One bite of this homemade Zuppa Toscana Soup will make you forget all about the Olive Garden's version! This easy recipe is wholesome, cozy, and oh-so flavorful.

Shredded Parmesan cheese being sprinkled over a bowl of homemade Tuscan soup
Table of Contents
  1. What is Zuppa Toscana?
  2. Recipe Ingredients
  3. How to Make Zuppa Toscana Soup
  4. Tips for Success
  5. Variation Ideas
  6. Serving Suggestions
  7. How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
  8. Can I Freeze This?
  9. More Cozy Soups to Try
  10. Zuppa Toscana Recipe

If you're a fan of Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana soup, this recipe will change your life. I'd call it a copycat version, but I honestly believe it's even better than the one from the restaurant. Sumptuous Italian sausage, Russet potatoes, onions, bacon and more come together in a spicy, creamy chicken-based broth.

Now that your tummy is fully rumbling, you'll be happy to know that this recipe is incredibly simple. The soup comes together in a single pot! You can also make it in a slow cooker to avoid heating up your kitchen in the summertime. Convenient, right?

If you're wondering why anyone would want to eat soup when it's warm outside, just wait until you taste this crave-worthy Zuppa Toscana. You'll be transported to the rolling hills of Tuscany!

A pot of Zuppa Toscana soup with a bowl of soup and a round cutting board beside it

What is Zuppa Toscana?

Zuppa Toscana is Italian for "Tuscan soup." While this Americanized version may not be totally Tuscan-style, it's a classic Italian-inspired dish nonetheless. Traditional Zuppa Toscana features bread, beans, potatoes, Italian bacon and fresh veggies.

As we discussed, this recipe is modeled after the Olive Garden version with Italian sausage, potatoes and kale. It's a little richer and creamier than traditional Toscana soup, but it maintains that authentic Italian feel and flavor profile. If you'd like to make yours more or less traditional, go right ahead!

Fresh kale, sliced potatoes, salt, pepper, raw bacon bits and the remaining ingredients on top of a marble surface

Recipe Ingredients

Let's go over the ingredients you'll need to throw together this crowd-favorite comfort food. Refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post for specific amounts.

  • Bacon: Chopped into chunks of your desired size (note that the bacon will shrink as it cooks).
  • Italian Sausage: Feel free to use spicy, sweet or a mix of both. Don't forget to remove the casings.
  • Olive Oil
  • Chopped Yellow Onion
  • Garlic: Freshly minced.
  • Russet Potatoes: Cut into ¼-inch slices with the peels intact.
  • Chicken Broth
  • Water
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Fresh Kale: Remove the stems and chop up the leaves. The stems can be discarded.
  • Heavy Cream
  • Parmesan Cheese: Freshly grated cheese is the way to go.
A mouthful of Zuppa Toscana soup on a golden spoon with a bowl full of soup behind it

How to Make Zuppa Toscana Soup

This soul-warming soup comes together in 30 minutes or less. Here's the gameplan:

Cook Bacon: In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until it's crispy. Once it's cooked to your liking, transfer it to a plate lined with a paper towel and drain the bacon fat.

Cooked bacon bits inside of a large stockpot on a marble kitchen countertop

Brown Sausage: Add the sausage to the same pot you used for the bacon and cook it until it's browned. Transfer it to the plate with the bacon, then wipe out the dutch oven and add the olive oil.

Browned sausage inside of a large pot with fresh kale, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in bowls beside it

Sauté Onion & Garlic: Once the oil is hot, add the chopped onion and cook until it softens, about 3-5 minutes. Next, add the garlic and continue to cook while stirring for another 30-60 seconds, until the garlic is fragrant.

Sautéed onion and garlic inside of a large off-white soup pot with a black rim and two handles

Return Meat to Pot: Add the drained bacon and sausage back into the pot with the sautéed onion and garlic.

Pre-cooked meat inside of a pot with sautéed onion and garlic

Add Potatoes, Liquids & Seasonings: Add the potatoes, chicken broth, water, salt and pepper to the pot. Bring the soup to a boil.

Chicken broth being added to the pot with potatoes, sausage, bacon, onions, garlic, salt and pepper

Cook: Once the soup starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the soup for 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes are almost tender.

Add Kale & Continue Cooking: Add the kale and let the soup simmer for another 5-10 minutes, until the kale is tender and the potatoes are soft but not falling apart.

Fresh kale being stirred into a pot of Zuppa Toscana with a wooden spoon

Add Cream: Stir in the cream and wait for the soup to get heated through again.

Heavy Cream being poured into a bowl of in-progress Zuppa Toscana

Garnish & Serve: Ladle your Zuppa Toscana into bowls and serve it with freshly grated Parmesan sprinkled over each helping.

Homemade Zuppa Toscana soup in a large pot beside a stack of bowls and a wooden spoon

Tips for Success

Don't settle for less-than-perfect soup! Use these Zuppa Toscana tips to make sure you're showing the Olive Garden version who's boss.

  • Drain the Meat Well: It's important to drain as much fat as you can from the bacon and sausage before you return the cooked meat to your pot. Use a second paper towel if necessary.
  • Order Matters: Don't add the kale and heavy cream to your soup at the same time as the other ingredients. The kale would become too soft and the cream would curdle. As long as you follow the recipe instructions, you'll be golden.
  • Remove Excess Fat: If you find that your soup retained some unwanted grease from the bacon and sausage, you can easily remove it with a little patience and care. Let your finished soup rest in the pot (removed from the heat) for 10 minutes. This allows the grease to collect on the surface – use your ladle to slowly skim it off.
A bowl of Toscana soup on a countertop with two more bowls of soup beside it

Variation Ideas

There are tons of different ways you can go about your Toscana soup. Take the ideas below for example!

  • Crock Pot Zuppa Toscana: If you'd like to make your soup in the Crock Pot, I recommend pre-cooking the bacon, sausage, onion and garlic on the stovetop as usual. After that, you just have to toss your ingredients into the slow cooker and let it work its magic! Scroll down to the recipe card for the full Crock Pot instructions.
  • Paleo Zuppa Toscana: This naturally gluten-free soup can easily be adjusted to accommodate Paleo, dairy-free and Whole30 diets. Simply swap out the cream for coconut cream (the thick, fluffy stuff in a can of coconut milk that separates from the milk as it sits) and make sure all of your meat is Paleo/Whole30-compliant.
  • Loaded Zuppa Toscana: Want to load up your soup with a bunch of yummy toppings? Feel free! Fresh chopped oregano, spicy red pepper flakes and crispy crackers or crusty cubes of sourdough bread would be divine.
A close-up shot of a spoon scooping up a mouthful of Zuppa Toscana

Serving Suggestions

You can pair this classic soup with pretty much any dish on the planet – chances are, you'll love the results! For a nourishing meal that truly captures the appeal of your favorite restaurant, whip up a quick Olive Garden Salad.

If you want to try something you wouldn't be able to get at the popular Italian chain, I highly recommend pairing your soup with Homemade Corn Bread or Cheesy Garlic Mozzarella Swirl Rolls. Drooling yet?

Three servings of Zuppa Toscana in three separate bowls on a marble countertop

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

After it cools completely, leftover Toscana soup should be refrigerated in an airtight container. Enjoy it within 4-5 days for the best results.

Individual portions can be microwaved in a heat-proof bowl for 20-30 seconds at a time. If you'd like to reheat a large quantity of soup, you can do so over a low-heat stove. Stir occasionally and serve the soup once it's heated through.

A close-up shot of a bowl full of homemade Zuppa Toscana soup

Can I Freeze This?

It's best to serve this soup fresh, but you can store your leftovers in the freezer if necessary. Transfer the cooled soup to a freezer-safe container, leaving 1-2 inches of extra space so the liquid has room to expand.

Only freeze your Zuppa Toscana for 2-3 weeks. Thaw it out in the fridge before you reheat it, giving it a thorough stir if the ingredients have separated.

A bowl of Zuppa Toscana on a marble countertop with a plate of freshly grated cheese behind it

More Cozy Soups to Try

Soup is the ultimate form of comfort food. These ultra-cozy creations will sweep you off your feet!

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.

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Zuppa Toscana

5 from 12 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 servings
One soothing mouthful of this homemade Zuppa Toscana Soup will make you forget all about the Olive Garden version! It's wholesome, cozy, easy to make and oh-so flavorful.

Ingredients
  

  • ½ pound bacon about 8 slices, chopped
  • 1 pound Italian sausage casings removed (spicy, sweet, or a mix of both)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ pounds Russett potatoes 3 large or 4 medium, sliced in half, then into ¼-inch slices with peels on
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups fresh kale stems removed and leaves chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions
 

Stovetop Method

  • In a large stock pot or dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove from the pan to a plate lined with paper towel and drain the bacon fat.
  • Add the sausage to the pan and cook until browned. Remove to the plate along with the bacon, then wipe out the dutch oven and add the olive oil.
  • When the oil is hot, add the chopped onion and cook until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook while stirring, for another 30 seconds to 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the drained bacon and sausage back into the dutch oven with the onion & garlic.
  • Add the potatoes, chicken broth, water, salt and pepper to the dutch oven or stock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are almost tender.
  • Add the kale and simmer for another 5-10 minutes, until the potatoes are soft but not falling apart and the kale is tender. Stir in the cream and heat through, then ladle into bowls and serve with freshly grated Parmesan sprinkled over the top.

Crock Pot Method

  • In a medium pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove from the pan to the slow cooker with a slotted spoon and drain the bacon fat. Add the sausage to the pan and cook until browned. Remove to the slow cooker along with the bacon.
  • Wipe out the pan and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the chopped onion and cook until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook while stirring, for another 30 seconds to 1 minute, until fragrant. Add to the crockpot along with the bacon and sausage.
  • Add the potatoes, chicken broth, water, salt and pepper to the crockpot and cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours until potatoes are tender.
  • Add the kale and cream and cook for another 30 minutes until heated through. Ladle into bowls and serve with freshly grated Parmesan sprinkled over the top.

Notes

  • I use 2 mild, sweet Italian sausages and 1 spicy Italian sausage, but you can use all spicy or all mild, depending on your personal preference.
  • To Store: Refrigerate cooled soup in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Microwave individual servings for 20-30 seconds at a time. Reheat large portions in a pot over low heat until soup is warmed through.
  • To Freeze: Freeze cooled soup in a freezer-safe container for 3 weeks max. Be sure to leave 1-2 inches of space in the container so the liquid can expand. Thaw soup in the fridge before reheating – give it a thorough stir if the ingredients have separated.

Nutrition

Calories: 570kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 25g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 107mg | Sodium: 2264mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

This post was originally published in August, 2017. The photos and content were updated in August, 2022.

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. Going to make this tomorrow and Im super excited. Just curious as to how big the serving size is? It says 8 servings but is that 1 cup each? Just need to make sure I make enough and plus some leftovers!:)

    Thanks you and I cant wait to make this and even more exited to eat it!:)

    1. Sorry it took me a day to reply! I was traveling and didn't get a chance to jump on here before you probably made this. But I would say that yes, it's right around 8-10 cups total, so you won't have many leftovers unless you only have 4-5 people.

    1. Hey Tiffany! If you swap coconut cream for the heavy cream, then you are good to go! And it's actually a pretty great substitution that I use to make this Whole 30 compliant whenever I am doing Whole 30!

  2. 5 stars
    My family loved your Zuppa Toscana recipe and it was so easy to throw it together in the slow cooker and let it do it's thing.

  3. 5 stars
    This is one of my all-time favorite soups. Potatoes, bacon, sausage...you can't really go wrong with those flavors and I love that I can make this in my slow cooker. I'm making a batch this weekend. Thanks!

  4. Made the stove top version last night. The only thing I changed was to sub half n half plus butter for the heavy cream. This recipe is do delicious! And even better the next day! I sautéed some baby Bella’s to throw in at the end. Next time I will sauté with the onion. Thanks for the recipe!