This Italian meatball soup is tender beef meatballs, vegetables and pasta, all simmered in a rich tomato broth. An easy dinner option that’s perfect for a busy weeknight!

My family happens to love meatballs, especially the kids. I make sure to put meatballs on our dinner menu on a regular basis. I often do meatball bake or Greek meatballs with rice, but sometimes I like to mix things up a bit and serve this hearty meatball soup recipe.

Italian meatball soup with beef meatballs, ditalini pasta and vegetables in a tomato broth.

Soup is always a great option when it’s cold outside, and I find myself making this meatball soup constantly during the winter months. It has similar flavors to the classic spaghetti and meatballs, but in soup form. Best of all, my kids adore it and happily eat the veggies in this soup!

Meatball Soup Ingredients

To make this recipe, you will need ground beef, garlic, Italian seasoning, parsley, egg, parmesan cheese, Italian breadcrumbs, salt, black pepper, olive oil, onion, celery, carrots, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth and pasta.

How Do You Make Meatball Soup?

Preheat the broiler and coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place all the meatball ingredients in a bowl, and stir to combine. Roll the meat mixture into small balls, then place them on the baking sheet. Broil until the meatballs are golden brown. Heat the olive oil in a large pot, then add the onions, carrots and celery. Cook until the veggies are tender. Next, add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a simmer. Stir in the meatballs and the pasta, and cook until the pasta is done. Add some fresh parsley on top, then serve and enjoy.

Ground beef, breadcrumbs, parsley, herbs and parmesan cheese in a mixing bowl.

Tips For The Perfect Soup

  • I use 90% lean ground beef. It has plenty of flavor but is not overly greasy.
  • You can use any short pasta you like for this soup. I use ditalini, but other great choices are macaroni, rotini or orzo pasta.
  • This soup makes great leftovers, but just be aware that the pasta will continue to soak up the broth as it sits in the fridge. You may need to add more broth when you go to reheat your soup.
  • Meatball soup is hearty enough to stand alone as a complete meal, or you can serve it with a side of garlic knots.

Quick Tip

I like to make my meatballs on the smaller side (about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in size), it’s easier to eat them in the soup that way.

Raw meatballs on a sheet pan ready to go into the oven.

Recipe FAQs

How do you keep meatballs from falling apart in soup?

Use pre-cooked meatballs to keep them from falling apart in soup. A meatball that is already baked or pan cooked has a firm crust on the outside, which means it will stay intact. Raw meatballs are much more likely to fall apart in hot broth.

Is it better to pan fry or bake meatballs?

I prefer to bake my meatballs. They come out perfectly tender and golden brown with the heat from the broiler, and it’s less messy than pan frying meatballs in oil.


Sauteed carrots, onions and celery in a soup pot.

Meatball Soup Variations

There are so many different ways to customize meatball soup – you can use different types of meat, add more vegetables or change up the seasonings.

  • Sausage & Mushroom: Use 50% Italian sausage, 50% ground beef in the meatballs, and add 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms when you stir in the pasta.
  • Turkey & Spinach: Use ground turkey instead of beef, and swap out the beef broth for chicken broth. Add 2 cups of baby spinach leaves to the soup during the last few minutes of the cook time.
  • Veggie Lovers: Add 1 cup of frozen mixed vegetables during the last 5 minutes of the cook time.
A bowl of meatball soup topped with chopped parsley and grated cheese.

I serve this meatball soup with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese and fresh parsley for the perfect finish. Your family is sure to enjoy this soup as much as my family does!

More Great Soup Recipes

Love This Recipe?

Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments section further down the page.

5 from 83 votes

Italian Meatball Soup

AuthorSara Welch
Italian meatball soup with beef meatballs, ditalini pasta and vegetables in a tomato broth.
This Italian meatball soup is tender beef meatballs, vegetables and pasta, all simmered in a rich tomato broth. An easy dinner option that’s perfect for a busy weeknight!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine Italian
Serves 6


  • cooking spray

For the meatballs

  • 1 pound ground beef I use 90% lean
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese finely grated
  • 1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

For the soup

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery sliced
  • 2 carrots peeled and diced
  • 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes do not drain
  • 16 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup dry short pasta such as ditalini
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
  • parmesan cheese for serving optional


  • Preheat the broiler to medium or high heat. Coat a sheet pan with cooking spray.

For the meatballs

  • Place all of the meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Stir with a large spoon or use your hands to combine all the ingredients. You can add a few teaspoons of water if needed to make the process easier.
  • Shape the meat mixture into small balls (1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in size). Place on the prepared baking sheet. Coat the tops of the meatballs with cooking spray.
  • Broil for 8-10 minutes until meatballs are lightly browned.

For the soup

  • While the meatballs are cooking, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrots.
  • Cook the vegetables for 4-5 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
  • Bring to a simmer. Add the meatballs and pasta to the soup. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until pasta and vegetables are tender.
  • Top with parsley. Serve with parmesan cheese if desired.


  1. I use 90% lean ground beef. It has plenty of flavor but is not overly greasy.
  2. You can use any short pasta you like for this soup. I use ditalini, but other great choices are macaroni, rotini or orzo pasta.


Calories: 279kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 80mg | Sodium: 640mg | Potassium: 982mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 4145IU | Vitamin C: 16.5mg | Calcium: 167mg | Iron: 4.7mg

Hello! I’m Sara!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Made this the other night. I followed the recipe for the meatballs, made them tiny (1″) and they worked out perfect. I cheated and used frozen mixed veges (carrots, peas, beans) but still added fresh celery & onion. The only pasta I had that would work was linguini, so I broke them into 1 1/2 inch pieces. All other ingredients were as per the recipe. I let the soup cook with the noodles in for about an hour till they couldn’t get any bigger, perfection. Will be making this again. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  2. I used 1/3 of jar of spaghetti sauce leftover and diced tomatoes (canned). Also used frozen meatballs so the only “labor” was chopping veggies. Combined beef and chicken broth. Added spinach. T of herbs de Provence and roasted garlic & herb seasoning. Settling in for next snowstorm.

  3. 5 stars
    I made this last night. It was AMAZING. The only things I did different was using frozen meatballs and added a rinsed can of cannellini beans. I also used a larger can of crushed tomatoes since that is all I had. The husband loved it too…..and he is a very picky eater. Next time I will make some crusty garlic bread to go with.

    1. At what point did you add the frozen meatballs? I have an extra bag of frozen meatballs thanks to a “buy 1 get 1” sale. This recipe sounds easy if I use the frozen meatballs I already have.

  4. 5 stars
    Made this recipe today minus -18C today wanted to warm up the insides. I used egg noodle drops instead of pasta, turned out awesome. Very very good.

  5. 5 stars
    Delicious soup. Will make again. Made a few edits for my flavor—added some Italian sausage to the beef mixture, added a Parmesan rind while it cooked, and added a little fresh lemon juice right at the end to brighten up the soup.

  6. 5 stars
    I was supposed to make a wedding soup, HOWEVER, the recipe called for chicken broth, which I didn’t have any, then I found this recipe, OMG! I CANNOT WAIT to hear the comments tomorrow!
    I also used a beef base to go along with the beef broth then added fresh spinach to use up the ingredients from the wrong soup!
    I’m thinking I’ll have to make it for my honey too sometime soon!
    Thanks for this recipe!

  7. 5 stars
    I had to make a few substitutions because of what I had in the house! Chicken stock instead of beef. A pack of shake & bake instead of breadcrumb & Herbs de Provence instead of Italian, Ragu instead of can tomato sauce & penne noodles. This was ‘next level’ good! I made the garlic knots to go with it & my 9 yr old is asking for thirds! Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  8. 5 stars
    I love this soup as it is so easy to make and also easy to substitute things if you don’t have the exact ingredients in the recipe, as long as you have the basics it works. If I make this during the week after a busy day at work I will use sausage meat for the meatballs (squeezed out of the skins) and add dried herbs and garlic for extra flavour, I always add garlic to the broth as I just love the stuff! It’s so versatile. After saving leftovers for the next day and there being no juice left at lunchtime (I was at work so I could not add extra broth) I decided after that to cook the pasta needed for the meal separately, dish it into the bowls per portion and ladle the soup/meatballs on top. Go with what you have in the fridge/freezer and trust your instincts, if your family like chilli then add it, if they prefer a certain vegetable over another then go with that, this is a great base for customizing to your own personal taste.

  9. 5 stars
    I had homemade meatballs in the freezer from a recipe that is similar to the one here. I added a bit of garlic, but otherwise followed the directions here. It was terrific. My wife and I both liked it a lot, plus I had all the ingredients in my kitchen, Looking forward to the leftovers.

  10. 5 stars
    Delicious, just the perfect flavor i was looking forward too! Needed something different and this hit the spot. Thank you!!!!

  11. I am making this in the slow cooker function of my instant pot. Apparently my 3 quart instant pot is too small for this recipe so I used 4 cups of beef broth instead of six and I only used the can of crushed tomatoes no tomato sauce. I also used frozen meatballs and frozen vegetables but I use the fancy expensive good frozen meatballs. To be honest with you it smells fantastic even before I turn the heat on so I am excited. I think it’s gonna turn out pretty good and it’s a very cheap recipe. If you already have herbs and spices on hand and if you use a cheaper brand of meatballs the total cost of the recipe will probably around $11 which is not bad for four or five servings . Mind you it’s cheap because I’m using frozen vegetables instead of fresh

  12. 5 stars
    Delicious! I used canned grape tomatoes because it’s what I had in the pantry, and added a bag of mixed frozen mushrooms that were in my freezer. A perfect soup for a chilly Saturday afternoon!

      1. Meat is tricky to can, but if you have a pressure cooker canner I’m sure you can do this. Tomatoes, tomato sauces, homemade ketchup all can well so it should work in the fancy canner. But google it for specifics.

  13. Sara,
    Just to let you know I’m making this delishous looking Italian meata ball soup, tonight for our supper….👍
    I hope it tastes as yummy as it looks. BTW, I also added green pepper, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, and lastly zucchini. We will be having this between 5-6:00.

  14. 5 stars
    I love soup and this recipe is a keeper! Perfect for a cold winter evening. Only a couple small changes – I cooked the pasta separately and added a few big handfuls of spinach 5 minutes before the soup was done. I also cheated and used frozen meatballs from the grocery store. Thank you so much for this recipe. I’m looking forward to making it again this winter!

    1. I’m hoping to use frozen meatballs too (I’m a big cheater!). How many did you use? Did you just add them to the soup frozen or ?

  15. 5 stars
    Those meatballs are off the chain! Very delicious, when combined with the soup, oh man that is gooooood!
    Thanks for sharing.