Savory sausage, pasta and more merge to create one of the best Italian Sausage Soup recipes anywhere.  A taste of Florence without leaving your kitchen!

Italian Sausage Soup garnished with basil and cheese, in a bowl

We are fans of Olive Garden Italian Sausage soup but seriously, our Italian Sausage Soup recipe while similar takes it to the next level. It is one you’ll want to bookmark and pass along to friends. Thick with crumbled sausage, bowtie pasta, Parmesan and mouthwatering vegetables (not a phrase you hear too often!), it is flavorsome and versatile enough for family meals, friendly gatherings, appetizers, or main courses.  After you made our Italian Sausage Soup, and you’re ready for more delicious soups to try, give our Zuppa Toscana SoupHamburger Soup or Beef Barley Soup a try!


  • It’s easy to Make!
  • It makes a Real BIG BATCH!!
  • The flavors are deep, rich, and complex.
  • Every spoonful is loaded with super yummy goodies!!




Italian Sausage Soup garnished with basil and cheese, in a bowl

What Ingredients Do You Need To Make Italian Sausage Soup?

Stock your fridge and pantry with the following before you begin: mild Italian sausage, a chunk of Parmesan rind (I’m hoping you just might have these saved and ready in your freezer ♥) celery, carrots, zucchini, fresh basil, a can of chopped tomatoes, 10 cups of chicken stock, and 4 cups of tomato juice. You will also need a can each of kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and cannellini beans.

Check to make sure you have dried pasta, yellow onion, garlic, salt, black pepper, dried oregano, 4 bay leaves, and white sugar as well.

If you’d like to learn a bit more about the possible health benefits of the wonderful fresh basil we use to flavor our soup, check out what Medical News Today has to say about it! This is some Good News, guys!

A knife cutting a block of parmesan cheese

How Do You Make Italian Sausage Soup?

You begin the soup by browning and crumbling some nice Italian sausage, in chunky pieces, in an extra large soup pot. Then you soften the vegetables and combine all of the remaining ingredients except the zucchini and pasta, which are added in the last few minutes of cooking.

After tweaking the thickness and seasoning, if needed, you are ready to serve! Top with shaved Parmesan and some more fresh basil. This recipe follows the standard soup pattern of meat, vegetables, aromatics. Total cook time is about an hour and a half.

Step By Step How To Make Italian Sausage Soup

Step By Step: How To Make Italian Sausage Soup

1. Remove the sausage casing, brown it in an extra large pot. Break it up until it’s in chunky pieces (here’s my favorite tool for breaking up ground meats while they’re browning. It’s amazing!) and cooked until there’s no longer pink in the sausage. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
2. Add olive oil to the pan then add onion, celery, and carrots. Cook until the veggies are soft. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
3. Add salt, pepper, oregano, bay leaves, sugar, chopped tomatoes, tomato juice, chicken stock, parmesan, all three beans, and cooked sausage. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for an hour.
4. Add zucchini and pasta. Cook until zucchini is tender and pasta is al dente. Add more chicken stock or water if the soup becomes too thick. Remove bay leaves and stir in the basil.

**See complete instructions below on recipe**


Italian Sausage Soup garnished with basil and cheese, in a bowl
5 from 2 votes

Italian Sausage Soup

Experience savory sausage, tender veggies, and a hint of Parmesan with the best Italian Sausage Soup on the market! Take a family trip to Florence tonight.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 16 -18 people
Calories 480 kcal
Author Kathleen


  • 2 1/2 Pounds Italian Sausage Mild
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Yellow Onion Chopped
  • 2 Stalks Celery Chopped
  • 6 Carrots Chopped
  • 6 Large Garlic Cloves Minced
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 Teaspoons Dried Oregano
  • 4 Bay Leaves
  • 1 Teaspoon White Sugar
  • 1 28 Ounce Canned Chopped Tomatoes
  • 10-12 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 4 Cups Tomato Juice
  • Parmesan Rind or Chunk
  • 1 15 Ounce Canned Kidney Beans Rinsed And Drained
  • 1 15 Ounce Canned Garbanzo Beans Rinsed And Drained
  • 1 15 Ounce Cannellini Beans Rinsed And Drained
  • 2 Zucchini, Diced
  • 1 Cup Small Pasta (Ditalini, Mini Bows or Elbow)
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Basil, Chopped


  • 1 Cup Parmesan, Shaved
  • Fresh Basil, Thinly Sliced


  1. Remove casing from sausage. In an extra large soup pot, brown the sausage, breaking it up into medium pieces, as it cooks. Cook until there is no longer any pink in sausage. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

  2. Add olive oil to the pan then add onion, celery, and carrot. Cook about 10-12 minutes or until veggies are soft. Add garlic and continue to cook 2-3 minutes.

  3. Add salt, pepper, oregano, bay leaves, and sugar. Add tomatoes with their liquid, stock, tomato juice, Parmesan rind, kidney beans , garbanzo beans, cannellini beans, and cooked sausage. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, 45-60 minutes.

  4. Add zucchini and pasta and cook until zucchini is tender and pasta is firm to the bite. Add more stock if soup has become too thick. Remove bay leaves. Stir in the basil. Taste for seasoning. 

  5. Top individual soup bowls with shaved Parmesan and some fresh basil and serve.

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Nutritional Information

Nutrition information will vary based on the specific products. To be safe, check the nutrition facts labels of your products. Optional object listed above have been left out of nutritional data.

Nutrition Facts
Italian Sausage Soup
Amount Per Serving (1 /18 of the recipe)
Calories 480 Calories from Fat 225
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 38%
Saturated Fat 9g 45%
Cholesterol 56mg 19%
Sodium 1023mg 43%
Potassium 763mg 22%
Total Carbohydrates 41g 14%
Dietary Fiber 9g 36%
Sugars 11.4g
Protein 24g 48%
Vitamin A 75%
Vitamin C 21%
Calcium 10.6%
Iron 9.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

A spoonful of Italian Sausage Soup

Recipe Notes For Italian Sausage Soup:

Pot Size: If you bought your pots and pans as a set, it’s likely you have an 8-quart stock pot. This recipe makes a big batch of soup that exceeds the capacity of that size pot. So, you either need an extra large stock pot to make this recipe, or you just need to cut the recipe in half.

Why Parmesan rind is used: This is an old technique used by most Italian grandmothers. My hubby’s family, who were all amazing cooks, used this trick often.  Cook’s Illustrated chefs performed a taste test experiment and found that Parmesan, Pecorino Romano, and Gruyere rinds create the most flavorful broth. I used Parmesan in my soup because the flavors marry wonderfully and besides, I have a bag of Parmesan rinds saved in my freezer for just such occasions.
Rinds are preferable to the body of the cheese due to the delectable ripening and flavor that are concentrated in them. Rinds also remain firm through the cooking process, meaning you can easily remove them from the broth before serving. You can also break them up into smaller bits for your diners to enjoy!  My family loves when they get these little bits of delicious flavor bombs, so I always leave them in the soup, cut up. Most rinds (Parmesan included) are completely safe to eat; it’s just a matter of preference whether to fish them out or consume them. You’ll find that this old Italian secret does wonders for the complexity of your soup’s flavor profile.
Buying a good quality Parmesan cheese is, of course, important so here’s what Cook’s Illustrated has to say after there taste testing the most readily available Parms from the supermarket.
Thinning the Soup: As with any soup that has pasta in it, this soup will thicken as it sits. You likely will need to thin it with either chicken broth or water.
De-casing sausage: Some recipes use sliced sausage instead of removing the skin, but I prefer the crumbled texture and enhanced flavor of the fully browned meat. Just make a thin cut down the length of the sausage, and peel the skin back in one movement.

Removing Italian Sausage casing

Variations On Our Italian Sausage Soup:

  • Italian Sausage Soup with spinach: For an even more veggie-rich soup, you can add fresh or frozen spinach in the last stage of cooking, along with the zucchini. I recommend using about 2 cups of fresh or 10 ounces frozen. This option is great for sneaking superfood foliage into the mouths of picky eaters. If you are into soups with both meat and greens, you might like my Vegetable Beef Soup.
  • Creamy Italian Sausage Soup: For a creamier take on this classic, supplement your broth with 2-3 cups of heavy cream. Add this when you add the pasta and zucchini. After the cream is added, make sure to moderate the heat so that the soup doesn’t boil, it only simmers.  This is a good variant for chilly evenings and winter months.  
  • Hot Italian Sausage Soup: Some of you like your dishes with a little more kick. I suggest you use a hot Italian sausage instead of the mild one listed here. You can also heat up the soup by adding a teaspoon (or more as you like) of red pepper flakes when you saute the aromatics (onion and other veggies). 
  • Italian Sausage Soup with tortellini: Another version of this soup uses tortellini instead of pasta. Simply follow the recipe up to step four, then exchange two cups of tortellini for the cup of pasta. Cook for about 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can boil the tortellini separately for approximately 5 minutes and add it to the mix when you are ready to serve. If you like this variation, give my Chicken Tortellini Soup a go.


Italian Sausage Soup garnished with basil and cheese, in a bowl

Can You Make Italian Sausage Soup Ahead Of Time?

This easy sausage soup will keep in the fridge for about 3 days. Just check the seasoning and consistency as you reheat it on the stove and thin it with broth.

You may also want to keep the zucchini and pasta out until you are warming it to serve if you want to avoid slightly mushy zucchini and achieve the traditional al dente pasta.

How Do You Freeze Italian Sausage Soup?

Italian Sausage Soup will keep in the freezer for 6 months. The vegetables and tomatoes will lose some of their texture, but the soup will remain tasty and of course safe to eat. As above, I suggest that you hold the zucchini and pasta until you are ready to serve since the texture of these two ingredients is the most fragile.  

The best way to freeze soup is to cool it, then pour it into a  1-gallon heavy-duty freezer resealable bag. Push out any air in the bag, seal it completely, then store it flat on your freezer shelf.

What Do You Serve With Italian Sausage Soup?

In general, crusty breads and side salads go great with soup. I would recommend a Caesar salad and a simple sourdough loaf. 

If you want to stay on theme and go all out, grilled polenta and lemon caper green beans are two nice Italian side dishes. Delizioso

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Step By Step How To Make Italian Sausage Soup