Italian Wedding Soup

You might think that Italian Wedding Soup is what is served at Italian weddings, but in fact the soup’s title is actually a reference to the perfect marriage between the green vegetables and the meat.

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To me, this is pure comfort food since it’s really an Italian version of chicken noodle soup, but with smaller pasta that is easier to eat.

Close up of a bowl of Italian Wedding Soup with a spoon lifting out a meatball.

This recipe uses ground chicken to make mini meatballs but pork, beef or veal could also be used. The meatballs are such a delight and give you a burst of flavor each time you find one. The escarole adds the touch of color that makes this bowl more interesting than many other soups. It’s all around a pretty and delicious bowl that will warm you up any night of the week. You’ll find instructions for pressure cooker (Instant Pot®) and stovetop methods below.

Two bowls of Italian Wedding Soup on a wooden table with an orange napkin and some Parmesan cheese and microplane.

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Italian Wedding Soup

  • Prep Time: 30 m
  • Cook Time: 10 m
  • Chilling Time: 30 m
  • Total Time: 1 h 10 m
  • Servings:


  • ½ pound ground chicken
  • ¾ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 carrots finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 7 cups chicken stock
  • ½ cup acini di pepe pasta
  • 1 bunch escarole washed and thickly shredded
  • Grated Parmesan cheese


  1. For the meatballs, combine all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl and mix well until everything is combined. Roll the meatball mixture into small balls (roughly ½ tablespoon of meat per meatball). Place the rolled meatballs into the freezer on a cookie sheet for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Pre-heat the pressure cooker using the BROWN setting.
  3. Add the butter and olive oil to the cooker and sauté the onions and carrots for five minutes, until the vegetables start to soften. Add the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and pour in the chicken stock. Stir in the pasta and par-frozen meatballs and lock the lid in place.
  4. Pressure cook on HIGH for 10 minutes.
  5. Let the pressure drop NATURALLY for ten minutes, then release any residual pressure and carefully remove the lid. Let the soup sit for a couple of minutes and then spoon off any fat that rises to the surface. Stir in the shredded escarole to wilt and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in bowls with grated Parmesan cheese on top.

    To make on the Stovetop: Sweat the onions and carrots in a stock pot or Dutch oven. Add the seasonings and the stock and simmer for 30 minutes. Add dried the pasta and meatballs and cook for 15 to 20 more minutes until the pasta is tender. Stir in escarole and cook until wilted. Season and serve with grated Parmesan cheese.
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Comments (15)Post a Reply

  1. Hi Meredith!

    I am a home made soup junkie. I have never made Italian Wedding Soup. Is it possible to replace the escarole with something else? Spinach perhaps? If so, will it change the taste?

  2. For the stovetop version of this recipe, do you cook the meatballs first? I imagine so, but you please confirm! I’m looking forward to making this with some leftover BBQ chicken – I’m hoping for just a bit more kick to an already delicious-sounding soup!

    1. Hi Leslie. You don’t have to cook the meatballs first for the stovetop version, but you can if you want to – I would do it on a sheet pan in the oven. The meatballs will cook in the broth with the pasta if you don’t want to bother cooking the meatballs first.

  3. Call me old school, but when I make Italian Wedding Soup (got the recipe from my Italian mother-in-law), I make my stock with chicken plus the carrots, onion, parsley, celery plus seasonings. When it’s done, I debone the chicken and return it to the stock with the meatballs. I cook the pastina separately, put it in the bowl before adding the rest of the soup to keep the pastina from absorbing all the liquid.
    I realize this is more time consuming and I will definitely make your recipe because it’s so much quicker and I’m always looking for a fast way to cook.
    Love the pictures of your fur babies that you always include, they’re adorable.

  4. I’ve made this soup many times and my family loves it! For my version I cook a cut up chicken to make my own broth for the soup. I then remove the chicken from the bones shrewd it and add it to the soup. It adds another dimension. I love your recipes!

  5. I forgot to add that to my soup I beat 2-3 eggs with some Parmesan cheese and swirl the soup while slowly dropping the egg mixture in. I also have used spinach, escarole and even kale.

  6. 5 stars
    Another great recipe! Thank you! I made the chicken meatballs this morning. I made them about the size of a dime. I put them on a large baking sheet & put in the freezer until the evening. I used spinach at the end. Very easy to make. This will definitely be on my recipe rotation!

  7. Hello Meredith,

    This recipe is awesome. I did not do the Pressure Cooker Method but did the conventional Stove Top Method. The only change I made was to add one of the rinds from a wedge of Parmesan Reggiano while the soup was simmering. I find that this adds a hint of flavor and depth to the soup. I always cut off the rind from the wedge of cheese and keep it in the freezer until I need it in a case like this. Thank You!

  8. Just made this today. So good! I did add a can of cannellini beans just because we like them. And a squirt of tomato paste for a nice color. It’s a keeper!

  9. 5 stars
    I made it twice…stove top version. Big hit, doesn’t last long. Personally I could eat soup every single solitary day!

  10. Absolutely love this! We substitute chopped kale for the escarole but that is all. Easy recipe whichever way you cook it (we have done both). This is favorite and a “keeper” in our soup recipe box.

  11. Hi Meredith,
    Waaaay too much bread crumb and parmesan cheese used for my taste. When I make this again, and I will, I will reduce each of those ingredients by half. I broiled the meatballs for about 12-15 minutes until the tops were a light golden brown. I used baby spinach in lieu of the escarole. I also used an extra carrot since I LOVE carrots. The soup flavor was great.

  12. 5 stars
    I love your recipe! Only change I made was that I used baby spinach…about 1/2 of a 5 oz box of fresh spinach & a couple tablespoons of fresh chopped dill added in toward the end. Turned out great. Thanks!

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