Canederli Soup

  • 1 hr 20 mins total
  • 30 mins prep
  • 20 mins cook
  • 30 mins Resting
  • serves 4 people

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Canederli soup

Canederli soup is bringing me back to Bolzano. I have always been in love with this wonderful town in the most northern part of Italy, Bolzano, located in the Alto Adige region. The city is located and surrounded by the Dolomites Mountains. The panoramic views are just breathtaking.  Growing up, we were very fortunate to have an aunt that lived there. Her apartment was facing Piazza Della Vittoria and from almost every room we had a beautiful view of the mountains.

I have fond memories of the food in this region as well.  Canederli soup is part of those fond memories. A mix of bread and speck. A very easy and super delicious recipe.


  • Speck is a smoked ham that is available in Italian and German specialty stores. If you never tried it, you are in for a treat. If none available, smoked thick ham will do.
  • Use day-old bread or stale bread. The best result is with any Italian loaves of bread or baguette. Do not use pre-sliced bread such as buttermilk, potato, 12 grains that are sold on the shelf. Not the same flavor and in some cases a bit on the sweet side. Trust me I tried that and not the same results.
  • You can replace the onion with scallions or shallots if you have them on hand.
  • Use good thick pancetta.
  • Let the bread mixture rest between 30 to 60 minutes. This will allow all the flavors to bind together well.
  • You can use chicken, beef, or vegetable stocks.
  • Place some flour in the palm of your hands to roll the balls of canederli. Prevents it from sticking.
  • You can prepare the canederli the day before and store them in the refrigerator.  Bring to room temperature when starting dinner.
  • Sprinkle lots of parmesan cheese, optional step, however, you will enjoy the flavor that brings out.

A variant to this recipe

Make smaller canederli and cook them in salted water and season with melted butter and lots of parmesan cheese. Or, use tomato sauce instead.

Bolzano dates back before the Middle Ages.

Became part of Bavaria and was united to Austria in 1809. It belonged to the Austrian Empire until Italy acquired it at the end of World War I in 1918. During World War II Bolzano was heavily bombarded.  After the war, the city was restored to his influential Austrian structure.

Bolzano or Bozen to this day is still a dual speaking town, Italian and German.

The city is divided by the Talvera river. The low bridge that divides the Old City Center, from the New City Center.  Beautiful cast iron railing on each side of the road. Once crossed, towards the older part of the city, cars are sent to the surrounding streets leaving the city center free of any noise, cars.  Pedestrians own the streets, shops own the “portici”. Fabulous shopping.

The Dolomites Mountains are so accessible and enjoyable during the winter with all sorts of winter sports, as well as during the warm months of summer.  Therefore, we used to take a short car ride to the gondolas and 15 minutes later we were at the top of this stunning mountain looking down at the town. The air was just clean, the rolling hills inviting for us children to stay away from them.

We always enjoyed the beautiful promenades and after what seemed hours we would stop at this wonderful barn-like restaurant and enjoy this wonderful dish of “Speck”.  Tyrolean salt-cured ham, fresh bread, strudel, and a chilled glass of white wine for the adults, and warm apple cider for us children.

Desserts were sinful. A simple apple strudel, fresh whipped cream cups, or a very delightful chocolate cake, dessert is just part of the day.

Giangi's Kitchen Signature
Nutrition Facts
Canederli Soup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 571 Calories from Fat 270
% Daily Value*
Fat 30g46%
Saturated Fat 11g69%
Trans Fat 1g
Cholesterol 172mg57%
Sodium 1068mg46%
Potassium 623mg18%
Carbohydrates 49g16%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 12g13%
Protein 25g50%
Vitamin A 559IU11%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Calcium 201mg20%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Canederli Soup

  • 1 hr 20 mins total
  • 30 mins prep
  • 20 mins cook
  • 30 mins Resting
  • serves 4 people


Original recipe yields 4 servings

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  • 10 ounces day-old bread, preferably Italian
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces diced Speck ham or regular ham
  • 4 ounces pancetta
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
  • ½ small yellow onion, peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • graeted parmesan cheese (optional)
  • ⅔ cup flower


  1. Cut the bread in small cubes and place in a bowl.

  2. In a small frying pan sauté the onion with the butter. Add the speak and pancetta and sauté for a couple of minutes. When done place with the bread.

  3. In a small bowl mix the eggs with the milk, add the parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Add the mixture to the bread onion mix. Let it rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour to flavor thoroughly.

  4. Add the flour to the mixture, mix well, and then prepare balls. Add some flour to your hands and roll in the cavity of your hands. If the bread mix is too soft add more flour, if too hard add a bit more milk.

  5. Form small balls, 2 inches diameter, in the cavity of your hand and roll them lightly in the flour to barely cover.

  6. Bring stock to a boil and then add the canederli. When they float to the surface, boil for another 10 minutes, then drain with a slotted spoon.

    Place 2-3 canederli in each serving bowl, and top with chicken stock.


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Comments (24) Post a Reply

  1. Cindy Mom, the Lunch Lady says:

    I am so intrigued by this recipe! It reminds me of dumplings in soup. Definitely something to try, as my SO is Italian.

    1. Giangi Townsend says:

      Italy regional cuisine is out of this world, and each region has it’s pearls. I always loved this canederli soup all year around.

  2. Ghanashyam says:

    This looks really good! Unlike any other soup I’ve seen.

    1. Giangi Townsend says:

      Thank you and you can also enjoy the canederli with tomato sauce and lots of butter too.

  3. Holly says:

    This sounds like such a flavorful soup! I cannot wait to try it!

    1. Giangi Townsend says:

      It is and you can add more ham to your liking to it. Thank you for stopping by Giangi’s Kitchen.

  4. Mayuri Patel says:

    Every cuisine has its share of dumpling soups or stews. Canederli Soup would definitely be something my hubby would love to try as he loves smoked ham and pancetta. Your write up about Bolzano brings back memories of my trip to Italy. We simply loved the country, wish we had time to see more.Can image how beautiful Bolzano must be surrounded by mountains.

    1. Giangi Townsend says:

      I wish I could take my family there and each time we go to Italy it never seems to happen. The Dolomites area and Bolzano are some of my favorites. Everything about it is stunning and so relaxing. A must bucket list place to visit.
      I so love this soup, like your hubby, because of the pancetta and smoked ham 🙂 and because it is so easy to make as well.
      Thank you for reading my recipe.
      Bon Appetit!

  5. Jeannie says:

    thanks sharing the story behind this recipe, this a perfect comforting meal

    1. Giangi Townsend says:

      My pleasure Jeannie. I hope you will try the recipe and enjoy it as much as I have.
      Bon Appetit!

  6. Archana says:

    I wish we could travel to Italy just now just to try the Canederli soup. You draw such beautiful verbal imagery I and feel I am already there. My girls will definitely love this soup as they love smoked ham. Must tell them.

    1. Giangi Townsend says:

      Thank you Archana, that is very sweet of you. Like you, I wish I could be there this summer and enjoy it again locally.
      Hopefully soon, right?
      Please do share it with your girls and love to have your feedback when you try it.
      Bon Appetit!

  7. Mihaela| says:

    I only saw Bolzano from the motorway, but gosh, what a view to the Dolomites! Thanks for a beautiful piece of history – I’ve learnt something new today! And for another beautiful Italian dish!!

    1. Giangi Townsend says:

      Those mountains are something else. When the sun hits them at a certain time of the day, you can actually see the red and see the fossils still in the mountain. Breathtaking views and such a serene place to be.
      You are most welcome, thank you for reading my recipe.
      Bon Appetit!!

  8. Azlin says:

    I am just loving the background story to this Canederli Soup, and the soup texture looks simply amazing. And don’t get me started on those balls – gotta love balls!

    1. Giangi Townsend says:

      Thank you Azlin. Those balls are amazing. The great past is that you can make smaller for the little one’s, Cook them with salted water, add your favorite tomato sauce with lots of butter, and voila, you have another fantastic meal with the canederli.

  9. LISA says:

    I just adored eating canederli when we visited the Dolomite mountains a few years ago. I vowed that I would try to make them when we got home, and then forgot. 🙂 This recipe has motivated me to try!

    1. Giangi Townsend says:

      That is wonderful Lisa! I hope you do try it. Aren’t the Dolomites stunning? I have to many wonderful memories and they hold a special place in my heart.
      Thank you for reading my post.
      Bon Appetit!

  10. Indrani Sen says:

    Such an intriguing recipe and it is easy to make with leftovers too. loved it. definitely on my todo list.

    1. Giangi Townsend says:

      Thank you, Indrani. Really easy to make and even easier to be gone before you know it.
      I do hope you will try and would love your feedback.

  11. Chef Mireille says:

    I loved reading this. So interesting to learn about this place. I would love to get to visit it one day. And the soup is so delicious. I can easily get speck here so will definitely be trying it soon. I can’t wait!

    1. Giangi Townsend says:

      I am so happy you enjoyed reading about one of my favorite places. You are so lucky to get speck, I wish I could get it where I live.
      Enjoy the recipe and would love to hear your feedback.
      Thank you for stopping by Giangi’s Kitchen.

  12. Jennifer says:

    This is the closest recipe to what I remember of my Nonna’s, who is from Bolzano. I’m attempting it for the first time. It looks and sounds delicious so I’m so excited. I have one question though. There’s no flour in the list of ingredients but instruction #4 says “add flour”! How much? This seems to have been omitted from the ingredients list. Help!
    Thank you!

    1. Giangi Townsend says:

      Hi Jennifer,
      Thank you for catching the mistake of the flour and I have corrected it. You will need 2/3 of a cup of flour.
      I hope you had the opportunity to go to Bolzano, such a beautiful city and the surrounding area are so beautiful.
      Enjoy the recipe, and please do let me know if it is as you remember it.
      Bon Appetit!

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