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Easy Italian Wedding Soup {Instant Pot or Stovetop}

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Easy Instant Pot Italian wedding soup can also be made on the stove top for a quick weeknight dinner in under 30 min if you start with frozen meatballs.

A bowl of soup has meatballs, couscous, and carrots with spinach in chicken broth.

Easy Italian wedding soup in the Instant Pot or on the stovetop is going to quickly become a go-to comfort food dinner for your family.

Both my kids and my husband make requests for this cozy and delicious chicken broth based soup loaded with savory meatballs and tender vegetables.

If you use frozen meatballs, the recipe time is quick and easy. They can be browning while you chop the veggies and dinner is done in under 30 minutes.

Serve with some fresh bread for a dinner that will make plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day or another easy dinner on another night.

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Why This is the Best Recipe

This is the best Italian wedding soup recipe because it is so easy to make in either your Instant Pot or on the stovetop.

My family turns to this recipe again and again because:

  1. Uses Frozen Meatballs: I always have a bag in the freezer, and this is such an easy way to use them up!
  2. Lots of Healthy Veggies: The fresh baby spinach and carrots are fantastic. This recipe is a great way to use up any that are about to go to waste in your fridge.
  3. Leftovers Taste Great: We almost always get a second dinner for our family of four from this one recipe. The leftovers heat up so well!
  4. Hearty and Filling: Those tender meatballs make this a great dinner soup. My kids love when I tuck it into a thermos for lunch the next day, too.

Ingredients

The ingredients to make the soup are on the counter.

To make this easy soup recipe, you only really need a few items. Most of them are shelf stable, so it's a great recipe to make in a pinch:

  • Frozen Meatballs: You can buy a bag of frozen Italian meatballs or make my easy homemade Italian meatballs recipe and freeze them. Sometimes I roll them and use them in this soup right away before freezing, too.
  • Chicken Stock
  • White Wine: Or just use more chicken stock
  • Baby Spinach
  • Onion
  • Fresh Carrots
  • Israeli Couscous: There are several substitutions you could use, be sure to read the notes below.
  • Butter and/or Olive Oil
  • Grated Parmesan for serving

How to Use Frozen Meatballs in Soup

When I cook soup with frozen meatballs, I use them straight from the freezer.

There's no need to thaw the meatballs before adding them to the soup.

Melt the butter or heat the olive oil and then brown the frozen meatballs in your pot.

You may need a few more minutes to get them browned, but they will continue to thaw as they simmer in the soup.

Instant Pot Italian Wedding Soup Instructions

I love how fast it is to make Italian wedding soup in the Instant Pot.

You can brown the meatballs and veggies right in the pot on the SAUTE setting and then build the rest of the soup.

The Instant Pot lid is on and it is cooking.

Turn the Instant Pot onto the SAUTE setting and heat the olive oil or butter.

Brown the meatballs in batches so you don't overcrowd the Instant Pot.

Transfer the browned meatballs to a clean plate while you cook the veggies.

The meatballs are resting on a clean plate after being browned.

Add the chopped carrots and onions to the Instant Pot and cook until softened, about 4 minutes.

Pour the white wine into the pot and use a spoon to scrape up all the browned bits on the bottom as it cooks. Let the wine thicken, about 5 minutes.

Add 4 cups of chicken stock to the pot and then stir in the meatballs and couscous. Cover the Instant Pot and seal the lid.

Cook on HIGH for 5 minutes.

Quick release the Instant Pot. Stir in the remaining 4 cups of chicken stock and let it warm through.

Add the chopped spinach, stir it in and let it wilt for 1 minute.

Serve with grated parmesan sprinkled over the top.

Stovetop Italian Wedding Soup Instructions

When I want to make the soup all at once or I want to make a double batch, I like to use my largest dutch oven and cook the Italian wedding soup on my stovetop.

As with the Instant Pot recipe, you start by browning the meatballs in butter and/or olive oil.

Let the meatballs rest on a clean plate while you saute the veggies.

Step by step photos show how to build the soup.

Add the chopped carrots and onions to the pot and saute until softened, about 4 minutes.

Pour in the white wine and use it to deglaze the pan. Scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon as the wine reduces.

Pour in the chicken stock and bring it to a boil over HIGH heat. Reduce the heat to Low and keep it simmering while you return the meatballs to the pot to warm through.

Add the couscous and stir. Cover the pot and let the soup cook for 10 minutes or until the couscous is softened.

Add roughly chopped spinach to the broth and stir it in. Let it wilt for just a minute or so and serve immediately with grated parmesan over the top.

The fresh spinach is stirred into the broth.

Substitutions

Our family LOVES the texture of the large pearl Israeli couscous, I love how quickly it cooks in the broth.

However, if you can't find it at your store, you could substitute any of these:

  • acini di pepe pasta
  • orzo pasta
  • ditalini pasta

You may need to cook the pasta longer, check the timing on the package directions.

TOP TIP: If the soup thickens too much with the pasta, just add a little more chicken broth to get the texture back the way you prefer.

Serving Suggestions

A bowl of soup has meatballs, couscous, and carrots with spinach in chicken broth.

We love to top our soup with a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese and our favorite side dish for homemade soup is a warm loaf of bread machine bread.

Here are a few of my favorite bread recipes that would partner well with the soup:

Storage and Reheating Tips

This recipe almost always makes enough for our family of 4 to have two dinners.

Leftovers heat up so well the next day!

Store the completely cooled soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

The pasta or couscous will absorb the soup broth as it sits and it may be really thick the next day.

Simply add additional chicken stock to the pot as you warm it up in a saucepan on the stovetop or in the microwave.

A Note on Freezing:

Don't try to freeze the leftover soup, the meatballs will lose their texture in the thawing process a second time and the spinach may become slimy.

More Instant Pot Soups

These soups can easily be made in either the Instant Pot or on your stovetop:

๐Ÿ“– Recipe

A bowl of soup has meatballs, couscous, and carrots with spinach in chicken broth.

Italian Wedding Soup

5 from 1 vote
Easy Instant Pot Italian wedding soup can also be made on the stovetop for a quick weeknight dinner using frozen meatballs for a fast shortcut.
TOTAL TIME 35 minutes
PREP TIME 10 minutes
COOK TIME 25 minutes
YIELD 6 - 8 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 batch of homemade Italian meatballs see notes below or 30 Italian flavored meatballs from the freezer section of your grocery store
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter or 1 tablespoon of each
  • 3 - 4 large carrots diced
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 cup white wine sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, or pinot grigio
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup Israeli couscous
  • 2 cups baby spinach chopped
  • Grated parmesan for serving

Instructions

INSTANT POT INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Heat the olive oil or butter in the Instant Pot on the SAUTE setting.
  • Brown the meatballs in batches so you don't overcrowd the Instant Pot. Transfer the browned meatballs to a clean plate while you cook the veggies.
  • Add the chopped carrots and onions to the Instant Pot and cook until softened, about 4 minutes.
  • Pour the white wine into the pot and use a spoon to scrape up all the browned bits on the bottom as it cooks. Let the wine thicken, about 5 minutes.
  • Add 4 cups of chicken stock to the pot and then stir in the meatballs and couscous. Cover the Instant Pot and seal the lid.
  • Cook on HIGH for 5 minutes.
  • Quick release the Instant Pot. Stir in the remaining 4 cups of chicken stock and let it warm through.
  • Add the chopped spinach, stir it in and let it wilt for 1 minute.
  • Serve with grated parmesan sprinkled over the top.

STOVETOP INSTRUCTIONS:

  • In a large soup pot, heat the olive or butter over medium-high heat.
  • Brown the meatballs in batches so you don't overcrowd the pot and have room to turn them over. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the browned meatballs to a clean plate and repeat browning meatballs as needed until they are done.
  • Add the chopped carrots and onions to the pot and cook until softened, about 4 minutes.
  • Pour the white wine into the pot and use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom. Let the wine come to a boil and cook for 5 minutes to thicken slightly.
  • Pour in the chicken stock and bring it to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and keep it at a simmer.
  • Use the slotted spoon to return the browned meatballs to the pot. Pour in the couscous and stir. Cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Test the carrots with a fork. If they are not tender, simmer the soup a few more minutes.
  • Add the roughly chopped spinach to the soup. Stir it in and let it wilt for 1 minute before serving with grated parmesan sprinkled over the top.

Recipe Notes

Frozen Meatballs for Soup:

We love our homemade meatballs recipe for this soup but in a pinch I also use frozen meatballs from the grocery store to keep it easy.
You can use frozen meatballs straight from the freezer, you just might need a few minutes more of browning time. They will warm through while simmering in the soup broth.

Israeli Couscous Substitution:

Our family LOVES the texture of the large pearl Israeli couscous, I love how quickly it cooks in the broth.
However, if you can't find it at your store, you could substitute any of these:
  • acini di pepe pasta
  • orzo pasta
  • ditalini pasta
You may need to cook the pasta longer, check the timing on the package directions. If the soup thickens too much with the pasta, just add a little more chicken broth to get the texture back the way you prefer.
COURSESoup
CUISINEItalian-American

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A photo collage shows the finished soup in a bowl next to a plate of meatballs.

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