Italian Meatball Soup


Embark on a culinary journey to Italy with the comforting and flavorful Italian Meatball Soup. This beloved dish brings together the essence of Italian cooking, blending tender meatballs, aromatic herbs, and wholesome vegetables into a hearty and satisfying soup that’s perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re craving a cozy meal on a chilly evening or eager to impress guests with a taste of authentic Italian cuisine, Italian Meatball Soup is sure to become a cherished favorite in your recipe repertoire.


  • 1 pound ground beef (or a mixture of beef and pork)
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 6 cups beef or chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup small pasta, such as ditalini or small shells
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)


  1. Prepare the Meatballs: In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, beaten egg, minced garlic, dried oregano, dried basil, salt, and pepper. Mix until well combined, then shape the mixture into small meatballs, about 1 inch in diameter.
  2. Brown the Meatballs: Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the meatballs in batches and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer the browned meatballs to a plate and set aside.
  3. Saute the Vegetables: In the same pot, add the diced onion, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Simmer the Soup: Return the browned meatballs to the pot, then pour in the beef or chicken broth and diced tomatoes with their juices. Bring the soup to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer gently for about 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  5. Add the Pasta: Stir in the small pasta and continue to simmer the soup for an additional 10-12 minutes, or until the pasta is tender and the meatballs are cooked through.
  6. Serve and Garnish: Ladle the Italian Meatball Soup into bowls and garnish with chopped fresh parsley. Serve hot, with grated Parmesan cheese on the side for sprinkling over the soup, if desired.
  7. Enjoy! Serve this comforting Italian Meatball Soup as a satisfying meal on its own or alongside crusty bread for dipping. Buon appetito!

Serving and Storage Tips :

Serving Tip:

For a delightful presentation and an extra burst of flavor, serve Italian Meatball Soup with a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a garnish of chopped fresh parsley on top.

Pair it with crusty bread or garlic toast for a complete and satisfying meal. Italian Meatball Soup also pairs well with a simple side salad dressed with vinaigrette for a refreshing contrast to the hearty soup.

Storage Tip:

If you have leftovers, allow the Italian Meatball Soup to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

When ready to enjoy again, simply reheat the soup on the stovetop over medium heat until warmed through, stirring occasionally. You may need to add a splash of broth or water to thin it out slightly, as the soup may thicken as it sits in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can freeze the soup for longer storage. Portion it into freezer-safe containers, leaving some room at the top for expansion, and freeze for up to 3 months.

To thaw and reheat, simply transfer the soup to the refrigerator overnight to thaw or defrost it in the microwave using the appropriate setting. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated through, stirring occasionally. Enjoy the comforting flavors of Italian Meatball Soup whenever you’re in need of a hearty and satisfying meal!

Variations of Italian Meatball Soup:

1. Vegetable Variation: Add extra vegetables to your Italian Meatball Soup for a nutritious twist. Consider adding diced zucchini, bell peppers, or spinach to the soup during the simmering stage for added color and flavor.

2. Spicy Variation: Add a kick of heat to your Italian Meatball Soup by incorporating spicy Italian sausage or crushed red pepper flakes into the meatball mixture. You can also add diced jalapeños or a dash of hot sauce to the soup for an extra spicy kick.

3. Creamy Variation: For a creamier version of Italian Meatball Soup, stir in a splash of heavy cream or half-and-half at the end of cooking. This will add richness and depth to the soup, making it even more indulgent.

4. Tortellini Variation: Swap out the traditional pasta for cheese-filled tortellini to give your Italian Meatball Soup a unique twist. The creamy, cheesy filling adds a delicious burst of flavor to each bite.

5. Lemon Variation: Add a touch of brightness to your Italian Meatball Soup by stirring in a squeeze of fresh lemon juice just before serving. The acidity of the lemon will balance out the richness of the soup and add a refreshing zing.

6. Bean Variation: Make your Italian Meatball Soup even heartier by adding beans such as cannellini beans or kidney beans. Simply rinse and drain canned beans before adding them to the soup during the simmering stage.

7. Pesto Variation: Incorporate pesto into your Italian Meatball Soup for a burst of fresh herb flavor. Stir in a spoonful of homemade or store-bought pesto just before serving to add an extra layer of complexity to the soup.

8. Meat Variation: Experiment with different types of meat in your Italian Meatball Soup. Try using ground turkey, chicken, or even lamb in place of beef for a unique flavor profile.

9. Grain Variation: For a healthier twist, swap out the traditional pasta for whole grains such as quinoa or farro. These hearty grains add texture and substance to the soup while providing extra nutrients.

10. Cheese Variation: Add extra cheese to your Italian Meatball Soup for a gooey, indulgent twist. Stir in shredded mozzarella or fontina cheese during the simmering stage, or sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on top of each serving before serving.


1. Can I use frozen meatballs instead of making them from scratch? Yes, you can use frozen meatballs as a time-saving option. Simply thaw them according to the package instructions before adding them to the soup during the simmering stage.

2. Can I make Italian Meatball Soup ahead of time? Absolutely! Italian Meatball Soup can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave before serving.

3. Can I freeze Italian Meatball Soup? Yes, Italian Meatball Soup freezes well. Portion it into freezer-safe containers, leaving some room for expansion, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

4. Can I use turkey or chicken instead of beef for the meatballs? Of course! Ground turkey or chicken can be used as a leaner alternative to beef. Just be sure to adjust the seasonings to suit the milder flavor of poultry.

5. Can I make Italian Meatball Soup vegetarian? Yes, you can make a vegetarian version of Italian Meatball Soup by using plant-based meatballs or omitting the meatballs altogether and adding extra vegetables or beans for protein.

6. Can I use a slow cooker to make Italian Meatball Soup? Absolutely! Italian Meatball Soup can be made in a slow cooker for added convenience. Brown the meatballs and sauté the vegetables first, then transfer everything to the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.

7. Can I add extra vegetables to the soup? Yes, feel free to customize the soup with your favorite vegetables. Try adding diced zucchini, bell peppers, or spinach for added nutrition and flavor.

8. Can I make Italian Meatball Soup gluten-free? Yes, you can make Italian Meatball Soup gluten-free by using gluten-free breadcrumbs or oats in the meatballs and ensuring that any pasta or grains used are labeled gluten-free.

9. Can I make Italian Meatball Soup dairy-free? Yes, you can make Italian Meatball Soup dairy-free by omitting the Parmesan cheese or using a dairy-free alternative. Be sure to check the labels of any packaged ingredients for hidden dairy.

10. Can I adjust the seasonings to suit my taste preferences? Absolutely! Feel free to adjust the seasonings, such as salt, pepper, and herbs, to suit your taste preferences. Taste the soup as it cooks and add more seasoning as needed.


Italian Meatball Soup is a classic dish that embodies the warmth and comfort of Italian cuisine. With its rich flavors, wholesome ingredients, and simple preparation, it’s the perfect meal for any occasion, from cozy weeknight dinners to festive gatherings with family and friends. Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or just starting out in the kitchen, Italian Meatball Soup is a recipe that’s sure to please everyone at the table. So why wait? Gather your ingredients, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to savor the flavors of Italy with this delicious and comforting soup!

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