Tortellini Sausage Soup

I love this soup. What began as a make-it-because-I-have-all-the-ingredients-meal has quickly become one of our favorite family soups. Full of flavor and vegetables and all things good and soupy, we could eat this every week and never tire of it (but thanks to the million other soup recipes I want to try, we don’t eat it that often).

Healthy and hearty, this is a great one to keep in mind as you are frantically cooking bigger, time-taxing meals for the holiday season. It’s super easy to put together and offers a warm, wonderful meal on busy nights (and is a delightful contrast to the heavier, decadent fare of the holiday season).

It’s a fun one to serve in our family because each person has their favorite “thing” to try for when scooping out a ladle for their bowl. It might surprise you (not!) that the carrots and zucchini aren’t the first things sought after by the boys but thanks to their small size (the veggies, not the boys), they end up in their bowls anyway and get gobbled up as the boys search for the sausage and tortellini.

Have a great Thanksgiving! If you are in need of turkey leftover ideas, check out this post (or if you are like me, hoard all the turkey to eat on leftover rolls smothered in mustard). Otherwise, I’ll see you next week!

Tortellini Sausage Soup

What To ServeFresh, seasonal fruit orΒ this simple fruit salad
Broiled or toasted cheese quesadillas slices
Baked Chicken Taquitos

Tortellini Sausage Soup

Yield: Serves 4-6

Tortellini Sausage Soup

Note: If zucchini isn't in season, you could easily sub chopped spinach or frozen peas here. Also, if you absolutely can't find apple cider, try apple juice and in a last ditch effort, leave it out (although it does add a delicious hint of unique flavor). Even in my little town, I have been able to find Italian chicken sausage. It is lean, healthy and delicious. You want to look for sausage that is in a casing and is uncooked.


  • 3 links Italian sausage (the kind that is uncooked in casings - see note above)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 medium zucchini, grated (no need to peel)
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 8-10 ounce package refrigerated or frozen cheese tortellini


  1. Remove the casings by slicing down one side of the sausage and peeling the casing back from the sausage. In a large pot, cook the sausage over medium heat until it starts to brown, using a wooden spoon to crumble as it cooks. Add the chopped onion and garlic. Continue cooking until the onions are translucent and the sausage is cooked through. Drain any excess grease, if needed (alternately, if your sausage is extra lean, you may need to add a drizzle of olive oil to keep it from sticking).
  2. Stir in the chicken broth, apple cider, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, carrots, oregano, and basil. Bring the soup to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in zucchini and parsley simmer for 10-12 minutes. Add the tortellini and cook until tender (usually only a couple of minutes, even when the packages call for 7-9 minutes cooking time, I only cook the tortellini for 4-5 minutes so it doesn't fall apart). Serve immediately with freshly grated Parmesan, if desired.

Recipe Source: adapted from Our Best Bites

49 Responses to Tortellini Sausage Soup

  1. Ashley B. says:

    Hi Mel! This is one of our absolute favorite soups! I’m currently trying to prep some freezer meals before this baby arrives (9 days ) and was wondering if this soup would work out? I was thinking I’d leave the sausage and tortellini frozen, but add all the other vegetables and sauce to a freezer bag that can be dumped in after I’ve cooked the sausage. Or maybe it’s best to just make the soup and freeze it after cooling? Any suggestions? Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      Hey Ashley – I think that could work, especially if you leave the tortellini frozen (I froze this once after cooking and cooling it completely and when we thawed it, the tortellini was pretty mushy). Good luck with that new baby transition! πŸ™‚

  2. Melissa C says:

    Followed this recipe to a T and it was a hit especially with my soup loving husband. It was great to have left overs because it makes a filling and tasty lunch the next day. The broth was
    So good! Great for the cold months πŸ™‚ thanks Mel! I’m feeling like a rock star in my kitchen!

  3. Amy W. says:

    This soup is also great in the crock pot. Just cook up the sausage and throw everything else in that is part of the soup. Its amazing!! Thanks, Mel!!

  4. Kim says:

    This was fantastic!! It’s definitely a recipe I’ll make again. I originally thought about substituting the zucchini for spinach, but so glad I didn’t. The grated zucchini was great!!

  5. Adele says:

    These aren’t soup! What are you doing to our diets?!? *sigh* Fine, hand me the plate …

  6. Julie says:

    I’m only a teenager and I’ve recently been home alone so I’ve had to fend for myself foodwise. I found this recipe and it was awesome! Simple and warm and so yummy, I’m so proud of the way it turned out. Thanks for a fab recipe! πŸ™‚

  7. Aurelia says:

    My partner and I stumbled over here by a different web page and thought I
    should check things out. I like what I see so now i’m following you.
    Look forward to exploring your web page again.

  8. Tortellini Sausage Soup says:

    […] Recipe Source:Β  Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  9. JR says:

    Looks delicious! Do you use actual apple cider/apple juice or apple cider vinegar? Thanks. Can’t wait to try!

  10. karpaltunnel says:

    whoah this weblog is magnificent i really like studying your articles. Stay up the great work! You know, many persons are looking around for this info, you could aid them greatly.

  11. Asha says:

    I don’t usually leave comments but this was so good I had to say thanks. Made this tonight with only slight changes (a little red pepper, salt, and subbed 1/2 zucchini for spinach) and it was amazing. Served it with the herb focaccia bread from your site which was also fantastic! Thanks for another great recipe Mel!

  12. Janette says:

    I made this soup for my parents, brother and niece and nephew. There was not a drop left! My dad was upset that there weren’t any leftovers and so my mom and I had to go to the store and buy more ingredients. I served it with the cheesy garlic bread. Definitely a keeper! Thanks for a great recipe.

  13. Jenn says:

    This was so, so good! I subbed half a bag of roughly chopped baby spinach for the zucchini by throwing it in in the last minute of cooking. I’m glad the recipe turned out as good as it sounded because just reading the title makes me drool. My toddlers just ate the tortellini, but the adults all inhaled it.

  14. Melissa says:

    This is a great soup!!! All my family loved it!

  15. Heather says:

    I have made this soup a couple of times since you shared it, and I just wanted to let you know how much I love it! I have added garbanzo beans (because I had them) and tonight I’m adding red beans. It’s so flexible and even freezes well. Thanks for blogging this one!

  16. […] – I was planning on making this Tortellini and Sausage Soup, but at 5:30 when I went to start dinner, I realized it was going to take an hour, which was longer […]

  17. Tara says:

    This soup was delicious–I made it for lunch today, and even my soup-averse husband liked it! I subbed spinach for the zucchini as suggested and just ladled the soup over the raw spinach leaves in our soup bowls to keep the spinach looking bright and fresh. I’m sure the leftovers will be even better! I used homemade chicken stock and topped with parmesano reggiano, which really gave the soup great flavor. Also added a couple pinches of salt during the simmering process. So glad I discovered your blog this year–we have made several delicious recipes from your site. Keep ’em coming!

  18. Megan says:

    We made this tonight and it was great!!! My husband and I loved it and the kids liked picking out the tortellini from the soup (they arent big fans of soup yet). I didnt have apple cider or apple juice but I did have apple cider vinegar and used that instead and it tasted great. Again another great recipe, thank you!

  19. Andrea says:

    Made this tonite for dinner. We loved it!! Next time I will add a family size pack of tortellini instead of the smaller package that is called for. My hubby can’t wait for leftovers in his lunch tomorrow. My 12 year old son enjoyed shredding the zukes on an old fashioned grater.

  20. Mel says:

    Melissa – I’ve never tried it but I’m sure that would work just fine!

  21. Melissa says:

    I love your site! Thanks for all the great recipes! One question…could I sub shredded chicken for the Italian sausage? Thanks! πŸ™‚

  22. Karen FitzGerald says:

    Made this soup yesterday, 12/29/12, and it was delicious!!! I refer to the apple cider as a “secret ingredient”, added a subtle and wonderful flavor. Love your blog!!! Happy New Year.

  23. Kate Lundquist says:

    We loved having this tonight!!!! Melanie, I wanted to know what tortellini you buy and what sausage you buy in town. I like the sausage I bought well enough, but the tortellini needs an upgrade. πŸ™‚ I was impressed with how much this made; we shared with the in-laws. Loving your site!

  24. Martha says:

    This was the best soup! As I ask the question is this a do over, I got a big yes! Thanks for sharing Mel.

  25. Evelyn Ross says:

    This soup was fantastic! Knowing that several members of my family would only eat the tortellini, I used a 20 oz bag. Everyone enjoyed it…and I enjoyed the leftovers for lunch the next day!

  26. Mel says:

    Lisa – sadly I can’t remember what the brand is I buy but it is in the refrigerated section (by the cheese/cream cheese) and it is in a clear package with green on the front. Ack! Sorry I can’t remember exactly…I’ll look the next time I go to the store.

  27. Lisa P says:

    I love all your recipes!! This one looks very YUMMY! I always have difficulty buying prepacked tortellini, sometimes it’s too dry. Any suggestions as to what brand to use?

  28. Shelley Holm says:

    I made this soup last night and it is WONDERFUL!!! Today, it’s as good or better! As my youngest would say “There’s a party in my mouth” in every bite. Thanks so much for the recipe. Care if I share this on my blog??? Thanks again!

  29. Hilary says:

    I was just looking for a recipe to use up some frozen tortellini. Perfect timing! This soup looks super yummy and perfect for the chilly evenings we have been having. Can’t wait to give this a try! Thanks for sharing.

  30. Katie says:

    This soup is delicious. I made it with hot italian sausage and spinach in place of the zucchini, and we loved it. Thanks for another great recipe.

  31. Whitney says:

    Made this for dinner tonight and loved it!!! Wouldn’t change a thing about it!

  32. J Kelley says:

    I made this soup last night so I would have a quick meal on a very hectic Monday night. My 3 year old ate it with no complaints and my very picky 6 year old ate it as long as she had some tortellini mixed in with the “yucky stuff.” The rest of the family had seconds.
    Also, I served this with your cheddar & herb bisquits which made a delicious dinner combination.

  33. Nancy E. says:

    This was so yummy! I didn’t have the sausage so I used meatballs I had in the freezer. It was great but I want to try the sausage next time. Thanks for the wonderful recipes!

  34. Monica Berbert says:

    Lovely photos and recipes. Thanks for all of your efforts, as witnessed by the many comments, your efforts do not go unnoticed. Keep up the great work and so happy to have some tried and true recipes to add to my favorites!

  35. Lauren says:

    What are those bars at the top of your site? They look AMAZING!

  36. Have a great Thanksgiving with your wonderful family Mel!

  37. Meg says:

    We love this soup! It’s awesome all the time! Can’t wait to try your version:) Happy Thanksgiving!

  38. Teresa R. says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to the gal who has helped feed my family great food over the last several years! Oh, we are taking the chocolate mousse cheesecake pie to Thanksgiving. I know it will be as delicious as it looks.

  39. JT says:

    Soup sounds delicious! Have you tried squishing your sausage out of the casing instead of cutting it off? It is just like milking a cow (sorta) you just pinch it at the top and pull down – and the sausage meat should squeeze out of the casing. That’s how I do it anyways!

  40. I love soup during the holidays. It’s a nice balance with all the heavier meals you eat over the weeks. Great recipe!

  41. Stacy K says:

    Mel, I LOVE this soup! I saw a similar version on a local GB show a few years back, and it has been my husband’s most requested soup since. Last time I made it I didn’t have diced tomatoes so I uses stewed tomatoes and we loved the outcome. I always add 2 cp fresh spinach when the tortellini goes in and we never notice it. This is one of those great recipes that easily adapts to whatever I have on-hand. Thanks for sharing!

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving whether you are traveling or staying in your new home this holiday!

  42. StephenC says:

    Your mentality of make-what-you-can-with-what-you-have warms the cockles of my heart. I remember when I learned to eat oyster stew as a kid I would fish around with my spoon for the oysters and skip most of the broth. My mother wouldn’t touch the oysters, wouldn’t even put them in her bowl. She was strictly a broth kind of girl.

  43. Mel says:

    Hi Rachel – I fixed the link!

  44. Bex says:

    I love a recipe where I already have all the ingredients. I love tortellini and I have a package of them as well as the sausages, but I don’t have the zucchini. I could substitute with something else, maybe broccoli…I have that, and/or cauliflower… Thanks, I will definitely make this later this week.

  45. Rachel says:

    This soup sounds and looks delicious and simple. Thank you!
    We had an early Thanksgiving dinner yesterday at our house, so I have tons of leftover turkey already. I tried the link in your post to leftover turkey ideas and it appears to be broken.

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