Italian Wedding Soup

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Our savory Italian wedding soup is warm, cozy and flavorful. It has a delicious comforting aroma. Filled with fresh ingredients and hearty textures, it includes these crisp, baked chicken meatballs. Make this easy Italian soup recipe in about an hour. Serve it for lunch or dinner.

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Italian wedding soup in a black Staub cocotte with shaved parmesan cheese and lemon slices.

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s simple to assemble with basic ingredients. Most are refrigerator and pantry staples.
  • You can use store-bought meatballs or make your own. Or make the meatballs in advance and freeze them for later – for a day you’d like to assemble this easy recipe.
  • This Italian wedding soup is hearty enough to satisfy even the hungriest appetite. It can be served as a full meal, or along with a crisp green salad.
  • This soup is deeply savory and flavorful. It’s one of the most popular soups on this recipe site with more than 57K social shares.
Single serving of Italian Wedding Soup with a spoon and garnishes of lemon and Parmesan cheese.

👩🏻‍🍳 Recipe FAQ

What is Italian wedding soup?

The name of this soup refers to the marriage between two of the main ingredients: the green veggies (spinach or kale) and the meat (chicken meatballs or sausage), and the beautiful flavors produced by this coupling.

Is Italian wedding soup really Italian?

There is some disagreement on whether it originated in Italy or in Spain. But it was introduced to America by Italian immigrants from Naples.

Is Italian wedding soup served at weddings?

The Italian name for this soup is “minestra maritata,” or “married soup,” but it’s not traditionally served at weddings. This rustic Italian soup was often created from the leftover scraps from making other meals.

Flat lay image of the ingredients for making Italian Wedding Soup on a rustic wooden table.

🛒 Ingredients

🐓For Chicken Meatballs

  • Ground chicken
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Fresh Italian parsley
  • Virgin olive oil
  • Large egg
  • Garlic clove
  • Dried onion flakes
  • Dried Oregano
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
Ingredients for baked meatballs.

🍵 For the Soup

  • Virgin olive oil
  • Yellow onion
  • Baby carrots
  • Celery
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh sage
  • Chicken broth or chicken stock
  • Basil pesto
  • Lemon juice
  • Baby spinach or baby kale
  • Short-cut pasta
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese
Flat lay image of chopped carrots, onions, celery and herbs for wedding soup.

🔪 Prep the Ingredients

Begin by assembling the chicken meatballs. Mix all ingredients together until combined. I use a small metal scoop for meatball formation. It makes things quick and easy!

  • While the meatballs are baking in the oven, chop the carrots, onions, celery and herbs.
  • Squeeze the lemon juice.
  • In heavily salted water, boil the pasta al dente. Drain well. Set it aside.

📖 Recipe Steps

  1. In a large heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium/high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion. Saute for 6-8 minutes, just until the onion begins to caramelize. 
  2. Add carrots, celery and herbs to the pot. Stir to combine. 
  3. Turn the heat down to low. Add three pinches of salt and a few twists of black pepper. Saute for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the pesto and lemon juice. Pour in the chicken broth. Stir. Simmer over medium heat for 15-20 minutes.
4 step-by-step images for making Authentic Italian Wedding Soup.
  • Step 5: Add trimmed spinach leaves to the pot. Stir until they’re completely submerged in the broth. Allow soup to simmer for another 5 minutes, or until spinach is wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Two stacked images of adding fresh spinach to noodle soup, and after stirring it in.
  • Step 6: Remove the pot from heat. Add meatballs and cooked noodles. If desired, add a light drizzling of olive oil over the soup to make it look and taste more savory. Top individual servings with shaved parmesan cheese.
Two stacked images of wedding soup with meatballs, Parmesan cheese, and lemon wedges.

🧑🏼‍🍳 Expert Tips

  • Increase the flavor of chicken meatballs. Use 3/4 pound ground chicken breast and 1/4 pound ground chicken sausage (breakfast sausage or sweet Italian sausage, no casings).
  • Consider doubling the recipe for the chicken meatballs. Because it’s hard to resist snacking on them as soon as they come out of the oven. You want to make sure there will be enough meatballs left for the soup.
  • No time to make meatballs? Buy a bag of frozen meatballs at the market. Or sauté 1 lb ground Italian chicken sausage (no casings) with the onions. So simple and delicious.
  • How to spice up Italian wedding soup: Add a tablespoon of turmeric for a lovely golden broth. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a bit of heat.
  • Brighten the flavor of the soup: Add a bit of fresh lemon juice, or serve the soup with wedges of lemon for squeezing.
Italian Wedding Soup in a black Staub cocotte with lemon wedges and shaved Parmesan.

More Fall/Winter Soup Recipes

If you love this cozy Italian wedding soup, you’ll also enjoy these comforting fall and winter recipes. They’re a perfect lunch or dinner on a cold-weather day. Add them to your monthly meal-plan rotation. Pack them in a thermos or crockpot for tailgating.

A single serving of Noodle Soup with meatballs with garnishes of lemon slices and shaved Parmesan.

Rate This Recipe ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Flavor testers rated this the BEST Italian wedding soup recipe. The said the hearty ingredients and flavorful broth were amazing. But it was the tasty, crisp chicken meatballs that made this easy recipe over-the-top delicious.

If you agree this recipe’s a keeper, give it a 5-star rating in the comments. Then be a recipe hero. Share it with friends. 📌 Pin it to Pinterest.

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

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A single serving of Noodle Soup with meatballs with garnishes of lemon slices and shaved Parmesan.

Italian Wedding Soup


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4.9 from 15 reviews

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Description

Baked chicken meatballs, basil pesto and shaved Parmesan cheese raise the flavor profile of this beautiful Italian wedding soup recipe. This flavorful noodle soup is a family favorite!


Ingredients

Units Scale

MEATBALLS

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

SOUP

  • 2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups petite carrots, sliced
  • 1 1/4 cups celery, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
  • 12 cups chicken broth or chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto, homemade or store-bought
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 12 ounces baby spinach, stems removed (or baby kale, chopped)
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 pound short-cut pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups shaved Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Make the meatballs with this chicken meatball recipe.
  2. In heavily salted water, boil the pasta al dente according to package instructions.
  3. In a large heavy pot, saute onion in olive oil over medium/high heat for about 5 minutes or until the onions begin to caramelize. Reduce the heat to low. Add the carrots, celery and herbs to the pot. Saute for another 5 minutes. Add the pesto, lemon juice and broth. Simmer over medium heat for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Stir the spinach into the soup so that all leaves are completely submerged in the broth. Simmer another 5 minutes so the leaves can wilt. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the meatballs and noodles to the pot. If desired, add a light drizzling of olive oil over the top.
  5. Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with shaved Parmesan and wedges of fresh lemon.

Notes

EXPERT TIPS

  • How to increase the flavor of the chicken meatballs: Use 3/4 pound ground chicken breast and 1/4 pound ground chicken sausage (breakfast sausage or sweet Italian sausage, no casings). 
  • No time to make meatballs? Buy frozen meatballs at the market. Or sauté a pound of ground Italian chicken sausage (no casings) with the onions.
  • Prep Time: 30 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 Minutes
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Oven, Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian
Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

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29 Comments

  1. Very nice touch adding the lemon juice, brightens it up. I always add Better Than Bouillon to my soups for richer flavor. Threw in some chopped leeks too. Tasty. I made the meatballs with ground turkey instead of chicken. I wonder what the difference is. They do seem a little dry.

  2. This was everything I was hoping it to be! Thank you so much for sharing your delicious recipe 🥰






    1. Thank you so much Stephanie for taking the time to come back and share your experience with this Italian wedding soup recipe. I’m so glad to know you enjoyed it!

  3. We have had a soup contest at church, and this type was the winner. Now I can make it for myself!

  4. Oh, yum! That soup really looks delish. I love the addition of pasta and it’s been a while since I have a soup with pasta in it. Can’t wait to try that.

    1. This soup was amazing. I didn’t have all the herbs so I used herbs de province because it was a mix of all of the above. I never comment on these things but I had to hear. This soup was perfection!






      1. Nathalie, I’m so excited to hear that you made and loved one of our family’s favorite soup recipes! It’s so warm and comforting. Many wishes are sent your way for a fabulous holiday season!

  5. This was such an easy recipe and I’m telling you , the flavors are unbelievable!!! Everyone in the family loved it. I used the noodles that I had in the house which was bow ties and I used ground pork instead of chicken because that’s what I had in the house. Totally recommend Denay’s yummy recipe






  6. Italian Wedding Soup is one of my favorites to buy but I have never made it from scratch. I’m pinning this. Thank You!

  7. This looks so delicious! Is it possible to make with beef instead of chicken? We have a freezer full of beef, since we raise cattle, so if possible I would rather use that than go buy ground chicken.

  8. This is definitely a favorite in our household! I’ve always been a little nervous trying to make this myself that with your recipe I just might do it this weekend !