This creamy chicken tortellini soup recipe became an instant family classic. Some links in this article are affiliate links that earn me a commission if you purchase through them.
When a friend shares a picture of her dinner, sometimes it inspires me. I had one of those moments recently, and my “throw it together and see what happens” turned out better than I could have imagined.
This creamy chicken tortellini soup took just over a half hour to make, but this may have been the best soup I’ve ever made. And I don’t say that lightly.
It’s creamy and delicious, and my entire family devoured it. I added plenty of vegetables – from carrots and celery to onion and spinach – which gave it a depth of flavor and also helped me justify having a second bowl.
We all need our veggies, after all.
My friend used blanched sweet potato leaves for her greens, but I didn’t grow any this year – and I bet you didn’t either. If you have them, use them. However, spinach works beautifully here.
This is rich and hearty enough to enjoy as a main course. I served mine with my homemade dinner rolls, and it was perfect!
Is it a tortellini soup or a tortelloni soup?
Here’s the fun. I used tortelloni simply because Costco sells fresh cheese tortelloni in the refrigerated section. However, you could make this with tortellini, and that’s what people call this soup, so for simplicity’s sake, let’s call it creamy chicken tortellini soup.
Tortelloni are larger than tortellini. In fact, they’re generally just over double the size.
Tortellini traditionally get stuffed with meat and are the ones added to soup. Tortelloni have cheese inside, and as a larger pasta, they usually have a light sauce so you can really taste the inside.
But regardless of the size of pasta, this tastes amazing. I do recommend using a cheese filling for this recipe. If you leave out the chicken, try it with a meat filling.
What if I don’t have rotisserie chicken?
I used rotisserie chicken because it’s quick and easy – and it tastes delicious. Even better, I use the carcass to make the chicken stock the I use as the broth in this recipe.
However, I don’t always have rotisserie chicken on hand. This works just as well with raw chicken, but you need to add a couple steps.
Cut up your raw chicken – you can use chicken breasts or thighs, depending on your personal preference – so that you have bite size pieces. When you heat your pan and add the onion, add the chicken, as well, and let it saute.
You don’t need to cook your chicken all the way through while it sautes, as it finishes cooking as you cook the rest of your soup. Make sure you stir it periodically, however, so that you get the outsides white all around.
Do I use fresh or dry pasta for this chicken tortellini soup?
Fresh tortellini tastes best, but I recognize you can’t always find it or have it on hand. If you can use fresh tortellini, do so.
If you only have dried pasta available, this does work for this soup. However, dried pasta takes 6-8 minutes to fully cook rather than than the two for fresh pasta. Just give your soup a little more time to ensure your pasta is cooked to al dente.
If you don’t have tortellini and want to make this, try it with gnocchi instead. Treat the dried gnocchi as you would the dried tortellini and cook it a until it’s al dente.
Can I make this tortellini soup vegetarian?
Though this starts as a chicken tortellini soup, you can absolutely make it a vegetarian tortellini soup instead.
To start, leave out the chicken (duh). In place of the chicken stock, use vegetable stock in a one to one substitution.
And that’s pretty much it. Add some more carrots, celery, and spinach, if you like to replace the bulk of the chicken.
Vegetarian or not, this creamy tortellini soup tastes amazing.
What kind of parmesan cheese should I use?
I use a block of parmesan cheese and then grate it with my medium ribbon grater. This melts better than any other option.
If you buy pregrated cheese, they add fillers and other ingredients that prevent it from melting as well, and it doesn’t taste quite the same. If this is your only option, it does work.
However, do not use the shelf stable stuff from the green can. That really doesn’t melt and does not belong in this soup.
How do I reheat leftovers?
If you have leftovers, this is delicious on day two or three, as well. However, I not recommend just throwing this in the microwave.
With half and half and cheese, this soup can break, which means it separates and doesn’t exactly look pretty, if you heat it too hot. Make sure you keep it below 160 degrees and heat it gently.
If you do reheat it in the microwave, do it in shorter bursts, and make sure you stir it between heating. However, I prefer to put it in a small pot and reheat it gently on the stove (still stirring periodically) so that it doesn’t get too hot.
In addition, if I know I will have leftovers, I may put in less of the tortellini and make sure I scoop up all the tortellini on day one. Then I add more tortellini in the small pot as I reheat it so the pasta doesn’t get overcooked and fall apart. Overcooked pasta is never good.
How to Make Creamy Chicken Tortellini Soup
Heat a heavy soup pot over medium heat. Once it’s hot, add oil.
While your pot heats, start prepping your veggies. Chop your onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. You want your carrots to be relatively thin coins, so if they’re thick carrots, cut them into half moons.
Add onion first, if the pot is hot and oil ready. Add the remaining veggies as you chop them.
Saute until the onion is soft and translucent, stirring periodically.
Add the flour and stir to distribute. Cook for another three minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste.
Pour in the stock, stirring to ensure anything stuck to the bottom of the pan comes up. Add your chopped cooked chicken, and turn down to simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the grated parmesan in small handfuls, stirring until it melts before you add the next handful. If you add too much at once, it just makes a big clump.
Grate the nutmeg directly into your soup, and add the salt and pepper to taste. It doesn’t need much salt, as the parmesan is already salty.
Stir, then add the tortellini and simmer for another two minutes. Lastly, add the chopped fresh spinach and stir until wilted.
Add the half and half, and stir until it’s evenly mixed. Serve immediately.
What would you serve with your creamy chicken tortellini soup?
- 2 T oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 c carrots, sliced into coins
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 c flour
- 2 c cooked chicken, chopped
- 5 c chicken stock
- 1/2 t nutmeg
- 1 t salt
- 1 1/2 t pepper
- 1 1/2 c fresh grated parmesan
- 10 oz fresh cheese tortellini
- 3 oz fresh spinach, rough chopped
- 1/2 c half and half
- Heat heavy soup pot over medium heat and add oil once hot.
- Add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Saute until onion is soft and translucent, stirring periodically.
- Add flour and stir, then cook 3 minutes.
- Add stock and chopped chicken, then simmer 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle grated parmesan in small handfuls, stirring until melted between additions. Add nutmeg, salt, and pepper, then stir again.
- Carefully drop in tortellini and simmer 2 minutes. Add spinach, and stir until wilted.
- Add the half and half, and stir, then serve immediately.
- If you don't have cooked chicken, you can use raw chicken. Cut it into small pieces, then add it to the vegetables when you saute them. Stir to ensure the outsides are white, and the rest will cook as you cook the soup.
- If you want to make this vegetarian, skip the chicken entirely. Use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock, and add extra veggies to bulk it up.
- When you reheat the soup, do so gently. In a stove over low heat is best to avoid the soup separating if you accidentally heat it too high.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 2 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 395Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 1021mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 23g
This site uses an outside source to provide nutrition as a courtesy. If you need exact values, please calculate yourself.
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