Zuppa Toscana Recipe: How to Make This Delicious Italian Soup at Home

July 3, 2023
Zuppa Toscana

Get ready to indulge in the heartiness and satisfaction of Zuppa Toscana, a delectable soup originating from the picturesque Tuscan region of Italy. This culinary masterpiece features the delightful combination of savory Italian sausage, tender potatoes, vibrant kale, and crispy bacon, all immersed in a creamy base crafted from luscious heavy cream and nourishing chicken broth. Whether you’re seeking warmth on cold winter days or simply craving a comforting bowl of goodness, this soup effortlessly delivers.

Join us in this blog post as we guide you through three different cooking methods – stovetop, Instant Pot, and slow cooker – so you can easily recreate this culinary delight in the comfort of your own kitchen. In addition, we’ll also share a range of healthy variations for those seeking low-carb, vegetarian, or gluten-free options. Prepare to tantalize your taste buds and embark on a journey to culinary bliss with our step-by-step recipe guide.


To make Zuppa Toscana, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 pound of Italian sausage (mild or spicy, depending on your preference)
  • 4 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups of kale, chopped
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Methods

You can choose from three different cooking methods to prepare Zuppa Toscana: Instant Pot, slow cooker. Here are the steps for each method:

Instant Pot

The Instant Pot method is a quick and easy way of making Zuppa Toscana. It takes about 30 minutes to cook and requires an electric pressure cooker. Here are the steps:

  • Turn on the sauté function of your Instant Pot and add the sausage. Cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Drain the excess fat and transfer the sausage to a plate.
  • Turn off the sauté function and add the bacon to your Instant Pot. Turn on the sauté function again and cook until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and reserve some of the bacon fat in your Instant Pot.
  • Turn off the sauté function and add the onion and garlic to your Instant Pot. Turn on the sauté function again and cook until soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the chicken broth and potatoes to your Instant Pot and stir well. Close the lid and set the valve to sealing. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.
  • When the cooking time is up, do a quick release of the pressure by turning the valve to venting. Carefully open the lid and stir in the kale and heavy cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve hot with the sausage and bacon sprinkled on top.

Slow Cooker

The slow cooker method is a convenient way of making Zuppa Toscana. It takes about 6 hours to cook and requires a slow cooker or crockpot. Here are the steps:

  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until it turns brown and is cooked through. This process should take around 15 minutes. Once done, drain any excess fat and transfer the cooked sausage to your slow cooker.
  • Using the same skillet, still over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until it becomes crisp. This typically takes about 10 minutes. Once done, transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess grease. Remember to reserve some of the bacon fat in your slow cooker for added flavor.
  • In your slow cooker, set it to medium-high heat (if this function is available). Sauté the onion and garlic in the bacon fat until they become soft and fragrant. This usually takes around 10 minutes.
  • Add the chicken broth and potatoes to your slow cooker, stirring everything well. Cover the cooker and let it cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours. This allows the flavors to meld together and the potatoes to become tender.
  • After the cooking time, stir in the kale and heavy cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking on high for an additional 15 minutes or until the kale has wilted beautifully.
  • Serve the Zuppa Toscana hot, with the sausage and bacon sprinkled on top for that extra touch of flavor and texture.

Healthy Variations

If you want to make Zuppa Toscana healthier, you can try some of these variations:

  • Low-carb: For a low-carb version of Zuppa Toscana, you can make a simple substitution. Instead of using potatoes, you can opt for cauliflower florets or turnips as a nutritious alternative. Additionally, you can reduce the fat and calories by using half-and-half instead of heavy cream, while still maintaining a creamy texture.
  • Vegetarian: To adapt Zuppa Toscana to a vegetarian diet, some ingredient swaps are in order. Replace the traditional sausage and bacon with vegetarian alternatives like soy chorizo and tempeh bacon. These plant-based substitutes offer a similar flavor and texture. Additionally, switch out the chicken broth with vegetable broth to keep the soup entirely vegetarian.
  • Gluten-free: To ensure that Zuppa Toscana is gluten-free, it’s essential to choose appropriate ingredients. Opt for gluten-free sausage and bacon, or carefully check the labels of the products you use to ensure they are free from gluten. By doing so, you can savor this delightful soup without any concerns about gluten.


Zuppa Toscana is a delicious Italian soup that you can make at home using three different cooking methods: stovetop, Instant Pot, or slow cooker. You can also make it healthier by using low-carb, vegetarian, or gluten-free variations.

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