When you need a bowl of comfort food, you'll love every spoonful of this lemony Instant Pot tortellini soup! Tender cheese tortellini and fresh spinach cook in a creamy, silky broth full of bright citrus notes, and the Instant Pot makes the process as quick and simple as can be. Dinner is on the table in under 30 minutes when this creamy tortellini soup recipe is on the menu.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Makes cheese and pasta lovers alike swoon.
- Calls for just a handful of simple ingredients and three easy steps to make one hearty soup.
- Requires no advanced cooking techniques — cooks of all skill levels can master this recipe.
- Cooks just as easily on the stove if you don’t have an Instant Pot.
Cheesy tortellini: For best results, I recommend fresh or frozen tortellini. Depending on the grocery store, you can find fresh tortellini in a refrigerated case near the pasta or by the prepared-food section.
Spinach: The spinach measurement is for fresh spinach, not frozen spinach.
Stock: I prefer chicken stock for its rich flavor, but you can use vegetable stock if you prefer.
Heavy cream: This adds a slightly luscious touch and texture to give it a bit more body than stock alone. To get the full effect, I definitely recommend heavy cream over half and half or milk.
Step 1: To start our soup, we turn the Instant Pot to the Sauté function and add the olive oil. Once the oil is nice and hot, we add some chopped shallots and cook them for three minutes. By now, the shallots should be perfectly soft, so we add the garlic and stir constantly for 30 seconds (photo 1).
Step 2: For our next step, we pour in the chicken broth or vegetable broth and add the tortellini and a touch of white pepper (photo 2). We secure the Instant Pot lid and cook the soup on the Manual setting for a quick two minutes. As soon as it finishes cooking at high pressure, we move the valve on the lid of the Instant Pot for a quick release.
Step 3: After the quick release, we remove the lid and stir in the fresh baby spinach, heavy cream, lemon juice and tarragon with a wooden spoon (photo 3).
And that’s it! For a little added decadence, we can add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley and serve with a hunk of crusty bread. Isn't it one delicious, easy meal?
How to Store
If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, this soup keeps well. Allow the soup to cool completely and then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You might want to store the tortellini and broth in separate containers — the tortellini will continue to soak up the liquid as it sits.
I prefer to enjoy it within two to three days, but it will last up to four or five days. When you’re ready to eat, you can heat the soup in the microwave or stove-top.
You can even freeze it. Sometimes cream-based soups don’t freeze well, but it’s brothy enough that it freezes just fine. That said, for the best texture, you’ll want to freeze the soup and tortellini separately like if storing in the refrigerator. I recommend using any frozen leftovers within three to six months.
You can absolutely turn this into a stove-top tortellini soup. Instead, you cook the shallots and garlic in a stock pot and add the stock and tortellini as originally directed.
Rather than cooking the soup under pressure, you bring the stock to a boil and cook the tortellini according to the package’s directions. Once the tortellini is ready, you pour in the cream and lemon juice and stir in the spinach and tarragon.
Mushy tortellini happens from overcooking the pasta. Make sure you do not cook the pasta for longer than two minutes and be ready to immediately open the release valve. A natural release will continue to cook the pasta.
You sure can — the cooking time for both should be two minutes. Likewise, you can also use another type of tortellini, such as spinach tortellini.
Variations and Substitutions
- Substitute fresh or frozen tortellini for dried tortellini: Dry pasta takes longer to cook. You’ll just need to adjust the pressure cooking time from two minutes to six to seven minutes, and you may want to add another cup or so of chicken stock.
- Add a protein: Sweet Italian sausage is popular in a lot of other tortellini soup recipes, but I didn’t want to simply recreate what’s already out there. That said, if you’d like to add sausage, you can brown it in the Instant Pot after adding the shallots and garlic.
- Stir in tomato sauce with the cream: Like the sausage, this is also a popular variation. Personally, I love the creamy lemon base, but you do you.
- Use your other favorite fresh herbs: Tarragon is wonderful here, but just about any fresh herb would work. Fresh basil, rosemary, and thyme are other wonderful options.
Go fresh: Fresh lemon juice and tarragon are so much more flavorful than bottled juice and dried tarragon. With so few ingredients, you definitely want to opt for quality.
Don’t stop stirring the garlic: Garlic burns easily, so you want to keep it moving.
Don’t add the heavy cream until after cooking in the Instant Pot: Heavy cream can curdle while pressure cooking. For this recipe and other soups, always add the cream at the end.
If you’d like a beer on the side, a witbier was made for this soup. The lemon juice from the soup pairs well with the light body and citrusy notes while the beer has the perfect carbonation for cutting through the cream and rich ricotta.
For a wine, a sauvignon blanc is lovely. Like the witbier, this light wine shows off a citrus-forward profile, and it has an acidic finish to brighten the creamy texture.
When cold weather hits, let’s get cozy with a big bowl of this creamy, lemony Instant Pot tortellini soup. You’ll love those tender bites of cheesy pasta in that bright, citrusy broth.
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Lemony Instant Pot Tortellini Soup
- Instant Pot
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 shallots chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced or grated
- 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 20 ounces fresh tortellini
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped tarragon
- Add the olive oil to the Instant Pot and turn it to the Sauté setting. When the olive oil heats up, add the shallots and cook for three minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and stir constantly for 30 seconds.
- Pour in the chicken stock and add the tortellini and white pepper. Secure the Instant Pot lid and cook on the Manual setting for two minutes. As soon as it finishes cooking, move the valve for a quick release.
- Remove the lid and stir in the spinach, heavy cream, lemon juice and tarragon. Spoon into bowls and serve immediately. Enjoy!
- For storage, you might want to keep the tortellini and broth separately to prevent the tortellini from continuing to absorb more broth. You can keep the soup in the refrigerator for several days or the freezer for three to six months.
- To reheat, you can use the stove-top or microwave.
- Do not add the cream until after cooking under pressure in the Instant Pot. If you add it prior to cooking under pressure, it will likely curdle.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.