Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana

Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 4 hrs 15 mins
Servings 4 servings

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This easy Zuppa Toscana is a creamy soup full of Italian sausage, kale, potatoes and Parmesan. It’s hearty, creamy, and perfect for fall! Step by step recipe video down in the recipe card.

slow cooker zuppa toscana in metal ladle
Table of Contents
  1. Why we love this Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana:
  2. Variations on this Zuppa Toscana recipe:
  3. Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana Recipe

I faintly remember those days when I used to go to Olive Garden.

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, but still — every once in a while I think back to the days before Real Responsibilities (let’s call them “Kids” for short) and how we could go into a restaurant and just eat a relaxed meal.

But now I have two of the sweetest, cutest, funniest 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, and this Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana is one of our favorite things to dip large chunks of bread into in the fall.

(What is soup without large chunks of bread??)

two bowls of zuppa toscana on white background with bread

Why we love this Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana:

  • 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
overhead image of one bowl of zuppa toscana with bread

Variations on this Zuppa Toscana recipe:

  • 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 it to sprinkle on top later).
  • We prefer the texture of kale after it has softened in the slow cooker along with the vegetables. If you prefer it with more bite, you can leave it out until you add the cream to the slow cooker near the end.
  • You can swap the kale for spinach if that’s what you have on hand, but spinach isn’t as tough as kale and I would add it right before serving.
  • 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.
close up image of bowl of zuppa toscana soup
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Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana

4.98 from 37 votes
This Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana is a hearty potato soup made with Italian sausage and kale!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 15 mins
Cuisine American
Course Main Course, Soup
Servings 4 servings
Calories 579cal


  • 375 g Italian sausage meat without casings, mild or spicy (¾ lb)
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1.5 lbs Russet or gold potatoes peeled and diced (about 4 medium)
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 cup cream (10-30% will work fine)
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes optional, for extra spice


  • 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 sausage mixture, broth, potatoes, kale (or save to add with the cream if you prefer more texture), salt and pepper to the Slow Cooker (4-6 quarts) and cook on low for 4-5 hours or high for about 2 hours (cooking times vary by slow cooker). You can also reserve the kale to add at the end if you prefer it to have more texture.
  • Once potatoes are tender, stir in cream, Parmesan and red pepper flakes if using (optional for extra heat!). Let heat through before serving.

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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