Easy Italian Wedding Soup Recipe: In The Slow Cooker

italian wedding soup recipe crock pot

A few weeks ago, I was in a pinch.

I was cooking for a crowd that was coming over later in the night, and I was really craving “minestra maritata,” or Italian Wedding Soup.

The problem was, I was going to be out of the house for most of the day. And this classic comfort food requires a LOT of stove top simmering.

As I was brainstorming different meals to make and trying to come up with a work around for my busy day, my mom came up with a brilliant idea. “Don’t you have an Instant Pot or slow cooker you could use?”

I hadn’t even thought about it, but she was right.

All I needed to do was use my slow cooker, prepare everything in advance and let it all simmer.

What Ingredients Do You Need?

There’s a bit more ingredients than you would expect, but that’s because you’re going to be rolling out tons of individual meatballs.

For this soup recipe, I really recommend preparing the ingredients in advance. It saves so much time when it comes to cooking the broth and making the soup.

Here’s what you’re going to need.

For the Mini Meatballs:

italian wedding soup recipe crock pot-Meatballs

Ground Beef: For this soup recipe, I tend to only use ground beef rather than a mixture of beef and ground pork. Since these will just be inside of a soup, there’s really no need.

Breadcrumbs: You can also use leftover stale bread, anything will work well here. I like to soak my breadcrumbs in a bit of water before adding them to the meatball mixture.

Eggs: A good rule of thumb is one egg per pound of meat.

Grated Romano: Or parmesan cheese. Use as much or as little as you’d like. Personally, I like adding more than necessary.

Garlic: Using a whole bunch of minced garlic is a great way to elevate the flavor of your meatballs tremendously.

Seasonings: All you’ll need to season these meatballs with are salt, pepper, and parsley. No Italian seasoning or oregano needed, just these three simple ingredients.

For The Soup:

Beef Bones: You can get these fresh or frozen from the grocery store. It’s where all of the flavor comes from.

Onions, Celery, Garlic: These three ingredients will help to flavor the broth as it’s simmering.

Carrots: You’ll be adding the carrots at the end, but they really take the whole soup up a notch.

Escarole: I’ve seen people use spinach and kale while replacing escarole, but to me, this leafy green vegetable is unmatched in this soup.

Seasonings: Very simple, all you’ll need is kosher salt, pepper, and a few bay leaves. That’s it. The flavor of the broth will speak for itself.

​Pasta: Any small pasta shape will do, but I love using ditalini.

What Was Your Method?

Italian soup-serving

I’m not going to lie and tell you and tell you that this is a recipe that you’ll be able to dump everything in the crock pot and go about your day, because it’s not.

This requires a bit of advance preparation and thought, but will still be just as easy and delicious once all is said and done.

The first thing you’re going to want to do is prepare your meatballs.

The morning of the day you plan on eating your soup, roll tons of individual miniature meatballs and separate them out. You ideally want 50-90 bite-sized meatballs per pound of meat.

You can either bake them in the oven for 15 minutes at 350°, or toss them in the refrigerator to let them cook in the broth before you’re ready to serve. Personally, I prefer the latter.

Then comes the escarole. You can choose to wilt your escarole after you prepare the little meatballs, or later before serving. I always do it right before serving, but again, this is entirely up to you.

After your ingredients are prepared, you’ll want to fill your crock pot or Instant Pot with water. Add salt and pepper, two beef bones, an onion or two, a few smashed cloves of garlic, and around 3 celery stalks.

Turn your crockpot on high, and go about your day. That’s literally all you need to do.

When you arrive home later that evening and are ready to eat, strain your rich broth into a large pot over medium low heat. Add your homemade meatballs, dice a carrot, and add the carrot into the pot along with the wilted escarole.

Serve everything over pasta.

That’s seriously how easy it is to make this delicious soup.

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Q: I can’t find escarole. What other kinds of leafy greens should I use?

A: Fresh spinach or kale will work just as well with this soup! Just wilt them both beforehand.

Q: I really don’t have any time to prepare anything before or after. What are some ways I can cut all of this down?

A: If this is the case, replace the homemade broth with chicken broth or chicken stock, and let everything sit in the same pot together all day. It won’t compare to homemade flavorful broth, but will still be a wonderful option.

Q: What kind of pasta should I use with this cozy soup recipe?

A: I love using ditalini, but you can also use acini de pepe, orzo pasta, or any other tiny pasta shape.

Q: I don’t eat red meat. If I were to make this with turkey meatballs or chicken meatballs, what should I add to these?

A: If you’re eating this with ground turkey or chicken meatballs, be sure to let these simmer in the broth rather than letting them bake in the oven, and season them a bit more. This will yield perfectly tender meatballs. You’ll want to use ingredients like Italian seasoning, oregano, basil, and crushed red pepper.

Italian Wedding Soup

What To Serve With Italian Wedding Soup:

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italian wedding soup recipe crock pot

Easy Italian Wedding Soup Recipe: In The Slow Cooker

  • Author: Gianna Ferrini



For the Meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ⅓ cup bread crumbs
  • ⅓ cup grated Romano cheese
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • ½ tbsp black pepper

For the Soup:

  • 2 beef bones
  • 1 large onion or 2 small onions
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 5 carrots, diced
  • 1 bunch escarole, wilted
  • 12 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • ​2 bay leaves
  • 1 lb ditalini


  1. Combine all of the meatball ingredients together to form tiny meatballs. Either bake in the oven at 350° for 15 minutes, or set aside in the refrigerator to simmer in the soup later.
  2. In a crock pot, add the beef bones, onion, celery stalks, garlic cloves, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Set the crock pot to high and let simmer for 6-8 hours.
  3. Strain the broth into a large pot or dutch oven, and add the diced carrots, wilted escarole, and meatballs. Simmer for a half hour or until the meatballs have cooked all the way through and the carrots are tender.
  4. When the soup is nearly finished, boil your ditalini in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Drain and stir in olive oil.
  5. Serve everything together, topped with freshly grated cheese. Enjoy!

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