Chicken Tortellini Soup
This easy yet comforting Chicken Tortellini Soup will fill your belly and soul! It’s got flavorful broth, juicy shredded chicken, pillowy cheese-filled pasta, and plenty of garlic and Italian herbs. Best of all, it takes just 30 minutes and one pot to make.
Chicken noodle soup is the mother of all comfort food. Got the sniffles? Having a snow day? Need an edible hug? A piping hot bowl of broth and noodles to the rescue!
As much as we love a classic chicken noodle soup with egg noodles, sometimes an extra element can help you feel satisfied. Tender cheese tortellini cooked right in the broth is just the thing.
Why we love this recipe
- Quick and easy to make. Everything cooks together in one pot for maximal flavor and minimal effort. You can have this on the table in about 30 minutes, even starting with uncooked chicken breasts.
- Versatile. This is super flexible to what veggies you have and prefer, and also suits itself to little variations like adding cream or extra herbs.
- Healthy yet satisfying. I love a dinner that packs in protein and veggies in one package!
Serve bowls of chicken tortellini soup with biscuits, crescent rolls, or crusty bread. This soup is also great paired with a simple salad: just greens and a delicious Italian dressing will hit the spot.
Related: White Bean Chicken Soup
Ingredient & Substitution Notes
- Chicken. You can use boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenders, or make this recipe even faster by using shredded rotisserie chicken.
- Carrots, celery, onion. This is the classic mirepoix combination that is a flavor base to countless soups, stews, and casseroles.
- Seasoning and olive oil. Use fresh minced garlic if possible, along with dried oregano, dried thyme, salt, and pepper. Parsley is a nice finishing touch but I consider it optional.
- Tortellini. I usually stock up on the refrigerated tortellini any time they’re on sale and store them in the freezer until needed. For this recipe you can also use dried tortellini; whatever you use, you’ll simply simmer the tortellini in the broth according to the package directions. In this soup, we love cheese or cheese-spinach tortellini, but literally any filling you like will work.
- Baby spinach. An easy way to add color and nutrients into your soup. Simply omit if it’s not your thing.
- Broth. If you are going to splurge on one thing, buy a high-quality broth, or make your own! My favorite is Zoup; it is more expensive than others, but I absolutely notice the difference. You can use chicken broth, chicken stock, or vegetable broth for this soup. You can also use a bouillon base, either mixed with water to create the broth, or added in to enhance the flavor of so-so broth. I highly recommend keeping Better Than Bouillon in the fridge; a small jar lasts forever, and it’s such a simple way to punch up the flavor in everyday meals. I also recommend using low-sodium chicken broth, then adjusting the salt level to your own taste.
Can I use raw or rotisserie chicken?
One of my favorite things about this soup is that it’s easy to make from raw chicken or rotisserie.
Of course, when you happen to have leftover rotisserie, it’s very convenient. But if you have uncooked chicken breasts or tenders, simply sauté them right in the same pot you plan to use for the soup. Remove the chicken when cooked, shred it while the rest of the soup simmers away, and add the pieces straight back in. This has the added benefit of incorporating all the chicken flavor into the soup because the rendered bits stay in the pot.
You can also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs, but keep in mind they will take longer to cook than chicken breasts or tenders.
How To Make Chicken Tortellini Soup
Chop your mirepoix: carrots, celery, and onion. Feel free to play around with the amounts of each you include. This is really flexible. What is important is that these veggies are chopped relatively small and evenly, so that they cook in the same amount of time.
If cooking your own chicken, do this first in the same stock pot or Dutch oven you plan to use for the soup. No need to dirty an extra pot! Season the chicken well with kosher salt and black pepper, then sauté until golden on the outside and cooked through.
Remove chicken when cooked. Shred or cut into bite-sized pieces, then set aside. You’ll mix it back into the soup later.
Now you’ll make the base of the soup, beginning with a quick sauté of the chopped veggies in butter. Once the carrots are beginning to soften, add garlic, oregano, and thyme.
You should cook at this stage for just 30-60 seconds, until the garlic gives off a pleasant aroma. Have the broth (or water and bouillon) ready to go so that you can pour it in before the garlic starts to turn brown or burn.
Bring everything to a rapid simmer, then add the tortellini and cook according to its package directions. Stir in the shredded chicken and baby spinach when just about 1 minute remains of the tortellini’s cooking time: this will be just enough time for the chicken to warm again without drying out, and for the leafy greens to wilt nicely.
Be sure to taste the broth prior to serving so you can season with additional salt and pepper to taste! This can vary a lot depending on your personal preference and on the type of broth you used. Also remember that most people add too little salt to their meals. Add a little at a time, yes, but don’t be afraid to keep going until it tastes good!
Sprinkle with fresh or dried parsley, if desired, portion into bowls, and serve. My kids also like this with grated Parmesan cheese on top — what a surprise! 😉
Tips, Tricks & Variations
- When chopping your carrots, celery, and onion, try to make the pieces relatively uniform, so they cook quickly and evenly. You don’t want some pieces mushy while others are still hard!
- If you cook the chicken yourself and have a stand mixer, you can toss the cooked chicken into the mixing bowl and beat with the standard blade for 30-45 seconds to shred into bite-sized pieces with zero effort.
- Craving even more protein? Add white beans!
- Looking for a vegetarian twist on this comfort classic? Chickpea noodle soup is a winner even with the meat-lovers in my house.
- Want to make it creamy? Add either 1/2 cup of heavy cream or a slurry of milk and flour (2/3 cup milk + 1 Tablespoon flour, shaken together in a jar or whisked together in a liquid measuring cup). Add these at the end, after adding the spinach.
- Love lemon? I do! Squeeze in 1-2 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice when adding the spinach.
- Want it with a little heat? Add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the pot or to individual portions.
- I am working on a slow cooker version of this soup; stand by!
Storage & Reheating
- Tortellini chicken soup keeps well for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. The tortellini will absorb some of the broth as it sits, so if you’re anticipating leftovers, consider boiling the tortellini separately, storing it separately, and adding it directly to individual bowls.
- I always keep deli containers on hand for storing and gifting soups and stews, and have been so happy with them. No spills and easy to stack.
- Reheat portions in the microwave, stirring between bursts of heat, or on the stove top over medium heat.
- I no longer recommend freezing this soup; the tortellini can develop an odd texture, as can the spinach.
- 20-Minute White Bean Tortellini Soup
- Creamy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- Carrot Red Pepper Soup
- Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
- Creamy Wild Rice Mushroom Soup (Instant Pot)
- Healthy Broccoli Cheddar Soup (Instant Pot)
- Crockpot Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup
If you try this Chicken Tortellini Soup recipe, don’t forget to rate it and leave a comment below. I love hearing how recipes turn out in your kitchen, and it helps other readers, too.
Chicken Tortellini Soup
- 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders can substitute rotisserie chicken, see note
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 4 whole carrots peeled and diced
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 1/2 medium yellow onion chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 6 cups chicken stock or broth low-sodium preferred
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon optional
- 9 ounces refrigerated tortellini
- 2-3 handfuls fresh baby spinach
- fresh parsley and lemon juice optional garnish
- Warm olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and add to the pan when hot. Cook until golden and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes each side. Remove to a cutting board and set aside.1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders, kosher salt and black pepper
- Melt butter in the pot, then add the carrots, celery, and onion. Cook for 4-5 minutes, scraping the bottom occasionally to remove browned bits.4 whole carrots, 2 stalks celery, 1/2 medium yellow onion, 1 Tablespoon butter
- While the veggies cook, shred or cut the chicken into bite sized pieces.
- Stir in the garlic, oregano, and thyme. Sauté for 30-60 seconds, just until fragrant.3-4 cloves garlic, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- Stir in the chicken broth, water, and Better than Bouillon, if using. Bring mixture to a boil, then add tortellini. Cook according to package directions, usually just 2-3 minutes.6 cups chicken stock or broth, 1 cup water, 1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon, 9 ounces refrigerated tortellini
- When 1 minute remains of the tortellini's cooking time, return shredded chicken to the pot and stir in the spinach. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley and/or lemon juice, if desired. Serve and enjoy!2-3 handfuls fresh baby spinach, fresh parsley and lemon juice
- Chicken: If using rotisserie chicken, pull sections off of the chicken and shred or cut into bite-sized pieces. Prepare the recipe as directed, beginning with step 2 (cooking the veggies), and stir in the shredded chicken just after adding the tortellini to cook.
- Tortellini: I usually use the refrigerated tortellini that are sold in the deli section of most supermarkets. They can be easily stored in the freezer until ready to use, and cook very quickly to a nice, tender texture. You can also use dried tortellini in this recipe, just adjust the cooking time to follow your package directions. Any type of filling works: our favorites are cheese or cheese and spinach.
- Creamy Chicken Tortellini Soup: Add either 1/2 cup of heavy cream or a slurry of milk and flour (2/3 cup milk + 1 Tablespoon flour, shaken together in a jar or whisked together in a liquid measuring cup). Add these at the end, after adding the spinach.
This post was originally published in March 2019, and has been updated with new photos and more helpful tips, tricks, and information on storage and related recipes.