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person dipping a breadstick into zuppa toscana
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3.67 from 3 votes

Zuppa Toscana

Our easy copycat zuppa toscana soup is a knock off recipe of the favorite Olive Garden classic.  It's full of Italian sausage, healthy kale, and tender potatoes, along with a rich, creamy broth.  Learn how to make this popular soup in your crockpot or in your Dutch oven on the stove.  It's perfect for a crowd on a chilly day.
Prep Time50 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 12 cups
Calories: 379kcal


  • 5 strips of bacon cut in bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat
  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage casings removed
  • 2 cups white onion chopped
  • 2 tablespoons garlic minced
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 4 cups russet potatoes diced (2 lb)
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 4 cups fresh kale packed
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • ¼ cup grated Romano cheese


Zuppa Toscana Stovetop Version

  • Fry the bacon pieces in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crispy.  Drain the bacon on a paper towel-lined plate, and pour the fat into a small bowl.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of bacon fat to the pot and cook the Italian sausage until no pink remains.  Break up the meat into crumbles with a wooden turner.  Drain to separate any fat and place the sausage on a paper towel-lined plate.  Pour the sausage fat into a small bowl.
  • Put one tablespoon of bacon fat in the pot over medium high heat.  Saute the diced onion until soft, then add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant.
  • To deglaze the pan, pour in ⅓ to ½ cup (80-120 ml) of chicken stock.  Use a wooden turner to scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan.
  • Add all the spices, stir, and cook for 30 seconds to one minute.
  • Pour in the rest of the chicken stock and all the water, then add the diced potatoes.  Stir well, cover the pot, and bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
  • Remove some of the potatoes and place in a large bowl.  Mash the potatoes with a potato masher until smooth, then pour them back in and stir well.  This will help thicken the broth.
  • Add the kale and cook for 5 minutes or until wilted, stirring occasionally.  Lower the heat and pour in the heavy cream, the Italian sausage, and most of the bacon.  Stir well, and let it heat through for 5 minutes.
  • Serve warm and garnish with grated Romano cheese and the remaining bacon.

Zuppa Toscana Crock Pot Version

  • Follow steps 1 to 5 from above.
  • Place the sauteed onion and garlic in a large crock pot, then add the chicken stock, water, and potatoes.  Stir well, cover, and cook on low for 6 hours.
  • Add the kale, cream, cooked sausage, and half of the crumbled bacon.  Stir, cover, and cook on low for another 2 hours.
  • Serve warm with grated cheese, and the reserved bacon.


  • Use a little bacon grease when browning the Italian sausage and sauteing the onion.
  • Deglaze the soup pot with some chicken stock.
  • Build flavor by blooming the spices.
  • Use mashed potatoes to thicken the soup.
  • Use heavy cream for the creamiest soup.


Calories: 379kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 1018mg | Potassium: 582mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 2710IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 131mg | Iron: 2mg