Rigatoni And Meatball soup

Most Italian food is delicious but not always easy to make. Here is a scrumptious and so easy way to make comforting Rigatoni Meatball Soup! I'm sharing the secrets and shortcuts for making this best Italian soup yet! Make a double batch of this soup recipe so you have more to freeze for later! 
Rigatoni Meatball soup in a bowl

Rigatoni Meatball Soup is an absolutely delicious soup! It is full of scrumptious Italian flavors we all love in our favorite pasta dishes! And this soup is so so easy to make! It will fill your whole home with aromas that let everyone know something special is cooking!

I’ve made several recipes for Rigatoni Meatball Soup but found most of them very work intensive. This soup is so easy to make and so delicious too!

I made a double batch of Rigatoni Meatball Soup. Leftovers taste even better and this soup freezes so well! So one batch is never quite enough!


I make lots of meals with Italian flavors because my husband really loves Italian food! Pasta is on the menu in our home at least once a week!

Years ago I used to grow my own tomatoes and can my own spaghetti sauce. It was fun but a lot of work!

As commercial Marinara sauces and spaghetti sauces became more diverse in flavors, better in taste and lots of organic options became readily available I started using these jarred versions.

There is no shame in using a jarred spaghetti sauce! Many are quite excellent!

So after I made a couple different recipes for Rigatoni Meatball Soup I decided that most of them were just too much work. And thought that using a good jarred spaghetti sauce might work perfectly in this recipe!


Rigatoni Meatball soup in a bowl

This soup falls into the category “not rocket science” category of recipes. Which means that it is so easy to make and very forgiving. You can add extra ingredients you might like or you can even leave out others.

Here are some things that will help you make the best soup!

If you can make the soup a day or two ahead and let the flavors marry! YUM!


Let’s start with the meatballs. The meatball ingredients are very straightforward and produce a very tender meatball.

I made homemade meatballs but if you are really in a pinch you can use frozen. Just put them in the soup frozen and they will thaw out as the soup cooks.

This recipe is super easy and very basic. Mix 1 pound ground beef, seasoned breadcrumbs, eggs, Worchestershire sauce, and salt and black pepper together in a large bowl. Use seasoned bread crumbs because it adds nice Italian flavors to your meatballs.

meatball ingredients

I used a 1 TBS scoop to make these little meatballs. To shape them roll them I rolled them between my palms to achieve a uniform shape. And I put them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

meatballs on a tray

Brown the meatballs in batches in a large pot and use the same pot to make the soup.

You can also make the meatballs ahead and freeze them so they will always be ready for soup.


Rigatoni Meatball soup in a pot

The best tip for making the saucy broth is to find a very flavorful spaghetti sauce you love and use it as the base of the broth.

The aromatics, chopped onions, and pressed garlic cloves, for the sauce are sauteed in a little drizzle of olive oil in the same large soup pot or dutch oven the meatballs were browned in.

bowl of chopped onions and garlic

Make sure to add some red pepper flakes and a couple bay leaves to the broth to give it a little depth of flavor. And I like to use Italian herb seasoning instead of dried oregano and basil! It’s just easier!

I used 1/3 cup of dry red wine that was leftover from dinner last weekend as part of the broth. I simmered it until the alcohol was cooked off but you can omit the wine if you desire.

For this broth, a good beef stock works the best. You want the saucy broth to have lots of deep flavors. If you cannot find a good box of stock substitute beef bouillon cubes. And if you don’t have beef stock on hand you can use chicken broth. Remember this recipe is “not rocket science”!

Bring the saucy soup to a boil and reduce it to a simmer.

The soup needs to gently simmer with the lid cracked for about 20 minutes to finish cooking the meatballs. Stir the soup occasionally.

The broth can be thinned out with more beef or chicken stock or broth if needed.

One of my favorite things to add to any soup or stew with an Italian profile is a piece of Parmesan cheese rind. I save my rinds in 1 to 2-inch pieces in storage bags in the freezer. They are easy to pop in a soup or stew while it simmers. And the rinds give such a nice flavor to the soup!

You can also add leafy greens like spinach, Swiss chard, or even kale to the soup. Add them for the last 10 minutes or so of simmering time.

Be creative! Use what you love. Think about adding cannellini beans, Italian sausage, or any other favorite soup ingredient!


I would have preferred a thicker and stouter rigatoni pasta for this soup today. But with all the shortages at the grocery store, the #83’s were the only rigatoni they had. Lots of empty shelves.

When I was a little girl I loved to watch my grandmother cook. One thing she always did when she made a soup with noodles was to cook the noodles separately. She would add the noodles to the bottom of a bowl and add the soup on top.

This kept the noodles from looking limp and tasting soggy!

Many of the Rigatoni Meatball Soup recipes I tried and perused said to cook the rigatoni in the same pot. This would be a time saver for sure but the rigatoni would not taste nearly as good! Make sure to add the cooked rigatoni right to the bowl and add the saucy broth on top of them.

Cook the rigatoni just a little bit shy of the cooking time on the package instructions. The rigatoni will soften the longer it is in the bowl of soup.


Rigatoni Meatball soup in a bowl

Adding flat-leaf parsley or basil to the Rigatoni Meatball Soup just before serving adds a bit of freshness to the soup!

Ladle layers of rigatoni, soup, and grated Mozzarella cheese together in a large bowl.

Other cheesy options for this soup are fresh Mozzarella cheese and Ricotta cheese. Both delicious! And Parmesan cheese is so tasty grated over this soup too!

Don’t forget to drizzle a couple of tablespoons of olive oil into the soup right before you serve it! And finish with a pinch of salt.


5 from 2 votes


A delicious soup that eats like a meal with meatballs in a saucy spaghetti broth that is poured over cooked rigatoni pasta.
Print Recipe



  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 egg, scrambled
  • 1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 TBS Worchestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 TBS olive oil, divided


  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed
  • 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 24 oz jar of spaghetti sauce
  • 3 cups beef stock or broth
  • 2 TBS tomato paste


  • 1 box rigatoni or other pasta that will hold the sauce



  • Combine the hamburger, eggs, breadcrumbs, Worchestershire sauce, salt, and black pepper until incorporated
  • Use 1 to 2 TBS of the meatball mixture to make meatballs. Transfer the meatballs to a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Add 1 TBS olive oil to a soup pot or large dutch oven. Heat the oil over medium heat and add brown the meatballs in batches. Remove browned meatballs to a plate.


  • Add 1 TBS olive oil to the dutch oven and add the chopped onions. Gently cook on medium-low heat until the onions are translucent, about four minutes.
  • Add the garlic, Italian seasonings, and red pepper flaked to the dutch oven and stir. Cook for one or two minutes until the garlic and spices are fragrant.
  • Turn off the burner and add the wine to the dutch oven. Turn the burner back on medium and cook for a few minutes until the alcohol has been cooked off.
  • Add the jarred spaghetti sauce, the beef stock or broth, and the tomato paste to the pot. Bring the ingredients in the dutch oven to a boil and reduce to a gentle simmer. Add the meatballs to the soup and cook with the lid cracked for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • Serve the soup over rigatoni noodles. Layer with mozzarella cheese.


This soup can be refrigerated for a few days and freezes well.
Rigatoni Meatball soup in a bowl

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Recipe Rating


  1. Hi Yvonne. Can’t wait to try this recipe. My autistic brother, whom I’ve been caring for, for the last 20 years, loves meatballs. I wanted to let you know how much I loved your downsizing story. I look forward to your series on organizing too. Could you tell me how you store your large knives? I have a wood block on my counter that I am tired of. I know there are drawer blocks, but my drawers are one inch short in length of the standard ones online. Just curious. Thank you.

    1. Sorry, I meant upcoming series on downsizing.

      1. What spaghetti sauces do you like in this soup. Looks great. Thank you

      1. Love that. Thank you very much. Gayle

  2. Mary Anne says:

    I have your recipe for the Meatballs that was from your friends grandmother ! You know, the SECRET one!! They were so delicious and have some in the freezer! Maybe I can just use those in this yummy sounding recipe!?

  3. So are the eggs really “scrambled” as in the cooked eggs one has for breakfast? Or are they really just beaten? Thanks! (P.S. I have so enjoyed your weekly menus as inspiration during this pandemic!)

  4. Christine says:

    What brand of jarred sauce did you use?

  5. Sue Caliento says:

    5 stars
    This recipe sound delicious! Always looking for something new and tasty. Not only is this recipe appetizing and easy, but all of the ingredients are always on hand in my pantry. Coming from Italian heritage I love me some pasta of any type! Thanks for sharing and I cannot wait to try this recipe!

  6. 5 stars
    I just made this and it is delicious.
    I baked the 16 meatballs 15 minutes at 400, on parchment paper.
    After simmering 20 minutes I added the cooked pasta (4 C dry rigatoni) into the soup pot to get all involved with the sauce. I added the parm rind when making the sauce. I also added diced bell pepper.
    So very good!