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Turkey Meatball Italian Wedding Soup

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Turkey Meatball Italian Wedding Soup combines mini meatballs with veggies, orzo pasta, and a tasty broth. Serve this delicious soup with parmesan cheese and some crusty bread!

Closeup of a bowl of easy Italian wedding soup.

Meatball Soup

I had my first Italian Wedding Soup at a restaurant MANY years ago. It was SO good that I started searching for a good recipe for it. This was before the era of Pinterest and the large scale of blogging sites that exist today. 

So this recipe is a combination of a couple of recipes I found at a bookstore and then several tweaks I’ve made along the way. I’ve been making it for years and it’s definitely one of my favorite soups of ALL TIME.

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Confession. My family gets tired of all the soup I make. Mike is warming up to it (no pun intended) but the boys are done with soup by mid-January.

I just get so dang excited when the temps cool under 80 (yes, crazy!) that I start making soups and stews and breads to dip in the soups. It’s just so exciting!

There is so much to love about Italian soups. Bookmark my Italian Minestrone Soup, Fire-Roasted Tomato Tortellini Soup, or Italian Chicken Tortellini Soup to try next!

A bowl of meatball soup with orzo and veggies.

Ingredients Notes:

  • Ground Meat – A combo of any ground meat you prefer. I used turkey sausage and ground beef, but I often use a combo of turkey and pork.
  • Eggs – Two eggs are needed in the meatballs.
  • Bread Crumbs – Use Panko breadcrumbs for these meatballs.
  • Parmesan Cheese – Make sure you freshly grate a wedge of parmesan cheese.
  • Veggies – Chopped carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. You’ll add fresh spinach leaves at the very end of the cooking process.
  • Broth – A combo of chicken and beef broth makes the tastiest base for this Italian Wedding Soup.
  • Pasta – Use orzo pasta in this soup. You could also use another small pasta of your choice.

How to make Turkey Meatball Italian Wedding Soup:

Step 1
Form meatballs. In a bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients – the ground turkey and beef, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, eggs, garlic, seasonings, and the cold water. Use your hands to form mini meatballs. Place on a baking sheet.

Step 2
Dice veggies. Dice the carrots, celery, and onion. Mince the garlic.

Step 3
Sauté veggies. Heat a stock pot over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and then the carrots, celery, and onion. Sauté until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Then add the minced garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.

Step 4
Add broth, meatballs, and orzo pasta. Then add the broth and heat to boiling. Add the mini meatballs and orzo pasta. Cook until the meatballs are cooked through and the orzo is al dente (stirring frequently), approximately 10 minutes or so.

Step 5
Add spinach. Turn heat off and add the spinach. Stir well and let the spinach wilt. Test seasonings.

Step 6
Serve. Serve the soup with some freshly shaved parmesan cheese and some crusty bread.

Side shot of a soup ladle over a pot of Italian wedding soup.

Recipe Tips

  1. Make up a bunch of mini meatballs and freeze them for when you make this recipe, or for meatball subs. It’s a super quick meal to make when the meatballs are ready to go. 
  2. If you like a thicker soup, use more orzo pasta. If you like more broth, use less pasta.
  3. The meatballs cook perfectly right in the soup. But you could also bake them in the oven instead, and then add them afterward.
  4. Remove those prickly stems from the baby spinach before you add them!
  5. The broth combo of beef and chicken makes this super tasty. But you could use all of one if so desired, or even vegetable broth.
  6. I don’t recommend freezing this soup because the spinach will get weird. But you could freeze the meatballs!

Prep-in-advance suggestions

  1. Make the meatballs and store in the refrigerator.
  2. Chop up all the veggies in advance, and remove the stems from the spinach.
  3. Place all pantry items out on the counter ready to go – the orzo pasta, broths, and spices.
Side view of two bowls of meatball wedding soup.

Origins of Italian Wedding Soup

Many people believe that Italian Wedding Soup was served to a bride and groom at their wedding – to give them extra strength and vigor to get them through their wedding night. (Hmmm…)

Not true. The meaning has to do with the “marriage” of the meat and the vegetables in the soup. One ingredient is very different from the other, but they go well together. (Kind of like most couples I know!)

And there you have it. The true meaning of Italian Wedding Soup. Now we can all go forward in peace and prosperity. 😀

Best Bread for Italian Wedding Soup

Bread and soup is an absolute MUST! I love keeping the following breads in the freezer for all the soups!

A bowl of the best Italian wedding soup.

Kitchen Tools used for this recipe: (Affiliate Links)

xoxo ~Sue

A bowl of Italian Wedding Soup with turkey meatballs and some crusty bread.

Turkey Meatball Italian Wedding Soup

Turkey Meatball Italian Wedding Soup combines mini meatballs with veggies, orzo pasta, and a tasty broth. Serve this delicious soup with parmesan cheese and some crusty bread!
4.72 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 411kcal
Author: Sue Ringsdorf


For the mini meatballs: (approximately 44 mini meatballs)

  • 1 pound ground turkey – or turkey sausage
  • 1 pound lean ground beef – or use pork sausage
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese – freshly grated
  • 3 cloves garlic – minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper – to taste
  • 1/4 cup cold water

For the soup:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large carrots – peeled and diced
  • 4 stalks celery – diced
  • 1 large onion – diced
  • 3 whole garlic cloves – minced
  • 6 cups chicken broth – or more
  • 6 cups beef broth – or more
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 parmesan rind – optional
  • 1 1/2 cups dried orzo pasta – use less if you like a thinner soup
  • 4 cups fresh spinach – stems removed
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper – to taste
  • Parmesan cheese – for serving


For the meatballs:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef, turkey sausage, egg, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, spices and water. Use your hands to gently combine, being careful to not over-mix. Form into mini meatballs. This should make approximately 44 meatballs.)
  • Refrigerate meatballs until ready to add to soup. (You can also freeze these meatballs ahead of time.)

For the soup:

  • In a large stock pan, sauté the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic in olive oil, until the veggies begin to soften. Add chicken broth and beef broth and bring to a boil.
  • Add meatballs, bay leaves, and the parmesan rind (optional). Reduce heat to a slow boil, and stir gently to keep the meatballs from breaking apart. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • After the meatballs have simmered for about 10 minutes, add the orzo pasta. Simmer until al dente, approximately 15 minutes.
  • Add the spinach during the last five minutes of cooking. Serve with parmesan cheese on top.


  • These meatballs can be made in advance and frozen until ready to make the soup.
  • You can bake the meatballs in the oven (instead of cooking them in the soup) and add them later in the cooking process.
  • The orzo pasta will continue to plump up as it sits. You may need to add more broth to the leftovers.


Calories: 411kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 127mg | Sodium: 2080mg | Potassium: 1002mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 7653IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 157mg | Iron: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @Suebeehomemaker or tag #suebeehomemaker!


  1. Jackie Thill says:

    This soup was a big hit at my house, including guests. Directions are easy to follow and it’s a pretty simple and satisfying meal.I served it with a caesar salad and crusty bread. Yum! We’ll be making it again soon!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Yay! It’s one of our favorites too, Jackie!

  2. I love soup season and this recipe did not disappoint! It was packed with flavor and will definitely be added into our regular rotation. Thanks, Sue!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      So glad to hear this, Stephani! Mwah!

  3. Veronica Perkins says:

    Delicious my toddler grandson can’t get enough of the meatballs.

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Hi Veronica! Thanks for your feedback. We love this soup too! 🙂

  4. Diane Balling says:

    I made your Italian Wedding Soup with leftover turkey thrown in from our Christmas dinner, along with the meatballs…and the family loved it! Thank you, Sue, for sharing all of your delish recipes! <3

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Hi Diane! I’m so happy you enjoyed the soup. Thanks for letting me know! 🙂

  5. I love this soup! One of the best soups ever!

  6. Vicki L McKie says:

    Absolutely love this soup! I prepared the meatballs and soup on a Sunday minus the pasta and spinach. When I came home from work on Monday all I had to do was add the orzo pasta and spinach and my dinner was on the table within 30 minutes! Great recipe for a working mom and the meatballs were fabulous 🙂 It’s a keeper – thank you Sue.

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Thank you Vicki!! ? You are the best!

  7. Love this! I had to laugh when I read this because I love soup, and can’t wait for the temp to go down so I can make soups for dinner. But the men in my family are not convinced soup is a meal!
    Can’t wait to try the recipe.

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Men are all the same. Haha! I hope you enjoy:)

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