Zuppa Toscana (Olive Garden Copycat Recipe)

4.91 from 11 votes
63 Comments

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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.

Creamy Olive Garden soup copycat with sausage and potatoes in two bowls

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.
Uncooked sausage being cut into smaller pieces with a knife

Sausage Tip:

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.

Cooked sausage, bacon and kale in a Crock Pot

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.
Zuppa toscana in a Crock Pot / Slow Cooker

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

Crock Pot Zuppa Toscana in two bowls

Zuppa Toscana (Copycat Olive Garden Recipe)

4.91 from 11 votes
This Zuppa Toscana copycat recipe is actually better than the original! It has a creamy both base and is loaded with sausage and potatoes.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 20 mins
Course Soup
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8

Equipment

  • Crock Pot Slow Cooker

Ingredients

Instructions

  • 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.
    Sausage cooking in a skillet
  • 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.
    Cooked sausage, bacon and kale in a Crock Pot
  • Add potatoes the last 40-60 minutes (if you add them too soon they will get too soft).
    Potatoes being stirred into a creamy soup mixture
  • Stir well and serve with breadsticks and salad.
    Zuppa toscana in a Crock Pot / Slow Cooker

Nutrition Information

Calories: 463kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 18gFat: 37gSaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 84mgSodium: 1192mgPotassium: 892mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 3571IUVitamin C: 61mgCalcium: 158mgIron: 4mg

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About the author

Emily Walker

Emily lives in Meridian, Idaho, with her husband, Beau, a physician assistant, and her three incredible children: a son and two daughters. Travel is one of her favorite ways to experience new cultures and cuisines, and she has a love for all things Disney.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I can’t wait to give this a try at home. I always order this when we go out to eat no matter the time of year. Thanks for sharing!

  2. 5 stars
    Oh my goodness … even better than the original?!? Sign me up! And thanks for the great tip on adding a bit more heat to the soup, by being more generous with the red pepper flakes – my guys both like their food spicy, so that’s a super helpful suggestion!

  3. 5 stars
    This is sooo good! Way better than Olive Garden in my opinion. I know I’ll be making this all season long. Thanks for sharing!

    1. We don’t. You could probably check it on the Olive Garden website or check a calorie counter online… hope this helps!

  4. Hi! I am wondering if anyone has tried using coconut/almond/soy milk in place of whipping cream. Did you notice a difference? Thank you!

  5. I love this soup! I order it for lunch all the time with a Peach Bellini tea or the frozen Peach Bellini.

      1. 5 stars
        Sometimes I use cannelloni beans instead of, or even with the cut up potatoes. Would use less potatoes if I do that. And I do like a bit of diced toms and parsley in it too. .Wonder what the calorie count would be with this Fab soupI sprinkle with parmesan when I serve it. Also, Trader Joes has wonderful breadsticks, if you don’t want to do it from scratch.

  6. I made this for dinner to night. I did not use a crock pot. From start to finish it was done in less than an hour. It tasted great. My husband who said he was not very hungry because of a big lunch had two bowls.

  7. Made this in a crockpot tonight while getting ready for Halloween and added the cream at the end. What a great soup recipe! I am officially in love with your website and going to try all the recipes/

  8. I am going to try it in the crockpot, but not add the cream until the last few minutes. I think to freeze it, I would take out half before I add the cream, freeze that portion. When you reheat it, add the cream. I do that with chowders and it seems to work pretty well.

  9. Absolutely fabulous soup! My finance says it’s the best soup he’s ever tasted. I’ll be making it again real soon! Thanks for the recipe.

  10. Best soup I’ve ever “made up” . I enjoy cooking and make up all my own recipes. This is a must try soup. Everyone loves it, especially my son. I hope you enjoy it too. 😉

  11. This soup recipe is awesome I loved it. I had never had it before but I will definately have it again. Thank you for sharing this recipe. It was great.

  12. Made this last week and it was amazing! Looked forward to the leftovers the next day for lunch. I didn't have Kale so I used spinach. Making it again tonight with the kale.

  13. I just made your soup and Will and I loved it! Thanks for making me feel like a good cook. 🙂 We miss you guys!

  14. best winter soup ever! My husband loved it too, which is great because he usually isn't a soup guy. (I think it was the sausage that did it for him). Great job! I love your recipes. I made the bread sticks too, and it was delicious!!

  15. best winter soup ever! My husband loved it too, which is great because he usually isn't a soup guy. (I think it was the sausage that did it for him). Great job! I love your recipes. I made the bread sticks too, and it was delicious!!

  16. Thanks for your fast response!! I will will add the cream later on in the process, thanks for the clarity! I've made Zuppa before, but with a different recipe, so I want to try this one and compare! You have a very good tasting blog! Thanks for sharing your talents with us!

  17. @ Denise and Nathan –

    I know that with cream soups, sometimes they turn out grainy when you add the cream or cheese too soon or if you bring it to a boil. The 20 min. thing was just a suggestion so there is a better chance of it holding it's creaminess. It is a consistency thing. I would say this makes about 4-6 servings.
    Good luck and let me know how it turns out!
    Thanks!

    Erica

  18. Curious how many servings this makes?? Also, saw your recommendation above with adding the cream 20 minutes before. By doing that does it alter the taste, consistency, or what? Looks yummy, thanks for sharing!

  19. Kyrstin– Did you do this in a crockpot? Here is my advice to you.. and I will probably change it here on the recipe.. but add the cream just like 20 minutes before serving. That might make a difference.

  20. No unfortunately it's entirely separated. I've just tried straining out the curdles but no luck. I will attempt to try it again in the future with whipping cream. There is no saving this batch. Thanks for your help!

  21. Hi Kyrstin–

    I have never seen it curdle before. I know I have done 1/2 half and half and 1/2 cream.. but not entirely half and half.. either way it shouldn't really separate. Did yours look like the picture above? It doesn't really come out as a creamy consistency, it is more of a milky/watery consistency. I don't know if that made ANY sense at all but that is the best I can describe it. I am baffled if it curdled.. that is really weird.

  22. Hi Erica! I am in the process of making this soup, I subbed half and half for whipping cream and the cream is almost curdled/separated from the remainder of the stock… Any ideas what I may have done wrong? Or is this normal? Thanks 🙂

  23. @ Darla— I wouldn't do coconut milk… but that's just me! If it were half-and-half, I would say "sure" but I don't know if coconut milk will taste that great.

  24. I'm so excited to try this and 'thought' I remembered to pick up all the ingredients but forgot cream 🙁 I might try a can of coconut milk instead ? or will I ruin it completely?

  25. Made this tonight along with your breadtwists. My daughter asked if we could have it for every meal and that when she is a Mommy she is going to make it for her children 🙂

  26. This recipe is so delicious… we made a few adjustments, but now we can't even enjoy the olive garden version because this one tastes so much better!

  27. I made this last night for my family and it was sooooo delicious!! My husband loved it AND MY TWO YEAR OLD ATE ALL OF IT!!! Needless to say, I will be making this again. Thank you, Thank you!!

  28. Incredible recipe, I used regular Johnsonville Italian sausage but only put in half as much, which ended up being perfect. I also made the breadtwists with a little wheat flour. My family was raving about it the whole week

  29. Made this last night with the AWESOME bread twist recipe. It was very simple and so good. Perfect recipe for a cold evening. I loved it. Can I say the breadsticks have to be one of the easiest recipes for homemade "bread" ever. Love that you can just whip them up after adding potatoes to the soup and it is all done at the same time 🙂 Love your site!

  30. Kale is usually found by the spinach or lettuce. It looks similar to your leafy green lettuce but feels more stiff. A store employee at your local supermarket could probably point you in the right direction. As far as I knoe, there aren't any great substitutions for kale. Hope you are able to find it!
    -Erica

  31. Hi your recipes look very yummy !!!

    I just have a question what's kale? can I substitute for something else?
    I don't know if I can find it here in Mexico , so please let me know
    thanks for sharing your recipes!!!!

    1. I disagree with Bacon not being added to olive gardens. When I order this soup from there,there is always Bacon pieces.

    2. I would love to have the recipe.
      Thanks for breaking it down into family size. This is my very favorite soup.

      Lynn

  32. Does Olive Garden's have bacon? I am just wondering because that is about the only ingredient I don't have and we usually use turkey bacon, which doesn't crumble very well so I'm wondering if it will make much of a difference if I don't even use it. Thanks!

  33. @Robert & Stacey – The cans are about 14oz.. the whipping cream is the liquid kind that you find in the cartons back by the milk. Hope this helps! – Erica

  34. How big is the cans of broth, or can you tell me how many cups? And when you say whipping cream, is that like the liquid or the actual like cool whip?

    1. 4 stars
      I use heavy whipping cream out of the cartoon. If I want to cut down on the calpries I just switch it out for fat free evaporated milk 🙂

  35. This soup is over-the-top delicious!!
    I have made it several times for my family, and it gets devoured!! (and if there are leftovers, they just taste better 😉
    I have also made it vegetarian, too…
    Trader Joe's vege broth and no sausage. (YUM!!!) My family loves it just as much!!