I don’t know about you, but I’m about to marry this Italian Wedding Soup recipe. It is PACKED with goodness! The flavorful broth, the juicy meatballs, the tiny pasta, the mountain of healthy greens making you feel like you’re probably going to live to 150-years-old after eating all this leafy stuff. Make it on the stove or in the slow cooker, easy! Originally published March 10, 2023.

close up of italian wedding soup with deep broth, meatballs, pasta and greens in a white bowl.
Table of Contents
  1. Wedding Soup with Homemade Meatballs
  2. What is Italian Wedding Soup?
  3. Do they eat Italian Wedding Soup at Italian weddings?
  4. Wedding Soup ingredients
  5. How to make Italian Wedding Soup
  6. Wedding Soup Recipe Variations
  7. Tips for this Recipe for Italian Wedding Soup
  8. What to serve with this Italian Wedding Soup Recipe
  9. Storing the Best Italian Wedding Soup Recipe leftovers
  10. How to freeze Wedding Soup
  11. Wedding Soup Recipe FAQs
  12. More cozy soup recipes to love!
  13. Best Italian Wedding Soup Recipe Recipe
Table of Contents
  1. Wedding Soup with Homemade Meatballs
  2. What is Italian Wedding Soup?
  3. Do they eat Italian Wedding Soup at Italian weddings?
  4. Wedding Soup ingredients
  5. How to make Italian Wedding Soup
  6. Wedding Soup Recipe Variations
  7. Tips for this Recipe for Italian Wedding Soup
  8. What to serve with this Italian Wedding Soup Recipe
  9. Storing the Best Italian Wedding Soup Recipe leftovers
  10. How to freeze Wedding Soup
  11. Wedding Soup Recipe FAQs
  12. More cozy soup recipes to love!
  13. Best Italian Wedding Soup Recipe Recipe

I was reading my 3-year-old son a Star Wars board book the other day. “And along came the Imperial Star Destroyer” it said. Except that the picture was showing TIE fighters. I double checked it with Eric. “Look at this, aren’t these ships called TIE fighters?”

He gave me a “come on” look (you know the c’mon look) and said, “We’ve been married almost 15 years and you still can’t identify an Imperial Star Destroyer??” He asked this in the way I might respond if he forgot one of our children’s middle names.

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How to make Italian Wedding Soup from The Food Charlatan. I don't know about you, but I'm about to marry this Italian Wedding Soup recipe! It is PACKED with goodness! The flavorful broth, the juicy meatballs, the tiny pasta, the mountain of healthy greens making you feel like you're probably going to live to 150-years-old after eating all this leafy stuff. Make it on the stove or in the slow cooker, easy! This soup is perfect chilly weather comfort food and makes a simple weeknight dinner.

Clearly I need to work on my priorities. Just the other day I was cleaning out a box of old books from our move (which was almost a year ago and YES I still have boxes, gah, don’t judge me!) I asked Eric if I could give away his dog-eared copy of “Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology” (‘Your guide to the sophisticated armament of the Star Wars universe!’) but he said no, it’s a keeper. A KEEPER GUYS.

I have to ask you, are you one of those people who has a pretty bookshelf? I feel like there are two kinds of people in this world: those who have beautiful bookshelves, adorned with vases and random clay pots (and balls in a bowl made out of twigs? you know what I’m talking about??)

And then there is the other kind of person, the kind who lets her husband keep every random Essential Weapons & Armament Guide and then suddenly has stacks upon stacks of colorful, paperback, non-classic-y looking books shoved in this way and that. Not a twiggy-ball in sight. I didn’t choose the tacky life, the tacky life chose me.

a bowl of Italian wedding soup with meatballs, greens, parmesan, and pasta.

But let me tell you, it is NOT tacky to feed your family Italian Wedding Soup every night for days on end, I know because I tried it and still haven’t gotten any walk-outs. This stuff is LEGIT, and you, your kids, your mama, and your neighbors are all going to know it by the time you feed them this mountain of a soup. They will be singing your praises indeed. (Alternative title to this post: “Karen’s Essential Guide for How to Win Friends and Influence People…With Food.”)

Wedding Soup with Homemade Meatballs

Okay but seriously, have you had this soup before? It’s got the GOODS. Meatballs, for starters. (I feel like we could just stop right there.) But then there are the aromatics, the veggies, the greens, the tiny pasta, the spicy kick! I love it, love it. It’s like a hug in a bowl. From your Italian nonna. Or maybe just a hug from your neighbor who made too much soup. (it me, it me, want to come over??)

stockpot filled with italian wedding soup recipe made of rich broth, vegetables, and tiny pasta and meatballs.

I love to make my own homemade meatballs for this soup. You will never get a store-bought meatball that is as tender as what you can make at home, because sellers need to make them sturdy enough to be packaged and shipped. They are ok, but not the best.

This soup is a labor of love, I’m not gonna lie. (People used to make it over the course of 3 days, way back when). First you make the meatballs, then you fry them, and then you make the soup; lots of chopping, lots of ingredients. You will save a lot of time if you use store bought meatballs, and I get it, sometimes you just have to git er done. I like the Italian meatballs from Costco, they taste pretty good and are a decent price. It will cut your time spent on this soup in half.

BUT…at least once in your life, you should make the meatballs at home. They are so good. And tiny. Everything tastes better when it’s tiny, right? They are so juicy and fatty and tender. This is the classic Italian style meatball that I make for our family’s spaghetti and meatballs, and they are totally stand-alone amazing.

If you buy store bought meatballs, you will also miss out on all the flavor that comes from frying the meatballs in oil, and then cooking the soup in the same pot. (This browning effect is called the Maillard reaction and it is magical.)

Okay okay, but I swear, if you can’t make the meatballs homemade, you can still get an amazing soup with this recipe. The depth of flavor comes from using both chicken and a little bit of beef broth. I’ve never thought to combine broths before, but it’s kind of an amazing idea. This soup is meant to have a light flavored (and colored) broth for the meatballs to float around in, but the added beef broth kicks up the beefy flavor a notch.

close up featuring a meatball with the broth, greens, and pasta of italian wedding soup behind.

What is Italian Wedding Soup?

Like many “traditional” recipes, a typical Italian Wedding Soup in the US is actually American, in the sense that it was brought to the U.S. and changed over time as immigrants adapted to what was available. That’s how a soup that started in Italy as a deep broth with various meats and local greens has become a soup with tiny meatballs, very small noodles, and some type of greens like spinach or kale.

To best mimic the spirit of this traditional poor-man’s soup, we’re making meatballs with ground beef AND ground pork (or Italian sausage), giving a nod to the soup’s multi-meat heritage. Plus some classic Italian ingredients like onion, garlic, and Parmesan to give them depth of flavor.

The base of the soup is still its rich broth. Instead of boiling bones for 3 days, we’re going to do our best to recreate the deliciousness of the original by using both beef AND chicken broth.

There is always pasta in Italian Wedding Soup. The traditional pasta is the teeny-tiny acini di pepe (which literally translates to “seeds of pepper” because of how similar in size and shape it is to peppercorns. How cute is that, right?) I couldn’t find any at multiple stores, but you can just use any really small pasta you can find. I went with Fregola, but I almost bought alphabet pasta! Orecchiette or tiny shells would work.

three different types of pasta; fregola, cavatelli, and orecchiette in packaging on a counter.

After making the broth, add in the meatballs, pasta, and finally, add your greens. Back in the day in Italy they would literally walk around outside and grab whatever was growing on the hillside: dandelion greens, escarole, chicory, etc. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have any chicory or escarole in my yard. But a combo of spinach and kale gives just the right touch of green. Escarole is a great choice because it’s a little spicy, so if you are into that give it a try! (again, I couldn’t find any escarole at the store. What gives, supply chains??)

Do they eat Italian Wedding Soup at Italian weddings?

Turns out, Italian Wedding Soup is actually NOT a traditional food eaten at Italian Weddings. The name comes from a slight mistranslation of the original Italian: Minestra Maritata, which literally means Married Soup. The flavors of the rich, savory broth and the cooked greens “marry” so well in the soup. Different regions had different variations, and the point was to use up the meats and greens that were locally available. If you love food history like I do, check out this article about the history of Italian Wedding Soup about how this dish has changed over time! Food nerds, unite!

close up of easy italian wedding soup with meatballs, pasta, greens, and broth in a brown clay bowl.
Side note: my good friend Brian made this bowl. Yes, MADE it. Like, pottery-wise. He gave it to us for Christmas and I was in shock and awe. Isn’t it so beautiful??

Wedding Soup ingredients

Here’s a quick shopping list of what will be in the recipe. As always, the full list and instructions are below on the recipe card!

  • ground meat (beef AND pork or Italian sausage)
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • dried spices (oregano, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper, thyme, bay leaf)
  • egg
  • milk
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • aromatics (garlic, yellow onion)
  • vegetable oil
  • vegetables (celery, carrot)
  • white wine
  • chicken and/or beef broth
  • parmesan rind, optional
  • spinach and kale (lacinato or any other kind. Or try escarole!)
  • acini di pepe pasta (or any tiny pasta; I saw alphabet pasta at the store and almost bought that!)

How to make Italian Wedding Soup

  1. First up, let’s make some meatballs! Gather up your ingredients:
ingredients for meatballs like ground meat, onion, garlic, parmesan, egg, etc.
  1. Add it all to a bowl. Take a few minutes right now to chop up some more garlic and onions. You need them for the soup later, and you’re already crying. (I usually wear swim goggles when I chop onions. Works like a charm, no tears. But then I have raccoon eye imprints around my eyes for an hour after. You win some, you lose some.)
glass bowl with meatball ingredients like ground meat, egg, and bread crumbs.
  1. You are going to hate me for this, but you really should mix meatballs together with your hands. Get yourself some disposable gloves and have at it. A spoon just can’t get the mixture as cohesive as we want it.
glass bowl with ingredients for meatballs being mixed with a a gloved hand.
  1. Use a 1-inch cookie scoop or a spoon and shape your meatballs. Don’t make them too big! One of the most delightful things about this soup is how poppable the meatballs are!
  2. Roll them in your hands and press the meatball together to make it smooth.
a small scoop of raw meatball mix to show size and how to shape in balls.
  1. Heat up a big ol soup pot. You are going to need a 6 quart pot, at least. Add oil that has a high smoke point, like light olive oil or vegetable oil.
  2. Add in the meatballs one at a time, with space in between so they brown properly.
italian wedding soup meatballs being browned in a large stockpot as the base of flavor.
  1. Flip them one at a time using a metal spatula. Try not to let them burn like I did 😂 But it’s okay if you do. Keep the pot on medium or medium low. We are just browning the edges of the meatball, they don’t need to be cooked inside. (They will finish cooking in the soup.)
large pile of juicy browned meatballs on a white plate.
  1. Remove the browned meatballs to a plate and set aside. (Undercooking these meatballs is also insurance against eating this whole plate one by one before the soup is even made. Make sure you cook at least one all the way. You deserve a snack.)
  2. Now it’s time to make the soup. All those browned bits (ok, maybe a little bit blackened) are going to add tons of flavor to your soup!
close up of onion frying in blackened meatball drippings.
  1. Don’t hate me for my burnt up pot, ok?? I finally bought a new soup pot after years of having one with permanent stains on the bottom, and this is how I treat New Guy. Poor thing. (But whatever, the flavor of these onions was on point.)
  2. Add in some celery and get sautéing. I love to chop my celery straight from the end, instead of snapping off individual stalks; those celery leaves on the end have tons of flavor.
a head of celery being chopped and then added to a stockpot with seasonings.
  1. Add the spices while the veggies are sautéing, so they have a chance to wake up and get toasty. I love Italian seasoning and some extra oregano. You could also add in some crushed red pepper here if you like it spicy!
  2. Next add in the broth. I like to use water and Better than Bouillon base.
two better than bouillon jars, one beef and one chicken on a wooden board.
  1. Italian Wedding Soup is usually made with chicken broth, but I like to add a little bit of beef broth too, to help amp up the beefy flavor from the meatballs. I got this tip from America’s Test Kitchen. If you have never used Better That Bouillon Bases before, you are seriously missing out. A cook’s secret weapon in these days of I’m-too-busy-for-homemade-stock.
close up of cutting the rind off a wedge of Parmesan cheese.
  1. Don’t forget to add in a Parmesan rind, if you have one. This means you need to buy a block of real parmesan cheese (look for “made in Italy” on the package) that has a rind on it, then chop it off yourself. This rind is full of tons of flavor and really amps up your broth! Throw in some fresh thyme at this point too, if you have it.
close up of food processor shredding carrots.
  1. Next shred up your carrots. I love to shred because I’m a bit of a carrot diva and I like to have carrot in every bite of my soup. EVERY BITE, I SAY! Chopped carrots are fine though. You should have added them back in with the onions and celery to saute a bit though, whoops sorry. It’s okay, add them in chopped or shredded, and wait for them to get tender in the simmering soup. Add your meatballs at this point too, so we can get them nice and cooked through.
  2. Once your soup has simmered for a half hour or so, when the carrots are tender and the meatballs cooked through, it’s time to add our greens and pasta. Adding them too early makes the greens wilty and the pasta soggy, so wait until the end.
knife and chopped spinach on a cutting board to show chop size.
  1. I love to use spinach and dinosaur kale, but you can use any greens you want! Have you ever cooked with dino kale before?? First timer over here 🙋‍♀️ it is SO fun. The texture of the leaves is intense and.. bubbly? I kept running water over the leave in the sink just watch it roll off in this beautiful cascade. (Do I sound like I’m stoned right now?? “It’s a double rainbow!!” haha I’m telling you it was cool looking ok) When cooked in your soup, the rough texture of dino kale melts into tender deliciousness, the perfect compliment to the meatballs and broth.
kale leaves on cutting board showing how to cut out the spine.
  1. Use a knife to slice out the thick stems, then chop. I always prefer to buy whole kale (not the pre-chopped kind in the bag) so that I can easily remove the entire stem myself. The bagged kind just chops up the stem like it’s nbd. No thanks.
  2. One more thing, you can replace some or all of your greens with escarole if you like. It is a more traditional and a little bit spicy. I couldn’t find any at the store! Any type of green will do.
stock pot filled with broth with a large pile of spinach and kale.
  1. Nothing will make you feel more healthy than adding a giant mound of chopped leaves to your pot of soup. Look at you and all your vitamin consumption!! You are probably never getting sick again!!
stock pot filled with broth, spinach, kale, and tiny pasta.
  1. Last thing, add in your pasta, whatever kind you are using. It shouldn’t take more than 7-10 minutes for the pasta to reach al dente. Make sure you boil your pasta in a separate pot of boiling water if you know you are going to have leftovers. Then you can add the cooked pasta to each serving. If the pasta sits with the leftovers, it will continue absorbing the broth, and pretty soon there won’t be any broth left, which is a serious tragedy.

Wedding Soup Recipe Variations

I love this soup just the way it is, but try these variations to make it your own.

  • Shred your carrots! Sure, you can chop them, but shredded carrot texture is amazing.
  • Make it in the crockpot. Nothing better than filling your home with the aroma of soup cooking all day! See the recipe card for complete instructions on how to do it.
  • Adjust kale and spinach to your preferences. I call for both, but you can choose just one or the other, or add more or less of each one as you like.

Tips for this Recipe for Italian Wedding Soup

Here are my favorite tips for taking this soup from yum to OMG.

  • Cut the onions super, super tiny. Don’t ruin those delicate little meatballs by putting gigantic chunks of onion in them! Chop the onions very finely so that they melt right into the meatball. All of the flavor, none of the texture. 
  • Use your hands to roll the meatballs. I know you might not want to, but a cookie scoop alone isn’t going to make these babies hold together. If you’re squeamish, get disposable gloves. You need to roll them firmly between your palms.
  • If the pot smells scorched, wash it. Black on the bottom of your pot? No problem. A scorched or burned smell? Stop cooking, let the pan cool a little, and wash it before proceeding with more oil and the rest of the meatballs. You don’t want burned tasting meatballs!
  • Planning for leftovers? Boil the pasta separately. You can drain it and add a little scoop to each bowl of soup. Otherwise, as the leftovers sit, the pasta will absorb the broth of the soup, and you’ll end up with mushy pasta and brothless soup.

What to serve with this Italian Wedding Soup Recipe

Italian wedding soup is basically a whole meal by itself, but honestly what’s soup without a lil bread? And maybe a salad or veggies if you’ve got a big crowd:

Storing the Best Italian Wedding Soup Recipe leftovers

Italian Wedding Soup is so great for leftovers! Once the soup has cooled to room temperature, pour it into an airtight container, and put in the fridge. The soup will last 3-5 days in the refrigerator. As it sits, the broth will continue to absorb into the pasta. Add more chicken or beef broth as necessary to bring it back to soup consistency.

To reheat, I like to heat the soup in a small pot on the stove, only reheating the number of serving that will be eaten at that time. You can of course also use a microwave. I like to stir every thirty seconds or so (to avoid hot spots) until the soup is nice and hot.

Italian Wedding Soup made of broth, meatballs, greens, and pasta in a white bowl on a cutting board.

How to freeze Wedding Soup

Like most broth-based soups, Italian Wedding Soup freezes beautifully. If you have a smaller crew at your house, you could definitely freeze half the soup (or freeze in individual portions) for a super easy dinner in the future! To freeze, wait for the soup to come to room temperature and then package it in freezer ziplock bags or well-sealing Tupperware. It should last about 3-4 months in the freezer. Once you thaw the soup in the refrigerator overnight, it will easily rewarm on the stove over medium heat.

If you know ahead of time you are going to be freezing your soup, leave out the acini di pepe (or whatever pasta you are using) and add it when you serve it the second time. Cook the pasta separately in boiling water for 8-10 minutes.

Wedding Soup Recipe FAQs

You got questions, we got answers. My sister Laura (hi Laura!!) helped me research Italian Wedding Soup for this post, and got so into it that she bought a book, Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American. Sounds like a fun read! I’m borrowing it when she’s done!

What is Italian Wedding Soup called in Italy?

In Italy, the original name is Minestra Maritata, which means married soup. It was named that for how well the flavors of the broth and greens “marry” or blend together soup. It’s a marriage of flavors rather than people!

Do they eat italian wedding soup at italian weddings?

Nope! It’s actually most commonly eaten at Christmas or Easter time.

What is the most famous soup in italy?

It’s actually Minestrone! Any kind of variation of a bean, vegetable, and noodle soup is called minestrone so there are about as many versions as there are Italian nonnas.

WHat are the meatballs in Italian Wedding Soup made of?

Usually a mix of beef and pork, or sausage. This recipe calls for classic Italian flavors like onion, garlic, parmesan, oregano, etc. You can use any basic meatball recipe for this soup.

What kind of pasta goes in italian wedding soup?

Any type of smaller pasta will do. The most popular is acini di pepe, but ditalini, orzo, tubettini, or even chopped spaghetti noodles (if you’re desperate) can be used.

metal ladle filled with italian wedding soup which has a meatball, broth, pasta, and vegetables.

More cozy soup recipes to love!

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Best Italian Wedding Soup Recipe

5 from 11 votes
Prep: 40 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 10
I don't know about you, but I'm about to marry this Italian Wedding Soup recipe. It is PACKED with goodness! The flavorful broth, the juicy meatballs, the tiny pasta, the mountain of healthy greens making you feel like you're probably going to live to 150 year old after eating all this leafy stuff. Make it on the stove or in the slow cooker, easy!


For the meatballs

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork, or mild Italian sausage
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped fine, or grated
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, for frying (I use light olive oil)

For the soup

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cups celery, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine, I used cooking wine
  • 2 cups beef broth*, I use Better than Bouillon, see note
  • 12 cups chicken broth*, I use Better than Bouillon, see note
  • 5 large carrots, shredded or chopped
  • 5 sprigs thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 parmesan rind, optional
  • 3 ounces spinach, chopped
  • 3 ounces dinosaur kale (Lacinato kale), (or any kale) or escarole, chopped
  • 1 cup acini di pepe pasta, or fregola, or ditalini, or any tiny pasta

To garnish

  • fresh parsley, chopped, to garnish
  • parmesan, grated, to garnish
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • crushed red pepper


For the meatballs:

  • In a large bowl, add all the meatball** ingredients: 1/2 pound ground beef, 1/2 pound ground pork, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon oregano, 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 1 egg, 1/2 cup milk, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, and 1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs.
  • You need 4 cloves of garlic and 1/2 yellow onion for the meatballs, plus more for the soup itself. So do yourself a favor and smash and mince 8 cloves of garlic (add half to the meat mixture, set the rest aside.)
    Use a food processor or some time and patience with a knife to chop 1/2 yellow onion into tiny pieces. You can also use a cheese grater if you like. You want these pieces of onion to be quite small so that they melt into the tiny meatballs.
    While you are already crying, use a knife to chop the remaining 1 and 1/2 onions. These onions don't have to be chopped especially small, they are going in the soup. Set aside.
  • Once you have the garlic and onion added to the meat mixture, use your hands to mix it all together. I like to use disposable gloves for this task. Using your hands really is the best way to combine meat; a spoon or spatula will never be able to get it as thoroughly mixed, and you will make your meat tough and heavy in your attempts to try.
  • In a large soup pot (I use my 6 quart Dutch oven) heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over medium heat. When it is shimmery, start adding meatballs. Use a 1-inch cookie scoop (or your hands) to shape the dough into tiny meatballs. Roll them between your palms to help them keep their shape while frying.
  • Add the meatballs to the hot oil one at a time, with plenty of space between each one so that they get nice and browned. Add as many meatballs as you can without having any touch each other.
  • Cook for about 1-2 minutes. Once browned, use metal tongs to carefully scrape the underside of the meatball and flip it to the other side. Cook for another 1 minute until browned.
    Adjust the heat as necessary so they don't burn. You do not need to cook the center of the meatball; it will finish cooking in the soup. You just want nice brown edges.
  • Remove the browned meatballs to a plate and continue until all the meatballs are done. Add more oil if necessary. If the bottom of your pan turns black, embrace it, it adds flavor. If the oil starts smoking and it smells scorched, you've gone too far. Remove it all, wash the pot, and try again at a lower temperature. We are making our soup in this pot and you don't want that scorched flavor.

Make the soup

  • Add 3 tablespoons olive oil to whatever grease is leftover in the pot. Turn the heat to medium and add 1 and 1/2 chopped yellow onions, 3 cups chopped celery, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, and 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning. Let saute for 5-7 minutes, until the onion is translucent.
  • Add 4 cloves of minced garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
  • Add 1/2 cup white wine and scrape up all the browned bits on the pan. Cook for a couple minutes until the wine is mostly evaporated.
  • Add 2 cups beef broth and 10 cups chicken broth, see note* (I love to use Better Than Bouillon bases). Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil.
  • Peel and trim 5 large carrots. Use a food processor or grater to shred the carrots. (You can also just chop them. I love the texture of shredded carrots in soup.) Add the carrots any which way you do them.
  • Add 5 sprigs of thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme. Add 1 bay leaf.
  • Add in 1 parmesan rind, if you have one. It's totally okay if you don't!
  • Add all the meatballs to the soup. By this point the soup should be at a boil; turn the heat down to medium or medium low to maintain a low simmer.
  • Let the soup simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prep your greens. Slice the stems off each leaf of kale, then chop. You want about 3 ounces (about 4 cups). This is totally to taste, so feel free to add more or less. Chop 3 ounces spinach (about 2 cups) into bite size pieces.
  • Add the kale, spinach, and 1 cup acini de pepe pasta to the soup. Continue simmering on medium heat for another 6-10 minutes, until the kale is soft and the pasta is al dente.
    (If you know you are going to have leftovers, you might consider boiling the pasta in a separate pot, draining, and adding it to each bowl of soup. The longer leftovers sit, the more the pasta will absorb the broth of your soup. Soggy pasta and broth-less soup would be a tragic outcome indeed.)
  • Ladle the soup into bowls and top with fresh chopped parsley, grated Parmesan cheese, and cracked black pepper or crushed red pepper. Serve with crusty French bread!

Slow cooker Italian Wedding Soup

  • Make the meatballs as instructed. Add the meatballs and these ingredients to a 6 quart slow cooker: 1 and 1/2 chopped onions, 3 cups celery, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, 4 cloves garlic, 1/2 cup white wine, 2 cups beef broth, 12 cups chicken broth, 5 sprigs thyme, 1 bay leaf, and 1 parmesan rind (optional).
  • Cook on low for 8-10 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours. Add 5 shredded carrots, 3 ounces chopped spinach, 3 ounces chopped kale, and 1 cup acini de pepe pasta. Stir, cover, and turn the crock pot to high heat. Cook for another 20-30 minutes until the carrots are tender and the pasta is al dente. Serve with chopped parsley, parmesan, and black pepper or crushed red pepper.


*I love to use Better Than Bouillon Base for my soups. Use 1 teaspoon base for 1 cup water. So for this soup, I used 2 teaspoons beef base, and 1/4 cup chicken base, and 14 cups water. (3 quarts + 2 cups) I don’t mix the base with the water first, I just add the water to the soup and then stir in the base. 
**I think it’s super annoying to have half a pound of beef and pork leftover. When I make this, I always double all the meatball ingredients and then split the mixed meat in half. Make tiny meatballs for the soup, then use the other half to make regular size meatballs. Bake on a foil-lined baking sheet at 450 for 10-15 minutes until browned. Let cool, then carefully place meatballs in a few ziplocks and freeze. Don’t lump them all together or they will freeze in a big mass. You can use these meatballs for any Italian dish, spaghetti and meatballs, Meatballs with Rice and Peas, Raspberry Balsamic meatballs, etc. 
Doubled meatball ingredient list:
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon oregano
  • 4 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 and 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 yellow onion, minced well
  • 8 cloves garlic, smashed and minced


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 313kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 1787mg | Potassium: 608mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 7982IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 226mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Calories: 313
Keyword: italian, soup, wedding
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  1. 5 stars
    Wonderful recipe. I did all chicken broth with half homemade. Turkey meatballs cooked high and quick in the oven. 2 beautiful heads of escarole. And fregola that was cooked and rinsed beforehand. LOVED the shredded carrots. And the tip to use the food processor. I will use this recipe many many times

    1. I’m so happy you tried out this recipe Donna! Funny story, I literally just made this last night for my parents who came over for a visit. It’s so good, I’m excited to eat the leftovers for lunch. Thank you so much for taking the time to review, that is so helpful and kind! 💕

  2. 5 stars
    I may or may not have been dying of laughter when I read your comment about using swimming goggles while you chop onions and then looking like a raccoon.

    I have always loved your recipes and want to make this but have a question. Do you think I could double the meatball recipe and just freeze the tiny meatballs raw for when I want to make the soup again? We have family coming in to visit us and I am trying to do as much prep as I can before they arrive. Also, your beef barley soup is one of my favorites!

    1. Hi Lety! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Yes, you could definitely double the meatballs and freeze for later, what a great idea! Hope your family enjoys the soup :-)

  3. 5 stars
    I made this a few weeks ago, and my husband and I loved it. We shared some with our neighbor and she loved it too and asked for the recipe. I did not use kale as we are not fans of it, and it is hard to find in Wisconsin this time of year. I just added extra spinach. Will definitely make it again. Thanks for such a great recipe!

    1. Extra spinach is a great idea Amy! Any kind of green is great for this recipe. So happy you guys all loved it, what lucky neighbors you have!! Thank you so much for coming back to comment and review 💕

  4. 5 stars
    The Italian Wedding soup was delicious! I followed your recipe to the letter. It was a big pot of soup and it completely finished. Will make again even if the weather is hot, I love soups and will make them anytime. 😋😋

    1. I’m so happy you loved it Mary! I am the same, I love soup all year round! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment 💕

    1. I’m so happy you loved it Janis! Sometimes it’s amazing what garnishes can do for a dish, right? Thanks for reviewing!!

  5. 5 stars
    I made this recipe on Monday. I just had to smile when I saw your note about doubling the meatball recipe to use in another recipe. I love being efficient! The recipe was delicious and my 17 year old son had 2nds which is huge compliment. I did not have enough parmesan so I used 1/2 parmesan and 1/2 pecorino Romano and I did NOT have a parmesan rind. I also used almond milk instead of regular milk. It was delicious! I always use matchstick carrots because I am too lazy to shred them. Thank you!

    1. Having a half pound of both pork and beef in the freezer sounds like the most annoying thing haha! I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe Christine, good sub with the pecorino. also, love the matchstick carrot idea!! Why do I never think of these things! Love it. Thank you for taking the time to comment!

  6. 5 stars
    Made the wedding soup today! Amazing! Best recipe ever. All the instructions were perfect! I am making it again for my neighbors…such a good recipe to have on hand. Thank you

    1. I’m so happy you made the soup Patty! what lucky neighbors you have! can I be your neighbor 😂 you’re a good friend. Thank you so much for taking the time to review! means so much to me! 💕💕

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