This Italian Meatball Soup is a total comfort food recipe! Made with meatballs, ditalini pasta, and the flavors of Italy, this comforting dinner idea is perfect for chilly evenings.

meatball soup in a white bowl, with fresh basil

Homemade Italian Meatball Soup

When it comes to wintertime menus, steaming, hearty soups are one of our most beloved comfort foods. They take the chill out of our bones, while sustaining us in a huge variety of flavorful ways.

This Italian Meatball Soup includes a number of my family’s favorite things – meatballs, ditalini pasta, and the flavors of Italy. I simply can’t go wrong when putting this easy soup on our table!

A few more of our family’s favorite soup recipes: Lasagna Soup is not only a family favorite, but also a much loved reader favorite. Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Stew and Slow Cooker Chili are total comfort. And I always welcome a bowl of Mom’s Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup.

* This is a sponsored post, created in partnership with Red Gold®.

Save this recipe to Pinterest!

two cans of whole peeled tomatoes

The Key to the Best Meatball Soup? The Best Canned Tomatoes!

You’ve heard me say it before, and I’m saying it now again. I am a huge fan of Red Gold Tomatoes.

The quality is obvious to me. Red Gold’s®️ Peeled Whole Tomatoes always (ALWAYS!) look just like the tomatoes shown in the photo above. They are perfectly intact with no peel attached, firmly tender, and nestled in rich tomato juice.

This is in stark contrast to another leading brand’s tomatoes, which can be seen in the other can. The tomatoes are broken and mushed, with the peel still attached. And the tomato juice is much thinner.

Red Gold also has a more intense fresh tomato flavor. And there’s no hint of metallic taste that I often pick up from other brands.

It’s no wonder that Red Gold’s®️ Whole Peeled Tomatoes received the 2019 Chefs Best Excellence Award for their quality and strong tomato integrity.

meatball soup with a can of whole peeled tomatoes and a can of tomato paste

How to Make Meatball Soup

I use two different Red Gold products in this soup recipe:

  • whole peeled tomatoes
  • tomato paste

Whole peeled tomatoes are infinitely adaptable. For this soup, I dice half of the tomatoes from the 28-ounce can, and then crush the other half. This offers a variety of tomato textures that can be altered to fit your own preferences. You could also use a smaller can of diced tomatoes plus a smaller can of crushed tomatoes if you like.

And I find tomato paste to be the ultimate flavor weapon in tomato-based dishes. I always have a couple cans in our pantry. Tweak the tomato richness by adding as much as you like.

meatballs on a pan

If you’re a fan of the Pasta e Fagioli Soup at Olive Garden, this soup has very similar flavors.

Minus the fagioli (beans), which makes our kids happy.

Plus meatballs, which makes the whole family happy!

The beef meatballs add big flavor to this Italian soup with tomatoes. With fresh garlic, Parmesan, and parsley, it can be tempting to eat them all on their own.

I like to use my hands to get all the meatball ingredients combined evenly. And for quick and easy meatball portioning, I use a small scoop. Then I give each portion a quick roll between my hands.

meatball ditalini soup in a bowl with cheese

If you have kids who are anything like ours, they’ll eat pretty much anything that includes pasta. I used ditalini in this recipe, one of our favorites. Those short tube shapes are extra fun!

Now the only thing I really haven’t talked about is the vegetables. I pack them into this soup. They add flavor, color, texture, and nutrition. And I’m betting that your kids won’t even notice!

Serving Suggestions

If you’re looking for a great salad to start off your meal, try this Italian Chopped Salad. I loaded it with goodies and dressed it with a zippy Italian Vinaigrette. People rave about it!

My family also goes crazy for soft, warm bread to dip in their soup. Like homemade Italian bread, breadsticks ,or some fun garlic knots. If you really want to go all out, I highly recommend our homemade garlic bread! It’s easy, cheesy and full of garlic flavor.

Like this recipe? Save it to Pinterest!

pinterest image of Italian meatball ditalini soup with fresh basil and cheese
Italian meatball soup in a bowl

Italian Meatball Soup

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

This comforting soup includes a number of my family's favorite things - meatballs, ditalini pasta, and the flavors of Italy!


for the meatballs:

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1/3 c. bread crumbs
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2 T. minced fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 T. olive oil

for the soup:

  • 1 T. unsalted butter
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 oz.) can Red Gold®️ Whole Peeled Tomatoes - or substitute 1 (14.5 oz.) can Diced Tomatoes plus 1 (15 oz.) can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 (6 oz.) can Red Gold®️ Tomato Paste
  • 6 c. reduced sodium beef broth
  • 6 large leaves fresh basil, torn
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 T. dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 c. ditalini pasta
  • freshly shredded Parmesan, optional for serving


  1. for the meatballs: In a medium bowl combine beef, bread crumbs, Parmesan, egg, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper. Fold with a wooden spoon, or use your hands to combine evenly.
  2. Form mixture into 40 meatballs, about 1 tablespoon each. I use a small scoop to portion quickly and evenly.
  3. Heat a large heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat. I use a 6.75 quart Dutch oven - it's a great size for this recipe. Add olive oil. Once oil is shimmery, add meatballs. Turn meatballs occasionally, until all sides are nicely browned. Remove meatballs to a bowl.
  4. for the soup: Using same pot over medium to medium-high heat, add butter and olive oil. Once shimmery, add onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic. Sauté, stirring occasionally, about 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are softened.
  5. Dice half of the whole peeled tomatoes and add to pot. Randomly chop and then crush the remaining whole peeled tomatoes, using the back of a fork or a rigid pastry cutter. Add to the pot any accumulated juices and all tomato juice left in the can.
  6. Stir in tomato paste, to taste - I like to use between 4 and 6 ounces. Add beef broth, basil, bay leaves, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and meatballs. Turn heat up a bit and cook until soup just starts to boil. Then turn heat down to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes or until meatballs are fully cooked and vegetables are soft and tender.
  7. While soup is cooking, cook ditalini pasta in boiling salted water, until al dente. Do not over cook. Drain and reserve.
  8. to serve: Add cooked ditalini pasta to individual bowls and then ladle soup over the top. Shred Parmesan over the top.

Note: Cooking the pasta separately ensures that the pasta will not absorb excess liquid from the soup, which makes the pasta mushy. This is especially important if you anticipate having leftovers. I follow this same method when making Lasagna Soup.


from a farmgirl's dabbles

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 253Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 80mgSodium: 834mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 22g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment below. And share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #afarmgirlsdabbles!

Italian meatball soup in a bowl
Red Gold tomato award

For more than 75 years, Red Gold Tomatoes have been family owned, grown, and made on family farms in the Midwest. Red Gold picks their tomatoes when they are absolutely vine-ripe red. This means that nothing artificial needs to be added. No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

Find out more about Red Gold on their website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

This post is sponsored by Red Gold, a brand that can always be found in our pantry. All opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make this site possible.