This Italian wedding soup recipe is simple to make and the absolute BEST thing to eat on a cold day! My whole family loves it, and yours will, too. Check out the rave reviews and then go make this soup!
When my picky son decided he liked Italian wedding soup, we started making it a LOT! And don't get me wrong, we are not complaining.
I got to work creating an easy, homemade Italian wedding soup recipe that was super quick and easy to make but still tasted amazing.
This soup is delicious, comforting, and hearty enough for dinner, especially if you serve it with a salad and some good, fresh crusty bread.
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The secret to the BEST Italian wedding soup
The secret to making the best Italian wedding soup is using homemade meatballs that give the broth lots of flavor. And the trick to the best meatballs is using a combination of meat. For this recipe, I use ground beef and ground pork and mix them together for the tastiest meatballs. You can also use ground turkey instead of beef or pork.
Even though making meatballs sounds a little involved, this soup recipe is simple because you don't need to brown the meatballs beforehand. Cooking them right in the broth saves you time, and also infuses the broth with lots of flavor.
And of course, you can also use frozen meatballs to save time (see below).
Related recipe: Instant Pot White Bean and Sausage Soup
Best pasta to use in Italian wedding soup:
My favorite pasta to use in Italian Wedding Soup is Acini de Pepe. These are tiny pasta balls that are perfect for soup because they don't overtake the other ingredients.
Related recipe: Chicken Tortilla Soup
Shortcuts, substitutions, and cooking tips:
- If you can't find Acini de Pepe, you can substitute another small noodle such as ditalini, small shells, or orzo.
- If you own a food processor, you can use it to make this recipe even faster. Just grate/chop the onion, parsley, garlic, and even the bread right in the processor.
- I prefer to use spinach in Italian Wedding Soup, but many people like to use escarole as a substitute. You can also use fresh baby spinach in place of frozen spinach.
- Several commenters have substituted ground turkey for the beef/pork with good results.
- I included parmesan cheese as an optional ingredient because I wanted this wedding soup recipe to be dairy free (to accommodate a dairy allergy). But you can use freshly grated or store bought parmesan cheese in your own version.
- You can double the meatballs and freeze uncooked meatballs for later, so you can have homemade Italian wedding soup in no time! Make sure to freeze them individually on a large plate or on a baking sheet, and then combine the frozen meatballs in a freezer-safe container... otherwise all the meatballs will freeze into one big lump!
Related recipes: Check out more delicious dinner soup recipes!
Making Italian wedding soup with frozen meatballs:
Now that I know that this recipe is a winner, I always double the meatball part of the recipe, and freeze half of the meatballs for later so that I can quickly make another batch.
To do this, just form the second set of meatballs on a baking sheet, and place the baking sheet in the freezer. Once the meatballs are frozen completely, put them into a gallon freezer bag.
The next time you want to make this soup, just boil the broth, toss in the spinach, frozen meatballs, and pasta, and cook until the pasta and meatballs are done.
You can also use store bought frozen meatballs in this recipe if you don't have the time or patience to make your own.
Degreasing the broth:
I prefer to use lean pork and beef in this recipe to cut down on grease in the broth. Another alternative is to skim the fat from the broth prior to serving.
Some commenters suggested pre-cooking the meatballs in the oven to eliminate grease, but I personally like to cook them directly in the broth because it adds great flavor.
Italian Wedding Soup
- 1 small onion grated
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 slice white bread crusts trimmed, grated or shredded
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese optional, plus extra for serving if you want
- 8 oz lean ground beef
- 8 oz ground pork
- 12 cups chicken broth
- 10 oz frozen chopped spinach or several cups fresh baby spinach
- ½ lb tiny pasta, such as Acini di Pepe or similar
- To make the meatballs: Stir the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl to blend. Then add the Parmesan cheese, beef, and pork. Shape the meat mixture into meatballs, and place on a baking sheet. I prefer the meatballs to be on the smaller side, but you can make them any size you want.
- To make the soup: Bring the broth and frozen spinach to a boil in a large pot. Add the meatballs (uncooked) and simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure they don't stick. Add the pasta and continue cooking at a low boil until both the pasta and meatballs are cooked (approximately 20 minutes). Season with salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese before serving, if you wish.