Tortellini Soup

Published October 1, 2020. Updated October 5, 2020

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Hearty Tortellini Soup – it’s made with rich cheese tortellini, browned ground beef, nutritious tomatoes and vegetables, and flavorful herbs. It’s one of the coziest, most filling soups you’ll make! 

This recipe is an adaptation of one of my all time most popular soup recipes – Pasta e Fagioli. But here we get cheesy tortellini instead of plain basic pasta!

Bowl of tortellini soup with beef, vegetables, tomatoes and three cheese tortellini.

Tortellini Soup with Beef

One of the highlights of Fall is a warm bowl of soup to brighten up a chilly day. A soup as good as this!

This Tortellini Soup makes for a dinner that people of all ages can agree on, and even picky eaters will love it!

And the majority of the ingredients in this soup are things you likely keep on hand so you can make it whenever the cravings strike.

Then round out the meal with of loaf of lazy rustic bread for dipping and a side salad with Italian dressing.

White pot full of tortellini soup.

Tortellini Soup Ingredients

  • Olive oil: This is used to encourage browning of the meat. It also helps reduce sticking.
  • Ground beef: Use lean ground beef (85 – 93%).
  • Yellow onion: This is a critical ingredient that really builds up the background flavor of the soup, don’t skip it.
  • Celery: If you want this to cook faster slice it thin, it’s a very crisp vegetable and requires more cooking time than other vegetables to become tender.
  • Carrots: Dice these up small. I think most of the time small dice is best for soup.
  • Garlic: As always fresh is best!
  • Low-sodium chicken broth: Using low-sodium gives a bit more control over the amount of salt. You can even use unsalted to cut sodium in the recipe.
  • Canned diced tomatoes: I like to use petite cut tomatoes but standard cut are fine.
  • Tomato sauce: Similar to tomato passata in other countries if you aren’t sure what to look for.
  • Italian seasoning: If you don’t have this just use 1 1/2 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp dried oregano and 1/2 tsp dried thyme.
  • Cheese tortellini: I highly highly recommend sticking with refrigerated tortellini not shelf stable, it has a far superior flavor.
  • Spinach: Opt for fresh not frozen spinach. Frozen spinach will be mushy in soup.
  • Parsley: Fresh parsley adds a lot more flavor here than dried would. If you have fresh basil on hand sometimes I’ll add that instead.
  • Salt and pepper: Add to taste.

Scroll down below for full recipe with ingredient amounts.

Image of ingredients used to make tortellini soup. Includes cheese tortellini, ground beef, tomatoes, tomato sauce, celery, carrots, onion, garlic, spinach, parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper.

How to Make Tortellini Soup

  1. Brown beef: Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Crumble in beef and let cook until browned on bottom, about 3 minutes.
  2. Break up beef and cook through, transfer: Turn and break up beef and let continue to cook until cooked through. Transfer beef to a paper towel lined plate while leaving 1 1/2 Tbsp fat in pot (or add 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil and drain off fat).
  3. Saute vegetables: Add onions, carrots, and celery to pot. Saute until starting to soften, about 7 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and saute 1 minute longer.
  5. Add canned ingredients and seasoning: Pour in chicken broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, cooked beef, and season with Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Simmer: Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until veggies are nearly soft, about 15 minutes.
  7. Cook tortellini in soup: Add tortellini and let simmer according to time listed on package (usually about 4 – 7 minutes).
  8. Finish with fresh greens: Stir in spinach and parsley. Serve warm.

Collage of four images showing how to brown beef and saute vegetables for soup in pot.Collage of four images showing mixing liquid ingredients for soup, simmering, adding tortellini and spinach.

Can it be frozen?

  • If you wait to add the tortellini then yes the soup can be frozen, and it will freeze well for 3 months.
  • Freeze cooked tortellini in individual portions separate from soup.

Variations

  • Use Italian sausage instead of ground beef.
  • Sneak in other vegetables such as zucchini, green beans or asparagus.
  • Add red pepper flakes for a spicy kick.
  • Finish with parmesan if you want it extra cheesy, or just let the soup simmer with a parmesan rind added.
  • Balance an acidic sauce with a teaspoon of sugar or honey if needed.

Overhead image of pot full of tortellini soup on a marble surface.

Tips to Perfect It

Really this soup is a breeze and there’s nothing complicated to it but here are a few tips to make it the best:

  • Brown the beef in chunks, don’t crowd and steam it. This means let it sear on bottom before you begin to break it up and turn it, and don’t toss it the entire time or you’ll end up with grey, flavorless meat.
  • For even more fresh flavor you can swap the dried Italian seasoning with a blend of fresh herbs. Try some basil, oregano and thyme.
  • Don’t add tortellini directly to the soup if you plan on leftovers or they’ll be total mush the next day (see the note in the recipe).
  • Be careful not to over-cook the tortellini. I usually even pull it off a minute or two early because I hate soggy pasta and the residual heat after removing keeps cooking it, so by the time it’s cool enough to eat the pasta is a bit soft for me.
  • Wait until the very end to add the spinach so it doesn’t get soggy. It will wilt almost instantly.

Two servings of tortellini soup in white bowls.

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Tortellini Soup
5 from 24 votes

Tortellini Soup

A hearty, delicious soup made with rich cheese tortellini, browned ground beef, nutritious tomatoes and vegetables, and flavorful herbs. It's one of the coziest, most filling soups you'll make! Makes about 13 cups.
Servings: 6
Prep15 minutes
Cook35 minutes
Ready in: 50 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Crumble in beef in chunks and let cook until browned on bottom, about 3 minutes.
  • Turn and break up beef and continue to cook until no longer pink. Transfer beef to a paper towel lined plate while leaving 1 1/2 Tbsp fat in pot (or add 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil and drain off fat).
  • Add onions, carrots, and celery to pot. Saute until starting to soften, about 7 minutes.
  • Add garlic and saute 1 minute longer.
  • Pour in chicken broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, cooked beef, and season with Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until veggies are nearly soft, about 15 minutes.
  • Add tortellini (see important note*) and let simmer according to time listed on package (usually about 4 - 7 minutes).
  • Stir in spinach and parsley. Serve warm.

Notes

*If you plan on having leftover soup I highly recommend cooking the tortellini separately:
  • Reduce broth to 4 1/4 cups in soup, then cook tortellini in a pot of boiling water separately from soup.
  • Toss tortellini with olive oil after draining.
  • Store separate from soup in fridge.
  • Add to servings separately near end of reheating.
Nutrition Facts
Tortellini Soup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 404 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 65mg22%
Sodium 1409mg61%
Potassium 1427mg41%
Carbohydrates 42g14%
Fiber 8g33%
Sugar 15g17%
Protein 28g56%
Vitamin A 8926IU179%
Vitamin C 35mg42%
Calcium 195mg20%
Iron 7mg39%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.

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66 Comments

  • Rebecca Reneau

    I made this yesterday and surprise myself. I’m a salt and pepper southern woman. Lol! My husband and I truly like the soup. We’re eating it again.

  • Angelina

    Delish!! This was not only hearty, healthy soup but the recipe instructions and tips made this my new family favorite!

  • TeShauna

    This soup is perfect! I love everything about it!!! It tastes so delicious 😋 it’s just what I need when I want to cozy up and chill! The ingredients go together perfectly! One of my favorite soup recipes. Thanks so much for sharing.
    TeShauna

  • OceT

    Delicious, delicious, delicious! I made a few tweaks here and there with the only real difference being I used sweet Italian ground pork instead of ground beef, possibly left out the parsely, and added some sliced shiitake mushrooms. Well, that was until my mom suggested kicking it up a notch with some spice and andouille sausage, which made this soup even better! Topping it with spinach artichoke dip helped bring the spice level down some because I think I added too much cayenne pepper. I most definitely recommend giving this recipe a try.

  • Beth W.

    If you cook the tortellini separately and reduce the broth to 4 1/4 cups, are any of the tomato sauces reduced as well?

    Thanks!

  • Reid

    This recipe is delicious! I’ve made a different tortellini soup in the past and it tasted bland. This is going to be my new go to recipe for tortellini soup. I followed the recipe exactly. My family loved it too. My husband even went back for seconds. This recipe is perfect for a cold winter day.

  • Resa A Burke

    Really great!! Didn’t have crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce, but I had grape tomatoes and marinara, so I chopped and crushed my own tomatoes and used a bottle of marinara. Was fantastic!

  • Regina Carroll

    Recipe is really great because it serves a lot, has a low cooking time, and tastes amazing! I added cilantro to mine for that perfect taste!