Italian Wedding Soup

This easy Italian Wedding Soup recipe is a popular Italian American soup made with acini de pepe pasta, spinach, carrots, and meatballs.

Italian Wedding Soup - a hearty soup for a cold day

Confession – I am not a big soup fan. Or rather, I am not a pureed soup fan. You know, you make this wonderful soup just to blend it all together and serve in drinkable form. Flavorful yes, but it never fills me up. If I’m going to have soup for a meal, it needs to be chunky and hearty. Maybe it’s a texture thing. Or maybe it’s tricking my stomach into thinking I’m eating more. Either way, this Italian Wedding Soup makes a great meal for those cold brisk days.

easy Italian Wedding Soup recipe

Italian Wedding Soup is a mistranslation. Many people (including myself) think it is a soup served at Italian weddings. Actually, the Italians named it so because of the marriage between vegetables and meat, meaning they go very well together. I think if I ever get married and it’s not the middle of summer, I’m going to serve this soup at my wedding anyway. It’s just that good to eat.

easy Italian Wedding Soup recipe

The soup is made up of acini di pepe (little pasta balls that translates into “peppercorns” because of the shape), beef meatballs, carrots, and spinach, all floating in chicken broth. I found acini di pepe at Walmart in the pasta section no problem, but I’ve seen some recipes that substituted orzo. I’ve also seen some recipes that added shredded chicken, which to be honest, I have never had wedding soup with chicken before. Not saying it’s wrong. Just unheard of growing up.

easy Italian Wedding Soup recipe

I love making Italian Wedding Soup for my parents and brother when they visit. It’s hearty, soul warming, and makes enough to feed everyone. It’s hard to feed four people when you spend 95% of your time cooking for one!

easy Italian Wedding Soup recipe

Italian Wedding Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8 servings
Meatballs (can be done ahead of time*)
  • 1/2 pound ground beef, thawed
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon plain bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6-8 cups chicken broth
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup acini di pepi pasta (can use orzo)
  • 10 ounces frozen spinach
For the meatballs
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the beef, onion, garlic, cheese, bread crumbs, basil, parsley, salt, and egg until combined. Shape into tiny bite-sized meatballs, roughly 1/2 inch in diameter. Place onto cookie sheets (or plates) and refrigerate until ready to cook*.
For the soup
  1. In a Dutch oven or large pot, melt the butter. Add the onion and carrots and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds.
  2. Add 6 cups of chicken broth and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if needed.
  3. Drop in the meatballs and cook 7 minutes (longer if frozen*). Add acini di pepi and cook 5 minutes then add spinach. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. If you need more broth, add the remaining 1-2 cups.
* If you are not going to use the meatballs the same day you make them, cover them until you are ready. You can even freeze and drop them frozen into the soup. Just add a few more minutes to the cooking time.

Source: Adapted from >Brown Eyed Baker

More Soup Recipes

Chicken Parmesan Meatball Soup

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Pork Wonton Soup

Sweet Potato and Corn Clam Chowder

Baked Potato Soup

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  1. This is one of my favorite soups! I’ve never even thought of making! And gorgeous photos!

  2. Oooh I love wedding soup. My boyfriend and I are both Italian so our grandparents each have their own recipes that we’re fiercely loyal to. His grandpa’s is more traditional-like yours. Mine is a little different-there are no meatballs but there is chicken and endive. It could be a result of the fact that I’m part Sicilian *shrug* I don’t know lol.

    Your soup looks beautiful and super tasty. Meatballs and all :P

  3. This is one soup I love but have not made yet. I’m taking care of that this fall/winter and I’ll make my first batch with your recipe.

  4. Ah ha! The mystery of Italian Wedding Soup is solved. I always thought it seemed like an odd dish to serve at a wedding, especially since none of my Italian friends served it at their weddings. It’s delicious enough that I’m willing to forgive it for its misleading name, though. :)

  5. This looks delicious! I want to definitely make this soup. I will probably adjust the recipe to use low-sodium broth. Definitely saving to make later.

  6. Mickie Wallace says:

    I love wedding soup and can ‘t wait to try your version.the pictures are making my mouth water. Will make it first thing tomorrow. I hope I can make it as good as it looks. Wish me luck.

  7. can this soup be frozen?

  8. Hi! Your Italian wedding soup has been nominated as one of the “Best Italian Wedding Soup Recipes on the Net”. To vote for it, please visit (your recipe is positioned at #111).

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