Zuppa Toscana is a delicious creamy Italian soup the whole family will love! This Olive Garden copycat recipe is just as good as the restaurant version with spicy Italian sausage, bright kale, tender potatoes, and of course bacon.
A hearty bowl of soup is a dream come true on a rainy day or cold winter night. Zuppa Toscana is one of my favorites because I always have the ingredients in my kitchen. When you don’t think you have time to make dinner, you can totally make this!
I love this soup! It truly tastes like it simmered all day — even though it’s ready in less than an hour. You can even make it in the slow cooker for a hands-off dinner your family will beg for again and again.
This hearty soup is even light enough for warmer months! I make this whenever there’s a rainy spring day in the forecast. You should also try my Italian Wedding Soup, it’s SO good!
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- This Olive Garden copycat soup recipe is so easy to make!
- There’s so many ways to change it up. It’s simple to make dairy-free, cut a few calories, or make it even heartier.
- I love a soup that fills me up. This one’s an entire meal in one bowl — no need for grilled cheese or a side salad. However, no one will turn down a breadstick or two.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this soup:
Italian sausage: I use spicy Italian sausage to give this creamy soup a little more heat. You can use a mild sausage too if you’d prefer!
Chicken stock: A great chicken stock can truly make or break a soup. Make your own from leftover chicken bones, or use a store-bought option. You can use a chicken broth, too, but it will have a slightly different flavor.
Potatoes: Russet potatoes are my go-to for this recipe. Make sure they’re all diced the same size for even cooking. If you want to use red or gold potatoes, those could work, too.
Kale: One of the healthiest leafy greens, kale brings the perfect peppery bitterness to this soup recipe. If you think kale is too bitter, be sure to wash it thoroughly, massaging the leaves. This helps relax the fibers and make it less bitter. Or use baby spinach leaves instead.
Heavy cream: You can’t have a decadent creamy soup without heavy cream! I’ve used half and half before as well, which works, but it’s not as luscious. You can also swap this for coconut milk to keep it dairy-free.
Bacon: My favorite pork crunch is in the soup and added on top. When you’re cooking the bacon, be sure to reserve the fat for sautéeing the onions. Feel free to make more bacon if you want extra garnish!
Dutch oven: This is a must-have for any big soup recipe! I recommend a 6-quart Dutch oven because it has a sturdy bottom and plenty of room for stirring without overflowing.
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
How to Make It
Follow these steps for the best copycat recipe for Zuppa Toscana:
- Brown sausage. First, sauté the Italian sausage with some red pepper flakes in a Dutch oven until browned and crumbled. Drain off the excess grease and set the sausage aside.
- Cook bacon. Now, add the chopped bacon to the large pot. Cook until perfectly crispy. Keep the grease, but remove the bacon.
- Sauté onions. Then, cook the onions in the bacon fat until they soften. Add the garlic when they’re almost done.
- Simmer potatoes. Next, add the chicken stock to the Dutch oven and bring it to a boil. Add the potatoes and simmer until they’re fork tender. If you want more liquid, add some water.
- Finish soup. Finally, add the chopped kale, cooked sausage, and half the bacon to the pot. Bring everything to a boil and cook until the kale is wilted but still bright green. Then, add the cream and season with salt and pepper.
- Garnish with bacon. To serve, I like to add more crunchy bacon on top. If you’re making this for meal prep, save the extra bacon on the side until it’s time to eat to keep it crispy.
Tips and Tricks
Whether you’re brand new to making suppa toscana or are looking to make it even better, I’ve got a few tips for the best Olive Garden copycat soup ever:
- Swap the kale. If you’re not a fan of kale, you can always use baby spinach instead. It gives the same texture with a slightly different flavor.
- Make it in a Crockpot. If you want an even easier version of this soup recipe, use your slow cooker! Be sure to brown the sausage and bacon first on the stovetop, and still add the cream at the end. It can cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
- Thicken your soup. This is a creamy soup, but it’s not as thick as a potato soup. If you want your Zuppa Toscana thicker, add a couple tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with water to the mix. Let it simmer for a few minutes until the broth thickens. It will also continue to thicken as it cools.
- Use olive oil. I love the crispiness and extra flavor bacon grease adds to the onions. If you’d rather cut a few calories, sauté the onions in olive oil instead!
- Add more veggies. If you’re looking to make this soup even heartier, add some carrots and celery to the mix! Sauté them with the onions for a chunkier soup recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions
This delicious Olive Garden soup is truly Italian. It literally translates as “Tuscan soup” in English! The most traditional version includes kale, zucchini, cannellini beans, potatoes, celery, carrots, onions, tomatoes, and Italian bacon. I make it a little heartier with Italian sausage.
Yes! I love the slight bitterness of kale, but any leafy green works! Spinach is a great substitution, but so do collard greens and Swiss chard. Just make sure you add it at the very end so it doesn’t break down too much.
You can keep these leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days. I love making a big batch in the winter and eating it for lunch all week long. If that isn’t enough time, simply freeze it!
Soup recipes are great because they make a lot on a budget. If your family can’t finish all of this yummy copycat Zuppa Toscana soup, don’t worry!
Make sure it’s cooled completely before freezing. Zuppa Toscana lasts up to 3 months frozen. Just thaw, reheat, and eat!
More Olive Garden Copycat Recipes
I love soup from Olive Garden! There’s something comforting about all their soups, breadsticks, and pasta dishes that I can’t say no.
A few years ago, I went on a mission to save money and make some of my favorite Olive Garden meals at home! My first mission had to be those delicious Olive Garden breadsticks because they go with everything.
Where there’s breadsticks, there must be soup. If you love the soups of Olive Garden try this Chicken Gnocchi Soup recipe. I switched it up and made this recipe in the Instant Pot!
If you’re sick of using jarred pasta sauces, try this easy alfredo sauce recipe. Just a few pantry staples between you and this luscious cheese sauce.
When you want a classic Italian meal, there’s nothing better than chicken parmesan. I make mine in the pressure cooker for a quick and comforting dinner.
Other Easy Meal Prep Recipes I Love
- Chicken Thighs in the Instant Pot
- Italian Wedding Soup
- Creamy New England Clam Chowder
- Asian Chicken Salad
- Instant Pot Chicken Alfredo Tortellini Soup
- Egg Roll in a Bowl
Now that you’re a pro at making this hearty Zuppa Toscana soup, you’ll always be ready for a cold night or an easy meal prep! Your family will love adding this to the recipe rotation. Make sure to Pin this recipe so more people can enjoy it too!
- 1 lb spicy Italian sausage or mild if you prefer
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 6 slices bacon cut into ½ inch pieces, divided
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 4 cups 32 oz chicken stock
- 4 medium russet potatoes peeled and diced into ¼-inch pieces
- 6 cups chopped kale
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- Dutch Oven
- Cook the Italian sausage with red pepper flakes in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Brown it and crumble it as you go, then drain excess fat and remove onto a plate.
- Cook the bacon in the Dutch oven until crispy. Remove onto a plate with the sausage, drain the fat leaving about 1 tablespoon of grease in the Dutch oven.
- Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes (if you feel like you need more liquid, add a cup of water – I usually do!), and cook until they’re fork tender (about 12-15 minutes).
- Add chopped kale, the browned sausage and half of the bacon to the pot and bring to a gentle boil (5 minutes until the kale has wilted). Stir in the cream, season with salt and pepper.
- Remove from heat, and top with the remaining crispy bacon.
- Kale can be substituted with baby spinach leaves.
- If you prefer a thicker soup, you can thicken it with cornstarch slurry (1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon of water). Stir it in the soup, and cook for a few minutes stirring occasionally until it thickens up.
- If you prefer not to cook the onions in the bacon grease, you can substitute with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
© Little Sunny Kitchen