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!
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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!
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.
- 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
- Saute: Brown the sausage and onion in a pan.
- Add garlic: Add garlic to the pan and stir.
- Put in pot and cook: Add the sausage mixture, broth, potatoes, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes to the Slow Cooker and cook.
- Mix in everything else: Stir in the kale, cream, and Parmesan and serve!
Zuppa Toscana Soup FAQs
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.
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.
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.
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!
More Easy Soup Recipes To Try
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Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana
- 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
- 1½ 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.
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