Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings

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This easy Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana is a creamy Tuscan soup full of Italian sausage, kale, potatoes, and Parmesan. It’s hearty, creamy, and perfect for the colder months! There’s a step-by-step recipe video down in the recipe card, too!

Top view of a metal ladle scooping slow cooker zuppa toscana soup out of slow cooker.
Table of Contents
  1. Why we love this Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana Soup:
  2. Ingredients Needed:
  3. How to Make Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana Soup
  4. Zuppa Toscana Soup FAQs
  5. Tips and Notes
  6. Zuppa Toscana Soup Variations
  7. Serving Suggestions
  8. More Easy Soup Recipes To Try
  9. Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana Recipe

I faintly remember those days when I used to go to Olive Garden for the Zuppa Toscana (all you can eat soup and breadsticks? Sign me up!).

And we’ve always lived at least an hour and a half away from an Olive Garden, so it’s not like it was a once-a-week thing. 

Every once in a while I think back to the days before Real Responsibilities (let’s call them “Kids” for short). 

Like, how we could go into a restaurant and just eat a relaxed meal whenever we felt the urge. What a dream!

But now I have three of the sweetest girls, and I wouldn’t even trade them for a trip to Olive Garden (promise).

This means that I’ve learned to make more of our favorite restaurant meals at home, including this creamy soup. 

This easy Crock Pot Zuppa Toscana Soup is as delicious as the original recipe, if not better!

It’s made with simple ingredients and minimal effort, so it’s perfect for a lazy weekend or prepping for the end of a busy day. 

This delicious copycat soup is one of our favorite things to dip large chunks of bread into in the fall!

For more delicious soup recipes, check out my Sausage Tortellini SoupItalian Sausage Gnocchi SoupHam and Potato Soup, and my Chicken Wild Rice Soup

overhead shot of bowls of slow cooker zuppa toscana with bread and butter beside.

Why we love this Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana Soup:

  • The Italian sausage is loaded with herbs and spices, which cuts down on the extra ingredients required!
  • It’s got just the right amount of spice and sweetness (again, thanks Italian sausage!)
  • Aside from browning the meat, I can just dump it and go, which is perfect for busy weeknights.

Ingredients Needed:

ingredients needed for zuppa toscana soup
  • Sausage: use mild or spicy Italian sausage meat without the casings.
  • Onion & Garlic: use freshly chopped onion and freshly minced garlic.
  • Broth: I always use a low-sodium chicken broth, as it adds a depth of flavor and allows me to control the salt content of the dish better.  
  • Potatoes: Russet or gold potatoes will work well here, but you can try other kinds of potatoes if you like. If you use smooth-skinned potatoes you can skip the peeling!
  • Salt & Pepper: simple seasonings of salt and black pepper will give this dish a great flavor. 
  • Red Pepper Flakes: a simple way to add some extra spice to this dish. 
  • Cream: Use heavy cream or 10-30% cream for the best creamy flavor and texture. 
  • Kale: chop the kale before you add it to the soup so you don’t end up with big clumps at the end.
  • Cheese: Freshly grated parmesan cheese is perfect for this soup. 

How to Make Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana Soup

  1. Saute: Brown the sausage and onion in a pan.
  2. Add garlic: Add garlic to the pan and stir.
  1. Put in pot and cook: Add the sausage mixture, broth, potatoes, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes to the Slow Cooker and cook.
  2. Mix in everything else: Stir in the kale, cream, and Parmesan and serve!

Zuppa Toscana Soup FAQs

How do you thicken Zuppa Toscana Soup?

Zuppa Toscana is meant to be a creamy broth but if you prefer it thicker, you can mash some of the potatoes or add a cornstarch slurry to it. Mash potatoes with a potato masher, or blend the soup a bit with an immersion blender.
For the slurry, whisk together 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of cold water. Once the mixture is smooth, whisk small amounts into the soup until thickened to your liking. 

How do I store Zuppa Toscana Soup?

Store leftover Zuppa Toscana in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop until piping hot.

Can you freeze Zuppa Toscana Soup?

Freeze this soup for up to 1 month. The texture of potatoes will change with freezing and defrosting, so if that is something that bothers you, I’d advise against it. To reheat it, simply thaw in the fridge overnight and warm on the stove or in the microwave.

Tips and Notes

  • Dutch Oven. You can make this Zuppa Toscana Soup in a Dutch oven or soup pot if you prefer. Take a look at my Zuppa Toscana Soup recipe for more information. 
  • Kale texture. We prefer the texture of kale with more bite, so we stir it in near the end of the cook time. If you want, you can always add it to the slow cooker at the beginning but it will be softer.

Zuppa Toscana Soup Variations

  • Bacon. Lots of recipes for Zuppa Toscana include bacon, but I find it an unnecessary addition. If that’s your thing, feel free to cook some up in the same pan you fry your sausage and add it to the slow cooker (or save your crispy bacon to sprinkle on top to garnish).
  • Swap the kale. You can swap the kale for spinach if that’s what you have on hand, but spinach isn’t as tough as kale, so I would add it right before serving it. 
  • Cream. If you want to use a lighter dairy option, you can swap the heavy cream for evaporated milk. I don’t recommend low-fat milk, as it can curdle when added alone to hot liquid.
  • Change the meat. Swap the Italian sausage for ground beef or even ground turkey sausage, if preferred. Bear in mind that Italian sausage is heavily seasoned, so if you use another meat, you will want to add more seasonings yourself!
  • Add more veggies. Add more veggies to the soup for more nutrients and color. Sauté some peppers, mushrooms, or any other veggies with the onion and Italian sausage. Or you can add veggies with more structure, such as broccoli, cauliflower, or carrots, when you add the potatoes.
  • Low-carb. To make this soup a low-carb option, use cauliflower instead of potatoes.
a filled bowl of zuppa toscana soup with sliced bread beside.

Serving Suggestions

​Zuppa Toscana soup is comforting and filling all on it’s own, but we love dipping some bread in there to soak up all the juices!

Try these Homemade Breadsticks (Olive Garden Copycat), my No Knead Artisan Bread, or this classic Garlic Bread

You can also serve some yummy sides with the soup like these Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks, or veggies like my Air Fryer Green Beans, or Roasted Carrots

More Easy Soup Recipes To Try

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Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana

4.98 from 40 votes
This easy Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana is a creamy Tuscan soup full of Italian sausage, kale, potatoes, and Parmesan. It's hearty, creamy, and perfect for the colder months! There's a step-by-step recipe video down in the recipe card, too!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Main Course, Soup
Servings 4 servings
Calories 579cal


  • 375 grams Italian sausage meat without casings, mild or spicy (¾ lb)
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • lbs Russet or gold potatoes about 4 medium, peeled and diced
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes optional, for extra spice
  • ¾ cup cream (10-30% will work fine)
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese


  • In a large frying pan, brown the Italian sausage with the onion over medium-high heat (4-5 minutes). Add minced garlic and cook 1 minute.
  • Add the sausage mixture, broth, potatoes, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes to the Slow Cooker (4-6 quarts).
  • Cook on Low for 4-5 hours or High for about 2 hours (cooking times vary by slow cooker).
  • Once potatoes are tender, stir in kale, cream, and Parmesan.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.


Store: Store leftover Zuppa Toscana in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat it in the microwave stovetop until piping hot.
Freeze: Freeze this soup for up to 1 month. The texture of potatoes will change with freezing and defrosting, so if that is something that bothers you, I’d advise against it. To reheat it, simply thaw it in the fridge overnight and warm it on the stove or in the microwave.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 579cal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 84mg | Sodium: 1170mg | Potassium: 1303mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 3445IU | Vitamin C: 55mg | Calcium: 172mg | Iron: 4mg

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Reader Interactions


  1. Mike says

    We absolutely love this meal—it’s far soup-erior to the one at Olive Garden.
    But let’s be honest: no one’s prepping this in 15 minutes. If I’m doing it by myself, and being fairly efficient (only spot-peeling the potatoes, for instance), it literally takes an hour from snagging the onion to making the four-hour selection on the slow-cooker. Between two very experienced people, maybe half an hour is possible. But for one of us mere mortals, surely it can’t be done in under 45 minutes?
    Anyway, thanks so much for the recipe.

  2. Melissa says

    Are there any special spices I should add if using ground beef instead of the sausage? (Do you think 90% beef would be an okay substitute? I can’t eat pork and am not fond of turkey sausage but want it to taste good for everyone while subbing out the sausage.)

    Thank you!

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Melissa! I think 90% will be fine. For the beef it should be fine on it’s own but some Italian seasoning would be tasty too!

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Sondra! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review! For doubling you would just need to make sure your slow cooker can fit all of the ingredients.

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi! I’ve not tried using frozen kale before. If you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes!

      • ABC says

        I just tried it with frozen spinach instead but added it in right at the end. It tasted great! We’re making it again tonight and putting some uncooked pasta in it for the last 30 minutes. Just to see! I’ll follow up!

  3. Jesse Mullin says

    Just made this! Just the smell made everyone in the house hungry. Amazing soup. I have a new slow cooker that cooks hotter and makes most creams curdle when added. Substituted with unsweetened coconut milk and added a splash of Worcestershire sauce to balance out the coconut flavour. Turned out beautifully!!

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Kat! I’ve only tested the recipe as written, but I don’t think you would need to add that much more liquid if using a pound of sausage.

  4. Jamie Fielding says

    This was amazing! Loved it! We added some crumbled bacon to it at the end when serving and a little sneak of the bacon drippings in the crockpot as well along with a few spiral noodles…. So good! Will be keeping this recipe for sure!

    • Megan says

      Hey there! Trying this recipe as we speak! Is it safe to assume I am to cut up the sausage links after I brown them but before I dump them in the crock pot?

      • The Recipe Rebel says

        Hi Megan. You are not actually using the sausage in the casings. The first ingredient in the recipe card is Italian sausage meat without casings.

  5. Regina Underwood says

    My husband is a BIG fan of the Olive Garden version so I was worried about him liking this recipe! He definitely approved and asks for it all the time! It was a big hit all around! It is very creamy and has so much flavor!

  6. Janet Bradley says

    As written I LOVE IT!!!! Only request/suggestion I have is that you incorporate your suggested notes/additions into the printable copy of the recipe.

    Thank. for the wonderful recipe

  7. Megan says

    Could you cook this on low for a longer amount of time? I don’t want the potatoes to get mushy and the kale overwilted but I would love to turn this on before I leave for work and come home to a full meal!

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Hi Megan! I think it would be all right if you add the kale when you get home and cut the potatoes into larger pieces. If you have a slow cooker with a keep warm setting, that might work even better.

  8. Marissa says

    We love this recipe it was delicious!!
    Question though! Does it freeze and warm back up well? Methods on tastiest way of doing so would be great I would love to double or even triple this recipe for a family gathering!

  9. Rosie says

    I’m making today 8/7/21 in the crockpot, and following the recipe exactly. Turn out great and delicious 😋

  10. says

    Loved this recipe! I added mushrooms and truffle paste to it for a little something extra! Great as a meal, and an appetizer!

  11. says

    Made this tonight @ x1 1/2. Was outstanding. Followed recipe putting kale in for duration – turned out fine. Like this recipe with potatoes cubed instead of large slices – easier for us old folks to eat. Also, used Jenny-O turkey Italian sausage – both sweet and hot. Nice.
    Great recipe Ashley, thanks for sharing.

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