This Italian Meatball Soup can be made in either a slow cooker or on the stove. There’s nothing quite like a steaming bowl of soup to warm you up during the colder months. This meatball soup is a timeless classic that delivers comfort and heartiness in every spoonful. Perfect for lunch or even dinner!
Why Choose Meatball Soup?
- Hearty and Filling: Meatball soup is substantial and satisfying, making it a perfect meal for a chilly day.
- Versatile: You can customize your meatballs with various meats, seasonings, and fillings, making it adaptable to your preferences.
- Nutritious: Packed with protein, vegetables, and flavorful broth, meatball soup is a nutritious option that can help boost your immune system during the cold season.
- Comfort Food: It offers a taste of familiarity and warmth making it a go-to food when you need a pick-me-up.
- Bread – day old is best, (crusts removed) (I use 3 slices Italian crusty bread)
- Ground beef – 80% lean
- Eggs – large egg
- Parmesan cheese – freshly grated
- Parsley – fresh parsley
- Garlic – garlic cloves finely chopped
- Carrots (chopped)
- Onion (chopped)
- Celery stalks (chopped)
- Potatoes (chopped)
- Tomatoes (seeded and chopped)
- Parsley – fresh Italian parsley also known as flat leaf parsley
- Broth – homemade or store bought vegetable or beef broth or even low sodium beef broth
- Hot pepper flakes – or black pepper optional
How to make homemade broth
In a large pot add a few pieces of meat or chicken (bone in is also a good idea) or as I did for this recipe I used only vegetables, a carrot and an onion peeled and cut in half, a celery stalk cut in two, a bay leaf, 2-3 pepper corns, 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of salt and 12 cups of water. Bring it to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for about three hours. Stir occasionally and remove any foam that appears on the top of the broth. Pour the broth through a sieve, and let the liquid cool before using.
Any unused broth can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for 4-5 days. It can also be frozen in freezer safe containers and will keep for up to 6 months.
If you prefer you can always use store bought broth, just be careful about adding the salt, store bought can be very salty. It would be best to make the soup and taste for salt after it is cooked.
How to make a Meatball Soup Recipe
In a small bowl soak the bread in water or milk for 1 minute, then squeeze out the moisture and crumble. In a medium bowl combine the bread with beef, spices and parmesan cheese, mix well. Form the mixture into small balls (mini balls). In a large frying pan add two tablespoons of olive oil, brown the meatballs on all sides on medium heat.
Using a slotted spoon transfer the meatballs to the slow cooker, then add the chopped veggies, spices and the broth.
Gently stir to combine, turn temperature to high and let cook for approximately 4 hours, stir occasionally (or 7-8 hours on low).
To make this recipe on the stove, instead of adding the meatballs to the slow cooker, place them in a large soup pot and continue with the recipe. Cook on low covered for approximately one hour uncover for 15-20 minutes to thicken if desired.
If you prefer you could add a teaspoon of Italian seasoning instead of the oregano
I browned the meatballs before placing them in the slow cooker, because I think they taste better and I like the consistency of the meatballs.
I have quite a few different meatball recipes, instead of using bread you could make this Classic meatball recipe that uses breadcrumbs instead or Turkey meatballs, made with ground turkey. If you use the turkey meatballs then I would use either vegetable broth or chicken broth.
If you want an even heartier soup then yes you can, I would recommend adding a small pasta or even broken spaghetti.
I like to serve a simple salad and of course some crusty bread or garlic bread. Or you could even melt your favorite cheese on bread slices and serve hot.
How to store the Meatball Soup
Any leftovers should be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated. It will last for up to three days in the fridge.
You could even freeze the soup, although I would freeze the soup without the addition of pasta. Make sure it has cooled completely, then place in a freezer container. It will keep for up to three months in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the fridge, re heat on the stove or in the microwave.
So if you are looking for a healthy comfort food Soup to help get you through the winter I think you will enjoy this Slow Cooker Italian Meatball Soup. Buon Appetito!
Slow Cooker Italian Meatball Soup
- 2 carrots (chopped)
- 1 small onion (chopped)
- 2 celery stalks (chopped)
- 2 medium potatoes (cubed)
- 3 ripe tomatoes (seeded and chopped)
- 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley (finely chopped)
- ½ teaspoon basil
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- 4 cups vegetable broth (homemade or store bought)
- 1-2 dashes hot pepper flakes or black pepper (if desired)
FOR THE MEATBALLS
- 3-4 slices day old bread (crusts removed) (I use 3 slices Italian crusty bread)
- ½-¾ cup water or milk
- 1 pound lean ground beef (80% lean)
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 clove garlic (finely chopped or minced)
- In a small bowl soak the bread in water for 1 minute, then squeeze out moisture and crumble. In a medium bowl combine bread with remaining ingredients and mix well. Form into small balls (mini balls). In a medium frying pan add two tablespoons of olive oil, brown meatballs on all sides.
- Using a slotted spoon transfer the meatballs to the slow cooker, then add the chopped carrots, onion, celery, potatoes and tomatoes, add the spices and broth.
- Gently stir to combine, turn temperature to high and let cook for approximately 4 hours, stir occasionally (or 7-8 hours on low). Enjoy!