Zuppa Toscana

By Maria Lichty

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Quick Summary

If you love Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana soup, you will love this homemade version. It is made in one-pot and loaded with Italian sausage, bacon, potatoes, garlic, and kale. Creamy, satisfying, and delicious!

zuppa toscana soup in bowls with crusty bread.

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The Olive Garden restaurant made Zuppa Toscana (Tuscan soup) extremely popular. It is a creamy soup made with Italian sausage, bacon, tender potatoes, garlic, and kale. It is rich, hearty, and flavorful. No wonder it is so popular.

Well, good news, you don’t have to go to the Olive Garden to enjoy this soup. You can make it at home, from scratch! And I think our homemade version is even BETTER.

All of the ingredients are cooked in ONE pot, one pot meals really are the best! The soup has a rich and creamy broth and is loaded with chunks of sausage, bacon, and potatoes. The kale adds a nice touch of green and I like to add Parmesan cheese at the end for an extra boost of flavor.

Enjoy the soup for lunch or an easy weeknight dinner. Serve with crusty bread and a simple salad. Cozy, comforting, and always a crowd-pleaser!

zuppa toscana ingredients in bowls.


  • Bacon– for best results, use thick cut bacon. It adds a smoky, salty flavor to to the soup.
  • Italian sausage– we use mild ground Italian sausage. If you want a spicy soup, you can use hot Italian sausage.
  • Onion– diced.
  • Garlic– minced.
  • Chicken broth– use your favorite brand. Vegetable broth will also work.
  • Russet potatoes– peeled and chopped into 1/4″ thick pieces. You will need about 3 cups. Red potatoes will also work.
  • Crushed red pepper flakes– a dash for a little heat.
  • Heavy cream– to make the soup rich and creamy. Half and half will work too.
  • Kale– chop up the kale and remove the ribs. Spinach will also work.
  • Parmesan cheese– for extra flavor!
bacon cooking in white pot with wooden spoon to make zuppa toscana.

How to Make Zuppa Toscana

  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, cook the bacon pieces over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes or until crispy. Stir occasionally so the bacon doesn’t stick or burn. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
Italian sausage cooking in white pot with wooden spoon.
  • Add the Italian sausage to the pot and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
onion cooking in large white pot with wooden spoon to make zuppa toscana.
  • Add the onion to the pot and cook until translucent and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
potatoes cooking in broth in large white pot to make zuppa toscana.
  • Add the broth, potatoes, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil and reduce to low. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
stirring sausage and bacon into zuppa toscana soup in large white pot.
  • Add the cooked bacon and sausage to the pot.
heavy cream and kale being added to zuppa toscana soup in large white pot.
  • Stir in the heavy cream, kale, and Parmesan cheese. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and add additional salt and pepper, if necessary.
zuppa toscana soup in large white pot with wooden spoon.

Serving Suggestions

This soup is very filling and can be a complete meal on it’s own, but if you want to add a few sides, here are some ideas.

How to Store & Freeze

  • To store leftover soup, place the cooled soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove top.
  • To freeze the soup, make the soup according to the recipe, but under cook the potatoes a little and don’t add the cream. Let the soup cool completely and place in a freezer container. Freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge. Place in a pot and heat over medium low on the stove. Add the cream to the soup and stir.
  • If you have leftover soup that you want to freeze and already added the cream, you can still freeze it, but the cream might separate a little bit after thawing and the potatoes might be a little mushy.
zuppa toscana soup in bowl with spoon and crusty bread.

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Zuppa Toscana

If you love Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana soup, you will love this homemade version. It is made in one-pot and loaded with Italian sausage, bacon, potatoes, and kale. Creamy, satisfying, and delicious!
4.70 from 30 votes



  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, cook the bacon pieces over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes or until crispy. Stir occasionally so the bacon doesn’t stick or burn. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
  • Add the Italian sausage to the pot and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
  • Add the onion to the pot and cook until translucent and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the broth, potatoes, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil and reduce to low. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
  • Add the cooked bacon and sausage to the pot. Stir in the heavy cream, kale, and Parmesan cheese. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and add additional salt and pepper, if necessary.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls and serve warm.


Calories: 443kcal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 34g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 13g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 90mg, Sodium: 1103mg, Potassium: 648mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 2147IU, Vitamin C: 23mg, Calcium: 124mg, Iron: 2mg
Keywords kale, potatoes, sausage

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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4.70 from 30 votes (25 ratings without comment)

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  1. Maria, that soup does look like liquid comfort. I don’t eat out as often as I used to but when I do, I sometimes find inspiration as you have done here.

  2. It looks fabulous Maria! I’m not a huge fan of OG either, but I do love their soup, salad and breadsticks 🙂 Mmmmmm

    I am reaching out to my fellow foodies today to see if they on my Food Bloggers Discussion List. If you are not we would love to have you! I seem to recall talking to you about it before, but honestly I can’t remember for sure :-/ Email me amanda AT amandascookin.com

  3. I’m so with you! I am much more of a local restaurant kind of gal! I bet my Josh would love this soup too. Looks like a very manly soup 😉 Hope you’re doing well.

  4. I haven’t been to Olive Garden in a while but I think this was what a had last time I was there. It is a yummy soup and as far as chains go, their soup and salad is hard to beat when in a hurry. This looks good. Glad to know it’s here for trying on our next soup night.

  5. I haven’t been to Olive Garden that many times (kind of obviously – we don’t have it here in Manila), but I like that they have some truly healthy options on the menu.
    This looks really good (and all the meat sounds nice too), I hope you were able to sequester a certain portion without meat for yourself..

  6. what a comforting sounding soup maria. especially like the kale in there. i have a recipe with kale up at the moment – one of my fave leafy greens!

  7. First off I love your blog. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful recipes. My husband loves this soup as well and I have the same exact copy cat recipe and have been using it for years. We love it!!!

  8. I love Olive Garden. I love to go there for lunch and order soup and salad. I definitely want to try this – new soup recipes are so much fun. What I really want, though, is a copycat recipe for their chicken gnocchi soup…that stuff is incredible! If your friend has a recipe for that, please pass it along 🙂

  9. Looks just like the real thing; thanks for sharing the recipe! And if they come up with one for the chicken gnocchi soup too, I’ll be right here. 😉

  10. I wouldn’t have known what Olive Garden soup was either, like you we try to go to more local restaurants. That soup though does sound awesome

  11. I love taking dishes from restaurants and recreating them at home! This soup sounds fantastic – and I’m sure it’s much better made in your kitchen than at the Olive Garden!

  12. I make a great vegetarian version of this soup. I sub the sausage for the gimme lean soy sausage (don’t know if you eat that or not). I also sub the bacon for a little smoke flavoring (I don’t like the texture of the veggie bacon). Now you can make it for yourself, and my meat loving husband loves it too! I also add marjoram as a seasoning for the soup, it adds just the right flavor. Thanks for the great blog!

  13. Excellent re-creation! It looks lovely… Marty is so not a soup fan but I think I could coax him into this one 🙂

  14. I love this soup I have tried others versions I can’t wait to try this one so excited. My husband and I always go for soup and salad lately just for this soup yummy!!!

  15. I just made this the other day, minus the bacon. I will have to add bacon next time I’m sure it makes it just that much better (for the meat eaters of course :))

  16. Looks wonderful! Nice job, Josh.

    And it has the Olive Garden signature cream in it, hehe! I always get so mad at their commercials–every sauce is a cream sauce! Or the meat is stuffed with cheese. Or the cheese ravioli or cheese stuffed meat is drowned in a cream sauce and covered with more cheese. “Let’s make cheese, cover it in cream sauce, and top it with more cheese!” Hahaha!

  17. Sounds wonderful! I’d probably substitute turkey or chicken Italian sausage for the pork, turkey bacon for the bacon and fat-free half and half for the heavy cream to make it a bit more diabetic-friendly. I know – I’m a party pooper 🙂

  18. So glad you shared this recipe! We don’t eat out at chain restaurants anymore for the same reasons as you, but when I used to, I loved Olive Garden and always ordered this soup. Happy to be able to make it at home now.

  19. This is my absolute FAVORITE soup at Olive Garden. Not a huge fan of the place but I do love this soup paired with their yummy breadsticks. Can’t wait to try it at home!

  20. It has been years since I have gone to the Olive Garden but I should make this for my parents. My Dad would probably love this soup as it sounds delicious. I think I would make the veggie version though for myself as well.

  21. How uncanny that I’m blogging about this same soup today! My recipe is similar but not identical; the version I’ve had and love at the Olive Garden doesn’t have bacon, so mine doesn’t either. I’m glad to hear that Josh loves it and made himself some — it’s delish! :o)

  22. This looks like the perfect soup for a chilly night! I would much rather yours than the Olive Garden’s any day 🙂 This would be great after a big day of winter sports! Hearty and satisfying.

  23. I love zuppa toscana and used to go to Olive Garden just for it. Ever since I figured out how to make it at home, I never go to the restaurant anymore. I agree with Josh – it’s hearty and really hits the spot on cold winter days.

  24. I don’t think I’ve ever been to Olive Garden before. The whole chain-restaurant thing just never appeals to me! The soup looks wonderful though!

  25. I have to admit, I’m not the biggest fan of the Olive Garden (if I’m gonna eat out, I’d prefer it not to be at a chain). but this soup looks too good to pass up. So creamy and delicious!

    1. We don’t eat at chain restaurants either, but learned about this soup from a friend. Josh likes it:)

  26. We make a version of this soup quite often…it is so yummy, yours looks delicious!

  27. Heading out tomorrow to buy ingredients for this delicious looking soup! Am going to make a batch for my Dad since he’s always telllig me he “needs to eat more greens” Looks super yummy! I’m sure it will be a hit. Thanks for sharing!

  28. I haven’t been to an Olive Garden either, although I think we do have them in Canada. The soup looks delicious, very hearty.

  29. Oh, this looks so good! We used to have the Olive Garden here in Toronto but sadly they all closed. When we cross the boarder we usually try to make a stop. I’m going to make this for my hubby, who was very saddened by the chain’s Canadian demise.

  30. Sounds good, looks GREAT! I’ve already printed out the recipe though I’ll be swapping out the kale for spinach so I don’t have to swing by the grocery store. Thanks for passing along the recipe.

  31. I haven’t been to Olive Garden since I was in high school, but this soup does look good. It’s probably better homemade!

  32. That soup looks pretty tasty! I know what you mean about chain restaurants… We eat at them once in a while (since there aren’t a lot of other good options around here in the middle of nowhere), but definitely not my preference.

  33. That looks deeeeelightful. I’ve actually never been to the Olive Garden either, tho some friends swear by the soup and breadsticks? We make a similar White Bean Soup with Sausage and Kale, but bacon sounds like a wonderful addition… Will definitely have to try this!

  34. The soup looks great. I’m sure it’s way better than what they serve at the Olive Garden. The kale cancels out the bacon right? 😉

    Olive Garden isn’t my cup of tea either. I admit I’m judging on strictly superficial criteria. I’ve never actually eaten in one and I’m just judging it because it’s a chain. But here in the NY suburbs, we have one of the highest cocentrations of Italian Americans in the US, so good Italian restaurants abound. I think the closest Olive Garden to my home is in NYC and mostly caters to tourists.

  35. I’m with ya girl..chains..ah not for me….they taste funky!!.But this soup looks lovely and great with fesh baked bread.


  36. My husband loves this soup at the Olive Garden. My son’s working there right now. I’ll have to give it a try!

  37. This is precisely the sort of hearty soup that would completely hit the spot on a day like today. It’s rainy and pea-soupy out — so something warming and nourishing, with all the good stuff (i.e. kale) would be just right.

  38. Hi, Maria! I just wanted to let you know that I made your soup this evening for dinner and all of us loved it. As I mentioned I didn’t use kale. It rained hard all day (we had severe thunderstorms and tornado warnings) and I didn’t want to have to stop at the grocery store for some. Next time I’ll give the kale a try. Thanks for passing along another yummy recipe.

    1. Ingrid-I am glad you enjoyed the soup. Thanks for letting us know. I am sure the spinach was great in it!

  39. What a gorgeous soup which could be dinner for us. We love soup and I often just make soup for dinner with a good hearty bread!

  40. I haven’t had at the Olive Garden either, but people seem to love it. Your homemade version looks fantastic!

  41. This is my second favorite soup at Olive Garden! ( my first, minestrone). I will have to make this! miss you!

  42. Hey Guys, I made this soup for my Dad and he totally LOVES it. He asked me the name of it and when I told him, he said we needed to change it to “Damn Good Soup!” LOL He’s really enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing as always.
    Take care,

  43. This does look like a nice soup for meat lovers. Will have to give it a go and throw in some extra greens!

  44. Olive Garden isn’t something I crave…but the last few times I’ve been there (probably twice in 2 years!) I was actually surprised at the quality of the food, it was really good! I have tried this soup once or twice years ago and I remember enjoying it! I’d love it without the cream… 🙂

  45. It’s been ages since I’ve been to Olive Garden too Maria. My hubs would probably like this one if I removed any trace of the veggies 🙂

  46. I saw the “olive garden” in your post and thought OH NO. I’m so with you on chain restaurants,etc. This soup looks good, but really a bit heavy on the cream for my taste. If you notice those olive garden commercials, the food is so heavy and doesn’t look Italian to me. Now having said that, my husband dies for the sausage lentil from Carrabba’s and sometimes we get it as take out. (I need to make that from scratch, don’t I).

    1. Angela-yeah, we never eat at the Olive Garden or chain restaurants. I just can’t do it. So I am glad Josh can make this at home:)

  47. Thank you for the recipe. : ) I’m not a snob about Olive Garden restaurants, but I’ve never tried this soup there. I’ll try making it with turkey Italian sausage and no bacon…

  48. I just finished eating my second bowl, you hit the nail on the head with this recipe. The nearest Olive Garden is about two hours away from my home. I always order this soup when I get a chance to go. Now that I can make it at home, I can satisfy my cravings more often. Thanks you did a good job!

  49. Made this soup last night – used turkey kielbasa instead of sausage – and it was SLAMMIN’!!!! Made your drop biscuits to go with – with cheddar cheese and scallions – and let me tell you, it was better than going out to eat!

  50. Made this for my book club today and it was SPOT ON perfect!! This soup is the reason I ever go to Olive Garden. It was exactly the same. My daughter even thought it was better. Family loved it. Book Clubbies loved it. Dreamy. Thanks!!

  51. I had this soup last year at Olive Garden and have been looking for the recipe when I just found yours through stumbleupon! This recipe is fantastic! I made it with kielbasa and some extra potatoes and it is DELICIOUS! My parents loved it and want me to keep this recipe and it’s perfect for the rainy cold days we have had thanks again so much and I am bookmarking your site for the future!

  52. This looks fantastical! 😀 Just wondering though….if I can’t find KALE here in this itty-bitty town of mine, what can I use as a substitute? I don’t think spinach is as hearty as KALE, but I”ll use it as a last alternative if I need to. Anyway, could you please give me a few suggestions? I really want to try this! Thanks! 🙂

  53. If you’d like to try a REAL tuscan soup (and it’s vegetable one, no sausage, they don’t do that in tuscany. Trust me, I lived there for 5 loooong years) google ribollita. Absolutely fabulous!

  54. It’s kind of funny seeing the title written the way it is because two words are repeated.

    “Zuppa Toscana Soup”:

    ‘Zuppa Toscana’ is Italian for “Tuscany Soup” and then you added on the word “Soup” so it reads “Tuscany Soup Soup.” It would have been better if you just left it at “Zuppa Toscana.”

    1. 5 stars
      Really? Its a common mistake. Fantastic recipe, who cares if there is a little typo. Go eat a cookie. 🙂

    2. Hi Lori,
      I’m so glad you are fluent in Italian otherwise you wouldn’t notice the repeated word in the recipe. Just a suggestion, for the ones (like me) that doesn’t speak Italian it’s nice to understand this is a soup also its helpful when searching recipes.

      This soup is excellent! adding “soup” to the title didn’t get any flavor away from the recipe. Thanks for sharing it.

  55. I just made a big pot of this soup! It came out excellent… my husband likes it even more than I do. We like to shake a ton of pepper on top before eating it and that makes this soup taste even better.

  56. Just made your soup, it was fantastic! thank you for the recipe =) just a warning to others – stay away from rainbow chard as a substitute for the kale… we ended up with strawberry milk-colored soup!

  57. Yesterday was our first chilly day in Texas this fall. Soup sounded like the perfect Sunday night dinner. I made this last night…it was soooooo good and flavorful!! Even my kids gobbled it up! Plenty for leftovers tonight! Surely, one of our favorites!! Mmmm, if you are a soupie like me, you MUST try this recipe. Definitely restaurant quality!

  58. I made this for dinner last night and I must say it got a big thumbs up from everyone. I used Italian chicken sausage (I had some in the freezer). It was my first time cooking with kale and it was very easy to prepare and use. I will be looking from some other recipes with kale. We also had the Mexican rice bowls this week. Thanks for two great recipes.

  59. I wonder how the kale would keep in a soup like this. Would I need to keep it separate until I am ready to reheat it or just leave it in there. Just seems like it would eventually get soggy like spinach does.

  60. I love this soup I omit the chicken and use beef base and sprinkle pepper bacon crumle on top with a pich of shredded parmasesan

  61. I’ve made your version several times – it’s soooo much better than even the original. I also Love that I can make it spicier or add spinach instead of kale if that’s what I have…. And it’s even better the next day or two!!

  62. I made this soup before I ever had it at Olive Garden. Then I went to Olive Garden and had it there. I have to say that this version is so much better!

  63. Thanks for the sensible critique. Me & my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research on this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more from this post. I’m very glad to see such fantastic info being shared freely out there.

  64. 5 stars
    Loved this recipe so much! It has been a family favorite for a few years now!!! I like to add extra kale because it tastes so dang good! 1,000,000 stars from me!!!

  65. I made this almost exactly by the directions, which is unusual for me, and it turned out incredible. I wasn’t sure what size “large russet potatoes” were, because some potatoes today are gigantic, so I used 5 of the larger potatoes out of a bag of Russets. I also used chicken broth for all 10 cups of liquid. A little salt and cracked black pepper, and we had a hit! I will definitely keep this and make it again!
    Thank you

  66. 5 stars
    I don’t remember if I ever left a comment back in 2012 when I found your recipe on Pinterest, but I am now. I have been making this soup off and on over the last decade. When I was younger and married my ex in laws always took us here, that was my order, this soup and salad. I haven’t been in over a decade as I have food allergies and have been cooking at home since I discovered them. This soup is perfect and satisfies my craving for it. My daughter asks for soup every winter. I’m making it now and wanted to make sure I rated it. Thanks again. Love it.

  67. Thank you for another fantastic article. Where else could anybody get that kind of info in such a perfect way of writing? I’ve a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such info.

  68. I’m still learning from you, but I’m trying to reach my goals. I definitely liked reading everything that is written on your website.Keep the stories coming. I liked it!

  69. 5 stars
    Great soup! Never had the one at Olive Garden but really enjoyed this one. Easy and flavorful. I had ground pork so I seasoned with Italian seasoning and sage. Used spinach instead of kale. Definitely will make again.

  70. Wonderful hearty soup! We had a snow week and it was the perfect thing to have after being outside in the cold.

    I couldn’t get kale last week so I used savoy cabbage which was a good substitute, in case anyone was wondering.

  71. 4 stars
    This was a delicious soup, but a little salty for me. I’m glad I tasted the broth before adding the salt listed in the ingredients. I used chicken Italian sausage, and I think that, with the bacon and cheese, had enough salt. I’ll make it again, modifying the broth as well (using low sodium) and adding a little more vegetables.

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