Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana (Olive Garden Copycat Recipe)

This easy recipe for Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana is a great copycat for the Olive Garden soup. Sausage, bacon, and kale make it delicious!

looking down on a bowl of zuppa toscana with a spoon in it.

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As many of you who have checked out my freezer meal boot camps know, I have quite a few copycat meals in my meal plans. I love taking popular restaurant meals and giving them my own unique spin. Bonus points if I can make them freezer and Instant Pot-friendly!

One of my favorites (and apparently one of the reader favorites too) is Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana soup. It's the copycat of Olive Garden's famous soup and, if I do say so myself, tastes just like the real thing. It's so incredibly easy to make at home too. This one has one of the smallest ingredient lists of my Instant Pot recipes, but still packs a huge flavor punch!

Whether you make this one fresh of as a freezer meal, I think you guys are going to love how rich and comforting it is. I also rely on this one when I need a super quick meal. The instructions are incredibly simple and fast.

What is Zuppa Toscana?

Zuppa Toscana, translated from Italian, literally means "Tuscan soup." It's a creamy soup that's absolutely loaded with big flavor, like bacon and sausage. You're also going to get a great serving of veggies from this soup. It has kale, potatoes, and onions (we're considering those a a veggie, right? 😉).

bowl of zuppa toscana soup with cheddar biscuits in front of bowl.

If your family is into big, bold flavors, this is the soup recipe to try. You'll notice in the recipe that I don't even use salt - it doesn't need it! The flavors of Italian sausage and bacon give the whole thing a smokey, spicy taste. I love serving this one with cheddar garlic biscuits. I just buy the pre-made mix from the store.

Variations

I'm a big believer in using what you have. There are a few subs you could make in this soup that work still work perfectly.

  • Use spinach instead of kale.
  • Use breakfast sausage instead of Italian sausage. You could even use something like turkey sausage in place of pork sausage to reduce the fat content.
  • Use russet potatoes instead of red potatoes - just make sure slices are bite-sized.
  • Use heavy cream instead of half and half for an extra rich flavor.
  • Top with red pepper flakes for a little bit of heat.
  • Top with parmesan cheese for a more distinct bite.
  • Load it up with more veggies! You could add broccoli, cauliflower florets, carrots, celery, or even mushrooms.
  • Make it more keto-friendly by omitting potatoes.

Step-by-Step Instructions

ingredients for making zuppa toscana in the instant pot.

Step 1: Brown the bacon and Italian sausage.

Italian sausage and bacon browning in an Instant Pot.

Turn the Instant Pot (or other multi-function pressure cooker) to sauté mode. Once warm, add Italian sausage and cook for 3-4 minutes, until browned. Then, add bacon and brown for an addition 2-3 minutes.

Step 2: Add onion and garlic.

onion and garlic added to bacon and sausage in an instant pot.

Once meats are browned, add chopped onion and minced garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until onion is browned and translucent.

Step 3: Add chicken broth.

scraping browned bits from bottom of instant pot with a wooden spoon.

Add chicken broth. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up all of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. (These are what makes the soup extra yummy!)

Step 4: Add kale and potatoes.

sliced red potatoes and kale in an instant pot.

Add sliced red potatoes and chopped kale to cooker.

NOTE: If you prefer kale with a little bit more of a texture and bite, leave it out for now and add in after cooking. The hot soup will cook it just a little, leaving a bit of texture.

Step 5: Pressure Cook.

Lock on the lid to the sealing position and set Instant Pot for manual, high pressure, 15 minutes. Quick release the remaining pressure as soon as cook cycle ends by turning the valve on top.

Step 6: Add half and half.

half and half poured into cooked soup in an instant pot.

After removing the lid, add half and half. Stir well.

And that's it. Yes, really. I told you it was super simple!

Freezer Meal Option

This soup makes a really great freezer meal! If you're using the freezer option, add the following ingredients to your container:

  • 1 lb Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled
  • 6 oz bacon chopped into 1" pieces, cooked
  • 1 cup onion chopped (about ½ onion)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 lbs red potatoes, sliced and blanched (boiled) for 1-2 minutes
  • 3 cups kale, roughly chopped

When you're ready to serve, add frozen meal and 2 cups of chicken broth to the Instant Pot. Cook for 15 minutes on manual and add 2 cups of half and half at the end. This makes for such a simple weeknight dinner!

Leftover Storage

This soup can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-4 days after cooking. Make sure the storage container is airtight. Those smells will mix with other foods, and the result is not pretty or tasty!

If needed, you can also freeze leftovers in serving-size blocks (I love Souper Cubes for this).

FAQs

Even though the Instant Pot makes it exponentially easier, this Zuppa Toscana recipe works on the stove top as well. Brown your meats, onion, and garlic. Then, add chicken broth, kale, and potatoes and simmer for 30-45 minutes. Add half and half at the end.

It shouldn't taste much different. The one big recommendation I have for freezing Zuppa Toscana before cooking is to blanch (boil) the potato slices for 1-2 minutes before adding to the freezer container. If you don't, they tend to brown.

I always serve Zuppa Toscana with cheddar garlic biscuits. Just use the pre-packaged mix from the grocery store for a simple side item. A salad would also be a great side dish!

Video

Enjoy your Italian night at home, friends!

This recipe was originally part of a series of the most popular meals in my Instant pot collection. You can see the other recipes below…

xo, Leslie - signature at the end of blog post.
bowl of zuppa toscana next to bunch of kale, onion, garlic, and cheddar biscuit.

Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana

This easy recipe for Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana is a great copycat for the Olive Garden soup. Sausage, bacon, and kale make it delicious!
5 from 30 votes

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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6
Calories 646 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Turn the Instant Pot to sauté mode. Once warm, add Italian sausage and cook for 3-4 minutes, until browned. Then, add bacon and brown for an addition 2-3 minutes. 
  • Add onion and garlic to meat. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until onion is browned and translucent.
  • Add chicken broth. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up all of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  • Add sliced red potatoes and chopped kale to cooker.
  • Lock on the lid and set Instant Pot for manual, high pressure, 15 minutes. Quick release the remaining pressure as soon as cook cycle ends.
  • After removing the lid, add half and half. Stir well.

Notes

  • I love serving this soup with cheddar garlic biscuits (just use the premade mix from the grocery store) or a salad.
  • Soup stores well in an airtight container. Keep in the fridge for 3-4 days after preparing.
  • You can also freeze this soup. Cook as directed, thawing and serving when needed.
  • Mix it up by using spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, or mushrooms. You can also use breakfast sausage in place of Italian sausage, or heavy cream in place of half and half for a richer flavor.
  • If you like for your kale to have a little bit more texture, add it only after cooking soup. The heat from the soup will slightly cook the kale, leaving it a bit crunchier.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 646kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 22gFat: 45gSaturated Fat: 18gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 104mgSodium: 1150mgPotassium: 1235mgFiber: 7gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 32684IUVitamin C: 65mgCalcium: 248mgIron: 3mg
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