How To Make Zuppa Toscana (Toscana soup)

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Zuppa Toscana, also known as Toscana soup, is a delicious and hearty soup that originated in the Tuscany region of Italy. It is known for its rich flavors and comforting qualities, making it the perfect dish for a cold winter's night.

This soup typically includes ingredients such as bacon, spicy Italian sausage, garlic, onion, kale, potatoes, crushed red peppers, anise stars, heavy cream, chicken bouillon, and water.

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What is Zuppa Toscana?

Zuppa Toscana is a traditional Tuscan soup that combines savory flavors with creamy textures. It is characterized by the use of aromatic ingredients like garlic and anise stars, which infuse the soup with a depth of flavor.

The combination of bacon and spicy Italian sausage adds a satisfying and meaty element to the soup. The addition of kale and potatoes provides a hearty and nutritious base, making this soup a filling and satisfying meal on its own.

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Area view of served soup tuscana

Benefits of making Zuppa Toscana at home

Making Zuppa Toscana at home offers several benefits. Firstly, you have control over the quality and freshness of the ingredients, ensuring a flavorful and wholesome dish. Making it yourself allows you to customize the soup to suit your taste preferences.

You can adjust the level of spiciness, add extra vegetables, or even experiment with different types of sausage for variation. By making Zuppa Toscana at home, you can also save money compared to dining out at a restaurant.

Plus, it's a great way to bring the warm and comforting flavors of Tuscany into your own kitchen, creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere for your family and friends. So why not try making Zuppa Toscana at home and enjoy a taste of Italy right at your dining table?

Areal view of Toscana soup ingredients


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

  • Bacon: Adds a smoky and savory flavor to the soup.
  • Spicy Italian Sausage: Provides a kick of heat and a rich meaty taste.
  • Garlic: Enhances the overall flavor profile with its aromatic and pungent qualities.
  • Onion: Adds a sweet and savory element to the soup.
  • Kale: A nutritious leafy green that brings a slightly bitter taste to balance out the other flavors.
  • Potatoes: Adds creaminess and heartiness to the soup.
  • Crushed Red Peppers: Offers additional spice and heat to suit your preference.
  • Anise Stars: Imparts a subtle licorice flavor that complements the other ingredients.
  • Heavy Cream: Gives the soup a creamy and luxurious texture.
  • Chicken Bouillon: Provides a savory base for the soup.
  • Water: Used to cook and blend the flavors together.
photos showing how to step zuppa toscana

Steps to Preparing The Soup

Step 1: Prepare the Sausage and Bacon

Start by dicing 4 slices of bacon and set it aside. Then, take 1 pound of spicy Italian sausage and cook it in a large pot over medium heat. Add 1½ tsp of crushed red peppers to the sausage for some heat. Once the sausage is thoroughly cooked, drain the excess fat and set it aside in the refrigerator.

Step 2: Cook the Aromatics

In the same pot you used for the sausage, add the diced bacon. Sauté it until it's crispy. Next, add 1 diced onion and 2 whole cloves of garlic. Cook these over low to medium heat for approximately 15 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent and the garlic is fragrant.

Step 3: Make the Soup Base

Add 5 cubes of chicken bouillon and 11 cups of water to the pot with the onions, garlic, and bacon. Heat this mixture until it starts to boil, making sure the bouillon cubes are fully dissolved.

Step 4: Add the Potatoes

Dice 3 potatoes and add them to the boiling soup base. Cook them until they are fork-tender, which means you can easily pierce them with a fork.

Step 5: Add the Cream and Anise Stars

Reduce the heat and stir in 1 cup of heavy cream. Just cook until it is thoroughly heated. In another pot, boil 1 cup of water and add 5 anise stars. Steep the anise stars in the boiling water then strain this mixture into the main pot of soup.

Step 6: Add the Sausage and Kale

Take the cooked sausage from the refrigerator and stir it into the soup. Take ¼ bunch of kale, chop it roughly, and add it to the pot. Let all the ingredients heat through.

Step 7: Serve the Soup

Your Zuppa Toscana is now ready to serve! A good piece of crusty bread or breadsticks is all you need to complement this meal.

Cooking Tip: Make sure to stir the soup occasionally to prevent any ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Also, adjust the heat as necessary to keep the soup at a gentle simmer.

Remember, cooking should be fun and open to interpretation. Feel free to adjust the recipe to suit your taste. Enjoy your cooking adventure!

Optional additions to enhance the flavor

  • Parmesan cheese: Sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese on top of the soup for added richness and nuttiness.
  • Red pepper flakes: For those who enjoy an extra kick of heat, sprinkle some red pepper flakes on the soup before serving.
  • Fresh parsley: Finely chop some fresh parsley and sprinkle it on top of the soup to add a pop of color and freshness.

By following these simple steps, you can easily recreate the flavors of Zuppa Toscana in the comfort of your own kitchen. Enjoy a warm and comforting bowl of this traditional Tuscan soup that is sure to delight your taste buds.

Wooden spoon full of soup

Serving and Enjoying

Tips for serving the soup

To serve Zuppa Toscana, follow these tips to enhance the dining experience:

  1. Serve the soup hot: Zuppa Toscana is best enjoyed piping hot. Make sure to serve it immediately after cooking to fully savor its flavors and warmth.
  2. Garnish with crispy bacon bits: Before ladling the soup into bowls, sprinkle some reserved crispy bacon bits on top. This adds a delightful crunch and smoky flavor to each spoonful.
  3. Pair with crusty bread: Serve Zuppa Toscana with warm, crusty bread on the side. The bread can be used to soak up the flavorful broth and complement the heartiness of the soup.
  4. Provide grated Parmesan cheese: Set out a bowl of freshly grated Parmesan cheese for guests to sprinkle over their bowls of soup. The rich and nutty flavors of Parmesan beautifully complement the savory and creamy elements of the dish.

Pairing Zuppa Toscana with bread or salad

Zuppa Toscana is a complete meal on its own, but if you're looking to make it a more substantial and well-rounded meal, consider pairing it with bread or a salad:

  1. Crusty Italian bread: Serve slices of crusty Italian bread alongside the soup. The bread can be used for dipping into the broth or enjoyed with each spoonful of soup. Its chewy texture and mild flavor provide a perfect complement to the rich and robust flavors of Zuppa Toscana.
  2. Salad with a citrus vinaigrette: Prepare a refreshing salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced red onions, and a citrus vinaigrette dressing. The bright and tangy flavors of the salad will provide a refreshing contrast to the creamy and savory soup.

Following these tips and pairing suggestions can create an enjoyable and satisfying dining experience with Zuppa Toscana. The combination of flavors, textures, and accompaniments will surely please your taste buds and satisfy you.

Variations and Substitutions

Ideas for variations and substitutions in the recipe

When it comes to making Zuppa Toscana, there are a few variations and substitutions you can try to customize the recipe to your taste:

  1. Meat Options: While the traditional recipe calls for bacon and spicy Italian sausage, you can switch it up by using different types of meat. You can try using mild Italian sausage for a milder flavor, or you can even use chicken or turkey sausage for a lighter version of the soup.
  2. Vegetarian Option: If you prefer a vegetarian version, simply omit the meat and substitute it with additional vegetables like mushrooms or zucchini. You can also add some vegetarian sausage or crumbled tofu for added protein and flavor.
  3. Spice Level: Adjust the spice level of the soup by adding more or less crushed red peppers. If you prefer a milder taste, reduce the amount of crushed red peppers, and if you like it extra spicy, increase the amount.

Accommodating dietary restrictions or preferences

Zuppa Toscana can easily be adjusted to accommodate various dietary restrictions or preferences:

  1. Gluten-Free Option: If you follow a gluten-free diet, make sure to use gluten-free Italian sausage and chicken bouillon. Additionally, double-check that the bacon you're using is gluten-free, or opt for a gluten-free bacon alternative.
  2. Dairy-Free Option: To make the soup dairy-free, you can substitute the heavy cream with a non-dairy alternative such as coconut milk or almond milk. Just keep in mind that this may alter the flavor and richness of the soup slightly.
  3. Low-Carb Option: If you're watching your carb intake, you can reduce the number of potatoes or replace them with cauliflower florets. This will lower the overall carb content of the soup while still maintaining its delicious flavors.

You can create a personalized version of Zuppa Toscana that suits your taste buds and dietary needs by experimenting with variations and substitutions. Enjoy the process of exploring different ingredients and making this hearty soup your own.

sopa toscana

Storage and Reheating

Guidelines for storing leftover Zuppa Toscana

Zuppa Toscana is a soup that holds up well in the freezer, making it a great option for meal prepping or saving leftovers for later. To properly store your leftover Zuppa Toscana, follow these guidelines:

  1. Let the soup cool: Allow the soup to cool completely before transferring it to storage containers. This will help prevent condensation and freezer burn.
  2. Choose freezer-safe containers: Use freezer-safe storage containers or bags to store the soup. If using bags, lay them flat until they freeze. This will make them easier to store and they will take less time to thaw.
  3. Label and date the containers: To keep track of when the soup was made, label each container with the name of the soup and the date it was prepared. This will help you determine the freshness of the soup when you're ready to eat it.
  4. Freeze for up to 3 months: Zuppa Toscana can be safely stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Beyond that, the quality may start to decline.

Instructions for reheating the soup

When it's time to enjoy your frozen Zuppa Toscana, follow these instructions to reheat it:

  1. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight: Transfer the frozen soup from the freezer to the refrigerator the night before you plan to eat it. This slow thawing process will help maintain the flavor and texture of the soup.
  2. Reheat on the stovetop: Once thawed, transfer the soup to a pot and heat it over medium-low heat on the stovetop. Stir occasionally to ensure even heating.
  3. Heat until piping hot: Heat the soup until it is piping hot throughout. This will help kill any bacteria that may have grown during the thawing process.
  4. Serve and enjoy: Ladle the hot Zuppa Toscana into bowls and serve it with crusty bread or a side salad for a complete and comforting meal.

Following these storage and reheating guidelines, you can enjoy your homemade Zuppa Toscana whenever you're in the mood for a warm and satisfying bowl of soup.

sopa toscana


Summary of the Zuppa Toscana recipe and its delicious flavors

Zuppa Toscana is a rich and hearty soup that is perfect for those cold winter nights. Its combination of bacon, spicy Italian sausage, garlic, onion, kale, potatoes, and crushed red peppers delivers a delicious burst of flavors that will warm you up from the inside out.

Adding anise stars, heavy cream, and chicken bouillon enhances the creaminess and depth of the soup, making it truly satisfying.

Encouragement to try making this soup at home

If you haven't tried making Zuppa Toscana at home, I highly encourage you to give it a try. Not only is it a comforting and flavorful soup, but it is also easy to make. By following the step-by-step instructions and using the provided recipe, you can create a restaurant-worthy dish right in your own kitchen. The flavors of this Toscana soup will delight your taste buds and leave you craving for more.

By making Zuppa Toscana yourself, you have complete control over the ingredients and can customize it to your personal preferences. Whether you prefer a spicier version or want to add more vegetables, you have the freedom to experiment and create a soup that suits your taste.

So, gather your ingredients, follow the recipe, and start simmering a pot of Zuppa Toscana. Your home will be filled with the enticing aroma of this Italian-inspired soup, and you'll be rewarded with a nourishing and delicious meal that will keep you warm and satisfied.

Zuppa Toscana (Toscana soup)

Hearty Zuppa Toscana Soup (Toscana soup)

Yield: 6 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Ignite your taste buds with this traditional Italian Zuppa Toscana soup! This comforting, hearty soup is the perfect blend of creamy, spicy, and savory flavors. Each spoonful is a delightful journey to Tuscany, featuring crumbled spicy Italian sausage, crispy bacon, tender potatoes, and fresh kale, all swimming in a rich, creamy broth.

The star of this recipe is the unique addition of anise stars, adding a subtle licorice flavor that truly sets this Zuppa Toscana apart. The soup is finished off with a touch of heavy cream, creating a luxurious texture that will have you coming back for seconds (or even thirds!).

Whether you're looking for a warm, satisfying dinner for a chilly night or a show-stopping dish for your next gathering, this Zuppa Toscana soup is sure to impress. With its simple ingredients and easy-to-follow steps, this recipe is ideal for both cooking novices and seasoned chefs.

So, roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and get ready to transport your kitchen to the rolling hills of Tuscany with this delectable Zuppa Toscana soup. Buon Appetito!


  • 4 slices of Bacon, diced
  • 1 pound Spicy Italian Sausage
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, whole
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 1/4 Bunch of Kale
  • 3 Potatoes, diced
  • 1½ tsp Crushed Red Peppers
  • 5 Anise Stars
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 5 cubes of Chicken Bouillon
  • 11 cups of Water


  1. Sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a large pot. Drain excess fat, and refrigerate while you prepare other ingredients.
  2. In the same pan, sauté bacon, onions, and garlic over low-medium heat for approximately 15 mins. or until the garlic and onions are soft.
  3. Add chicken bouillon and water to the pot and heat until it starts to boil.
  4. Add the diced potatoes and cook until soft.
  5. Add the heavy cream and just cook until thoroughly heated.
  6. In another pot, boil 1 cup of water and the Anise Stars. Steep into the main pot of soup.
  7. Stir in the sausage and the kale, let all heat through and serve.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 540Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 1131mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 22g

These nutritional calculations might not be accurate. Please speak with a licensed nutritionist to assist you.

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  1. This looks delicous. I don’t get to make many soups but I think I need to try this out. 🙂

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