This Zuppa Toscana copycat recipe from Olive Garden is actually better than the original! It has a creamy broth base and is loaded with sausage and potatoes.
Zuppa Toscana Copycat
Zuppa Toscana is one of our favorite soups at Olive Garden, and this copycat recipe is spot on. It is the perfect for the cold days of fall and winter, but really it is great any time of the year. The soup is a creamy and hearty with a bit of a kick. If you like some heat in your soup, be generous with the red pepper flakes. For a more mild flavor, a little goes a long way. If you like Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana soup, you are going to love this (I think it tastes better than Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana recipe — it is more creamy and flavorful). This goes PERFECTLY with our Our Version of The Pizza Factory’s Breadtwists recipe.
Is Zuppa Toscana Italian?
Zuppa Toscana roughly translated means “Tuscan Soup”, meaning it is from the Tuscany region of Italy. The Olive Garden version of this soup is a roughly Americanized version of Italy’s Minestra di Pane (Bread Soup). In Italy, you are more likely to see more ingredients in this soup, such as tomato, beans, zucchini, carrots, etc… and less cream and sausage. In a nutshell, Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana is as “authentic Italian” as their Fettuccini Alfredo… or anything else on their menu. But hey, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste good! It’s still a family favorite soup, authentic or not.
What Is In Zuppa Toscana?
- Broth & Cream – The base of Zuppa Toscana is made with chicken broth and heavy cream.
- Potatoes – You can really use any kind of potato you want in this recipe. Russet potatoes work great but you can also use a waxy potato like a Yukon gold or Red potato. You can leave the skins on or you peel them. Totally up to you.
- Italian Sausage – You can use the Italian sausage in the butcher-packed package or the ground sausage in the large link form with the casing removed.
- Bacon – A good thick-cut bacon adds a lot of rich flavor
- Kale – Pre-packaged, pre-rinsed kale will make your life easier. You can also get kale from the produce department, just make sure you rinse it REALLY well.
- Seasonings: The spices and seasoning in Zuppa Toscana are very simple, just salt, pepper, and red pepper.
Instead of breaking off small pieces of sausage and rolling them in your hands, simply cut the sausage using a knife in a cross-cross pattern. The sausage will roll up into balls as you cook and stir it in the skillet. Break up into more bite size pieces with a metal spatula or wooden spoon if needed.
Optional Add-ins and Preferences:
- Roasted Garlic: To add some more bright flavor to this recipe, add 5-10 cloves of roasted garlic, mashed. Or you can add minced or crushed garlic to the sausage as it is cooking.
- Onions: You can add some chopped onion to this recipe if you prefer. Just sauté the onion along with the sausage.
- Parmesan Cheese: Add some fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano to your soup for more flavor and deliciousness.
- Crackers: This may be a weird family thing, but I also love crunching saltine crackers over this soup. Seriously, don’t knock it till you try it, it’s actually really good!
- Low Carb or Keto Variation: To make this soup more keto friendly with less carbs, simply swap out the potatoes for some cauliflower florets.
Stove Top and Instant Pot Versions
This recipe is made in a Crock Pot or Slow Cooker but you can easily make it on your stovetop in a Dutch oven or soup pot. Follow the same instructions but simply add everything to the pot and simmer (stir often) over low to medium heat until ready to serve. To make Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana, cook the sausage and bacon on the “sauté” function and then add all the ingredients to the pressure cooker except the kale and cream. Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes and slow release 5 minutes. Add kale and cream and simmer until kale is cooked.
Other Olive Garden Copycat Recipes
If you like this soup, you should try our Olive Garden’s Pasta E Fagioli Soup. This is another Olive Garden copycat soup recipe. It is an hearty Italian seasoned soup that is also made in the slow cooker.
More Slow Cooker Soups to Try
- Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice Soup: Chicken and Rice Soup warms you up on cold fall and winter days. It is also ideal for busy days. The ingredients go into the Slow Cooker in the morning and a nice, hot meal awaits in the evening.
- Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup: There are so many different vegetables in this Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup. It is very healthy and hearty.
- Slow Cooker Cheese Tortellini Soup: This Cheese Tortellini Soup is a flavorful, easy slow cooker meal. Tortellini, sausage, and spinach in a creamy tomato soup and slow cooked to perfection.
- Slow Cooker Vegetable Beef Soup: This is one of the easiest soups you will ever make. It is filled with flavorful meat and vegetables. Everyone loves it.
How to Make Zuppa Toscana Copycat
Zuppa Toscana (Copycat Olive Garden Recipe)
- Crock Pot Slow Cooker
- Heat a fry pan to medium-high heat. Shape the sausage into small rounds and brown stirring frequently. Then remove to a plate lined with paper towels to drain off some of the grease.
- Put everything except for the potatoes together in a large crockpot and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours. If you prefer your kale more crisp tender, wait to add the kale with the potatoes.
- Add potatoes the last 40-60 minutes (if you add them too soon they will get too soft).
- Stir well and serve with breadsticks and salad.