This is the easiest chicken tortellini soup recipe you’ll find! Made with chicken, garlic, onions, carrots, celery, can kale, it packs a hearty nutritional punch while also feeling like the best comfort food no matter the time of year. Plus, it’s the perfect lunch or dinner to use up any left over chicken. But if you’re cooking with fresh chicken instead of left overs, no problem, we give instructions for that too. Hit the jump to recipe button if you’re ready to get started, or scroll through our tips and step-by-step photos below.
What is Tortellini?
Tortellini is a small, dumpling shaped pasta from the Emilia region of Italy, including the cities of Bologna and Modena. It is typically made with an egg based pasta and stuffed with regional meats and cheeses. In Bologna, they often serve tortellini in a rich and comforting broth seasoned with nutmeg and Parmigiano Reggiano, “toretllini en brodo.” Tortellini en brodo in Bologna is handmade from scratch, everything from the meat filling, to the pasta, and the slow simmered broth. This chicken tortellini soup recipe below is more of an American dish inspired by Italy.
What Can You Serve With Chickn Tortellini Soup?
What can you serve with this soup? This chicken tortellini soup recipe is filling enough on its own. But if you’d like to add a little side dish to make it a more robust meal, I recommend pairing it with a salad and some crusty bread for dipping into the broth. It is one of our weeknight dinner favorites for making something quick and comforting.
Chicken Tortellini Soup Ingredients
Here’s a list of what you’ll need to shop for to make this chicken tortellini soup recipe:
- olive oil
- yellow onion
- white wine
- chicken broth
- kale (we like to use lacinato kale)
- chicken (rotisserie is great!)
- salt and pepper
- Parmigiano Reggiano rind (not required, but recommended)
- Parmigiano Reggiano (to grate)
- fresh tortellini (found in the refrigerated section of your grocer)
USING LEFT OVER CHICKEN
To make this chicken tortellini soup quick on a weeknight, I like to use leftover rotisserie chicken, or leftover oven roasted chicken that I shred with a fork and add to the soup. If using left overs, place the chicken on a cutting board and use two forks to shred the meat into smaller pieces. If the cooked chicken is cold from being in the refrigerator, I sometimes simply break it apart into smaller pieces with my hands.
USING RAW CHICKEN TO COOK IN THE SOUP
If using fresh chicken, you can use the chicken to make the broth too. Using bone-in chicken with the skin on will definitely add more flavor to the broth. But you can also use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs as well. Either way, you’ll want the chicken broken down into individual pieces, such as breasts, thighs, and drumsticks. Here’s what I recommend for cooking raw chicken in the soup:
- Chicken Breasts: Use skinless, boneless chicken breasts if you want a soup that has less fat. Cut the chicken breasts in half to shorten the cooking time and make it easier to shred once cooked.
- Bone-In Chicken Thighs and/or Drumsticks: Bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks are great for soup! After making the broth, you’ll remove the bone and skin with tongs.
Start by patting the uncooked chicken pieces dry with a clean paper towel. Then season on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in the soup pot on medium high heat. Once it is hot, add the chicken to sear. Cook the chicken for three to four minutes before turning over to allow it to brown. Then turn over and cook for an additonal three to four minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and let it rest on a plate. You’ll add it back in after building up the broth.
How To Make Chicken Tortellini Soup
Start by measuring out the ingredients needed. For prepping the kale, rince the leaves and pat them dry with a paper towel. Fold the leaf in half and remove the stem. Then chop into bite-size one ince pieces.
Heat up olive oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven on medium heat. Once the oil is heated, add the diced onions, carrots, and celery. Cook for five minutes until the vegetables are fragrant and tender. The French call this combination of aromatic vegetables a mirepoix, and the Italians call it soffritto.
Next, add in the minced garlic and cook for an additional one to two minutes. It should start smelling really fragrant at this point. Next, add the spices and cook with the mirepoix/soffritto mixture for one to two minutes.
You’ll notice a little browning at the bottom of your pot. This is flavor! Scoot the vegetables over a bit and pour the wine directly on the brown bits at the bottom of the pot while also scraping them up with a silicone spatula. Add the chicken broth and bring it to a simmer.
Add Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Rind
Then add the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rind to add flavor to the broth. You can break the rind away from your wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Or, some supermarkets and grocery stores will sell the cheese rinds seperately from the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for making soups and broths (such as this!) Definitely ask your local grocer it is typically less expensive than the whole wedge of cheese.
Adding Chicken To Broth
Once the broth is at a rolling simmer, add the chicken and cook for fifteen minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Rotisserie Chicken: Still add the shredded rotisserie chicken to the broth and cook for 15 minutes as it will tenderize and flavor the left over chicken.
- Chicken Breasts: You’ll know these are done once they are tender and you can easily shred them directly in the pot using two forks.
- Bone-In Chicken Thighs and/or Drumsticks: These should be fall-off-the-bone tender. It might take a little longer to cook, more like 20-25 minutes. Use tongs to remove the bones and skin from the soup broth once cooked.
Adding The Kale and Tortellini
The final step in making chicken tortellini soup is adding the kale and tortellini. First, Using tongs, remove the cheese rind from the soup. Technically, it is edibile. But it is chewy.
Add both the kale and the tortellini to the soup and follow the package directions for cooking tortellini. Typically it takes five to seven minutes.
Once the soup is done, taste the the broth and add salt and pepper as needed. The Parmiggiano Reggiano cheese adds salty flavor to the broth, which is why I like to add any additional salt last.
Garnish with fresh parsley, serve with bread and enjoy!
Chicken Tortellini Soup
This is the EASIEST chicken tortellini soup recipe you'll find!
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 3/4 cup celery, diced
- 3/4 cup carrots, diced
- 3/4 cup yellow onion, diced
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp rosemary
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 Parmigiano Reggiano Rind
- 1 cup white wine
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups laciato kale, chopped
- 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
- 9 oz fresh tortellini
- Heat oil on medium heat in a large soup pot or dutch oven. Add the celery, carrots, and onion. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Next, add the minced garlic, rosemary, and oregano and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
- Pour into soup pot to deglaze (remove brown bits) from the bottom of the pot.
- Add chicken broth and cheese rind and bring to a simmer.
- Once the soup is simmering, add the chicken and cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove the cheese rind, then add the kale and tortellini. Cook for 5-7 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper, top with fresh parsley and grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
You can substitue spinach for the kale.
The Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rind is optional. But it does really elevate the flavor of the broth if you can find it!
For white wine, I like to use a Pinot Grigio.
No left over chicken? No problem! You can make this with fresh chicken too. Here are some tips:
Raw Chicken Breasts: Cut chicken breasts in half before cooking. Before making the soup, heat olive oil in soup pot on medium heat and sear the chicken breasts for 3-4 minutes until they get a golden brown color. Turn over and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Then remove them from the soup pot and prepare the recipe as directed. You'll know these are done once they are tender and you can easily shred them directly in the pot using two forks.
Bone-In Chicken Thighs and/or Drumsticks: Same cooking times as listed above for chicken breasts.These should be fall-off-the-bone tender, so it might take a little longer to cook, more like 20-25 minutes. Use tongs to remove the bones and skin from the soup broth once cooked.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 384Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 1486mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 21g
Nutrition information provided is only an estimate.
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