Italian Broccoli Soup

This Italian Broccoli Soup is just like my Grandma used to make! No cream in this soup recipe so it’s comfort food that’s good for you, too!

Grandma’s recipes are the best, aren’t they? Not only do they taste amazing but they bring back so many memories of the food and the people that were making the food for you. One of our most popular recipes is our Grandma’s Sunday Meatballs and Sauce, perfect for those big Sunday meals.

Broccoli soup with parmesan cheese in a bowl

No Cream Broccoli Soup Recipe

This Italian Broccoli Soup recipe is made without any cream, so it’s a lot better for you than most broccoli soup recipes with heavy cream and/or cheese. We’re calling this “Italian” broccoli soup only because it’s how my Italian Grandma and aunts used to make it and we absolutely loved it.

There’s no “al dente” broccoli treatment here, either. This broccoli is cooked to death, as my dad always says. Mushy, even, in the best way possible. Top this soup recipe with lots of nutty parmesan cheese, fresh black pepper and a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil and you’ve got a giant bowl of comfort food.

How To Make Italian Broccoli Soup

This broccoli soup recipe is so simple, but you can add your own twists too! Start by cooking broccoli florets and stems in chicken broth with a few cloves of garlic. Smash the garlic cloves but keep them whole so that you can remove them after the broccoli has cooked.

broccoli and garlic in a pot for broccoli soup recipe

Again, this is not the time and place for al dente vegetables. We want this broccoli cooked – like super soft and almost mushy. That’s how my grandma made it and that’s how were making it here for this Italian Broccoli Soup.

After the broccoli has been cooked, mash it with a potato masher to break it up into smaller pieces but leave some pieces larger for texture. Don’t break it up so much that it’s like baby food, just enough to make it soup-like.

Add orzo, ditalini, broken spaghetti or whatever small sized pasta you have on hand. Cook the soup for another 15 minutes until the pasta is tender and serve.

Broccoli soup with orzo in a ladle

How To Serve Our Italian Broccoli Soup

Serve this broccoli soup in big bowl with lots of fresh black pepper and good quality grated parmesan cheese on top. Crackers or a loaf of crusty bread for dipping is a must at our house, too!

This broccoli soup recipe is fairly light, not heavy like some broccoli soup that has cream or cheese in it, so this soup can also be served as a side dish to many main courses. My Grandma used to serve this soup with her famous Pot Roast Recipe or alongside a comforting Beef Lasagna.

We ate big in those days.

Italian Broccoli Soup with crackers

Other Ways To Make This Soup

This is the basic recipe, but there are many ingredients that you can add to this basic broccoli soup too!

  • Add in other vegetables like carrots or celery
  • Cook onion and garlic in olive oil before adding the broccoli for added flavor
  • Keep it vegetarian by using water instead of chicken broth (bump up the seasonings if using only water)
  • Use cauliflower rice for a lower carb soup option
  • Make this same soup recipe with cauliflower instead of broccoli
  • Add a touch of cream and/or stir in some grated sharp cheddar cheese

Broccoli soup with orzo on a spoon

Looking For More Soup Recipes?

A bowlful of broccoli soup with parmesan cheese surrounded by crackers.

Italian Broccoli Soup

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 Servings 1x

This comforting Italian Broccoli Soup is just like my Grandma used to make! No cream, just broccoli, garlic and parmesan cheese so it’s actually good for you too!



  • 1 pound broccoli, cut into stems and florets
  • 4 cups chicken broth (can substitute vegetable broth or all water)
  • 2 cups water
  • 34 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 3/4 cup orzo or ditalini pasta
  • Grated parmesan cheese for garnish
  • Extra virgin olive oil for garnish


  1. Add the broccoli to a soup pot or dutch oven. Pour in the broth and water along with the salt, pepper and garlic cloves. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes, covered.
  2. Smash the broccoli with a potato masher, or you can use an immersion blender but don’t blend until smooth. Leave larger and smaller pieces of broccoli for texture.
  3. Stir in the pasta and cook uncovered for 15 minutes until the pasta is tender, stirring often so the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
  4. Add the nutmeg, taste for seasonings and adjust if needed. Serve with grated parmesan cheese and more fresh black pepper if desired.

Recipe Notes

Nutrition information is without parmesan cheese and olive oil garnish.

  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

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69 Responses
  1. Meghan

    This is delicious, made it a few times now. Will be in regular rotation at my house! Even good with frozen broccoli, but I’m sure fresh would taste better.

  2. JC

    This is a keeper ! Super easy to make. I would cut down on the salt a bit. Served w grilled brie sandwiches on a cold Feb. night !

  3. natalie

    making this recipe for a tea, they requested no cream soup. I am finding it to be a bit bland, any suggestions? I will try adding some celery and carrots.

    1. Dan

      Too bland usually means that you need to add more salt, in this case I’d add more pepper and parmesan cheese as well.

      1. Rebecca

        Stumbled across this recipe as I was looking for a broccoli soup like Nonna (my mother in law) used to make, no cream and not blended. So easy and delicious & a hit with hubby, only difference is we fried the garlic first in olive oil & hubby stirred in a beaten egg at the end. Was amazing with fresh garlic & rosemary sourdough from our local artisan bakery 🤤!

  4. alisa

    This was delicious and SO easy! we used the stalks which was a mistake, but we’ll know for next time The nutmeg at the end was perfect! Thanks!

    1. Laura

      Thank you so much for this recipe! This is my go-to soup now that the weather is getting cold. Nice and easy to make, simplistic recipe. I’m not even a fan of broccoli! Lol :)

  5. Tony K

    Good recipe! I added more liquid to mine. I also added some cubed sweet and russet potatoes that I had in the fridge. I did the onion/garlic base as well. I also threw in an old Parmesan heel. Good stuff

  6. MJ

    Love this recipe! Making it for the second time today. I always start with my onions and grated garlic sautéed, to start with a flavorful base. Then I’ve added some thin sliced carrots and chopped mushrooms for added sweet and earthy notes. The broccoli with the cracked pepper and the Parmesan really are the hero’s of this dish though! So good! I like to fresh grate a Parmesan and Romano blend. Restaurant quality food!! My only complaint is there’s never enough!

  7. Josie

    Literally the best broccoli soup I’ve made! Amazing, super quick and easy to make. And nice and cheap which is good now that the price of groceries in Aus have gone through the roof

  8. Alissa

    Highly recommend adding a Parmesan rind to the broth to steep that savory salty nuttiness into the whole batch.
    Great soup. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Joy

    Made it after work and was simple prep and delicious. I used 4 cups veg broth, 1.5 cup of chicken broth and two cups of water. I added 1 can of cream of celery condensed soup to thicken a bit. Topped with parmesan cheese. DELICIOUS! Will be a regular on the rotation. I will make again! Thanks 😘

  10. CvB

    Wowee. I was skeptical with such few ingredients and no browning, but this soup is as incredible tasting as it is incredibly easy to make. I used homemade master stock (chicken & lamb + some shrimp shells) and threw in some cabbage (~1cup) and white onion (~1/4 cup) that I had lying around leftover in the fridge in addition to frozen broccoli, and am amazed and the complexity of flavor. The nutmeg, which I was also skeptical of, absolutely sings. This one-pot wonder is amazing for weeknights (hello, no dishes :) ), but fancy tasting enough for weekends. Thanks for this amazing recipe! Holy smokes.

    1. Dan

      You could serve it with our homemade garlic bread instead of plain bread, or it can even be served as a side course to a pasta dinner, for instance. Let me know if there’s something specific that you’re looking for!

  11. Brittany

    Love how simple it is to make, and it’s delicious! This is definitely going in the soup rotation. The nutmeg is *chefs kiss*

  12. Dawn

    I’m just curious as to why it takes 15 minutes to cook the pasta in the broth? Can you cook pasta separately and then add it?

    1. Dan

      You can, but when you cook pasta right in soup it releases the starch from the past into the soup, naturally thickening it. We prefer this method, but if you’d like to add it separately you can.

  13. Chloe

    Such a perfect, wonderful soup! I definitely kicked up the black pepper a notch for some kick and put a triple Italian blend cheese on top! (And lots of it) so good, will definitely be making again!! :)

  14. Ashli

    Wonderful soup! Cooked a few parmesan rinds in with the broccoli and garlic. Had to add a little finishing salt at the end, as I thought the rinds and broth would add enough.
    My husband added some beef & pork meatballs to his, as he can’t have dinner without it.
    Will definitely be making this again!

      1. Matteo

        This is my second time making this, the first time was great but as all home cooks you have to tweak it for your tastes. I added dried pepper flakes, onions, lots of garlic, 16 cloves, and used 3 lbs of broccoli and more vegetable broth. I blended it to make it chunky and used 1lb of pasta. It’s cold up here in Minnesota but today it’s in the 40’s, just wait a minute and it will change. Thanks for the recipe it’s easy, delicious and satisfying like everyone has said.

  15. Nanci East Lansing Michigan

    First off, it’s irritating when people say it’s “excellent” then go on to explain how they changed up the original recipe with a bunch of other ingredients. Now that I’ve vented, the soup was really good, as-is. Simple to put together. I DO use a vegetable peeler and peel the outer layer of the stalk part of the broccoli (the tough part) before I cut it up. My Mom always taught me to do that. Thank you for the fabulous recipe!

  16. Jayme

    This is definitely going into the rotation, I cubed some chicken breast and cooked it in the olive oil and garlic base with salt, paper, onion powder before adding the broccoli.

  17. Jade

    I have made this a few times now. A really good, and easy soup to make. Also easy to make as a Vegan option. I add a small amount of nutritional yeast at the end instead of cheese, although I think it tastes good even without the extra ‘cheese’ taste. I will have to try your suggestion of adding additional vegetables the next time I make this. Thanks for posting.

  18. Janelle

    This soup was delicious,
    I added diced carrots & onion from my garden. Next time I’ll use low sodium broth, as the cheese adds extra salt.

    Served with toasted buttered sourdough bread.

  19. Colette

    So easy and delicious. I used frozen broccoli as it’s what I had on hand and then Couscous for the pasta!!! I will definitely make this soup again and maybe add grated carrots and onion next time. Thank you!!

  20. Kallie

    This was delish! I sautéed carrot, celery and onion before adding the broccoli and following the recipe the rest of the way. So hearty and yummy! All four of my young kids finished their bowl as well. Will make it again!

  21. Joan

    We sautéd the garlic with extra virgin olive oil before adding the broccoli. We used water no broth and it was delicious. Added some Parmesan right into the soup and topped it off with toasted sunflower seeds and micro greens and sprinkle of Parmesan. This is the 4th time making this delicious and easy soup.

  22. Linda B Hall

    The recipe calls for ditalini pasta but in the pictures it looks like orzo? Is one better than the other or are they interchangeable?

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