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Easy Italian Wedding Soup for a Simple, Delicious Meal

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Italian Wedding Soup is a tender marriage of flavorful, easy-to-make meatballs, fragrant broth, vegetables, and pasta. It’s a simple meal, reminiscent of what an Italian grandmother might make in her kitchen.

A meal in and of itself, this Italian-style soup is cozy and warm, the best of all comfort foods, and is utterly and completely delicious!

Side view of Italian Wedding Soup in a white bowl with the pot in the background.

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What to Love About Italian Wedding Soup

Traditionally made from a rich and slow-cooked homemade chicken stock, this speedy version gives you all the flavor you love in minutes. Here is what else to love about this soup.

  • The meatballs are incredible: With a blending of two kinds of ground meat (beef and pork), the blending of flavors is superb. Add basil, parsley, garlic, and onions, and it’s just next level delicious.
  • Simple to make: While there are a handful of ingredients in both the soup and the meatballs, it comes together in a little more than 30 minutes, but the flavors will make you think it cooked all day.
  • Pasta: If you love pasta in soup (chicken noodle soup) comes to mind, this Italian soup with orzo will be a favorite. It reminds me a little of Lemon Orzo Soup with a different flavor profile but equally delicious with pasta.
  • One Pot Meal: It’s true; the entire soup, including the meatballs, is browned, sauteed, and cooked in one pot. Easy, easy, easy!

What is Italian Wedding Soup?

Italian Wedding Soup is a brothy soup filled with tender, flavorful meatballs, and greens like spinach or escarole, and small pasta like orzo or ditalini. We’re adding additional vegetables, like onions, carrots, and celery, to create a marriage of ingredients in perfect harmony.

In southern Italy, this soup is known as “minestra maritata,” translated as “wedding soup” and is a classic soup peasant-style dish with regional ingredient differences.

It often includes easy-to-source ingredients like vegetables and meat scraps. Minestra, which means soup or broth, is married “maritata,” to the meats and vegetables, creating a perfect blending of flavors and textures.

Tips for Making Italian Wedding Soup

While this soup is easy to make, here are a few tips to make it the best wedding soup ever.

  • Make small meatballs: While we may love giant-size meatballs tossed in tomato sauce with spaghetti, small-size meatballs (about 3/4 inch to 1 inch in size) make the best soup.
  • Brown the meatballs: It only takes 5 minutes or so to brown before adding them to the broth. The flavor it brings is definitely worth those few minutes!
  • Don’t skip fresh parsley: It’s easy to overlook the fresh flavor that parsley brings to a dish.

What You Need to Make Italian Wedding Soup

You will find ingredient measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of this post, but here is a quick look at what’s needed to make this delicious Italian soup.

For the Meatballs

  • Ground Meat: The best combination for these meatballs is half ground beef and half ground pork. Truly, it’s an amazing marriage of flavors!
  • Large egg for stability and structure
  • Italian bread crumbs or panko, whichever you have on hand
  • Aromatics and Seasonings: Fresh parsley, garlic, dried basil (or Italian seasoning), and salt and pepper
  • Grated Parmesan

For the Soup

  • Olive oil for sauteing the vegetables.
  • Vegetables: chopped onion, carrots, celery, and garlic.
  • Broth: a combination of chicken stock and water.
  • Seasoning: salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Pasta: Dry orzo, acini di pepe, or ditalini (any small/tiny pasta works well here).
  • Greens: I’m using baby spinach and arugula, but any green that cooks quickly works well.

How to Make Italian Wedding Soup

Begin the soup by making the meatballs.

Top view of raw meatball ingredients in a glass bowl.

Step 1: Make the meatballs

Combine slightly beaten egg, ground meats, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley, garlic, dry basil and salt in a bowl. Mix gently but thoroughly until combined. Coat hands with olive oil and form into 3/4-inch to 1 inch meatballs, and place on a plate or tray.

Top view of uncooked meatballs in a black and white Dutch oven.

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half of the meatballs and brown on all sides. Remove to a paper-towel-lined plate and repeat until all the meatballs are browned.

Step 2: Make the soup

Into the same pot, add the onions, carrots, and celery. Season with salt and pepper to taste and saute until translucent and beginning to soften. Stir in the garlic and cook for another few seconds.

Top view of onions, carrots, and celery in a black and white Dutch oven for Italian Wedding Soup.

Pour in the broth and water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the meatballs and dry pasta and reduce the heat to simmer gently. Cook for 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender.

Top view of Italian Wedding Soup with baby spinach in a white Dutch oven, ready for serving.

Turn off the heat and stir in the greens (I’m using a combination of baby spinach and arugula). Let sit until the greens are bright and wilted. Serve topped with Parmesan.

More Italian Soup Recipes to Try

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Top view of two bowls of Italian Wedding Soup with fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese.
Three quarter view of Italian Wedding Soup in a white bowl with fresh Parmesan cheese and baby greens.

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup is a tender marriage of flavorful, easy-to-make meatballs, fragrant broth, vegetables, and pasta. It's a simple meal, reminiscent of what an Italian grandmother might make in her kitchen.
5 from 2 votes
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Equipment

Ingredients

For the Meatballs

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs or panko
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced or pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper (to taste or a few grinds)

For the Soup

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion chopped, about 1 1/2 cups
  • 3 carrots chopped, about 1 1/2 cups
  • 2 celery ribs chopped, about 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 garlic clove minced or pressed
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup uncooked orzo pasta or acini di pepe, or ditalini
  • 2 cups greens like baby spinach

Instructions

  • Combine slightly beaten egg, ground meats, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley, garlic, dry basil and salt in a bowl. Mix gently but thoroughly until combined. Coat hands with olive oil and form into 3/4-inch to 1 inch meatballs, and place on a plate or tray.
    Top view of raw meatball ingredients in a glass bowl.
  • Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half of the meatballs and brown on all sides. Remove to a paper-towel-lined plate and repeat until all the meatballs are browned.
    Top view of uncooked meatballs in a black and white Dutch oven.

For the Soup

  • Into the same pot, add the onions, carrots, and celery. Season with salt and pepper to taste and saute until translucent and beginning to soften. Stir in the garlic and cook for another few seconds.
  • Pour in the broth and water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the meatballs and dry pasta and reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the pasta is tender.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the greens (I'm using a combination of baby spinach and arugula). Let sit until the greens are bright and wilted. Serve topped with Parmesan.

Video

Notes

Reheating: The pasta will continue to absorb the soup’s moisture. When reheating, you may need to add additional broth or water.
Storing: The soup will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or up to 3 months in the freezer.
Freezing and Thawing the Soup: When freezing the soup, cool it to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, transfer to a pot, and bring to a simmer, adding water or broth as needed.

Nutrition

Calories: 267kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 981mg | Potassium: 357mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 5461IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Course: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Italian Wedding Soup

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