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Zuppa Toscana

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 40 min
  • Calories: 660
zuppa toscana soup with sausage, potatoes and kale

Bacon, sausage, heavy cream, garlic and parmesan cheese, plus a few veggies thrown in for good measure—our rich, delicious zuppa toscana recipe has it all, and then some!

Nailed It! Our Very Best (Yes, Olive Garden Copycat) Zuppa Toscana Soup Recipe

Our zuppa toscana recipe is as close to what you’d get at the Olive Garden as we could make it. Except that—dare we say it?!—this soup tastes even better, because homemade soup always does! Meaty and creamy, garlicky and rich, our zuppa toscana recipe hits just about every spot you can think of. On a wintery night, cozy up to a big, luxurious bowl of this soup—it’s a one-pot meal, for sure—and enjoy bite after bite of indulgent, homemade zuppa toscana bliss.

zucchini, potatoes, bacon, olive oil, onion, Italian sausage, garlic, parmesan, heavy cream and chicken stock

What Is Zuppa Toscana?

Loaded with crisp bacon, Italian sausage, cream, garlic and parmesan cheese, plus a few veggies thrown in for good measure— zuppa toscana is basically everything great on earth, cooked together in one big delicious pot. “Zuppa Toscana means “Tuscan soup”, and as for the origins of the recipe, well, the soup that the Olive Garden serves is a very American derivative of a Tuscan soup, and it’s honestly not too similar to any soup that you’d traditionally be served in Tuscany. But that’s OK! While we love authentic Italian food as much as the next, there’s plenty of room in our hearts (and stomachs) for Italian-American riffs, too. Particularly when they’re this yummy.

Bacon being cooked in a soup pot
sausage being cooked in a soup pot
onion and garlic being cooked in a soup pot.
chicken stock, chili powder, onion, garlic, zucchini and potatoes cooked in a soup pot.

Zuppa Toscana Ingredients

We love the way that a hint of heat balances out creamy soups—you might remember that we like to put jalapenos in our salmon chowder—and so we’ve taken some minor liberties to improve upon the Olive Garden’s zuppa toscana. Both chili powder and red pepper flakes add a nice little warmth to the creamy soup base, and if you use spicy Italian sausage instead of mild, well, you’ll be gobbling up a pretty darn spicy soup! That said, you can control the heat easily. If you prefer things on the mild side, just skip the pepper flakes and use mild Italian sausage. Your zuppa toscana will still be super delicious.

  • Bacon
  • Olive oil
  • Italian sausage
  • Yellow onion
  • Garlic
  • Chicken stock
  • Chili powder
  • Russet potatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Heavy cream
  • Kale
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Red pepper flakes
zuppa toscana soup with kale, parmesan bacon and sausage being cooked in a soup pot
olive garden copycat zuppa toscana soup with sausage, potatoes and kale, parmesan cheese, and bacon in a soup pot

How To Make Zuppa Toscana from Scratch

With super-flavorful ingredients like herby, Italian sausage and salty bacon, it’s almost impossible to mess up this easy zuppa toscana recipe. Truly! You just can’t go wrong when you combine cream, bacon, potatoes and cheese, right? Here’s how easy it is to make:

  1. Cook the bacon and resist the urge to eat it all. Stop it! Put down the bacon. It’ll be worth the wait. Save a bit of bacon fat to use as a base for the soup.
  2. While you fry the bacon, cook the sausage. Don’t just brown it, cook it all the way through!
  3. Fry the onion in bacon fat in a Dutch oven or stock pot. Add the garlic after a few minutes.
  4. Stir in chicken stock, and add chili powder, potatoes and zucchini and bring the whole pot to a boil. Now it’s starting to feel like there might actually be zuppa toscana in your future!
  5. Simmer until the potatoes are tender.
  6. Stir in cooked sausage, cream, kale, some parmesan and most of the bacon.
  7. When the kale is wilted, the soup is done! Garnish with more bacon, parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes.
homemade zuppa toscana soup with sausage, potatoes and kale, parmesan cheese, and bacon in a bowl with a spoon

Tools You’ll Need

More Hearty, Creamy Soup Recipes

homemade zuppa toscana soup with in a soup pot sausage, potatoes and kale, parmesan cheese, and bacon
homemade zuppa toscana soup with sausage, potatoes and kale, parmesan cheese, and bacon in a bowl with a spoon

Call It a Copycat Recipe, Call It Just Darn Delicious—Whatever You Call It, Make It!

We hope you’re as head over heels for our zuppa toscana recipe as we are—and with ingredients as dreamy and over-the-top as these, we’re not sure how you won’t be. If you make it, we’d love to hear about it! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

Zuppa Toscana

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 40 min
  • Calories: 660

Ingredients

  • 10 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage, mild or spicy
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, about 1 tablespoon
  • 32 oz chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 large russet potatoes, peeled, 1/2-inch sliced then each slice quartered, about 1 1/2 lbs
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/2" half circles
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 bunch kale, stem removed roughly chopped or torn into bite sized pieces, roughly 4 cups
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp Salt, adjust to taste
  • 1/4 tsp pepper, adjust to taste
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

Method

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the bacon until browned and crispy. Remove from heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon pieces to a paper towel lined plate, set aside. Reserve the bacon dripping in the pan.
  2. While the bacon is cooking, heat olive oil in a dutch oven or heavy bottomed soup pot (with lid) set over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, crumbling it as it cooks, about 10 minutes. Using a colander, drain the sausage, then add to the plate with the bacon.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium heat, and add 2 tablespoons reserved bacon fat. Add the onion to pot and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add a little chicken stock to deglaze the pan if necessary. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.
  4. Pour in chicken stock, scrapping the bottom of the pot. Add in the chili powder, potatoes and zucchinis, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil, this will take about 5-10 minutes.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and boil for 5 minutes longer or until potatoes and zucchini are are tender. Return the cooked sausage, 3/4 of the bacon, heavy cream, kale and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Stir and cook 2-5 minutes until kale is wilted.
  6. Add the salt and pepper, adjust to taste. Serve in bowls, topped with remaining bacon, remaining parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories 660
  • Protein 31 g
  • Carbohydrates 28 g
  • Total Fat 47 g
  • Dietary Fiber 4 g
  • Cholesterol 106 mg
  • sodium 2620 mg
  • Total Sugars 4 g

Zuppa Toscana

Questions & Reviews

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  • Alex

    Does this soup freeze well?

    Hi Alex, it should freeze fine. Since there is cream you will want to fully thaw before reheating. Reheat slowing stirring often to keep the cream from separating. We hope you enjoy it!

  • Cynthia Wenneker

    Could you substitute something se for zucchini?Broccoli corn ?

    Sure! Either would work, you can also just leave it out.

  • Holly Marie

    This turned out amazing. I have three kids who are usually very picky with new dishes, but all of them loved it and asked to have it more often! Leftovers were great reheated the next day too.

    This is so great to hear Holly! Thanks for trying it, we are so glad all the kids loved it, that is such a WIN!

  • Christie Fredrickson

    This is the best Zuppa Toscana I’ve ever made! The chili powder adds such a cozy warmth without making it too spicy and I love how hearty it is. Both my husband and three year old had seconds, so I’ll definitely be saving this one to make again in the future!

    This is so great to hear Christie! Thank you, glad it was enjoyed by the whole family!

  • Ashly Wilkins

    Best soup I’ve ever had in my life! This reminds me of a slightly healthier version of my grandma’s bacon and potato soup & makes my heart and tummy too happy for words. Seriously delicious!!

    Yay! Love this review.

  • Sarah Schenkerberg

    I’ve made a few versions of Zuppa Toscana, it’s one of my favorites to make, but this version is the BEST! Such a treat on a cold PNW night!

    Yay! Thanks so much! Glad you love it.

  • Laura G

    This soup is so good I want to marry it. It ended up being too spicy for our kids (maybe because we used New Mexico red chili powder?), but my husband and I couldn't get enough of it. He isn't the biggest fan of zucchini, so I might try it with carrots next time.

    So glad you enjoyed it, Laura! Carrots would be a great sub!