I bet you have finished a bowl of the Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Soup and wondered if you could make this soup. Yes, you can make this copycat olive garden recipe at home. You will have a creamy soup that is filled with crispy bacon, chicken stock, pork sausage, and I know the first time you taste your homemade soup, it will become a family favorite.
This delicious soup is one of the most popular recipes from the Olive Garden throughout the years. The current version of Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana soup is a bit different than the original recipe. The two main changes are they used to have bits of crispy bacon inside of it, and the sausage used to be made from link sausages. Now the sausage is crumbed, you can use the type of sausage you prefer.
I know when you give this Olive Garden copycat recipe a try, you aren’t going to need to go out for unlimited soup and breadsticks any longer. I make this soup often, but I must confess, the Olive Garden is my favorite restaurant, so I still go back all of the time!
What is Zuppa Toscana?
Zuppa is an Italian word for soup. Toscana is the Italian name for the region of Tuscany. So Zuppa Toscana is simply Tuscan soup.
What Makes Italian Sausage Italian?
Sausage is the star of this soup, so it needs to be the highest quality Italian sausage you can find. Make sure to select Italian sausages for this recipe because it has an entirely different flavor profile than other types of sausage, such as Andouille or Chorizo.
Italian sausages combine finely ground pork, pork fat, and seasonings inside a natural casing. The main seasonings which give them their unique flavor are fennel and anise.
Unlike other varieties of sausages, Italian sausages are always raw and never smoked or precooked. You will need to make sure to cook them thoroughly before serving.
Don’t be confused about the labeling on the package. You will often see Italian sausages labeled as ‘mild,’ ‘sweet’, or ‘hot’ in the supermarket.
Mild and sweet sausages are two different words companies use to describe exactly the same ingredients.
The word ‘hot‘ indicates that red pepper flakes are part of the pork mixture. The spiciness of hot Italian sausages varies by brand.
For this recipe, hot or sweet Italian sausages work, so choose whichever one you usually enjoy. You can also make Italian Sausage and season it to your liking.
Zuppa Toscana Soup Ingredients
Here’s a list of what you need to make this hearty soup.
- Mild Italian sausage you could use spicy Italian sausage
- Russet Potatoes is what the restaurant uses, Yukon gold is another great option
- White onion – you can use yellow onion as well, I find it adds a bit more heat than what the restaurant serves.
- Chicken Broth – homemade makes a more delicious broth, but canned will work, I do recommend low sodium
- Garlic cloves
- Slices of bacon or Oscar Mayer Real Bacon Bits
- Kosher salt
- Ground black pepper
- Fresh kale
- Heavy cream
How to Make Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana
- Place the sausages in a baking pan. Brown sausage by roasting at 300 degrees for 30 minutes or until cooked through.
- Drain sausages on paper towels and cut the hot sausage into slices.
- Place the potatoes, onions, chicken broth, water, and garlic in a large pot and cook on medium heat until potatoes are done.
- Add the sausage, bacon, salt, and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Turn the heat to low. Add kale and cream and stir to combine.
- Add more water if necessary for desired consistency.
- Heat thoroughly and serve.
Cooking and Serving Suggestions for the Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Recipe
- Use a food chopper. A lot of the time required to make this recipe revolves around cutting the vegetables. Save time and get perfectly diced onions and sliced potatoes with an inexpensive and indispensable food chopper. These inexpensive food prep tools are a must-have time-saver in any kitchen.
- Serve with warm slices of Tuscan bread to make Zuppa Toscana a simple supper. Tuscan bread is unique because it is baked without salt. Some people say the reason there is no salt in bread from the region is that the stubborn residents refused to pay high salt taxes during the Middle Ages. Other people think saltless bread pairs well with the traditionally heavy and salty local food. Either way, Tuscan bread goes great with this soup.
- Top each bowl with cheese and a splash of olive oil. Just a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil on top of your soup just before serving helps provide a luscious mouthfeel. A little grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese on top helps to balance out the soup’s richness.
How long is Zuppa Toscana good for in the fridge?
Should you have any soup leftover you can store it in an air-tight container in your refrigerator. It should be consumed within three to five days. After this point, the soup should be frozen to be eaten later.
Does Zuppa Toscana freeze well?
Zuppa Toscana does freeze well. You should store this in an air-tight container for up to 3 months.
Love Olive Garden? Try these copycat recipes!
- Alfredo Sauce
- Watermelon Sangria
- Olive Garden Spinach Dip
- Capellini Pomodoro
- Seafood Alfredo
- Steak Gorgonzola Alfredo
- Shrimp Carbonara
- Peach Cheesecake
Popular Soup Recipes
Zuppa Toscana Recipe
- 1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage links
- 1 pound russet potatoes peeled, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 29 ounces chicken broth (2 cans)
- 1 quart water
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/4 cup chopped slices of bacon or Oscar Mayer Real Bacon Bits(1/2 can)
- kosher salt to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- 2 cups chopped kale
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
- Place the sausages in a baking pan and roast for about 30 minutes or until cooked through. Drain sausages on paper towels and cut into slices.
- If you are using fresh bacon slices, saute bacon in a small skillet until the bacon has browned.
- Place the potatoes, onions, chicken broth, water, and garlic in a pot and cook on medium heat until potatoes are done.
- Add the sausage, bacon, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Turn the heat to low. Add kale and cream. Stir to combine.
- Add more water, if necessary for desired consistency.
- Heat thoroughly and serve.