Italian Meatball Soup is the best way to eat meatballs!
This Italian Meatball Soup boasts juicy meatballs in a savory tomato broth infused with Parmesan and herbs. This Italian Soup is a nod to your favorite spaghetti and meatballs but is even more slurp-worthy delicious! You can use shortcut store-bought meatballs or these incredibly moist Parmesan meatballs for a meal the whole family will go crazy for! Serve Italian Meatball Soup with a some crusty bread, load on the Parmesan and enjoy a warm, comforting dinner and fabulous leftovers – all made in ONE POT!
If you have tried my reader’s favorite One Pot Lasagna Soup that has gone crazy on Pinterest and Facebook, then I’m sure you are already drooling over this Italian Meatball Soup. I am. Again. So, I thought it was time to turn another favorite – spaghetti and meatballs – into soup!
This Italian Meatball Soup is the perfect excuse to dive mouth first into a bowl of spaghetti and slurp up every last drop of Italian tomato and herb coated noodles and juicy meatballs. Because spaghetti was made to slurp. And so was soup. A match made in heaven.
And you will will also be in heaven after just one spoonful of this soup – and after washing just ONE pot for dinner! heaven.
Ingredients for Italian Meatball Soup
I used virtually the same marinara broth in this Italian Meatball Soup as in my beloved Lasagna Soup but enhanced the flavor and texture by adding carrots, celery and bell peppers (you could also add mushrooms too!).
The luscious marinara broth is made super easy by using one jar of store bought marinara and then made super delicious by embellishing it with crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, a splash of balsamic and of course basil, parsley, oregano and red pepper flakes.
The ingredient list might seem long, but I promise all of the ingredients, aside from the veggies, are dump and simmer!
The Italian Meatballs
The Italian Meatballs are softy, juicy and loaded with extra flavor due to the garlic, dried parsley, garlic powder, dried oregano and dried minced onions.
- Beef: I recommend lean ground beef because it is fatty enough to taste juicy and lean enough to not make your soup greasy.
- Bread vs breadcrumbs: To create the softest meatballs, I use 2 slices of white sandwich bread instead of breadcrumbs. The crumbs plump up as the cook, instead of remaining small hard bits, creating uber tender meatballs. Just make sure you toast the bread first, otherwise the crumbs get soggy and disintegrate.
- Seasonings: I use dried aromatics in my meatballs because you achieve more concentrated flavor in one meatball – and that also means less chopping for you! This also eliminates chunks of raw onions and garlic which can kill the Italian Meatball Soup experience.
- Parmesan: These Italian Meatballs are infused with a generous 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese. The cheese melts as the meatballs cook, rendering even more tender, flavorful meatballs. Take care you use freshly grated Parmesan otherwise the cheese will not melt very well and your meatballs won’t be as tender.
My favorite pasta to use for this Italian Meatball Soup recipe is spaghetti because it feels like you are slurping spaghetti and meatballs. Take care you break the spaghetti into quarters otherwise it will be a little too unruly.
You may also substitute the pasta for your favorite. Pasta shells, rigatoni,
macaroni, rotini or orzo, pinwheels (fun for kids) etc. will all work great.
WHAT SIZE MEATBALLS ARE BEST?
For this Italian Meatball Soup, I like 1 tablespoon round meatballs. This size is large enough so you can sink your teeth into a juicy meatball and they don’t just get lost in the soup. They are also large enough so they are hard to overcook and remain super tender.
That being said, you can make the Italia meatballs any size you like! You can make mini meatballs if you prefer, just take into consideration they will require less cooking time so plan accordingly.
CAN I USE STORE BOUGHT MEATBALLS?
Absolutely! While I am a HUGE fan of these Parmesan meatballs, you are welcome to take use store bought meatballs. Store bought meatballs, however, won’t necessarily save you any time because you whip up your meatballs while your soup is simmering, so its more like use store bought meatballs if you are short on energy – which I totally get. But at some point, you are going to want to try these Italian Parmesan meatballs. Nothing beats tender, juicy, homemade meatballs, these homemade meatballs.
Can I use Turkey Meatballs?
Yes! You can use ground beef, sausage, lamb, turkey or chicken meatballs in this Italian Meatball Soup. Just keep in mind the higher the fat content, the juicier the meatballs. I also like to add a little beef bouillon to my turkey or chicken when I am substituting them for beef. The bouillon adds a rewarding beefy flavor. If using bouillon, you will want to reduce the amount of salt in the meatballs.
CAN I USE FROZEN MEATBALLS?
You can either use store bought frozen meatballs or you can freeze your own meatballs (preferred). There is no need to defrost uncookd or pre-cooked frozen meatballs before adding them to the Italian Meatball Soup – simply drop them into the soup let them simmer until warmed through.
If using frozen meatballs, keep in mind they will require 5-10 additional minutes to cook, so you will want to add your pasta 5-10 minutes later so your pasta isn’t al dente before your meatballs are cooked – no one likes mushy pasta!
WHAT CAN I PREPARE AHEAD OF TIME?
This Italian Meatball Soup is very simple but it does require chopping the veggies and making the meatballs. Fortunately, you can do both in advance!
- Meatballs: You can completely assemble the meatballs according to directions. To store, line meatballs on parchment paper and tightly wrap with foil or plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Veggies: Veggies are the last item of prep and can all be chopped ahead of time! Chop your onions, garlic, carrots, bell peppers and celery and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
How to Make Italian Meatball Soup
- Cook Vegetables: Italian Meatball Soup starts by cooking onions, carrots, celery, bell peppers and garlic together. By sweating the vegetables first, not only do we enhance the flavor, but we cut down on the soup simmering time as well.
- Make Meatballs: As your marinara broth simmers with your veggies, you prepare you tender meatballs infused with freshly grated Parmesan and Italian spices.
- Add meatballs and noodles: After you roll your meatballs, you add them directly to your simmering marina broth to cook (no extra baking or sauteing!), then you add your spaghetti noodles and simmer for about 10 minutes more until al dente.
- Get Cheesy: Stir in some Parmesan and milk to add a depth of creaminess and balance out the acidity and then its time to savor what a match made in heaven tastes like.
HOW LONG DO YOU COOK MEATBALLS IN SOUP?
Freshly made meatballs require about 20 minutes simmering time to cook in a soup. This time can vary depending on the size of the meatballs and how high they are simmering. Frozen meatballs will require an additional 5-10 minutes when dropped directly into the soup.
TIPS FOR Italian MEATBALL SOUP
- Can I use different vegetables? This Italian Meatball Soup is made with carrots, celery, and red bell peppers, but feel free to add whatever veggies you have on hand. Zucchini, green beans, mushrooms, spinach, etc. would all be delicious.
- Can I half this recipe? You can scale this Italian Meatball Soup recipe up or down depending on your needs. If you don’t want a lot of leftovers, then I suggest halving the soup. Alternatively, you can freeze the rest of the soup without the pasta (see instructions below).
- Is this Italian Meatball Soup gluten free? You will need to use gluten-free bread and gluten free Worcestershire sauce in order to make gluten free Italian Meatball Soup. The rest of the ingredients should be gluten free. As always, you will want to double check your particular brand of ingredients to ensure they’re gluten free.
- Consistency: As written this Italian Meatball Soup is on the thick, chunky side. For a less chunky soup, simply add additional broth at the end of cooking to thin out.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH Italian MEATBALL SOUP?
I love this Italian Meatball Soup with a big chunk of crusty Italian bread, dinner rolls or breadsticks. For greens, I like a big green salad, wedge salad, roasted broccoli, roasted asparagus. or Brussels sprouts. For fruit,I love my winter fruit salad or simple fruit salad.
HOW LONG IS MEATBALL SOUP GOOD FOR?
Italian Meatball Soup should be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator. When properly stored, it is good for 3-5 days.
CAN I MAKE Italian MEATBALL SOUP AHEAD OF TIME?
Yes! The flavors of this Italian Meatball Soup taste even better the next day so it makes amazing leftovers! Take care to not overcook your pasta so it stays al-dente when stored and reheated. The soup will thicken in the refrigerator so you may need to add additional broth before heating.
HOW DO I REHEAT ITALIAN MEATBALL SOUP?
- Stove: You can reheat large batches of Italian Meatball Soup on the stove over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until warm. You will need to add some additional broth because some of the pasta will absorb it while sitting overnight.
- Microwave: For smaller batches or individual servings, you can use the microwave. Transfer soup to a microwave-safe dish, cover with a microwave-safe lid or paper towel. Microwave for 2 minutes, stir, then continue to microwave for 30-second intervals, if needed. Stir in additional broth to reach desired consistency.
CAN I FREEZE MEATBALL SOUP?
I do not recommend freezing Italian Meatball Soup because it contains pasta. When pasta is frozen, it becomes unpleasantly mushy. If you are planning to freeze this soup, then cook the pasta separately, place pasta into serving bowls and ladle the soup on top. This way you can freeze the Italian Soup without the pasta.
To Freeze Italian Meatball Soup:
- Cook separately: cook pasta separately from the soup and don’t combine pasta and soup. If not consuming any soup immediately, then don’t make the pasta yet because pasta does not freeze well.
- Cool: Allow soup to cool completely before freezing to preserve the integrity of the ingredients.
- Package: Transfer soup to an airtight freezer safe container or freezer bag. You can even use sandwich size plastic bags for individual stew portions. Squeeze out any excess air to prevent freezer burn and label
- Freeze. Freeze for up to 3 months.
- Defrost/Reheat. When ready to use, thaw overnight in the refrigerator then reheat on the stove. Cook pasta separately and add to soup or individual servings.
One Pot Italian Meatball Soup – for those nights you crave slurpilicous spaghetti and meatballs, or a divine comforting, hearty meal – with only one pot.
Looking for more Meatball Recipes?
- Swedish Meatball Soup
- Honey Buffalo Meatballs
- Italian Meatballs
- Cranberry Meatballs
- Korean Meatballs
- Parmesan Meatballs
- Swedish Meatballs
- Italian Meatball Sliders
- Aloha Subs
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