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Quick comfort food to the rescue! Slow Cooker Chicken Tortellini Soup is everything a hearty fall soup should be, and it’s ready in a flash if you use an Instant Pot. Cheese filled tortellini take the place of dumplings for cheers all around, no matter who’s at the table or what the weather’s like.
Homemade chicken soup is amazing when you’re a little under the weather, or even if you have a full-blown cold. It hydrates you, soothes you, and nourishes you all at once. Of course, you don’t have to wait to feel sick to make it.
It’s a healthy, easy dinner any night of the week.
Making Chicken Tortellini Soup for a crowd, or just one glorious dinner? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
Chicken Tortellini Soup ingredients:
Here’s what’s in this easy chicken soup recipe.
- Chicken. Boneless, skinless, chicken breasts are easy, but you can use any cut of chicken at all. The skin and bones get discarded when the chicken is shredded.
- Chicken broth. Make your own or buy your favorite brand.
- Thyme. Fresh or dried thyme is a great pairing with chicken, but you can use parsley, oregano, or rosemary, too.
- Bay leaf. One sturdy leaf ought to do it! Just don’t forget to take it out when you’re done cooking.
- Cheese tortellini. This recipe calls for the fresh variety, which can be found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.
(Hint: If you want to make the soup with the dried cheese-filled tortellini, you may have to adjust the cooking time accordingly, and cook a few minutes longer.)
How to make Chicken Tortellini Soup in a slow cooker:
So easy, and so delicious.
- Just add the chicken breasts, onions, carrots, and celery to the slow cooker. Then pour in chicken broth, and tuck in the thyme and bay leaf.
- Cook on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours, or LOW for 5 to 6 hours.
- Remove the chicken and shred it using two forks. Then add it back to the crock pot.
- Add the tortellini and continue to cook until tender, 10 to 15 minutes longer.
- Take out the bay leaf and season to taste with salt and pepper.
How to make Chicken Tortellini Soup in an Instant Pot:
Just as easy, and faster, all thanks to the miraculous electric pressure cooker.
- Add carrots, chicken breasts, onions, and celery to the Instant Pot. Pour in chicken broth, then add thyme and bay leaf.
- Next, all you have to do is push a button! Set the Instant Pot to “soup” setting, at high pressure. There’s no need to set a time—this mighty machine has it all figured out!
- When the cooking is finished, release the pressure gradually and carefully remove the chicken.
- Turn the Instant Pot to sauté mode, add the tortellini, and cook for 5 minutes.
- While the pasta is cooking, shred the chicken up using two forks, and return it to the pot. Let everything mingle together for about 5 minutes, then take out the bay leaf and season to taste with salt and pepper.
How to make Chicken Tortellini Soup on the stovetop:
In case you just absolutely, positively have to make this soup, and you want to do it on the stove.
- First, heat some olive oil in the bottom of a large Dutch oven or stock pot. Over medium heat, sauté the onions, celery, and carrots until softened.
- Add the broth, chicken breasts, thyme, and bay leaf and bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken and shred using two forks.
- Add the tortellini and simmer until tender. Then add the shredded chicken back into the soup and heat through. Take out the bay leaf and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Chicken Tortellini Soup Variations:
The best chicken tortellini soup is the one you make at home, with your favorite ingredients. Think of this recipe as a jumping off point for your own unique version. Here’s some ideas to whet your appetite.
- Italian style Chicken Tortellini Soup with kale. Finely chopped kale is a fabulous way to eat more dark leafy greens. Put it in early so it cooks down and gets soft and tender.
- Chicken Tortellini Soup with spinach. Baby spinach gets silky soft in soup, and is so good for you! Add a few big handfuls to the soup when you add the shredded chicken. Stir it up, and you have a deliciously healthy chicken soup.
- Tomato Chicken Tortellini Soup. Coarsely chopped fresh tomatoes or a can of diced tomatoes boost the flavors of this soup. If you love tomatoes, it’s a must.
- Chicken Soup with zucchini. Put end-of-summer zukes to work. Diced up small and added to the soup towards the final stage of cooking leaves them crisp-tender, not soggy.
- Creamy Chicken Tortellini Soup. Finish the soup with a splash of heavy cream of some half and half to make things a little more indulgent.
- Parsley. Some chopped parsley sprinkled over the soup tastes so much fresher than any canned chicken soup.
- Chicken soup with lemon. A squeeze of fresh lemon into the soup pot at the last minute, while you’re adjusting the seasoning, brightens the soup without the need for extra salt.
- Chicken soup with dried tortellini. Cook the dried pasta a little longer than you would the fresh. You can change up the flavor of the pasta fillings, too: spinach and cheese, mushroom, or butternut squash for a delicious fall soup.
Can you freeze Chicken Tortellini Soup?
It’s not recommended to freeze soups that contain pasta and cheese, because the consistency changes so much. But what you can do is freeze the chicken soup, then add in the tortellini later.
Slow Cooker Chicken Tortellini Soup (or Instant Pot)
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot peeled and cut into coins
- 1 celery rib chopped
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme minced, or ½ teaspoon dried
- 1 bay leaf
- 18 ounces refrigerated cheese tortellini
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make in a slow cooker:
- To a slow cooker, add chicken, onions, carrots, and celery. Add chicken broth, thyme, and bay leaf. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours or LOW for 5 to 6 hours.
- Transfer chicken to a cutting board or bowl and shred with two forks. Return to slow cooker and add tortellini. Cook until tortellini is tender, about 10 to 15 minutes longer.
- Remove bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To make in an Instant Pot:
- To an instant pot, add chicken, onions, carrots, and celery. Add chicken broth, thyme, and bay leaf.
- Set instant pot to soup setting, high pressure. (You do not set a time; the instant pot knows what to do. Mine cooked for 30 minutes). When cook time is over, release pressure gradually.
- Transfer chicken to a cutting board or bowl. Switch Instant Pot to sauté mode, add tortellini, and cook for 5 minutes. Shut off Instant Pot.
- While the tortellini is cooking, shred the chicken with two forks. Return chicken to instant pot, stir, and let stand for 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.
This recipe was delicious and so simple to make! I added some cayenne pepper and garlic salt at the end for some extra flavor. I will definitely be making this again!
Hi Seigh! Sounds delicious! Happy you loved it! – Meggan
I appreciate that salt/sodium makes everything taste better. I used to be the head chef in my own successful restaurant. However, I now have really high blood pressure, and I really hate the hospital. Any recipes that taste good but don’t send me to the emergency room?
Hi Danita, I would recommend replacing the regular chicken broth with low-sodium broth and look to increase flavor elsewhere, such as adding garlic when sauteing onions, red pepper flakes (if you like spicy foods) or other spices, or substituting no-salt-added items like beans in other recipes, such as White Bean and Kale Soup. Some readers have suggested using low-sodium salt. Fresh lemon would also help boost flavor in other recipes. Those are my recommendations (although I should point out I’m not a registered dietician). If you have any other questions please let me know! Thanks – Meggan