Italian Wedding Soup

A classic Italian wedding soup recipe, with little bits of pasta, shredded chicken, spinach and of course those little meatballs!

This wedding soup recipe is the very first one that I ever posted on my little corner of the Internet here. I grew up eating it at countless restaurants, at home and, of course, at weddings. My mom would make it occasionally, but it wasn’t until last summer when I fell in love with it again. I’m usually not one to devour soup during the summer months, but I was going through the first trimester of my pregnancy, and spent many days not very interested in food at all.

Wedding soup is definitely an Italian tradition that I grew up with. The last time I tried to make the soup it came out lacking some flavor and a little watery. I played with some recipes and came up with what’s below, and it’s amazing! SO tasty and hearty – I loved it!

Italian Wedding Soup

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

A classic Italian wedding soup recipe, with little bits of pasta, shredded chicken, spinach and of course those little meatballs!


For the Meatballs:
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, grated
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons Italian bread crumbs
1½ teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites

For the Chicken:
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

For the Soup:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, diced small
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 ribs celery, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
12 cups chicken broth
Salt & pepper to taste
¾ cup acini di pepi or other small pasta
8 ounces fresh spinach, chopped


1. Combine all ingredients for the meatballs and shape into small (½-inch) balls. Place on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

2. Meanwhile, place the chicken breasts in a large stockpot and fill with water until it is covering the chicken by at least one inch. Bring to a boil and cook until the chicken is completely cooked through, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and use tongs to remove the chicken to a large plate. Shred the chicken and set aside. Empty water from stockpot.

3. Melt butter in the now-empty stockpot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrot and garlic, and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

4. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for approximately 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Gently add the meatballs to the soup and cook for 7 minutes. Add the pasta and cook for an additional 6 minutes. Add spinach and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Add the shredded chicken. Cover again and allow to simmer for another 30 minutes or so. You can eat as soon as the chicken is re-heated, but allowing it to simmer for a little longer allows all the new flavors to meld together.

(Source: Combination of my mom and Elly Says Opa!)

This recipe was originally published on February 11, 2007.


37 Responses to “Italian Wedding Soup”

  1. Joelen on February 11, 2007 at 6:14 pm

    looks good! :)


  2. getinmyface on February 11, 2007 at 7:25 pm

    Looks good!

    I saw your blog in your siggy on the nest, and I wanted to add you to my friends list on my food blog if that’s ok. :) My food blog is

    My username on the nest is blondewithabug. :)


  3. Ashleigh on March 27, 2007 at 7:44 pm

    Hey chicka! This is amazing soup! GREAT recipe. Thanks for sharing. My sick hubby says “Thank you” too!


  4. Laura on October 9, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Yum! I’m printing this out right now. I’ve been looking for some tasty soup recipes to try. Thank you! : )


  5. Laura on October 19, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Wanted to let you know that I made a big pot of this soup yesterday and it was delicious! It is some of the best soup I’ve ever had. Seriously! Yum! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!


  6. Sana on August 20, 2009 at 6:30 am

    Hi!! I just finished reading the entire blog (in 3 days hehe) and I loved the recipes and the way you linked to this through Annie’s blog which I also love. Great going!! I am a beginner baker (only plain cakes and an apple pie to my credit) but would love to try all these wonderful things.


  7. laughinglunchlady on February 27, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    I’m in the process of making this soup and I’m at a stand still b/c I need acini de pepi. thought about using thin egg noodles but just a thought. Can’t do it. Almost messed up the broth. I had three containers of frozen stock. thought it was chicken. It was a pork stock. I was saving to use for a bean soup. Thank *** I’m a taster. I put that back in cotainers with the addition of the veggies. my kids thing the little meatballs are cute and delicious. will let you know the final outcome. Oh yeah, when I go to the store, I’m also picking up the chocolate to make the brownie cookies :)


  8. laughinglunchlady on February 28, 2010 at 12:11 am

    Soup was delicious! Love it when the temperature is warm. I can taste all of the flavors then. I love making soup! Thank you once again for sharing a good soup recipe. :)


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  11. Marie @ Cottage Homestead on February 11, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Oh WOW! I can’t wait to try this!!!


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  13. Kristie Havyer on February 12, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    I just made this and IT IS SOOOOOOO GOOD!~ Thanks so much for this awesome recipe~


  14. Sam on February 19, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    I would love to make this but I am the only soup eater at my house. Do you know if this freezes well?


    • Michelle on February 22nd, 2011 at 8:08 pm

      Yes, it freezes wonderfully, I do that often!


  15. Bridget on March 7, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    This was a wonderful recipe! Thanks!


  16. Heather on March 8, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Thank you so much for this recipe. My whole family enjoyed it. I had to alter it slightly to be gluten free, but it was still wonderful.


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  20. Maria on October 22, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    I spotted this recipe almost a year ago and made it once during the winter season. It was a hit. So incredibly tasty. I am finally making it again today and wanted to both thank you for such a great website and all the inspiration as well as share that I use the Cooks Illustrated method for making the chicken from their Chicken and Dumplings recipe, which really enhances the broth flavor.


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  22. Johanna on November 21, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Love this soup! Second time I’ve made it now, and it’s so good. I do half italian sausage and half beef though for the meat balls, as I like the taste of the sausage. Thanks for sharing the recipe!!!


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  26. Fahad Khan (@PharaohKhan) on June 6, 2012 at 10:34 am

    What a delicious soup!The combination of ingredients – Veggies,Chicken,Garlic,Beef Meatballs,Parmesan Cheese – add to it Spinach – even better!
    I am going to note down/bookmark this;Thank you for sharing!:-)


  27. Cfrosty on September 24, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Oh my lands, this soup is heavenly. Have tried other recipes and found them to be lacking in flavor so I quit looking for one. Now I can truly quit trying to replicate the one at our wedding reception.

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.


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  29. BarbE on February 18, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Perfect recipe for a cold windy day. I substituted sweet italian susage for the ground beef & just eliminated the dry basil. Also, my meat mix was pretty wet so I just sprinkled some more parmesan into the mix. Thanks for another yummy recipe!


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  34. maureen on January 27, 2015 at 10:31 am

    would like to know the calories and fat info on this recipe


  35. Erika on November 18, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    this must be good!!
    I only wonder why it’s called Italian Wedding Soup as we don’t have anything like that in Italy… especially for weddings!! :)


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