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Meatball Soup

March 21, 2024

Cuddle up on the couch with the coziest bowl of homemade meatball soup and a side of crusty sourdough!


  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Soup
homemade meatball soup in a bowl with a spoon topped with fresh shaved parmesan cheese and fresh parsley
Photography by Gayle McLeod

The Best Meatball Soup Recipe

Succulent, tender Italian-style meatballs bathe in a fragrant tomato-rich broth with perfectly cooked ditalini pasta noodles and hearty vegetables! This complete meal is perfect for weeknight cooking and only gets better as it sits in the fridge (although we can’t promise it’ll last long!) While you may have heard of Mexican meatball soup, Swedish meatball soup, or Dutch meatball soup, or Chicken Meatball and Vegetable Soup, this recipe relies on its little pasta, savory broth, and juicy meatballs to appease all tastes! Think Sunday supper Spaghetti and Meatballs, but in soup form… a genuine crowdpleaser. If you love this, you should try our favorite Italian Wedding Soup.

prepped ingredients for homemade meatball soup in prep bowls on the counter
ground beef, egg, Worcestershire, breadcrumbs, parsley, parmesan, garlic and spices in a glass bowl to make meatballs

What Do I Need for Meatball Soup?

You might have everything on hand for this hearty meatball soup, but don’t fret if you don’t! Your local grocery store will have all the simple items you’ll need! Additionally, you can always swap some of the produce for whatever root veggies you have in the back of the fridge. For example, if we have a handful of kale, we’ll toss that in at the end for extra veggies. This is an empty-the-fridge-friendly recipe!

We’ve broken it down into meatball ingredients and soup ingredients to keep it manageable. Feel free to make it your own and use frozen meatballs or swap in Vegetarian Meatballs. If your family and friends are similar to ours, you’ll know how much we enjoy making meatballs, so we’ve pulled together some of the Best Meatballs Recipes for you to try your hand at as well. We cover meatball recipes from A-Z, including Meatball Shakshuka and Porcupine Meatballs.

For this tender meatball soup recipe, you’ll need the following:

For the meatballs:

  • Ground Beef

  • Eggs

  • Worcestershire sauce

  • Breadcrumbs

  • Flat-leaf parsley

  • Grated Parmesan

  • Garlic cloves

  • Italian seasoning

  • Garlic powder

  • Onion powder

  • Sea salt

For the soup:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil

  • Yellow onion

  • Celery

  • Carrots

  • Red bell pepper

  • Tomato paste

  • Chicken stock – if you want to make your own, try Instant Pot Chicken Stock

  • Beef stock

  • Fire roasted tomatoes

  • Paprika

  • Freshly cracked black pepper

  • Small pasta (we like mini farfalle or ditalini)

raw meatballs on a baking sheet made with ground beef, egg, Worcestershire, breadcrumbs, parsley, parmesan, garlic & spices
cooked meatballs on a baking sheet made with beef, egg, Worcestershire, breadcrumbs, parsley, parmesan, garlic & spices
chopped onion, celery, carrots, and bell pepper being cooked in olive oil in a soup pot
stock being poured into a pot with onion, celery, carrots, bell pepper, tomato paste, tomatoes, paprika, salt and pepper

Meatballs 101

We’re here to answer all your questions about making the perfect meatballs, including how do you keep meatballs from falling apart,how do you keep meatballs from being dense, and our favorite question, is it better to bake or boil meatballs? These tips and tricks will ensure a juicy, moist, held-together meatball for soup.

  • To keep your meatballs from falling apart, use a binder! In our recipe for meatball soup, we use a lightly beaten egg and a small amount of breadcrumbs! Other recipes for meatball soup recipes may use a combination of milk and breadcrumbs.

  • To keep your meatballs from being dense, we use 80/20 ground beef which adds the right amount of fat. Compact or overmixed meatballs can also make them heavy and dense, so only mix until combined.

  • How to cook meatballs: Bake or Broil? For our Italian-style meatballs, we broil our meatballs for 8-10 minutes to brown the outsides; then, we finish them off in the tomato broth to keep the meatballs juicy.

a close up picture of meatball soup made with beef meatballs, vegetables, spices, tomato paste and small pasta
a bowl of meatball soup topped with  parmesan and parsley surrounded by crusty bread and bowls of extra parmesan and parsley

What To Serve With Meatball Soup

While this Italian-style meatball soup recipe is chock full of veggies enough to be a complete weeknight meal, we always like to pair it with something to soak up all that delicious broth. Our go-to's are Garlic Bread, Herby Rhodes Rolls, and crusty Sourdough or, when we’re feeling a little extra indulgent, the Perfect Grilled Cheese. When having a comforting cup for lunch, we add a crunchy salad for added oomph, like an Italian Chopped Salad, a classic Caesar Salad, or THE Kale Salad. After dinner, we like to finish the meal off with Easy Tiramisu or a Classic Fudgy Brownie.

How To Make Meatball Soup

Follow these simple step-by-step instructions for how to cook meatball soup:

  1. Make the meatballs! Combine all meatball ingredients in a bowl. Pro Tip: do not overmix or smoosh the meatballs together too much! We are looking for about 35 golf-ball size, light, juicy meatballs! Broil for 8-10 minutes until golden brown. They won’t be cooked all the way through, as we will finish them off in the meatball soup.

  2. Prep the soup base! We are looking for a flavorful, rich beefy tomato broth for the meatballs to finish simmering. Start with the mirepoix – also known as a combination of onions, carrots, celery, and in this case, red bell pepper — and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant, followed by the tomato paste. Next up, add your stocks, additional water, and the remaining ingredients! Bring to a boil!

  3. Combine the meatballs and the soup base! Once it’s boiling, carefully add in the meatballs and pasta, and reduce until a simmer. Cook until pasta is to your liking (al-dente or tender!), and the meatballs are cooked throughout, about 15 minutes.

  4. Garnish and enjoy! Top with curls of parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of fresh parsley. Bon Appetit!

a bowl of meatball soup topped with  parmesan and parsley surrounded by crusty bread and bowls of extra parmesan and parsley

Tools You’ll Need For Easy Meatball Soup

Our Favorite Meals Under 45 Minutes

Homemade is better, but deciding what to make can be challenging! So we’ve pulled together some of our fun, straightforward, crowd-pleasing recipes that come together in less than 45 minutes so you can plan your week! Try:

  • Start the week off strong with Egg Cups – protein-packed, veggie-packed, and easy to make!

  • Grilled Sausages and Vegetables – it doesn’t get easier than throwing everything on the grill (or in the pan!) and letting it do all the work for you.

  • Green Chicken Enchiladas are a one-pan meal that is comforting and satisfying - cheese and chicken wrapped into soft tortillas!

a bowl of homemade meatball soup topped with fresh shaved parmesan cheese and fresh parsley

Hearty, Cozy Tender Meatball Soup for All

A warm, long hug in a bowl! This recipe for meatball soup will impress and satisfy your family and friends! Did you make it? We want to know how it turned out! Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

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Meatball Soup

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  20 min
  • Cook Time:  50 min
  • Calories: 369


For the meatballs

  • 1 pound 80/20 ground beef
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ⅓ cup breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

For the soup

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 6 ounces small pasta (we like mini farfalle or ditalini)


  1. Make the meatballs. Turn the oven to broil on high with a rack in the center. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.

  2. In a large bowl, gently combine the beef, egg, Worcestershire, breadcrumbs, half of the parsley, parmesan, garlic, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Mix well, then with wet hands, form golf ball–size meatballs (about 1½ tablespoons each) and place on the prepared sheet pan. You should have about 35 meatballs. Broil for 8 to 10 minutes, or until beginning to brown. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and set aside.

  3. Meanwhile, make the soup. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once the oil is glistening, add the onion, celery, carrots, and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute more. Stir in the tomato paste until combined. Add in the chicken stock, beef stock, 2 cups of water, tomatoes, paprika, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.

  4. Once the soup is boiling, add the meatballs and the pasta, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender and the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

  5. Serve the soup topped with Parmesan and remaining parsley.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories369
  • Protein24 g
  • Carbohydrates28 g
  • Total Fat28 g
  • Dietary Fiber5 g
  • Cholesterol31 mg
  • sodium1334 mg
  • Total Sugars7 g

Meatball Soup

Questions & Reviews

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  • Kay

    This was such a hit with my whole family! Definitely going into regular rotation. Thank you!

    YAY! That is great to hear, thank you Kay!