Mom’s classic meatball soup is loaded with vegetables, rice, and quick homemade meatballs. Ready in under an hour, this recipe will be another soup “go-to”!

Moms Meatball soup in a bowl with a spoon.

What Is Meatball Soup?

This classic meatball soup is full of chunky veggies and meatballs, vibrant colors, and has a thirst-quenching clear and savory broth. It is similar to Italian wedding soup, though usually without the leafy greens. This soup checks all the boxes of a balanced, nutritional meal — protein, carbohydrates, vegetables, and more.

This simple meatball soup recipe was one of my mother’s signature dishes. To feed her small army of children and a hungry husband, she would make a giant pot of this soup. We would all keep coming back for more until we had our fill. If there is anything that represents a Ukrainian household, a pot of meatball soup is high on the list. For more filling and healthy soups, try our white bean soup, vegetable soup or beef barley soup.

Ingredients for the meatball soup

How To Make Meatball Soup

There’s nothing complicated about this meatball soup recipe. Make the meatballs, dice the veggies, combine everything, then wait. We promise the waiting is the hardest part — but you won’t have to wait long!

  • Mix up the meatballs: Mix together the ground meat, salt, pepper, and a large egg.
  • Form the meatballs: Using a cookie scoop to portion out the mixture into round meatballs. Set aside.
  • Sauté the aromatics: In a small pan, sauté the carrots and onions in olive oil until they are soft and slightly golden.
  • Make the broth: Heat a large soup pot with four quarts of water over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes, rice, and sautéed veggies. Bring the broth to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Add the meatballs: Carefully drop the meatballs one at a time into the boiling water and gently stir. Keep the water boiling while adding all the meatballs. When all the meatballs are in, turn the heat to low and cook for another 15 minutes.
  • Garnish the soup: Add green onions and parsley to the soup and cook for 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Hot tip: If you notice the meatballs are falling apart as you drop them into the soup, add half an egg to the meat mixture, mix, and try again. Also — make sure the water is boiling the entire time while dropping the meatballs in!

Meatball Variations

Switch things up and satisfy your taste buds with different meat variations. Check out a few of our favorites.

  • Italian ground sausage: Italian ground sausage (usually pork-based and mixed with garlic and herbs) makes for extremely tasty meatballs. These meatballs bring an earthy, Italian flavor to the soup.
  • Ground chicken: Similar to ground turkey, ground chicken makes great meatballs. We love the simplicity and lightness of these.
  • Ground beef: If you like beefy flavor, use lean ground beef for your meatballs. Combine it with beef broth for the ultimate beefy flavor!
  • Mixed meat: Use a mixture of ground meats for a more savory and dense meatball.

Hot tip: Transform this soup into “Italian meatball soup” by adding your favorite Italian seasoning blend to the meatballs. Or, make your own seasoning blend with dried basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and red pepper flakes for extra spice.

Tips For Making Meatball Soup

Although meatball soup may sound daunting, be confident in your cooking skills! Follow these tips to make a perfect pot of soup each time and boost your culinary confidence.

  • Opt for a pre-made broth: For a more flavorful broth, use chicken broth instead of water. We love using this to make simple yet delicious chicken broth!
  • Substitute the rice: For a healthier alternative, opt for brown rice instead of white. Or, exchange the rice with pasta instead (we love egg noodles). Make sure to add the pasta to the pot in the last 10-15 minutes of cooking to prevent overcooking.
  • Add in extra veggies: If you have extra veggies in the fridge you need to use up, don’t let them go to waste! Kale, cabbage shreds, celery, and corn are great additions to this soup.
  • Use raw meatballs: There is no need to pre-cook or fry the meatballs at all! Cooking the meatballs in the broth actually makes them more tender and infuses a tasty flavor to the broth. Don’t worry, any “rawness” cooks off while the soup simmers.
  • Keep the water boiling: When adding the raw meatballs, make sure the water stays boiling the entire time. The boiling water helps the meatballs stay together while they cook through.
  • Be generous with the fresh herbs: Fresh herbs take this soup to the next level. Fresh parsley and green onions are the classic choice, but dill or fresh basil work great, too!

Serving Meatball Soup

Meatball soup is a wonderful option for family dinner. Top the soup with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and add a side of Ukrainian garlic bread rolls — everyone is sure to have a full belly afterwards!

If you’re looking for more options to pair with this soup, consider a tangy choice like farro salad with lemon vinaigrette or Mediterranean chickpea salad. Or, serve the soup as a first course option, followed by air fryer chicken wings or chicken Kiev with a side of creamy herbed potatoes.

bowl of meatball soup in a bowl

Storing & Reating Meatball Soup

This recipe makes about 10 servings of soup, so it’s likely you’ll have leftovers. Lucky you! Follow these storage tips to get the freshest taste out of your leftover soup.

  • Refrigerator: To store for up to five days, pour the cooled leftover soup into an airtight container and place it into the fridge.
  • Freezer: Store meatball soup in the freezer for up to three months. Make sure the soup is cool before freezing and place it in an airtight freezer-safe container!
  • Reheating: Reheat a large amount of soup in a pot over medium heat, or quickly reheat smaller bowls of soup in the microwave. If the soup has thickened too much, add a splash of broth or water!

Hot tip: If choosing to add noodles, keep in mind they do absorb a ton of liquid. If you store any leftovers, you may find that the noodles have sucked up all your broth. When ready to reheat, add more broth to the meatball soup and reheat in a saucepan over medium heat.

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About Author

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Natalya Drozhzhin

Natalya founded Momsdish to demonstrate that placing a homemade meal on the table is not hard at all. Natalya makes cooking easier and approachable, by simplifying the ingredients, while still producing the same great taste.