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This Instant Pot Wedding Soup is an almost entirely hands-off meal made with meatballs, couscous, and savory Italian flavors. Ready in just 30 minutes!
True to tradition, this Instant Pot Wedding Soup recipe is a cozy chicken broth-based soup filled with pasta, leafy greens, and juicy meatballs. It’s just plain delicious! Whether it’s served at a wedding or for simple dinners at home, it’s always a hit.
The meatballs in Italian wedding soup are typically made from a mixture of beef, pork (and sometimes veal), breadcrumbs, parmesan, and Italian seasonings. But this is an easy wedding soup, which is why I recommend using pre-made frozen Italian meatballs. I used my baked chicken meatballs and the results were fantastic!
- It’s a hearty and filling Italian soup that marries meatballs, couscous, and veggies together in a super flavorful broth.
- The Instant Pot works its magic and does most of the work for you. The batch is ready in just 30 minutes!
- All you need are simple, flavor-forward ingredients. While homemade pre-cooked meatballs taste best, you can make this with any store-bought frozen meatball and still have great results.
Aromatics - The soup starts with an aromatic trio of onion, carrots, and celery, also known as the “sofrito” in Italian cuisine.
Frozen meatballs - Store-bought frozen meatballs are the secret to an especially quick and easy Italian soup recipe. BUT they won’t be nearly as tasty as my homemade baked chicken meatballs, paleo turkey meatballs, or Italian chicken meatballs. All three recipes can be pre-cooked and kept in the freezer for later.
Couscous - Classic wedding soup recipes are made with small, round pasta, like acini de pepe, orzo, or couscous. Feel free to use your favorite or any short-cut pasta noodles you already have at home (just know that the larger the pasta, the longer the soup will take to cook).
Chicken broth - Chicken broth is best, but bone broth and vegetable broth pair well with the flavors, too.
Spinach - Or use your favorite leafy green as a substitute, like kale, endive, swiss chard, or cabbage.
Step 1: Sauté the aromatics. Heat the oil in the Instant Pot on "sauté" mode. Once hot, add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook until soft and fragrant.
Step 2: Pressure cook. Next, add the frozen meatballs, couscous, and chicken broth. Lock the lid in place and pressure cook for 5 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release before manually releasing any remaining pressure and removing the lid.
Step 3: Add the spinach, then serve. To finish, put the spinach in the pot and place the lid on top so it can steam. Give it a good stir once the spinach leaves are wilted, then serve.
Tips and FAQs
- If you’re making homemade meatballs specifically for this recipe, make sure they’re smaller in size. The goal is to get a mini meatball in every spoonful of soup.
- Remember to top each bowl of soup with plenty of parmesan!
- Wedding soup is a filling meal that’s best served with slices of thick, crusty bread. However, if you want to make it a complete meal with Italian-inspired sides, pair it with eggplant parmesan, tomato pesto pasta, or vodka rigatoni.
Why is it called “wedding soup”?
The name comes from the translation of the Italian term, “minestra maritata”. This term refers to the marriage of green vegetables and meat, which is what happens when all of those beautiful ingredients get together in the soup pot.
I don’t have an Instant Pot. Can I make it on the stove?
To make this recipe on the stovetop, saute the aromatics in a large oiled soup pot, then add the meatballs, couscous, and chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, then lower the heat and leave it to simmer until the meatballs are heated through and the pasta is cooked. Stir in the spinach to finish.
Can you make it in a slow cooker?
Absolutely. Again, start by sauteeing the aromatics in a skillet on the stove. Transfer them and the frozen meatballs, couscous, and broth to the bowl of a slow cooker. Stir to combine and cook on High for 1 to 2 hours or until the pasta is done. Stir in the spinach, then serve.
How do you make gluten free wedding soup?
All you need to do is use your favorite gluten free meatballs and pasta noodles. I recommend cooking gluten free pasta on the stove rather than in the Instant Pot because it’s so delicate. When it’s ready, just stir the noodles into the finished soup.
Or, to make a gluten free version with fewer carbs, you can omit the pasta altogether and stir fresh zucchini noodles into the soup at the end.
Fridge: Let the leftovers cool, then store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
Freezer: After cooling, pour the soup into a freezer-safe bag or container and keep frozen for 3 to 4 months. Let the leftovers thaw before reheating.
Reheating: You can reheat wedding soup in the microwave or a saucepan over medium heat.
More Instant Pot soup recipes
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Instant Pot Wedding Soup
- Add olive oil to the Instant Pot and press “saute” and set it for 5 minutes. Allow 1 minute for the oil to warm, then add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and saute for 3-4 minutes.
- Next, add the meatballs, couscous and chicken broth. Close the lid, ensuring the knob on top is in the “seal” position. Pressure cook the soup for 5 minutes, then natural release the pressure for 15 minutes before manually releasing any remaining pressure.
- Add the spinach to the pot, then set the lid gently on top and allow the spinach to “steam” for 2-3 minutes. Remove the lid, then stir to combine. Enjoy!