Zuppa Toscana is a delicious Olive Garden copycat soup with sausage and potatoes. It’s so comforting and full of amazing flavor from the combination of bacon, Italian sausage, potatoes, and kale. Make a big batch of this creamy and flavorful potato soup right at home!
There is nothing like a big bowl of soup to bring warmth through the whole body and soul. Easy soup recipes are just what we all need for those chilly fall and winter nights. (Or, really any time you want food to make you feel good.)
Combining both, Italian sausage and bacon, with potatoes and kale makes this particular soup both filling and a well-balanced meal. It’s perfect harmony of flavors that results of an amazing tasting soup.
This Zuppa Toscana copycat recipe has all the flavor of the original, but you can make it right at home for a fraction of the cost!
Even better, you only need a few simple ingredients to get that rich, mouthwatering taste you know and love.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Note: This is only a partial list of ingredients. For the full ingredient list, see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Italian sausage – Mild Italian sausage is just perfect for Zuppa Toscana soup but you can also use the spicy version for more heat. If you want something a little leaner, replace it with ground turkey sausage.
Potatoes – Russet potatoes is the best choice because of the soft, crumbly texture but you can also use gold potatoes. For a light option, you can substitute chopped cauliflower florets.
Vegetable stock – Try to remember to warm up the stock before adding it to the soup so it keeps the temperature of the ingredients even. Chicken stock is another good option here.
Kale – Make sure to remove the stem because it’s hard and chewy. Chop the kale leaves before adding it to the soup.
Heavy cream – If heavy whipping cream is not available, you can use whole milk. The soup just won’t be as creamy with whole milk. If you need a dairy-free alternative, you can use unsweetened full-fat coconut cream, which is the solid portion at the top of canned coconut milk. A lactose-free whole milk alternative is also a good option.
How to make Zuppa Toscana (Olive Garden copycat)
First, brown the ingredients for extra flavor, then simmer everything together until done!
Serve with thick, crusty bread or make your own homemade soup and salad lunch combo.
Note: I highly recommend that you prepare the ingredients before starting to cook.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
Sauté the bacon and onions:
Cook the chopped bacon in a large pot or Dutch Oven until crisp.
Then, add the onion and sauté until browned.
Stir in garlic and cook just until fragrant.
Brown the Italian sausage:
Next, add the sausage and break into smaller pieces with a spatula or wooden spoon. Don’t bread it down too small, leave it somewhat chunky.
Cook it just until there is no more visible pink, since it will continue to cook in the soup.
Add the potatoes:
Mix the potatoes in with everything until well combined and sauté for just a few minutes.
Season and simmer:
Next, pour in the stock and stir together with salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen any bits stuck to the bottom, then simmer until the potatoes are tender. All those brown bits at the bottom of the pot will add great flavor to the soup.
Cook the soup unconverted until potatoes are very tender. On average, it will take about 40 minutes but it depends on the size of cut potatoes.
Mix in kale and cream:
Add chopped kale and mash some of the potatoes with the back of the wooden spoon to thicken the soup. Finally, stir in heavy whipping cream and simmer for a few more minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.
How can I make it ahead?
Prep your ingredients ahead of time so everything is ready to go when it’s time to make this Zuppa Toscana recipe. All of the chopped vegetables, including the kale, can be stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator up to a day in advance. Note, I don’t recommend that you peel and cut potatoes ahead of time because they will get oxidized quickly.
Can I make it in Instant Pot?
Easily adapt this recipe to a pressure cooker if you’d prefer. Sauté bacon, onion, and sausage just as the recipe instructs on the sauté setting of the pressure cooker.
After you add the stock and seasoning, close the lid, make sure it’s properly latched, and close the steam valve. Cook on Manual high pressure setting for 5 minutes and then let it do a 10-minute Natural Pressure Release. (Note, it will take a few minutes to the pressure to build up.)
Then, add the kale and cream and cook for a few minutes on Saute setting.
How to store it.
Transfer cooked soup into jars or airtight food storage containers and keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
Can I freeze it?
You can definitely freeze Zuppa Toscana but you have to leave out the kale and cream. Cream does not freeze well and the texture of kale will become unpleasant when thawed.
To freeze: Fill a freezer-friendly food storage containers about three-quarters full so the soup has room to expand, then freeze for 3 to 6 months. You can also use zip-top freezer bags to portion the soup.
Defrost overnight in the refrigerator and add the kale and cream when reheating.
How to reheat Zuppa Toscana?
Reheat individual portions in the microwave until just hot enough. You can also reheat the whole pot on the stove, over medium to medium-low heat, until the soup is warmed through.
OTHER POPULAR SOUP RECIPES
If you enjoyed this Zuppa Toscana recipe, try one of these other delicious homemade soups.
Greatest Baked Potato Soup – This tastes just like a loaded baked potato and is an easy family favorite.
Potato Leek Soup – Make this simple and comforting meal for more Tuscan soup flavor.
Chicken Gnocchi Soup – Another Italian soup recipe that can be made with a few ready ingredients or completely from scratch!
If you made any of my recipes and shared them on Instagram, make sure to tag me @willcookforsmiles and #willcookforsmiles so I can see all the things you tried!
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Copycat Zuppa Toscana
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 lb bacon diced
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 1 lb ground mild Italian sausage
- 3 large garlic cloves
- 2 lbs Russet potatoes about 5 potatoes
- 5 cups vegetable stock warmed
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 bunch of kale about 2 cups sliced, not packed
- salt to taste
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes more or less to taste
- Prepare ingredients first: dice bacon and set it aside. Dice onion, peel and chop potatoes, and mince garlic.
- Preheat a Dutch oven or another soup pot over medium heat and add oil.
- Add the diced bacon and saute until browned and fat is mostly rendered.
- Add the diced onion and saute until softened. Mix in minced garlic and saute just until fragrant.
- Add ground Italian sausage and use a spatula or a wooden spoon to break it up into chunks. Saute until sausage is mostly cooked.
- Mix in diced potatoes and sauté for a few minutes.
- Slowly, pour in stock, while scraping bottom of the pot and the sides. Bring everything to simmer and lower the heat to medium-low.
- Season with salt and crushed red pepper flakes and mix well. Let the soup cook uncovered over medium-low to low heat until potatoes are very tender (about 40 minutes).
- Use a wooden spoon to crush and break up a few potatoes for a thicker consistency.
- Chop the kale leaves and discard the thick stem. Stir kale into the soup.
- Stir in the heavy whipping cream and cook for just about 5 more minutes but don't let it boil. Take off heat right away.
Originally published on Will Cook For Smiles on August 8, 2011. Updated September 21, 2020.