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Italian Meatball Soup

This Italian meatball soup is everything we love—it’s as easy as soup + meatballs! A tomato-y broth, noodles and some mini Italian pork meatballs make for a hearty supper everyone’s gonna love.

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Italian tomato Meatball soup with basil and pasta in a bowl with a spoon

Let’s Break This Down

Meatball soup is just about as TMP as can be. We love meatballs (they’re the perfect dinner food, end of story) and we make soup like it’s going out of style. So the whole concept of meatball soup is just right up our alley. In fact, this is not our first meatball soup recipe ever! Remember this beauty? Anyway, we loved that recipe so much that we just had to play around with the concept and see where else it could take us. And that playing around led us here! To this Italian herb-inflected, tomato-y soup recipe, studded simply with small Italian pork meatballs (or ground chicken works, too) and tiny pasta.

Ingredients for Italian meatball soup pasta, basil, stock, onion, pork, garlic, tomatoes
bread crumbs, eggs, basil, port, salt and italian seasoning in a bowl for meatballs
Italian meatballs meat in a bowl
raw pork meatballs rolled on a baking sheet

The Meatballs!

The tiny little 1-inch meatballs that buoy around in this soup are nothing short of classic Italian pork meatballs, on a smaller scale. All of our usual rules, tips and tricks apply—don’t over-mix the meatball ingredients, and wet your hands a bit as you roll the meatballs to keep the meatball mixture from sticking to your palms. Here’s what you’ll need for the meatballs:

  • Ground pork. Or, if you’d like to keep things a bit leaner, it’s fine to use ground chicken.
  • Egg
  • Bread crumbs
  • Fresh basil
  • Garlic
  • Italian seasoning
  • Salt
Italian pork meatballs browned in a soup pot
onions softened in olive oil in a soup pot with a wooden spoon

The Soup!

So, here’s the reason why this soup is so easy—the ingredients in the soup itself overlap a LOT with the meatball ingredients. Less to keep track of (and less to think about grabbing from the store) is always a great thing, right? So, in addition to everything on the meatball ingredients list, you’ll need:

  • Onion
  • Olive oil
  • Broth (chicken or vegetable—either works!)
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Pasta. Which brings us to.....

The Pasta!

The type of noodle you choose will make a bit of a difference in terms of texture (duh), but it’s fine to use what you have on hand—within reason. Long, thin pasta varieties aren’t the right choice for a meatball soup like this. Think bite-sized, tiny—something you might use in a minestrone! Here are four varieties of pasta that we especially love for this recipe:

  • Ditalini
  • Tubetti
  • Rotelle (wagon wheels)
  • Casarecce
pasta being added to italian meatball soup in a black soup pot
tomato based Italian meatball soup in a soup pot with pasta

Put It All Together and You’ve Got ITALIAN MEATBALL SOUP!

This recipe really is about as simple as they come, but we’ve pulled together a few tips and tricks for making sure that your tomato meatball soup really hits it out of the park.

Here’s how to make our easy meatball soup.

  1. Mix and roll the meatballs! If you’ve got helpers in the house, enlist their help! This is by far the most “work” of this easy soup recipe.
  2. Brown the meatballs! This takes about 8 minutes, and a set of kitchen tongs will come in VERY handy.
  3. Make soup! Sauté onion, then garlic to make a fragrant base, then dump in stock, water, salt, Italian seasoning, crushed tomatoes, meatballs and pasta.
  4. Simmer until the pasta is cooked!
  5. That’s it! You made meatball soup. Easy, huh?
tomato pasta pork meatball soup with basil in a soup pot

Tools You’ll Need:

Italian Meatballs Forever and Ever.

We love all meatballs. We really do! We love red curry meatballs, and Swedish meatballs and Asian meatballs. But, for pure comfort, we turn to Italian meatballs. They’re classic, the ones we grew up with. They taste like home.

Meatball Soup for Supper? We Want To Hear About It!

If you try this easy meatball soup recipe, we’d love to know about it! Snap a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see it & share it. Happy eating!

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Italian Meatball Soup

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  15 min
  • Cook Time:  35 min
  • Calories: 404

Ingredients

Italian Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Soup

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 8 ounces Anellini pasta or elbow pasta
  • Minced fresh basil, for serving (optional)
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving (optional)
  • Red pepper flakes, for serving (optional)

Method

  1. Make the meatballs. In a large bowl, combine the pork, egg, breadcrumbs, basil, garlic, salt, and Italian seasoning. Mix well, then with wet hands, form 1-inch balls about 1 tablespoon each.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a plate.

  3. Add the onion to the same pot and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute longer. Stir in the stock, water, salt, Italian seasoning, and crushed tomatoes. Stir in the meatballs, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Stir in the pasta, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring often until the pasta is tender, about 15-20 minutes.

  4. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with basil, Parmesan and red pepper flakes, if using.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories404
  • Protein20 g
  • Carbohydrates34 g
  • Total Fat21 g
  • Dietary Fiber3 g
  • Cholesterol85 mg
  • sodium345 mg
  • Total Sugars4 g

Italian Meatball Soup

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

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  • Beth

    I'd like to make this for a soup potluck. Would it be best to follow directions and let it reheat in the slowcooker the next day? Any suggestions on changes? Thanks!

    That would work fine! Hope you enjoy!

  • Shelley

    hi, i hope you are doing well. i was wondering if the taste would be different if i use ground beef and ground sausage.

    It will be a little different but it should still taste good! Hope you enjoy Shelley!

  • Brandi

    Absolutely amazing. Not sure how so much flavor gets into this soup. I used 99% FF ground turkey. Still amazing and flavorful.

    Thanks Brandi, so happy you loved it!

  • Lee

    No sure how such a simple dish turned out so flavourful. Highly recommend, freezes and reheats perfectly.

    Thank you Lee! We are so happy you loved it!

  • Allie

    Subbed turkey for the meatballs and added chopped kale and parmesan to the soup at the end of the boil. Perfection.

    Thanks Allie, glad you loved it!

  • Ashley

    AMAZING SOUP! I loved how simple it was to make. The broth tastes amazing, there's enough noodles and meatballs to feel full after eating it as well! This is a new favorite recipe for sure!

    Thanks so much Ashley, we are so glad you loved it!

  • Kristin

    Just made tonight and the whole family loved it. I used a combination of ground pork, veal, and beef... aka "meatloaf mix" for the meatballs. Lots of flavor but extra grease. So we drained all of the grease and left just a little to saute the onions. My husband thought this would be perfect served with a grilled cheese sandwich. So we will do that with the left overs. The ground meat package was 1.34 lbs so I ended up adding 2x the amount of liquids as stated in the recipe, and it was just right. Enough for dinner tonight and two containers of leftovers. Perfect soup for a cold, rainy, fall day.

    Thank you!

    Thanks Kristin, we are so happy you both loved it!