Italian Wedding Soup

5 from 3 votes
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Warm up your chilly nights with this cozy Italian wedding soup packed with savory meatballs, a mix of veggies, and pasta. It’s the perfect addition to your comfort food lineup, made even better with a sprinkle of shredded Parmesan on top.

Bowl of Italian wedding soup with parmesan.


This Italian wedding soup, a favorite in my kitchen, blends meatballs, veggies, acini di Pepe, soffrito, Parmesan, and leafy greens in a savory broth enriched with a touch of white wine and spinach. It’s a hearty, flavorful recipe I often turn to, especially during winter, offering comfort without the need for a special occasion. Easy to prepare with either homemade or frozen meatballs, it’s a staple that impresses everyone at the table.

What Is Italian Wedding Soup?

Italian wedding soup, or minestra maritata, originating from Naples, is a humble dish combining meatballs, soffrito (a mix of carrots, celery, and onions), and acini de Pepe, simmered to create a light, satisfying soup. It’s not actually called “wedding soup” because it’s served at weddings. This soup gets its name from a more symbolic perspective in which the entire recipe is a “marriage” or a perfect union of ingredients. The balance of flavors is considered a masterpiece, which is where the name derives from.

Recipe Ingredients

Don’t stray too far from these ingredients or substitutes for the most authentic soup. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for full ingredient amounts and directions.

  • For the Meatballs: Italian pork sausage, ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, garlic, and parmesan.
  • For the Vegetables: Butter, olive oil, yellow onion, carrots, celery, and baby spinach.
  • Seasonings: Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  • Broth: I use low-sodium chicken broth, but you can also use beef broth or vegetable broth.
  • For the Pasta: You can use acini de pepe or orzo pasta.

How to Make Italian Wedding Soup

All you have to do is make the meatballs, cook the veggies, and let the soup simmer. That’s it!

  1. Make the meatballs. In a large bowl, combine the Italian pork sausage, ground beef, panko, garlic, egg, parmesan, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine, make 1-inch meatballs, and transfer them to a large plate. 
  2. Cook the veggies. Melt the butter and add the olive oil to a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Cook them until just softened. Season with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and add the garlic.
  3. Add the broth. Pour in the chicken broth and gently use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pot for any browned bits.
  4. Add the meatballs. Add the pasta and meatballs to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  5. Let it simmer. Reduce the heat to medium and let the soup simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the meatballs are fully cooked. Add the spinach, stir it in, and let it cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until wilted.
  6. Serve. Remove the pot from the heat. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Top with parmesan cheese and serve.
Spoonful of Italian wedding soup.

Recipe Tips And Variations

  • Sear the meatballs. Doing so for 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown, will give your soup a much more concentrated flavor.
  • Use kale. Adding a bit of kale or entirely substituting the spinach for it is a nice way of using up whatever leafy greens you have on hand.
  • Make it spicy. Add red pepper flakes to taste when cooking the veggies to give your soup a bit of heat.
  • Add cannellini beans. These will add a slightly creamy element to the soup and lots of protein. Or, just grab my favorite recipe for Italian Sausage Soup with Kale and Beans.
  • Add a splash of wine. For extra flavor, stir in 1/4 cup of dry white wine before you add the broth.
  • Use frozen Italian meatballs. If you are in a hurry, opt for frozen meatballs and don’t worry about thawing them first; just add them to the pot.

Serving Suggestions

Italian wedding soup is excellent with salads, veggie sides, and many veggie mains. I love my Cranberry Chicken Salad, and Spring Vegetable Potato Salad. As sides, I often serve the soup with Zucchini Fritters or Baked Zucchini Chips. Finally, I also like to pair it with my Zucchini Lasagna Roll Ups or Steak Pizzaiola as the main dish.

Close-up of Italian wedding soup in a bowl, garnished with shredded parmesan.

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

  • Refrigerate any cooled leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw it before reheating.
  • To reheat it, place it in the microwave for up to 2 minutes or until warm. You can also heat it in a small pot over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes.

Easy Soup Recipes

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5 from 3 votes

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian wedding soup is a comforting and delicious meal, combining tender meatballs, veggies, and pasta in a flavorful broth.
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8 people


For the Meatballs

For the Soup

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion,, diced
  • 2 large carrots,, diced
  • 2 celery ribs,, diced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic,, minced
  • ½ tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken broth,, you can also use beef broth
  • 1 cup acini di pepe,, or orzo pasta
  • 4 cups baby spinach leaves
  • shredded parmesan,, for serving
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  • In a large bowl, combine Italian pork sausage, ground beef, breadcrumbs, garlic, egg, grated parmesan, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined. Roll the mixture into 1-inch meatballs and transfer to a large plate.
  • Melt the butter and heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot set over medium-high heat. To the melted butter, add the onion, carrots, and celery; season with salt and pepper and cook for 4 minutes or until just softened. Stir frequently.
  • Stir in the garlic and Italian seasoning, and continue to cook for 15 seconds, or until fragrant. Pour in the broth, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot to pick up all the browned bits.
  • Add in the pasta and meatballs, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a steady simmer and cook for about 10 to 12 minutes, until meatballs are cooked through. Stir in the spinach and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until just wilted.
  • Remove from heat, taste the soup for salt and pepper, and adjust accordingly.
  • Ladle into soup bowls, garnish with shredded parmesan and serve.


  • Pasta: This soup is prepared with small pasta like Acini di Pepe, and you can use any other small-shaped pasta like orzo and ditalini
  • Cook the pasta separately if you plan to have leftovers. The pasta will soak up a lot of the liquid; therefore, if you want to serve this soup later, make the pasta on the side and add it to the soup when serving. 
  • Meatballs: I prepared the meatballs with Italian pork sausage and ground beef, but you can use any other combination of ground meats or sausages. If time permits, I suggest searing the meatballs for a few minutes for deeper flavor before adding them to the soup.
  • Wine: To add more flavor, add about 1/4 cup of dry white wine when cooking the carrots, onions, and celery. 


Serving: 8people | Calories: 329kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 592mg | Potassium: 589mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 4617IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 113mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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  1. Mary Ellen says:

    My husband and I both agreed this is the most delicious Italian Wedding Soup we ever ate!! I added drained cannellini beans for added protein and fiber. I also added one rind of parmigiano reggiano. I’ll be making this again!!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I’m so glad you and your husband enjoyed the soup, and your additions sound great! Thanks for sharing, and I’m happy to hear you’ll make it again! Thank YOU! 🙂

  2. John says:

    I’ve made a lot of different soups. Delicious! I must say it’s definitely one the the best I’ve made. PS, I have been ordered to make more. Must be good

    1. Katerina says:

      That’s fantastic to hear! It’s always rewarding when a soup turns out to be one of your best. Thank YOU! 🙂

  3. Dona says:

    Can you substitute or leave spinach out, it does not agree with me

    1. Katerina says:

      Yes, you can substitute spinach with torn kale or chopped chard leaves, which are excellent alternatives and should work well. You can also just leave out the greens. 😊

  4. Kate says:

    This looks beautiful! Do you do all of the photography for your site?