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Forget the breadsticks, it’s Zuppa Toscana I want when I’m at Olive Garden! This easy copycat recipe is creamy and hearty, with an unbeatable comfort food combo of tender potatoes, sausage, and bacon, along with kale to make it extra satisfying.

Overhead view of Zuppa Toscana Olive Garden copycat in bowl

Why You’ll Love This Copycat Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Recipe

  • You Already Know You Love It. Settle down, food snobs! While some may scoff at Olive Garden, you can’t deny the fact that it has some pretty solid menu items, with Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana ranking right at the top of the list. With zesty sausage, potatoes, kale, and bacon all simmered in a creamy broth, it’s a soup that eats like a meal and is downright delicious.
  • Quick and Easy. This is not a soup recipe that requires a long simmering time on the stovetop, nor does it need a lot of prep work. My Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana copycat is ready to eat in just 35 minutes, making it ideal for busy weeknights.
  • No Heavy Cream Needed. Many recipes for Zuppa Toscana fall on the heavy side thanks to the sausage, bacon, potatoes, and heavy cream. I swap in half-and-half, but by pureeing some of the soup, we keep the recipe just as creamy as the original! (I use the pureeing method to thicken this Chickpea Soup too.)
Dutch oven with Olive Garden copycat Zuppa Toscana

How to Make Copycat Zuppa Toscana

The Ingredients

  • Bacon. It adds a smoky flavor and some extra depth to the soup. If you don’t add bacon, you’ll need to use olive oil to cook the sausage.
  • Ground Sausage. Use a spicy Italian sausage for some heat, or a milder version for pickier palates. You can use pork sausage if you’d like, but turkey is always my go-to; I also use it to make my Sausage Tortellini Soup.
  • Yellow Onion and Garlic. As with many soup recipes, these help form the base of flavor.
  • Low-Sodium Chicken Broth. Vegetable broth also works if you happen to have it on hand.
  • Russet Potatoes. Yukon gold potatoes will work too, but russets have more starch, which comes in handy when you’re using them to thicken the soup.
  • Kale. You can buy a bunch or pick up a bag that’s already chopped to cut down on your prep time.
  • Half-and-Half. A lighter alternative to heavy cream that works in this copycat Zuppa Toscana and in my Corn Chowder.
  • Lemon Juice. Use freshly squeezed lemon juice, not bottled, for a bright finishing touch.

Market Swap

For a green that’s a little less noticeable than kale, you can add baby spinach, which wilts more in the hot soup. To try something different, use chard; you can cook the stems with the onions, then add the leaves at the end of the cooking time.

The Directions

Bacon cooking in bottom of Dutch oven
  1. Cook the Bacon. Once crispy, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.
Overhead view of turkey sausage cooking in Dutch oven
  1. Cook the Sausage. Brown it in a tablespoon of the bacon fat, breaking it up as it cooks. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.
Overhead view of onions cooking in Dutch oven
  1. Simmer. Cook the onion until it’s softened, then add the garlic, salt, and pepper. Add the broth and potatoes, bring to a boil, then partially cover and cook until the potatoes are tender.
Using immersion blender to partially puree Zuppa Toscana in pot
  1. Puree. Turn off the heat and partially puree the soup with an immersion blender. 
Zuppa Toscana in Dutch oven before adding half-and-half
  1. Finish. Return the soup to a simmer and stir in the sausage and kale. Once the kale wilts, stir in the remaining ingredients and season the Zuppa Toscana to taste. ENJOY!
Overhead view of creamy copycat Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana

What to Serve with Olive Garden Copycat Zuppa Toscana

  • Bread. This rustic Rosemary Olive Oil Bread is fabulous with Zuppa Toscana, or try Homemade Dinner Rolls.
  • Salad. Soup and salad! Pair your copycat Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana with a light Arugula Salad or this Italian Chopped Salad.
  • Never-Ending Breadsticks. Use my Whole Wheat Pizza Dough recipe to make breadsticks at home. (It may be hard to deliver on the “never-ending” promise, but breadsticks? Doable!) When they’re fresh out of the oven, brush them with butter and sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on them. 

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Cut the Potatoes into Uniform Pieces. If you have some big chunks and some small pieces, they won’t all finish cooking at the same time.
  • Chop the Kale Small Enough to Fit on a Spoon. No one wants that awkward moment of picking up a huge kale leaf in their spoon and trying to gracefully eat the whole thing without dripping soup down their chin. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who has faced this situation.) 
  • No Immersion Blender? No Problem. You can ladle 2 cups of soup into a regular blender and puree that; try to get mostly potatoes when you do this, since they’re best for upping the creamy factor. Be sure to vent the blender and place a kitchen towel over the top to keep steam from building up.
  • Don’t Freeze It. Potatoes don’t freeze and reheat well; they get mealy. Leftover Zuppa Toscana is delish, but keep it in the refrigerator, not the freezer.
Overhead view of copycat Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana in bowl with spoon

Zuppa Toscana {Olive Garden Copycat}

5 from 3 votes
This easy Zuppa Toscana (Olive Garden copycat!) is hearty and delicious, with a creamy broth, potatoes, sausage and kale in every spoonful!

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 35 minutes

Servings: 4 servings


  • 4 slices bacon chopped into 1/4-inch strips crosswise (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil omit if using bacon
  • 1 pound ground turkey sausage in bulk or squeezed from its casings
  • 1 medium yellow onion 1/4-inch diced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus additional to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 large or 2 small russet potatoes peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 10 ounces)
  • 1 bunch curly kale destemmed and chopped or 1 12-ounce bag chopped kale leaves (about 6 cups)
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


  • Heat a large pot over medium heat. If using the bacon, add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp and the fat is rendered, 8 to 9 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low if necessary to avoid browning the bacon too quickly. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the drippings.
  • Return the pot to medium heat. If you did not cook the bacon, add the oil. When hot, add the sausage. Cook, stirring occasionally and breaking the meat into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon, until crisp and browned all over, about 5 minutes (it’s ok if there are still some pink spots). With a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving the drippings in the pot (it can be the same plate as the bacon, but keep the two separated).
  • Return the pot to medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.
  • Add the broth and potatoes. Increase the heat to high and bring to a rapid simmer. Reduce the heat to low to maintain a simmer. Partially cover the pot and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender (if you cut them larger than 1/4-inch, you’ll need longer).
  • Turn off the heat and use an immersion blender to partially puree the soup. Or transfer about 2 cups of the soup to a high-speed blender. Put the lid on the blender, remove the center piece of the lid to let out steam, and cover the hole with a kitchen towel. Puree until smooth, then return to the pot.
  • Bring the soup to a simmer and add the sausage and kale. Cook, stirring to submerge the kale, until it’s just wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the half and half and lemon juice and season to taste with additional salt and pepper.


  • TO STORE: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Do not freeze; potatoes become mealy when frozen and reheated.
  • TO REHEAT: Simmer in a saucepan on the stovetop over medium heat, or reheat in the microwave.


Serving: 1(of 4)Calories: 497kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 37gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 110mgPotassium: 1335mgFiber: 5gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 8699IUVitamin C: 92mgCalcium: 306mgIron: 4mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. Not sure why I always thought this was harder to make. It was surprisingly easy and the result was so pretty and tasty. Perfectly balanced flavor! My kids enjoyed it. I will add more veggies next time to make it more hearty.5 stars

  2. I made this today and it was very good. I mixed half and half sweet and hot Italian sausage. This soup works out well in my instant pot, and is my go to meal on days when I need a quick meal with minimal prep. I served it with some fresh bread. Thank you so much!5 stars

  3. Wow! My family loves soups/stews and this was SO delicious! I used spinach instead of kale and added mushrooms. This had incredible flavor and will definitely be part of our family’s “soup rotation”. Thank you so much!5 stars