-free noodles or finely chopped vegetables instead of pasta. Make sure the broth is free from additives that aren’t Paleo-friendly.
  • Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free breadcrumbs or almond flour in the meatballs and substitute traditional pasta with a gluten-free variety.
  • Whole30: Use compliant meat for the meatballs, omit the cheese and pasta, and ensure the broth is Whole30-compliant.
  • Vegetarian: Substitute the traditional meatballs with ones made from a mix of vegetables and grains, like mushrooms, lentils, or chickpeas. Use a vegetable broth instead of a meat-based one.
  • Vegan: Alongside vegan meatballs, you can replace any dairy (such as cheese) with vegan alternatives. As always, ensure the broth is vegetable-based.

Recipe Directions

  • Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the Italian sausage, break it up with a spoon or spatula, and cook until browned and cooked. This should take about 5-7 minutes. Drain any excess fat from the pot if necessary.
  • Lower the heat to medium and add the chopped spinach and chicken broth to the pot. Stir well to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Once the soup reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • After 10 minutes, add the tortellini to the soup. Continue to simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the tortellini is tender and cooked through. Cooking times may vary depending on the type of tortellini you use, so check the package instructions for guidance.
  • Season the soup with dried basil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Adjust the seasonings to your taste preferences, adding more or less as desired.
  • Your sausage and spinach soup are ready once the tortellini is fully cooked and the flavors have melded. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve it hot.
  • For an extra touch, garnish each bowl with some fresh basil leaves for a burst of color and added flavor.

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings

  • Variations: Try switching up the type of meat in your meatballs, using ground turkey or chicken for a lighter option. Vegetarians can substitute meatballs with lentil balls or vegan meat substitutes.
  • Protein Add-ons: Consider adding cooked Italian sausage or ground beef for a meatier version. White beans or chickpeas can offer a protein-packed vegetarian alternative.
  • Vegetable Add-ons: Fresh, seasonal vegetables can be a delightful addition. Consider bell peppers, zucchini, or even some kale for added nutrition and color.
  • Pasta Variations: Swap the traditional pasta for alternatives like gluten-free or whole-grain versions. For a low-carb option, try spiralized veggies or cauliflower rice.
  • Cheese: A sprinkle of grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano just before serving adds a sharp, salty flavor. Vegans can opt for nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor.
  • Herbs: Fresh basil, oregano, or parsley can add a burst of freshness. Adding a sprig of rosemary or thyme while the soup cooks can deepen the flavor.
  • Spice: For heat lovers, a dash of red pepper flakes or a drizzle of spicy olive oil can provide a kick.
  • Bread: A side of crusty Italian bread or garlic bread complements the soup beautifully, perfect for dipping and soaking up the flavorful broth.

Can I Make Italian Meatball Soup Recipe In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?

You can prepare Italian Meatball Soup in a slow cooker or Instant Pot. Here’s a general guideline:

Slow Cooker

  • Prepare the meatballs as per the recipe and add them to the slow cooker.
  • Add the broth and vegetables, excluding any that might overcook and become mushy (like spinach or zucchini).
  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  • About 30 minutes before serving, add in any quick-cooking vegetables and the pasta and cook until they are tender.
  • Season, garnish, and serve as usual.

Instant Pot

  • Use the sauté function to brown the meatballs in batches if your recipe calls for it. Remove them and set them aside.
  • Add a little broth to the pot and deglaze, scraping up any browned bits.
  • Add the meatballs back into the pot along with the remaining broth and vegetables, excluding any quick-cooking ones.
  • Cook on the soup setting for the recommended time in your recipe.
  • Release pressure naturally or according to the recipe instructions, then add in any quick-cooking vegetables and pasta. Use the sauté function to simmer until they’re cooked.
  • Season, garnish, and serve as per the recipe.

Can I Use Store Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?

You can definitely use either store-bought or homemade broth for your Italian Meatball Soup, depending on your time, ingredients on hand, and personal preferences.

Store-Bought Broth

  • This is a convenient, time-saving option. Choose a high-quality, low-sodium version to have more control over the saltiness of your soup. Look for broths with real ingredients and no artificial additives for added flavor.

Homemade Broth

  • Making your own broth allows you to control the ingredients and tailor the flavor to your liking. It’s an excellent way to utilize kitchen scraps like vegetable peels or leftover bones. While it takes longer, homemade broth can be made in large batches and frozen in smaller portions for future use.

How To Serve?

Italian Meatball Soup is a meal in itself, hearty and satisfying. Here are a few tips on serving it best:

  • Garnish: Finish the soup with a garnish of fresh herbs such as basil or parsley and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese. This adds color and a burst of flavor.
  • Bread: Serve the soup with a side of crusty Italian bread or garlic bread. It’s perfect for dipping and soaking up the delicious broth.
  • Salad: A fresh, crisp salad can balance the hearty, rich flavor of the soup. A simple green salad or an Italian-style salad with tomatoes and mozzarella would be great choices.
  • Wine Pairing: If you’re serving the soup as a part of a more formal meal, it pairs well with a light-bodied Italian white wine, such as a Pinot Grigio or Verdicchio.
  • Serve Hot: Italian Meatball Soup is best served hot. If the soup has been standing for a while, reheat it gently before serving.

Perfect Side Dishes

  • Italian Bread: A warm, crusty Italian bread is perfect for sopping up the delicious broth. For added flavor, you could serve garlic bread or bruschetta.
  • Green Salad: A simple salad with mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a light vinaigrette can provide a fresh, crisp contrast to the rich soup.
  • Roasted Vegetables: For a hearty meal, serve alongside roasted vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, or eggplant.
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich: A classic grilled cheese sandwich could be a great choice if you want to go all-out comfort food.
  • Antipasto Platter: An antipasto platter with a variety of cheeses, cured meats, olives, and marinated vegetables could be a delightful starter or side.
  • Polenta or Risotto: For a truly indulgent Italian feast, consider a side of creamy polenta or risotto.

Storage & Make Ahead

  • Refrigeration: Store leftover Italian Meatball Soup in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. This allows the flavors to meld and intensify.
  • Freezing: Meatball soup freezes well. Freeze in individual portions in airtight containers for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • Make Ahead: Prepare the meatballs and broth in advance, storing them separately. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Combine and simmer when ready to serve, allowing the meatballs to absorb the rich flavors.
  • Pasta Separately: If including pasta, consider cooking it separately and adding it to individual servings. This prevents the pasta from becoming mushy when reheating.
  • Fresh Herbs at the End: Add fresh herbs like basil or parsley just before serving for a burst of flavor and vibrancy.

What Can We Do With Leftovers? 

Leftover Italian Meatball Soup offers several delightful opportunities for creative dishes. Here are a few ideas:

  • Pasta Sauce: Remove the meatballs, blend the soup into a sauce, and serve over pasta.
  • Stuffed Peppers: Chop the meatballs, mix with the vegetables, and use the mixture to stuff bell peppers before baking.
  • Rice Skillet: Stir leftovers into cooked rice for a quick and tasty skillet meal.
  • Sandwich Filling: Slice leftover meatballs, and use them in a sandwich or sub roll with a bit of the broth for a tasty meatball sub.
  • Baked Casserole: Combine leftovers with cooked pasta and top with cheese, then bake until golden.
  • Pizza Topping: Slice meatballs and spread over the pizza crust with your favorite toppings.
  • Shepherd’s Pie: Use the soup as a hearty filling for a shepherd’s pie, topped with mashed potatoes.


  • Cheese-Stuffed Surprise: Elevate your Italian Meatball Soup by incorporating small pockets of mozzarella or Parmesan into the meatballs. As they cook, the cheese will melt, creating a gooey, flavorful center.
  • Herb-Infused Broth: Infuse your broth with a medley of fresh Italian herbs like basil, oregano, and thyme. Simmer them with the soup to impart a robust and aromatic essence to every spoonful.
  • Zoodle Delight: Swap traditional noodles for zucchini noodles (zoodles) to add a nutritious twist and a satisfying crunch to your soup.
  • Sundried Tomato Burst: Enhance the depth of flavor by adding finely chopped sundried tomatoes to the meatball mixture for a sweet and tangy kick.
  • Citrus Zest Finish: Just before serving, sprinkle some freshly grated lemon or orange zest over the soup to brighten up the flavors and add a refreshing touch.
20-Minutes Italian Meatball Soup Recipe - Comforting Dish

20-Minutes Italian Meatball Soup Recipe – Comforting Dish

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Course: Soups u0026amp; Broths


Prep time


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Italian Meatball Soup is a hearty and flavorful dish made with tender meatballs, fresh vegetables, and Italian herbs in a savory tomato-based broth. It’s a comforting and satisfying meal that brings the taste of Italy to your table.


  • 1 lb 1 Ground beef

  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

  • 2 minced 2 Garlic cloves

  • 1 diced 1 Small onion

  • 1 tsp 1 Dried oregano

  • 1 1 Large egg

  • 1/3 cup 1/3 Breadcrumbs

  • 1/3 cup 1/3 Parmesan cheese

  • 2 tbsp 2 Olive oil

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Start by preparing all your ingredients: wash the spinach, measure out the chicken broth, tortellini, and your seasonings (basil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper).
  • Place a large pot on the stove and turn the heat to high. Once the pot is hot, add in your spinach and chicken broth.
  • Wait until the mixture comes to a boil. Be attentive and watch the pot to prevent it from boiling over.
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat to low. This allows the flavors to meld without evaporating too much liquid.
  • Now, stir in the tortellini. Allow this to simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the tortellini from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • After the tortellini has cooked to your desired tenderness, seasoning the soup is time. Add in the basil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir well to ensure the seasonings are evenly distributed.
  • Give your soup a final taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Remember, it’s important for a soup to be well-seasoned to bring out all its flavors.
  • Your Italian Meatball Soup is now ready to be served. Ladle the soup into bowls, ensuring each serving has a good mix of spinach, tortellini, and broth.
  • For a final touch, garnish with a sprinkle of extra basil or a drizzle of high-quality olive oil if desired. Serve hot and enjoy the comforting warmth of this delicious Italian classic.
  • The beauty of this soup is that you can tweak it to your preference. Feel free to add other ingredients, such as Italian sausage or ground beef, for a meaty version, or use vegetable broth and cheese tortellini for a vegetarian version.
  • Large Pot or Dutch Oven
  • Sharp Knife
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Cooking Spoon
  • Ladle
  • Baking Sheet


  • Feel free to customize the vegetables to your liking, such as adding zucchini or bell peppers for extra color and nutrition.
  • For a boost of richness, sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese on top before serving.
  • Make a larger batch and freeze the leftovers for convenient, delicious future meals.
  • This soup pairs well with crusty bread or a side salad for a complete and balanced meal. Enjoy!

Nutrition Table

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