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Loaded with sausage, potatoes and kale, this homemade version of Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana soup is sure to become a family favorite.

Zuppa toscana in white bowls next to grilled bread

Welp, it happened.

I got sick the week before Christmas.

I feel like this is every parent’s worst nightmare. You have 86 million things to take care of, go to, wrap, etc, and suddenly you feel like you’ve been hit by a Mack truck.

Thank goodness for easy meals like this Zuppa Toscana. It’s saving me this week and I couldn’t be more ok with that.

Ingredients for zuppa toscana in prep bowls on a marble surface


I’ve been on a bit of a soup kick lately.

In my opinion, there’s no better way to warm up on a cold, dreary day than with a bowl of homemade soup. Sausage and Lentil Soup, Turkey Noodle Soup, Lasagna Soup…I love them all alongside a slice of buttered Beer Bread or sourdough bread.

And since Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana is a family favorite, I thought I’d try making it from scratch instead of calling in a take-out order. This soup seriously came together quicker than a drive to our local Olive Garden and I didn’t even have to change out of my yoga pants.

Close up view of zuppa toscana simmering in a cast iron dutch oven

And let me tell ya, homemade Zuppa Toscana soup is unbelievably good and tastes pretty much identical to the Olive Garden version.

We enjoyed this recipe so much that I made it twice in three days. The first time I made it with sweet Italian sausage, but I decided to kick things up a notch the on second batch and loaded it with hot Italian sausage, more potatoes, and a heavy sprinkling of crushed red pepper flakes.

Being that I’m a lover of all things spicy, the hot Italian sausage version was my favorite, but if you like things a little on the milder side, the original recipe is a total winner.

Zuppa toscana in a cast iron dutch oven on a marble surface


This Zuppa Toscana recipe comes together quickly; it only takes about 30 minutes to cook!

To make this recipe, simply:

  • Cook the sausage in a large Dutch oven
  • Add the onions, garlic and red pepper flakes
  • Add potatoes, broth and water; cook until the potatoes are done
  • Add the cream and kale and season to taste

Overhead view of a bowl of zuppa toscana alongside grilled bread

Soups like this are great because you can make them with ingredients that you probably already have on hand.

Since this soup comes together so quickly, it’s a great option for a weeknight dinner when everyone has activities they need to get to. Throw this soup on the stove and everyone can help themselves to a bowl whenever they get home.

Close up of a bowl of zuppa toscana on a marble surface


I don’t typically recommend freezing soups made with a lot of dairy. They can sometimes change in texture or separate when thawed. No thanks.

That said, you could prepare this soup up until the point of adding the cream and the kale. Let it cool, then freeze it in an airtight container.

Zuppa toscana in white bowls on a marble countertop next to spoons and bread

When you’re ready for dinner, just bring the thawed soup to a simmer before adding the cream and kale and cooking for 10-15 minutes as noted in the recipe.

You’ll still cut down on the prep time needed on the day you want to eat your Zuppa Toscana, without sacrificing on texture or flavor!

Two white bowls filled with zuppa toscana on a marble countertop next to grilled bread

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Zuppa Toscana

By: Jamie
4.52 from 37 ratings
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Loaded with sausage, potatoes and kale, this homemade version of Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana soup is sure to become a family favorite.


  • 1 pound ground sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 large sweet onion diced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 large baking potatoes peeled and thinly sliced
  • 24 ounces chicken broth
  • 24 ounces water
  • 2 cups kale chopped
  • 12 ounces heavy cream


  • In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, brown sausage until cooked through. Add onions, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Drain excess fat and return pot to the stove.
  • Add potatoes, chicken broth and water to the sausage mixture. Continue cooking over medium heat until the potatoes are cooked through.
  • Add heavy cream and kale and continue cooking for an additional 10-15 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.



To kick things up a notch, substitute hot italian sausage for the sweet and increase the amount of red pepper flakes. Please note the color of the soup may take on an orange color with this substitution due to the spices in hot sausage.


Calories: 573kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 17g, Fat: 45g, Saturated Fat: 22g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 16g, Cholesterol: 124mg, Sodium: 1019mg, Potassium: 862mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 3118IU, Vitamin C: 32mg, Calcium: 144mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. Sandra says:

    I made this today. Tasty, savory, delicious! I’ll make it again but probably use broccoli or cauliflower instead of potatoes, just to reduce the carbs. Thank you!

    1. Jamie says:

      I often use cauliflower instead of the potatoes for a low-carb version! So glad you enjoyed the soup, thank you for stopping by and sharing your feedback!

    2. Diane says:

      I just made this soup for the 1st time,using hot Italian sausage in it & cauliflower…
      Was amazing! Even my husband loved it!
      I will make this again & again.. lol

    3. Jamie says:

      Hi Diane – Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your feedback, I’m glad you enjoyed! Happy baking –

  2. Teresa says:

    Im gonna make this for dinner tonight but instead of potatoes im gonna do cauliflower to cut some of the carbs. Since my husband can’t have much carbs.

    1. Jamie says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Teresa! I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Happy Baking!

  3. L.G. says:

    I’ve been making this soup 4 several yrs. Everyone loves it. I use spinach instead of kale & Turkey sausage thinly sliced the kind that comes in a long loop. I also use low sodium chicken broth & I occasionally use less cream & thicken with cornstarch. U almost can’t ruin it even with a few tweaks. You can definatly freeze before adding cream. Both kale & spinach freeze great.
    If you R on a special diet, the few exchanges can make it a lot more healthy. ( extra spinach/kale will also thicken soup if U want to try less cream) we love it & can have it more often by making it more healthy )

  4. Elaine E Brown says:

    Way better than Olive Garden! I’ve been making your version for years and don’t even order it at Olive Garden anymore. I do add a bit of salt and pepper and extra red pepper flakes if I am not using the hot sausage. I was so sad when I couldn’t find this yesterday! You saved the day. :)

  5. John King says:

    Wonderful recipes !!

    1. Jamie says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by, John! I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Happy Baking!

  6. Rob says:

    Surprised no recipe I find for this mentions one key secret in Italian cooking.
    Hint: Since this is basically a “white sauce” type recipe. Try deglazing the pan after frying your sausage, onion, etc, with a splash of white wine.
    I do it with the onion, sausage, etc, still in the pan before adding potatoes, broth, etc…

    1. Jamie says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Rob! I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Happy Baking!

  7. Marissa says:

    Can I substitute the water for more chicken broth for added flavor ? Other soup recipes I’ve used water lessens the flavor , anyone else try just the broth ?

    1. Jamie says:

      Sure can! I hope you love it!

  8. Anna R. says:

    Freezes well but I always add more potatoes the second time around . I don’t use water but add more chicken broth. Kale is tough so I use fresh leaf spinach, no need to chop. I make this often. Watch the pepper flakes for I add only half and then taste it…….you can always add more if needed. I cut my potatoes in a half moon but not real thin for they will cook up too much and break apart. Start on medium heat and then reduce down.
    This soup is delicious…..could eat it every day with fresh bread sticks.

    1. Jamie says:

      So happy to hear you enjoyed it, Anna! I love your tips – thanks for sharing!

  9. Laura says:

    Hi, I was curious what the nutrition facts on the Zuppa Toscana? Watching my calories and fats, so it would be nice to know what they actually are. Thanks.

    1. Jamie says:

      Hi, Laura! I’m not sure what the nutrition is exactly, but you can use this calorie counter. I hope this helps!

  10. Susan S says:

    I make this soup a lot, a little differently than your recipe but still pretty much the same. I use Caldo chicken bouillon cubes and then don’t add any salt or pepper. I have used milk, half and half and cream, all work wonderfully. I also brown the onions with the sausage, but dice and boil the potatoes (skin on) then add the sausage and onions to the potatoes, add kale and boil a little longer, adding the cream or milk in the last 15 mins or so of cooking. It’s my family’s favorite soup and I have frozen it with no problems. Just make sure you heat it very slowly, even during cooking or the cream will curdle. 

    1. Jamie says:

      Thanks so much for the tips, Susan! Love the freezer idea! :)

    2. Chris says:

      I also freeze it with good results. The key is to not cook it at too high of a temperature or to cook it for too long as the dairy products will curdle.