by Olena

Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana

Olena's image
Olena Osipov
5 from 18 votes

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Full of flavor Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana is famous Olive Garden’s copycat soup recipe with hearty Italian sausage, potatoes and kale. This version of tuscan soup is lighter without heavy cream but still just as creamy and delicious.

Healthy and comforting soups are family favorite’s along with Instant Pot minestrone, pasta e fagioli and turkey meatball soup.

Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana in a bowl with a spoon and napkin with red pepper flakes

This Instant Pot zuppa toscana is such a welcome change to hearty pressure cooker taco soup and pressure cooker stuffed pepper soup. Broth based zuppa toscana reminds me grandma’s chicken noodle soup– a liquid base loaded with meat and veggies.

I am sure everyone has seen or tried zuppa toscana at Olive garden restaurant. It means “Tuscan soup”. My healthy version is made with whole milk vs. cream, full of vegetables and requires only 10 minutes prep. Instant Pot magic does the rest for you.

Other copycat recipes made healthier that are on repeat in our house are chicken alfredo, chicken enchiladas and beef and broccoli!

Why Make Zuppa Toscana Instant Pot Recipe?

  • Grain free and gluten free: Perfect for those following a special diet! Can also be made dairy-free by using a plant based milk.
  • Hearty and nutritious: Potatoes are high in vitamin c and potassium while superstar kale adds vitamin a, k, b6 and c! 
  • Budget friendly: Kale and potatoes are very budget friendly and by using the vegetables you have on hand this soup is frugal and versatile!
  • Easy to make: Ready in less than 30 minutes, a copycat restaurant quality dinner never tasted better! 
  • Make ahead: Make ahead in it’s entirety for a week of easy lunches or meal prep ingredients and make fresh!

Instant Pot is a true dinner workhorse of our household! Beef stew or chicken wild rice soup take minutes instead of hours to cook.

olive garden tuscan soup in instant pot being ladled showing kale potatoes and carrots

Ingredients for Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana Soup

Zuppa Toscana soup in Instant Pot reminds me of an Italian restaurant experience at fraction of the cost. Just like this healthy chicken Parmesan and lemon chicken recipe.

  • Sausage: Uncooked sausage in casing like Italian. Pick mild, medium or hot as per your taste. You can also use chicken or turkey sausage to make Zuppa Toscana soup more lean.
  • Veggies: Potatoes and carrots are added at the beginning to add soup volume. I added zucchini as well for extra veg, plus I always have it on hand to make one our favorite healthy zucchini recipes.
  • Onion and garlic: Aromatics for additional flavor.
  • Kale: Dinosaur or green kale, stalks removed and chopped. It adds volume to the soup and stays firm.

I freeze chopped kale to add to soups and green smoothies!

  • Milk and broth: I used whole milk to keep soup light yet creamy. Feel free to use heavy cream or half and half. A few readers have added plant-based milk. For broth, I use low sodium organic bouillon cubes.
  • Salt, pepper and red pepper flakes: To season and taste.

Use as little or as much red pepper flakes as you like! You could also omit it altogether.

zuppa toscana soup ingredients onion garlic kale potatoes milk

How to Make Zuppa Toscana in Instant Pot

  • Prep: Cut sausage into pieces, no need to remove casing. You can also use ground sausage meat.
  • Saute sausage: Make sure to wait until display says Hot which takes 3-5 minutes. For pork or beef no need to add oil. Brown for 3 minutes just until some brown spots appear.
  • Add veggies, spice and stock. In this case, order of ingredients doesn’t matter and as always no need to stir. But if you stirred by accident, it is fine.
  • Cook: On High Pressure for 10 minutes. Then release pressure using Quick Release method – turn pressure valve to Venting. With soups, I like to do so outside.
  • Add kale, milk and remaining garlic. Don’t pressure cook dairy as it curdles. Fresh garlic at the end rather than before cooking adds another layer of flavor. Yum!

Optional Add-In’s and Variations

  • More veggies: I added chopped zucchini just to add more veggies and because it had to be used up. Cauliflower florets or broccoli could also be used! Any veggie soup or minestrone is perfect for cleaning out the veggie drawer.
  • Bacon: You can saute bacon as well, just for me sausage was enough. If you do so, make sure to deglaze the pot with broth before cooking to avoid Burn.
  • Spinach instead of kale: Fresh or frozen spinach will work instead of kale. Whenever I see spinach on sale, I buy pre-washed baby kale in a box and freeze it like that. Then add to soups frozen like lentil spinach soup and Instant Pot veggie soup.
  • White beans: Add one can (drained and rinsed) of a sturdy white bean such as great northern or cannellini.
  • Dairy free: Try coconut cream, oat milk or any unsweetened plain dairy free milk. Note that it might change taste slightly as well as not be quite as creamy.
  • Broth: I used vegetable broth, you could use chicken broth.
  • Other spices: A 1/2 t. of smoked paprika will give a smoky taste, crushed rosemary or thyme would also be great options!

Love Italian tuscan flavors? Try one pot tuscan chicken pasta next!

Tips for Best Olive Garden Tuscan Soup

  • Use any potato: Russet, yellow or red, this soup is incredibly forgiving no matter what potato type. If the potato falls apart a little, that is fine, it will add to the texture and creaminess!
  • For 3 quart Instant Pot: Cut Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana recipe ingredients in half and keep same cooking time. Or you can still cook 1/2 recipe in larger Instant Pot.
  • Double the recipe? Pictured is full recipe made in 6 quart. You can multiply ingredients by 1.5 and cook recipe in 8 quart pressure cooker, same time. For 6 quart, 1.5 ingredients will be too much.
  • Why no sauteing? We sauté sausage and I believe it adds enough flavor. Plus, food cooked under pressure comes out more flavorful. Pressure cooker is meant to save time with its technology, but you can saute onion and garlic in sausage drippings.
  • Soup finishers: Freshly grated garlic, parmesan and a crack of black pepper right before serving would taste amazing!

FAQs

Is zuppa toscana authentic?

Zuppa toscana translates to ‘Tuscan soup’. In Italy it is also referred to as “Minestra di Pane” meaning “Bread Soup” and contains a variation of kale, zucchini, white beans, potatoes, celery, carrots, onion, tomato pulp,  olive oil, salt, chili powder, Tuscan bread and Italian bacon. The version most American are familiar with is the Olive Garden tuscan soup containing sausage, potatoes, cream and kale.

Does zuppa mean soup?

Yes, zuppa is an Italian noun meaning soup or chowder.

Can you freeze zuppa toscana soup?

I do not recommended it as it contains dairy and cooked potatoes will fall apart in the freezer.

How long to cook zuppa toscana in Instant Pot?

For my recipe, you will cook the zuppa toscana recipe in your Instant Pot for 10 minutes.

How do I make keto zuppa toscana?

You will need to replace the potatoes with cauliflower and the whole milk with heavy whipping cream.

What kind of kale should I use in this tuscan soup?

You can use curly or lacinto (curly kale). Both will need to be de-stemmed and chopped into smaller pieces. I use both depending on what I can find, is on sale or is in my freezer.

Zuppa Toscana in Instant Pot

Serving Recommendations

Alternately, serve with a charcuterie platter, my family loves when I do that!

Making This Recipe in Advance

Store: Refrigerate leftover zuppa toscana for up to 5 days. Since there are no soggy vegetables, it keeps and reheats well. I refrigerate soup right in the stainless steel insert pot covered with silicone lid. To reheat, simmer in a small pot desired amount.

Do not freeze: Zuppa contains dairy and potatoes that do not thaw well. Good thing is you can eat leftovers for up to 5 days. Or like mentioned above, cut recipe in half.

Make ahead: By sauteing sausage and adding veggies and broth (not kale and milk) to the inner pot. Cover with silicone or glass lid, refrigerate for up to 24 hours and cook following the recipe.

More Favorite Recipes

Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana closeup
Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana

Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana

Full of flavor Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana is famous Olive Garden's copycat soup recipe with hearty Italian sausage, potatoes and kale. This version of tuscan soup is lighter without heavy cream but still just as creamy and delicious.
5 from 18 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Soup and Stew
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 217kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 3 large raw sausage links sliced
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 6 medium potatoes cubed
  • 2 large carrots chopped
  • 1 zucchini diced (optional)
  • 2 grated large garlic cloves divided
  • 6 cups water or low sodium broth
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 5 large kale leaves stems removed and chopped
  • 2 cups whole milk

Instructions

  • On 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot, press Saute and wait until display says Hot. Takes 3-5 mins.
  • Add sausage. If it is raw chicken/turkey or any cooked sausage, you will need some oil. Brown for 3 minutes. Sausage will not really brown but rather cook a bit. It’s fine, we just want a bit flavor.
  • Press Cancel. Add onion, potatoes, carrots, zucchini (if using), 1 garlic clove, broth, salt, red pepper flakes and pepper. No need to stir.
  • Close the lid, move pressure valve to Sealing and press Pressure Cook on High for 10 minutes.
  • Release pressure using Quick Release method – turn pressure valve to Venting.
  • Add kale, milk and remaining garlic.
  • Stir and serve hot with a slice of fresh bread.

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container or inner Instant Pot pot with a silicone lid for up to 5 days. To reheat, simmer in a small pot desired amount.

    Make Ahead: Saute sausage and add veggies and broth (not kale and milk) to the inner pot. Cover with silicone or glass lid, refrigerate for up to 24 hours and cook following the recipe.

      Freezing: Do not freeze.

        Video

        Notes

        • More veggies: I added chopped zucchini just to add more veggies and because it had to be used up. Cauliflower or chopped broccoli would work well!
        • Bacon: You can saute bacon as well, just for me sausage was enough. If you do so, make sure to deglaze the pot with broth before cooking to avoid Burn.
        • For 3 quart Instant Pot: Cut recipe ingredients in half and keep same cooking time. Or you can still cook 1/2 recipe in larger Instant Pot.
        • Double the recipe? Pictured is full recipe made in 6 quart. You can multiply ingredients by 1.5 and cook recipe in 8 quart pressure cooker, same time. For 6 quart, 1.5 ingredients will be too much.
        • Spinach instead of kale: Fresh or frozen spinach will work instead of kale. Whenever I see spinach on sale, I buy pre-washed baby kale in a box and freeze it like that. Then add to soup frozen.
        See recipe post for more tips and FAQs.

        Nutrition

        Serving: 1.5cup | Calories: 217kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 329mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g

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        42 comments on “Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana

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        1. 5 stars
          Very tasty and easy to make. My grocery store didn’t have kale in stock so I used spinach instead. Turned out great.

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