Those of you who read this site regularly know I’m a HUGE soup fan, and this chicken tortellini soup recipe is one of my favorites! There’s nothing I like more than a soup that’s loaded, I mean really loaded, with goodies.
Every bite you get something incredibly yummy. It’s like a party of flavor and textures all swimming in a delicious, rich chicken broth.
Let me tell you, this soup delivers hugely on that party of flavor and texture! It’s packed with tortellini, succulent chicken, bite-sized smoked kielbasa, and plenty of vegetables. The combination is unusually flavorful, hearty, and comforting -just what I want from a homemade soup.
So, when you’re craving that satisfying warm chicken soup, or chicken noodle soup, try this one instead! You won’t be sorry. I mean who doesn’t love tortellini recipes? And as soon as the weather warms up, be sure to try tortellini salad. Tortellini for the WIN!! Dinner win that is.
Let’s make some soup!
- Layers of flavors and textures
- Tortellini YUM
- 30-minute prep time
- Easy to substitute ingredients
Chicken Tortellini Soup Video
Veggies: When you’ve got a busy schedule, it can be tempting to skip the step where you sauté the veggies with fragrant herbs. I mean, it’s all going into the soup pot anyway, right? – Wrong!!
Sautéing veggies before they go into the soup is essential. It draws out their sweet mellow nuances that ‘build’ the layers of flavor in the chicken tortellini soup recipe and it sweats out any bitterness in the veggies. That’s what you want!
Kielbasa: Don’t forget to dab your kielbasa while letting it rest on a paper towel. You want to get rid of all that excess grease to ensure your soup has a refreshing quality. It’s a small step but its important. You can also sweet Italian sausage for the smoked kielbasa.
Tortellini: Be sure to add your tortellini at the right time, near the end of the cooking process, to ensure that only cooks al dente. Adding it too early will result in mushy pasta that ruins your chicken soup.
Crockpot: If you’re really strapped for time, the dish can come together in a crockpot while you manage the daily chaos. To create a slow cooker tortellini soup, simply brown the sausage and sauté the aromatic veggies as the recipe directs, then put everything except the pasta and spinach into the slow cooker for 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low.
Add the tortellini and spinach about 18 to 20 minutes before you’re ready to serve (the slow cooker should be on high for this part) to make sure the pasta retains that al-dente texture.
Better Than Bouillon: This chicken tortellini soup recipe calls for Better than Bouillon (chicken flavor), which is an intense flavoring paste made from meat, vegetables, and spices.
It packs a tasty punch you just can’t get from traditional bouillon cubes (which are mainly salt) and fortifies the chicken flavor. It’s often recommended by Cook’s Illustrated as an ingredient.
Chicken: You’ll also need 2 cups of cooked chicken. I love using rotisserie chicken or leftover grilled chicken in this recipe. They are already infused with flavor and spices that add tons of flavor to your chicken tortellini soup recipe, but any chicken will work.
Use different cuts of chicken, white meat or dark meat, along with different variations of stuffed tortellini.
Broth: The chicken broth in this recipe is low sodium which means you can control the amount of salt in the recipe.
Spinach: I like fresh spinach for this soup. It retains most of its nutrients and it has a mild delicate flavor. It’s almost treated as an herb in this recipe so add it at the very end.
Add spiciness: Using canned Rotel will give you a chicken tortellini soup with a kick! You can also choose to use spicy Italian sausage instead of Kielbasa.
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
This soup will stay fresh and crave-worthy for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Just be sure to keep it covered in an airtight container and reserve the FDA recommended 2-hour serving rule. If you want to store in serving size portions, I find that mason jars work really well.
It’s also a good idea to keep some extra chicken broth on hand for thinning out thickened leftovers. This chicken tortellini soup recipe will thicken as it sits in the fridge and the extra broth will help thin it back out.
**Pro Tip: You may want to keep some of that Better than Bouillon on hand. When you add the extra chicken broth you may need to adjust the seasoning in your recipe.
Can You Freeze This?
Well, the answer is both yes and no. Unfortunately, the finished product doesn’t freeze well because the tortellini will get mushy upon thawing.
The chicken in the recipe also poses an issue because additional cooking time can make it rubbery and that would ruin your tasty masterpiece.
Make Ahead Tips
Prepping saves time during the busy week, I get it. Chopping all the aromatic veggies and storing them together makes them easy to grab and toss into the pot when you are ready to make your chicken tortellini soup recipe.
You can also chop your chicken and kielbasa, but I would store them separately. The kielbasa must be sautéed before going into the soup, but the chicken does not.
Kickstart your meal by serving this chicken tortellini soup recipe with a delicious appetizer: prosciutto wrapped asparagus, which made better with orange dipping sauce. If you prefer to add a bit of spice and bread on the side, whip up dinner rolls with Italian sausage and peppers recipe.
- Double the spinach. Warm-up this soup with parmesan, cheese tortellini, and more spinach for a cheesy spinach tortellini soup.
- Sausage overload. Swap chicken for an extra dose of sausage goodness to get sausage tortellini soup. Still not enough? Pile it up with potatoes and bacon with zuppa toscana!
- Make it creamier. Stir in heavy cream to make creamy chicken tortellini soup. No chicken? Check out my creamy tortellini soup!
Chicken Tortellini Soup
- 4 tablespoons olive oil -divided
- 12 ounces smoked kielbasa sausage thinly sliced
- 1 large yellow onion chopped
- 4-6 cloves garlic minced
- 6 carrots chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
- 4 celery stalks chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 96 ounces plus more for leftovers low sodium chicken broth
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons Better than Bouillon~chicken flavor
- 2 cups cooked chicken chopped
- 2 9-Ounce package tortellini
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- 1/2 cup Italian parsley roughly chopped, optional
- Heat olive oil in a large stockpot, over medium heat, until it begins to shimmer. Add Kielbasa and brown. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
- Add remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the stockpot and heat over medium heat, until it begins to shimmer. Add onion, garlic, carrots, celery, 1/2 teaspoon salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and thyme. Saute, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened but not browned, about 6-7 minutes.
- Add the sausage back to the stockpot. Add in the chicken broth, bay leaves, and Better than Bouillion. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add the chicken, tortellini and simmer just until pasta is al dente, about 5 minutes. Stir in the baby spinach. Ladle into bowl and garnish with parsley and serve.