Slow Cooker Italian Sausage Meatball Soup

If you’ve only recently started stopping by Baked by Rachel, you might think I have an obsession with using Italian sausage in my cooking. I swear that isn’t true at all. I’ve only made three dishes previous to this that included sausage. Italian sausage pie, ziti and pizza. All were seriously pretty awesome. Check them out if you missed them. The pizza and ziti were part of a split batch of meat, not totally planned. It just worked out. Unlike those, this was planned and tweaked as I went along.

I came across the recipe one night bouncing around doing searches for soup ideas to make over the winter. It caught my eye because of it’s simplicity but it also reminded me so much of the Italian wedding soup I made last year. (*absolutely DO check that out and make it. It’s incredible.) This is definitely not Italian wedding soup. Let’s be clear about that. It’s similar but totally different. The meatball ingredients are completely different for starters, the other has more veggies, this has tomato paste, etc. But I knew this would be a winner with what similarities they do have. It does take some prep work but I promise it’s totally worth it. You can even do the prep work a day ahead! Prepare the meatballs on day 1, chill overnight and prepare the soup the next day. It’ll feel less labor intensive that way. The actual soup part is a piece of cake.

Many recipes I feel can be altered to your liking, change up the meats etc but when it comes to the soups – take them as they are. I promise if you like the ingredients, you’ll love this soup. It’s hearty and a mix of healthy and sinful. I guess it kind of sits somewhere in the middle.

Slow Cooker Italian Sausage Meatball Soup

Comforting and flavorful slow cooker Italian sausage meatball soup! A perfect meal to warm up with!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time2 hours 50 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Slow cooker
Servings: 8


Meatball Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1/2 C seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 C Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 C milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt

Soup Ingredients:

  • 6 C chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes optional
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C mini pasta such as Ditalini
  • 10 oz baby spinach


  • Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine meatball ingredients. Pinch off a small portion of the mixture to create 1 inch meatballs. Roll in your hands, then transfer to your baking sheet. Meatballs can sit close together, just not touching. Continue process. If preparing meatballs ahead; cover baking sheet with plastic wrap to store overnight in the fridge.
  • When ready to proceed, bake meatballs at 350°F for 10 minutes.
  • Add chicken broth, tomato paste, garlic, seasonings and meatballs to slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 4 hours. Add pasta and spinach, cook 30 minutes more.
  • Divide among bowls. Enjoy.
  • Can be easily frozen. Label container with contents.


An original recipe from Baked by Rachel
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27 Responses to “Slow Cooker Italian Sausage Meatball Soup”

  1. #
    Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen — November 15, 2011 at 9:50 am

    I. Will. Make. This. OMG I love this kind of soup but don’t have a trusted recipe. I love the shots that you captured too!

  2. #
    Nutmeg Nanny — November 15, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    This soup looks amazing! Also I love that shot of the spoon over the bowl of soup. Beautiful!

  3. #
    Charissa — November 15, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    I had this not too long ago at a restaurant and it was SO good! Now I can’t wait to make it again…so glad you posted the recipe! :)

  4. #
    amanda @ fake ginger — November 15, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    oooh, this looks good! Did your girls eat it? I’m already scared of really broth-y soups because of my boys & husband but this looks seriously good!

  5. #
    Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen — November 15, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    I love a good ol’ meatball soup every now and then! with baby spinach? sold.

  6. #
    Tracey — November 15, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    I am so adding this to our menu for next week, it looks insanely good! Love that shot of the meatballs all prepped on the baking sheet.

  7. #
    Bonnie — November 16, 2011 at 12:39 am

    I am so stoked that you posted this. Your pictures are beautiful, how do you do that with multiple kids?!?! And, I happen to have all of these ingredients and t’s soup season! yay!

  8. #
    marla — November 16, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    I love Italian wedding soup :)

  9. #
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet — November 17, 2011 at 6:22 am

    I would love to come home to a huge pot of this! What a perfect winter meal.

  10. #
    belle (tinkeringinthekitchen) — December 4, 2011 at 6:43 am

    Just come across this, Im so glad! Im just going to grab a coffee and sit down for some sunday morning reading!

  11. #
    KtP — December 22, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    I made this yesterday and it was super easy, which was key. It’s also super yummy (I ate a BIG bowl of it for lunch today).

    Thanks for posting!

  12. #
    Megs — February 6, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    STupid question…do you cook the pasta first, beforing putting it into the crockpot??

    • #
      Rachel — February 6, 2012 at 9:02 pm

      Uncooked pasta is added to the slow cooker at the specified time. You could also cook pasta separate and add to individual servings at the end instead.

  13. #
    Megs — February 7, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Thanks, Rachel. I’ve just made the meatballs and I’m making the soup tomorrow.

  14. #
    Willena Jennings — October 9, 2012 at 9:03 am

    I love the sausage recipes. Ypu might want to try kale with Italian sausage. The flavors blend very well.

  15. #
    ERICA JACKSON — October 13, 2012 at 10:53 am

    I made this without pasta (trying to stay low carb) & love it as soon as the weather started changing I remembered this recipe plan to make it again :) love it!

  16. #
    Laura — October 15, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Have been making this soup for years Family fav. you don’t have to cook meatballs ahead and I don’t use crock pot. I just make in big soup crock. mix meat and then put in broth mixture a small chunk at a time. it cooks in broth. I also double broth mixture and cook pasta first. soup is ready to eat in no time.

    • #
      Rachel — October 15, 2013 at 6:35 pm

      I’m glad to hear you enjoy a similar soup. There is definitely a benefit to cooking the meatballs ahead, as doing so holds their shape and gives a nice overall texture and flavor.

  17. #
    Natalie — November 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    This looks DELICIOUS! I’m actually vegan, so I’m tweaking it a little.
    Just wondering if the spices are supposed to be fresh, or if I can use dried.
    Thanks so much! I’ll let you know how it turns out.
    : )


    • #
      Rachel — November 17, 2013 at 1:13 pm

      99% of the time I use dried (as was the case with this recipe) simply because of the shelf life. Enjoy! :)

  18. #
    Jamie — March 17, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    What if you don’thave baby spinach but have a 9oz bag of rregular.

    • #
      Rachel — March 18, 2014 at 7:17 am

      Chop it up a bit :)

  19. #
    Jen — September 17, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Do you have the nutritional information and/or the number of servings?

    • #
      Rachel — September 17, 2014 at 5:49 pm

      I do not calculate nutritional information, however there are free online calculators you can use for that. As for serving, it’s been a while but I believe it’s between 4-8 depending on serving size. Enjoy!

  20. #
    Jen — March 10, 2015 at 9:35 am

    thanks for the reply. I will use an online tool for nutrition but in order to do so the amount of servings and serving size (ie. One cup) must be known.

    • #
      Rachel — March 11, 2015 at 7:28 am

      This recipe was posted 3 1/2 years ago. If the information desired isn’t listed then I’d suggest making your best guess or typical desired serving size.


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