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Meatball Soup from My Childhood (VIDEO)

Updated: Mar 11

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This Meatball Soup from my childhood has a deep, savory, brothy flavor with meatballs, spaghetti noodles, carrots, butternut squash, peas, and herbs. Every spoonful of this soup will nourish you.

Be sure to serve this with a side of Sourdough Rye Bread.

I know the soup season is almost ending, but in my family soup is a welcome addition any time of the year. Especially soup like this that is light, with tons of veggies and beautiful spring looking colors. Spaghetti sticking through the meatballs turning into octopus looking meatballs, and this little trick will make your little one love this meatball soup. My children call it "octopus soup". LOL.

Let me back up a bit about this soup. I have been living in the US for more than 15 years, and my desire for eating childhood comfort food is still strong. I love once in a while to taste my childhood favorites.

pot of soup

Here are more ideas for Ukrainian foods.

In Ukrainian cuisine, depending upon which application you are using for meatballs, the name can vary. For example: meatballs with pasta or mashed potatoes (by the way this is the favorite Ukrainian way to eat meatballs) is kotletu, But in a soup, it would be called frikadelki, And, if it's cooked in some rich sauce (podliva) it is called tiftelki.

holding a tray with meatballs

The soup I'm sharing with you today is simple, but delicious. My mom called it "soup z frikadelkami". I know that the ingredient list is a little bit long here, but this recipe has the best combination of flavors. My family, including the children, loves this recipe.


soup in a white bowl
soup in a bowl, and few slices of bread
bowl of soup with dollop of sour cream and two buns

What to like about this Meatball Soup

  • Easy to make, and easy to find ingredients. And can be served for lunch or dinner.

  • Quick, and even better the next day, if you are lucky enough to have any leftovers.

  • Because I love the meatballs so much, I put lots of them in this soup, and a lot of veggies.

  • These meatballs look so different due to spaghettis going through each meatball, looks fun to eat for sure.

  • Light soup, and very high in protein, since meatballs do not contain any fillers such as bread crumbs.

  • Can be served with a dollop sour cream and fresh herbs for a more beautiful presentation.

What Makes It Different

My meatball soup I love to make slightly different than my mom did, just simply making meatballs look fun, and have a lot more veggies than my mom used. Her standard was carrots, onion and potatoes. But I love to extend this list. Use your combination of veggies. Remember you are the boss of your soup.

My meatballs aren't made with bread crumbs or other fillers, and that's the difference between kotletu and frikadelki.

The broth I'm using is homemade. Grab the recipe here, or use store bought, just remember to check the ingredients list: no any Natural flavors or other mystery ingredients should be in your broth. In the freezer department, that's where you should look for it.

3 jars with stock

Tips & Substitutions

Cooking slowly is the key. Any soup in this manner, simmering is the way to go.

Make sure to use a good quality chicken or beef stock. You can use both and that will be even better. Good stock/broth in a kitchen is a gold ingredient. It's key to good food and health. My mom didn't use any broth but she always had a pieces of meat with the bone and cooked ahead of time.

Meatballs can be made with chicken or turkey. My personally favorite combo is chicken and pork, or use any meat you wish.

pot of soup with a chicken meatballs

My oldest son asked me once, "Mom, what happened to this meatballs, why are they white?" So, for the most of the time, I use beef or venison.

Let's do it...

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 30 hours

Total time: 40 minutes

Autor: Inna of 

Serves: 8-10 people

ingredients for soup

Ingredients for the soup

8 cups chicken or beef stock (I used homemade beef & chicken stocks)

7 cups water

1 Tbsp pink salt

1 cup peas

1 extra large carrot, cubed

1 cup butternut squash, cubed (optional)

1/3-1/2 package spaghetti or linguini pasta

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 large sticks of celery, finely diced

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 tablespoons sweet paprika

2-3 tablespoons sherry vinegar (or lemon juice)

2 Tbsp fresh dill, parsley chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

ingredients for meatballs

Ingredients for the meatballs

2 lbs. ground beef (I didn't use very lean meat)

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons pink salt

1 large egg

1 onion, finely diced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons sweet paprika (optional)

1-2 tablespoons dried herbs such as parsley, basil, dill


  • To the Dutch oven add oil, then start to sauté half of your onion, celery, carrots. After few minutes, season with salt, pepper. Cook until onions look translucent.

  • Meanwhile make meatballs. Combine all ingredients together except spaghetti. Make balls. Using small cookie scoop is helpful here.

  • To the pot with sautéed veggies, add paprika, bay leaves, then pour in stock and water. Add the rest of celery, onions, carrots, butternut squash. Bring to boil, then cover, low the heat and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes.

  • Get your spaghetti and break them in half. Then take a few pieces at the time and push through meatball. Repeat this step two-three time with each meatball.

  • Add the last to the pot of soup: prep meatballs (I end up not adding all to the soup and freeze some for later) and peas. Cover but not all the way and let it cook (simmering) all together for another 10 minutes on a low heat. Add chopped fresh herbs.

  • Taste for salt, pepper then add vinegar, mix all together. Turn off the heat. Let all the flavors melt together for at least 30 minutes. Serve and enjoy with a slice of good bread.

bowl of soup
pot of soup

I hope you'll make this recipe soon. If you do, please tag me #innichka_chef on Instagram, Facebook, Patreon or Pinterest. 

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