Slow Cooker Meatball Soup
Easy Italian meatball soup recipe, homemade with simple ingredients in slow cooker. Loaded with Italian seasoning, pasta, frozen vegetables and meatballs.
If you love soup in general, then you’re going to be head over heels for this recipe. It tastes just as good (if not, better!) as my Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup and this Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup. Go ahead and give them a try. You’ll love it!
How to make crockpot meatball soup from scratch?
- Add the ingredients in slow cooker – This includes onion, garlic, frozen, vegetables, diced tomatoes, meatballs, broth, wine, water, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, bay leaf.
- Cover and cook – Until veggies are softened.
- Add pasta – And mix until combined.
- Cover and cook– Until pasta is cooked through.
- Discard ingredients– This includes bay leaf.
- Enjoy – Garnish with parsley, basil and parmesan cheese and dig in.
What to serve with Italian meatball soup recipe?
The most classic pairing for any soup is bread. Its’ perfect for dipping and absorbing all the broth and juices. Try ciabatta bread, breadsticks, garlic bread, dinner rolls or homemade buttermilk biscuits.
Another classic side is a sandwich. Try it with a vegetable sandwich or grilled cheese sandwich or even a tomato sandwich. Even buttered toast is great!
Salads are also a wonderful combo with this soup and really complete the meal. I recommend serving a salad that has a mild vinaigrette or dressing.
Croutons are another option. They can be seasoned or just plain.
Vegetables are always a great healthy side dish. Try a medley of roasted vegetables.
Turkey meatball soup– Use store bought turkey meatballs for a healthier protein option.
Chicken meatball soup– Use ground chicken meatballs or replace them altogether with shredded rotisserie chicken.
Garnish options– Try shredded cheese, fresh herbs like dill, chives, rosemary, basil, parsley, cilantro, green onions. A dollop of sour cream is great too.
Add tortellini– Replace dry pasta with your favorite cooked tortellini. Mix it in near the end in the final 5 minutes. Do not add them in the beginning because that would over-cook them.
Make it thicker – If you don’t want as much broth in your soup, you can reduce the amount of broth to make it a bit thicker.
Make it spicy – Add crushed red peppers or other fresh spicy peppers of your liking.
Omit the meat – Go meatless for an even lighter soup. It will be a fairly thin soup that would have to be thickened with heavy cream or cream cheese.
Make it creamy – Add some heavy cream, half and half or even cream cheese.
Add other vegetables– Such as sliced mushrooms, zucchini, spinach, or bell peppers or basically any veggies of your choice.
Add zoodles– Replace pasta with zucchini noodles and that’s a healthier option. The soup will be thinner though.
Refrigerate – In an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Freeze – It can be frozen without the pasta for up to 1 month. The pasta can be added when you thaw it on stovetop.
Reheat – On stovetop or in the microwave. You may need to add more broth or water because the pasta will absorb a lot of the liquid, making the soup very thick.
Tips and techniques
Don’t overcook – Because the veggies will get over-cooked and “mushy” and the overall texture of the soup isn’t as desirable.
Should I cook on low or high? – I prefer to cook it on high heat. Cooking it on low heat over-cooks the vegetables.
You must use cook meatballs- This recipe calls for pan-fried or baked meatballs. They can be homemade or store-bought.
Homemade meatballs vs. Store-bought meatballs– Both will work well in this recipe. Store bought ones are obviously a major time-saver on a busy night.
Do the meatballs need to be thawed? – No, you can add them frozen. However, if they are already thawed, that won’t affect anything.
How to make soup thicker? The soup will thicken as the pasta absorbs the broth and juices. You can also add less broth. I do not recommend adding a cornstarch slurry because that will change the flavor slightly and adds a chalky after-taste.
How to make soup thinner? – Simply add more broth, stock or water.
Use mini meatballs– Because you can enjoy them in each spoonful plus kids approve of them.
Acini de pepe pasta substitute- Use any small pasta of your choice. Mini elbows, macaroni, shells, orzo all work well.
How to keep meatballs from falling apart in soup? Make sure they are made with a good binding agent like eggs and breadcrumbs. Also, make sure they are pan-fried first before being added in the soup. That’s because pan-frying makes them firmer.
Pasta absorbs broth– That’s why it’s best to serve this soup immediately because as it sits, the pasta will absorb the liquid making the soup thicker.
Use low sodium broth– Because this prevents the soup from becoming too salty.
Dry pasta must be added near the end- Because if it is added early with the vegetables, the pasta will become over-cooked.
More Slow Cooker Soup Recipes
Slow Cooker Meatball Soup
- 1 cup Onion, Finely chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic, Finely minced
- 2 cups Frozen vegetables, Mixture of carrots, peas, green beans
- 2 cans Diced tomatoes, 15 oz cans, Preferably with Italian seasoning
- 1 bag Frozen Italian meatballs, Pre-Cooked, 1.5 pound bag, Mini sized meatballs are great, if you can find them.
- 1 box Beef broth, Low sodium, 32 oz.
- 1/3 cup Red wine, Optional, Can be replaced with broth
- 1 cup Water
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- Salt , To taste
- Pepper, To taste
- 1 Bay leaf
- 3/4 -1 cup Acini di pepe pasta, Dry, Uncooked, Or use any other small pasta such as small shells, ditalini e.t.c.
- 1 tbsp Parsley , Fresh, Finely chopped, For garnish
- 1 tbsp Basil , Fresh, Finely chopped, For garnish
- 1-2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, Freshly grated, Optional
- In a crockpot (6 quart or larger), add onion, garlic, frozen, vegetables, diced tomatoes, meatballs, broth, wine, water, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, bay leaf.
- Mix, cover and cook on High heat for about 2.5-3 hours or until vegetables are tender or on Low heat for about 5-6 hours. I prefer cooking faster on high heat because cooking on low heat for too long makes the vegetables super soft and "mushy."
- Add pasta.
- Mix, cover and cook on High heat for about 20 minutes or until pasta is cooked through.
- Remove bay leaf.
- Garnish with parsley, basil, parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
- Read all my tips above.
- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheated in the microwave or stovetop. Additional broth or water will need to be added when reheated since the pasta absorbs a lot of the liquid and makes the soup thick and chunky.