Italian Meatball Soup Recipe + VIDEO

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Best Italian Meatball Soup Recipe – This rustic and delicious Italian soup is brimming with homemade meatballs, tender pasta, and veggies, all in a rich tomato broth. It’s ready to serve in under an hour for a cozy dinner any night of the week!

Green bowl of Italian meatball soup loaded with wheel shaped pasta, sliced carrots, in a tomato broth.

Why We Love This Easy Soup Recipe

Not to be confused with the famous Italian wedding soup recipe, also with meatballs and vegetables…This heartier Italian Meatball Soup recipe has a deep tomato and beef base, and is perfect for fall and winter meals. 

It’s a fabulous meatball soup made with Italian sausage, or a combination of ground beef and Italian sausage, lots of fresh garlic, onions, celery, carrots, and small pasta in any shape you like! Everything comes together in one pot – including searing the homemade meatballs on the stovetop.

In just 45 minutes the savory, hearty, and delicious soup is ready to serve with warm bread and a fresh salad!

Top down two green bowls of Italian meatball soup loaded with wheel shaped pasta, sliced carrots, in a tomato broth.

Ingredients You Need

For the Meatballs –

  • Ground Italian sausage – spicy or mild
  • Breadcrumbs – plain, or seasoned and skip adding Italian seasoning
  • Parmesan cheese – grated
  • Milk and egg – for binders
  • Italian seasoning – store-bought or homemade Italian seasoning
  • Garlic cloves – minced and divided

For the Soup –

  • Olive oil – or other high-heat and neutral-tasting oil, like canola or avocado oil
  • Onion – peeled and chopped
  • Celery – chopped
  • Carrots – peeled and sliced
  • Canned fire-roasted tomatoes – diced
  • Broth – your choice of beef or chicken (I prefer beef)
  • Pasta – and shape you like; we use wagon wheel pasta here
  • Parsley – fresh, chopped
Wooden cutting board with individual piles of slices carrots, celery, diced onion, and parsley.

How to Make Italian Meatball Soup

Chop all the fresh produce and divide the garlic into two piles, two cloves for the meatballs and two cloves for the soup. 

In a mixing bowl, combine the ground Italian sausage, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, milk, egg, Italian seasoning, and two minced cloves of garlic.

Meatball ingredients in a large white mixing bowl: ground sausage, breadcrumbs, diced onion, and spices.

Mix well by hand until the mixture is very smooth. Then scoop and roll the meat mixture into small 1-inch meatballs that will easily fit on a spoon.

Pro Tip: Although it’s very tempting to make giant meatballs for this soup recipe, the smaller the meatballs are the better… They need to be able to fit on a spoon. Also if they are one bite meatballs that makes them easier to eat. Try to keep them around or under 1 inch across.

Smooth raw meatball mixture in a white bowl.

Set a large 6-8 quart soup pot over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pot. Once hot, add the meatballs. Gently turn the meatballs for 5 minutes to brown them on all sides. Then move the meatballs to a holding plate.

The meatballs do not have to be fully cooked, because they will go back in the soup. If needed, work in batches.

Seared meatballs in a large white soup pot.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pot. Add in the chopped onions, celery, carrots, and remaining minced garlic. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes to soften.

Add the diced tomatoes and beef broth to the pot.

Get the Complete (Printable) Italian Meatball Soup Recipe + VIDEO Below. Enjoy!

Hand adding canned tomatoes to pot with fresh slices of carrots and celery.

Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove the lid and simmer for another 5 minutes. Then add the meatballs and pasta to the pot. Stir well, and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente.

Pro Tip: It’s best if the pasta is a little undercooked since it will continue to sit in the hot broth.

Metal ladle holding serving of soup to camera. Large white pot of soup is in the background.

Recipe Variations

  • Protein – Swap beef/pork with ground chicken or turkey. Or use plant-based meatballs for an easy vegan soup recipe!
  • Frozen meatballs – Save yourself some time and use cooked frozen meatballs. Add them to the pot, still frozen, with the broth and tomatoes.
  • Pasta – We use wagon wheel-shaped noodles. However, you can make this easy recipe with other small pasta noodles like elbow macaroni, mini shells, or ditalini.
  • Gluten-free – It’s easy to make this a GF-friendly Italian soup! Simply use your favorite gluten-free breadcrumbs to make the meatballs, and whatever GF pasta you like.
  • Veggies – You can add to or swap out vegetables! Other hearty veggies like zucchini, bell peppers, and green beans are all great options.
Green bowl of Italian meatball soup loaded with wheel shaped pasta, sliced carrots, in a tomato broth. Two pieces of toasted baguette are on the green plate that's beneath the soup.

Serving Suggestions

Enjoy warm bowls of Italian meatball soup topped with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and grated Parmesan, if you like!

The Mediterranean flavors are delicious with garlicky bread and a fresh, crisp salad. Try our wonderfully easy homemade garlic bread, garlic knots, or breadsticks for a super cozy rustic meal. I also love to serve a classic Caesar or updated kale Caesar salad with this soup.

Leftovers are super tasty the next day! Reheat a bowl for a satisfying lunch or quick dinner.

Green bowl of Italian meatball soup loaded with wheel shaped pasta, sliced carrots, in a tomato broth. A metal spoon is holding a bite up to camera.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you keep meatballs from falling apart in soup?

Searing the meatballs on all sides helps them to keep their shape in the soup. Then take care to simmer the soup, but do not hard boil.

How long do leftovers last?

Cool the soup completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Italian meatball soup will keep well in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.

Can you freeze meatball soup?

Yes, this soup is great for freezing! Once it cools, transfer the soup to a freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months; thaw overnight in the fridge.

Green bowl of Italian meatball soup loaded with wheel shaped pasta, sliced carrots, in a tomato broth. A metal spoon is holding a bite up to camera.

Looking for More Easy Soup Recipes? Be Sure to Also Try:

Italian Meatball Soup Recipe + VIDEO

This rustic and delicious Italian soup recipe is brimming with homemade meatballs, tender pasta and veggies, all in a rich tomato broth. It’s ready to serve in under an hour for a cozy dinner any night of the week!

Servings: 8 servings

  • Chop all the fresh produce and divide the garlic into two piles, two cloves for the meatballs and two cloves for the soup.

  • In a mixing bowl, combine the ground Italian sausage, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, milk, egg, Italian seasoning, and two minced cloves of garlic. Mix well by hand until the mixture is very smooth. Then scoop and roll the meat mixture into small 1-inch meatballs that will easily fit on a spoon.

  • Set a large 6-8 quart soup pot over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pot. Once hot, add the meatballs. Gently turn the meatballs for 5 minutes to brown them on all sides. Then move the meatballs to a holding plate. (The meatballs do not have to be fully cooked, because they will go back in the soup. If needed, work in batches.)

  • Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pot. Add in the chopped onions, celery, carrots, and remaining minced garlic. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes to soften.

  • Add the diced tomatoes and beef broth to the pot. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove the lid and simmer another 5 minutes. Then add the meatballs and pasta to the pot. Stir well, and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. (It’s best if the pasta is a little under cooked since it will continue to sit in the hot broth.)

  • Stir in the chopped parsley, and turn off the heat. Taste, then seasoned with salt and pepper as desired.

Cool the soup completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Italian meatball soup will keep well in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
To freeze: Once it cools, transfer the soup to a freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months; thaw overnight in the fridge.

Serving: 1cup, Calories: 348kcal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 17g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 69mg, Sodium: 1501mg, Potassium: 486mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 3034IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 142mg, Iron: 2mg

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