Italian Meatball Soup made with homemade meatballs is a family favorite. A hearty broth with vegetables makes it a satisfying meal.
One of the main reasons I love the fall season so much is because it’s perfect soup making weather! I have been taking advantage of the cooler days and have made soup about once a week – it’s a tradition my mother started when we were growing up and I love it. Last week I made this Italian Meatball Soup and we all loved it!
It’s a fun way to cook with meatballs and mix up your traditional soup recipes. It was really easy to put together, I just used my classic homemade Italian meatball recipe and added a few Italian elements to my regular soup backbone recipe. Soups are such a fun thing to cook, once you know the basics you can really make any kind you like and mix it up quite easily.
So, what are the basics of a good soup? A broth-based soup like chicken noodle, beef soup, or this Italian Meatball Soup is usually going to start by sautéing onions, carrots, and celery. From there you’ll add the appropriate broth to the soup and whatever meat you are using in your soup. Often if it is a beef or lamb soup of some kind, you’ll add a tomato product as well – this helps balance the bolder flavor of those types of meat.
The longer you can let the soup cook, the better it will be. Often, I’ll put together soups early in the day, let them simmer away on the stovetop or in the crockpot and then about 40 minutes before I want to serve it, I’ll add in any of the more fragile ingredients. Although I didn’t make it ahead of time when I served it last week, in the case of this Italian Meatball Soup, I’d hold off on adding the potatoes and meatballs until 40 minutes before so they wouldn’t disintegrate.
I always make homemade meatballs, but if you are short on time or nervous to make them you can always substitute in store bought ones. I actually don’t even know how those come from the store, cooked? Raw? Just browned? If they are already cooked, you could just toss them in frozen and then when they are ready to eat, the soup is ready! But I really really really think you should try my homemade meatball recipe 🙂 .
They are super easy to make, I promise! And it will make the soup even better. And anything else you decide to make with them! I use this recipe all the time, in fact, I love to make my own frozen meatballs from it. I will often double it or triple it, brown all the meatballs, flash freeze what I’m not immediately using, and store them in zipper top bags. Then you can enjoy homemade goodness by just opening up your freezer.
Italian Meatball Soup
For the Meatballs
- 3/4 cup breadcrumbs plain
- 2 cloves garlic grated
- 1/4 cup milk or enough to moisten all the breadcrumbs
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 egg
- 4 tablespoons fresh basil chopped, 2 tablespoons if using dried
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped, 2 teaspoons if using dried
- 3 tablespoons onion grated
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
For the Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 medium carrots diced
- 2 stalks of celery diced
- 4 medium red or gold potatoes diced
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 6 cups beef broth
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil chopped, 1 tablespoon if using dried
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped, 2 teaspoons if using dried
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup parmesan optional, for serving
For the Meatballs
- In a small bowl combine the breadcrumbs, grated garlic, and milk.
- I add about 1/4 cup milk and then add more by tablespoons until all the breadcrumbs are moist. Set aside.
- While the above mixture rests, combine the rest of the meatball ingredients in a large bowl and mix until just combined.
- Add the bread crumb mixture and mix very, very well until everything is a smooth and even texture.
- Shape the meatballs so they are roughly the same size, I like to use a standard cookie scoop but a spoons works just as well.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes or freeze for 10 minutes.
For the Soup
- In a large pot, heat oil on high heat. Brown meatballs in batches, you don't want them to be touching.
- Remove from pot and set aside once browned. Remove any excess oil from the pan, you want about 1 tablespoon left. Add more if needed.
- Add onion, carrots, celery, potatoes, and oregano to the pot. Saute until the onions are soft and translucent.
- Add tomato paste and cook for 1-2 minutes to bring out the flavor, stirring the whole time.
- Add beef broth and bring to a simmer.
- Gently add in the meatballs - if you feel that adding all of them is too many, just add to your preference. The rest can keep easily in the freezer.
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