Ina Garten’s Italian Wedding Soup

This post may contain affiliate links.

This Italian Wedding Soup is chock-full of meatballs and pasta and vegetables- adapted from Ina Garten’s Back to Basics Cookbook.

Bowl of Italian Wedding Soup

There are some days when it’s so chilly outside that you feel like you might not make it from the car to your front door without obtaining a bit of frostbite.  These are the days that soup feels entirely perfect and comforting for dinner.  But can soup be considered a main dish?  My husband doesn’t think so.  When soup is placed in front of him for his evening meal, he looks at me, smiles and says, “What’s for dinner?”  My loving response is, “Sweetheart… some soups are meant to be main dishes.  This Italian Wedding Soup is one of them.”  And it is!

Making Meatballs for Italian Wedding Soup
Prep for this soup first involves making the meatballs. Mix the (turkey & sausage) meatball ingredients and spoon the mixture onto a baking sheet. You’ll need fresh white bread crumbs for the meatballs.

How to make fresh white bread crumbs:

Don’t be tempted to use those yucky dry breadcrumbs sold in a can. You can make fresh breadcrumbs quickly and easily in a food processor or in a coffee or spice grinder with whatever bread you have on hand (even English muffins and pita bread will work!)

You’ll get the best results if your bread is slightly stale. Tear the slices into pieces (remove the crusts first) and fill your processor or grinder about half full. Pulse until you get bread crumbs. If you don’t have a processor or a grinder, you can rub slices of stale bread on a box grater instead.

Meatballs for Italian Wedding Soup
Baking the meatballs in the oven makes this entire process so much simpler than trying to saute 40 meatballs in a skillet. They’re done cooking after about 30 minutes.  Then you can set them aside until you’re ready to add them to your Italian Wedding Soup.

Be careful!

Funny side note: I set my meatballs on the counter once when I was preparing for a dinner party. Then I went into my bedroom to get ready, and when I returned to my kitchen I found that my dog had helped herself to all forty meatballs.  I guess she thought they were good too!  An emergency call was made to one of my guests to ask her to stop and get some frozen meatballs at the store.  They weren’t nearly as good as these though!!

Adding dill to Italian Wedding Soup

While the meatballs are cooking, you can prep the soup…chopped onion, carrot, and celery with chicken broth and wine. Pasta and fresh dill are added in toward the end.

pot of Italian Wedding Soup
Your cooked meatballs are then slipped in. It’s set to simmer for a bit before adding in fresh spinach, giving it a taste and adding in any needed salt and pepper.

Ladle full of Italian Wedding Soup
Now, if this soup isn’t a meal in itself… I don’t know what is.

Bowl of Italian Wedding Soup with Parmesan
Warm, comforting, colorful, healthy and delicious. Serve this Italian Wedding Soup to your family knowing that it will fill their tummies and warm their souls in the chilly days of winter. And fyi, my husband is a good guy… a great guy. He just never had homemade soup growing up, and he is actually very happy about having this one for dinner!

Note about leftovers of Italian Wedding Soup:

This soup is excellent when eaten the next day.  I find that soups with pasta tend to lose a lot of their broth when sitting overnight in the refrigerator.  For this reason, I always buy an extra can of chicken broth to add to the soup the next day.  This will ensure you’ll still be eating soup and not just soaked up noodles!

Here are a few more hearty soup recipes you might enjoy:

Print Pin
Save Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Italian Wedding Soup

Absolutely my favorite soup recipe to make for chilly days!
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 314kcal
Course Soup
Cuisine Italian
Keyword italian soup, italian wedding soup



  • 12 ounces ground turkey
  • 8 ounces turkey sausage (casings removed)
  • 2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup minced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots (about 3 medium)
  • 1 cup diced celery (about 2 large stalks)
  • 10 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup small pasta (any will do, but I like to use mini bow ties)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh dill
  • 8 ounces fresh baby spinach (trimmed, washed & patted dry)
  • grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.


  • Place the ground meats, bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, garlic, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine gently with a fork. With a teaspoon, drop 1-inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper (you’ll make somewhere around 40 meatballs). Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.


  • Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large stock pot. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken broth and wine and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook an additional 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan cheese.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 314kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 1494mg | Potassium: 776mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 5815IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 183mg | Iron: 3.3mg
More Italian Recipes...
Lori Lange of Recipe Girl

Meet The Author: Lori Lange

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate This Recipe


  • Francesca Rogers wrote:

    I cook for 45 elderly residents and staff in a residential home. This is just the perfect food for my beloved residents that is say to eat and delicious to taste

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      So happy to hear that!

  • Jen k wrote:

    I made this recipe with some substitutes I brought paleo chicken sausage meatballs at Costco that had basil and sundries tomatoes. So delicious and time saver. Then I used riced cauliflower instead of pasta. To be healthy and lighter. It was so delicious my son and hubby loved it as well as myself. Will be making again soon.

  • Sandy wrote:

    I know this is a little late to comment, but I have to tell you. I made this soup for my family a couple years ago now and everyone instantly loved it! This is our favorite soup to make, and I’ve even used the meatballs in different recipes. In fact I just made it tonight to take to a party tomorrow. I always have to double the recipe so there’s plenty to go around. I made this to serve as the soup course at my parent’s 30th anniversary party to great reviews! It really is addicting!

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Happy to hear!

  • Kelly wrote:

    This soup is amazing and perfect on a frigid Midwest day! I made for the first time a couple of months ago, and my husband loved it so much he me to make it again. I love the turkey meatballs as well.

    The only thing I will do differently is add more spinach and yes, it does need a bit more broth. No biggie. The dill is a wonderful flavor, too!

  • Angela wrote:

    Ina doesn’t have a clue as to how to make an authentic “Italian Wedding Soup”! First of all, the tiny meatballs are traditionally made with ground veal, not turkey! She should stick with her own (pretentious) “French Cuisine”, and not attempt to make dishes which are authentically Italian….since she doesn’t know how to make them. She suggested that you should add oil into your pasta water when cooking it….in order to keep the pasta from sticking together!! NO Italian cook would ever do that, since the oil will keep the sauce from sticking to the pasta. That woman is a total joke, and very ‘pretentious! Also, what’s up with all of those ‘gays’ on her cooking shows in the Hamptons, and doesn’t she ever change her clothes? The only ‘normal’ person on her show is her husband, Jeffery.

  • Bob wrote:

    I made this tonight, and used ground chicken instead of turkey. I think next time I will use beef/veal/pork. I guess I’m not fond of poultry meatballs, but the dish turned out really good. Like others mentioned, it could’ve had more broth, but like I said, it was very tasty, and filling.

  • Maggie @ Mama Maggie’s Kitchen wrote:

    I’m pinning this. It looks so good especially right now that it’s freezing outside. Soup is perfect.

  • Beth K wrote:

    I made this soup this weekend and I loved it! One thing I wish there was more broth, but ill just add some more stock next time.

  • Carla wrote:

    I made this today. It’s reallllly good. But the only problem is that it’s too much stuff and not enough broth! Does anyone have any recommendations? I don’t know whether to add another cup chicken broth and a no white wine, or a little bit of both.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I always add a little more broth if that happens- and I find it happens often with soup!

  • Frances wrote:

    I first made this recipe a year ago and it is now a staple that my husband and I make. It is just the perfect soup for a cold night. The hardest part of this soup is not eating all the meatballs before you put them in the soup! Thanks for sharing this!