Cheese Tortellini in Garlic Butter Sauce

Piping hot Cheese Tortellini served in a delicious garlic butter sauce. It’s simple yet special, an easy appetizer or main dish that everyone will love!

All of my best memories are intertwined with food.

“Event A happened, and this is what we ate that day.”

It’s not that I’m obsessed with food – okay, I’m obsessed with food – but rather food is present at most events, big or small. Even seemingly insignificant memories, for me, are colored by a memory of what I ate that day.

Is this how everyone is, or is it just me? :D

Piping hot Cheese Tortellini served in a delicious garlic butter sauce. It's simple yet special, an easy appetizer or main dish that everyone will love!

I first tried Cheese Tortellini in garlic butter back in 2004 at a Pampered Chef party. It’s not that I went on to build a Pampered Chef business or that I made life-long friends at that party. I don’t even recall if I bought any products that day.

What I DO remember, with perfect clarity, is the food. This Cheese tortellini, and these stuffed mushrooms.

This was right at the start of my own personal food renaissance when I began to realize the power of good food. I knew I would be able to connect with people if I served a delicious appetizer such as this one, and I’ve been using food to make friends ever since.

Piping hot Cheese Tortellini served in a delicious garlic butter sauce. It's simple yet special, an easy appetizer or main dish that everyone will love!

I like this recipe because flavors are infused all across the board.  It only takes minutes to prepare but tastes like something you’d get at an Italian restaurant.

You start by cooking the cheese tortellini in chicken broth. Then, you use the remaining chicken broth to make a simple garlic butter sauce that is thickened with flour and flavored with basil.

Because it’s so rich, I like to serve these Cheese Tortellini as a party appetizer. No one is ever expecting pasta on toothpicks! It’s a fun change and everyone will ask you for the recipe.

Piping hot Cheese Tortellini served in a delicious garlic butter sauce. It's simple yet special, an easy appetizer or main dish that everyone will love!

Although I typically purchase low-sodium chicken broth and unsalted butter, this particular recipe tasted a little off when I tested with those ingredients.  So, in this one instance I do not recommend the low-sodium options.  If that’s what you have, just add a little salt to the finished dish until it tastes perfect.

You can also easily make this dish vegetarian. Just use vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth.

Save this Cheese Tortellini in Garlic Butter Sauce to your “Main Dishes” Pinterest board!

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Cheese Tortellini in Garlic Butter Sauce

Yield: 8 servings

Cook Time: 15 min

Total Time: 15 min

Piping hot Cheese Tortellini served in a delicious garlic butter sauce. It's simple yet special, an easy appetizer or main dish that everyone will love!


  • 32 ounces chicken broth, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen cheese tortellini
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, for garnish
  • Minced fresh parsley, for garnish, optional


  1. In a large pot, bring 2 ½ cups broth to a boil. Add cheese tortellini. Return to a boil and cook about 5 minutes. The tortellini will float to the top when cooked and the internal temperature should be 165ºF for at least 15 seconds. Drain completely.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together remaining 1 ½ cups broth with corn starch. In a large non-stick skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat until foaming. Stir in garlic and basil and cook about 2 minutes.
  3. Add broth-cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil; simmer until the mixture thickens. Add the cooked tortellini to the skillet and toss to coat.
  4. Pour into a serving dish and garnish with Parmesan cheese and parsley, if desired.
  1. To make this dish vegetarian, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

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  1. Meggan!
    All of my best memories are intertwined with food too!! Don’t you just love that? and now that I have kids, they already know all the baking and eating we will be doing over the holidays. .  hoping these become great memories for them! haha, the power of good food. I’ve never thought of it that way but I know what you mean! When I first moved to Seattle, food and cooking was how I connected with friends there! I love this cheese tortellini recipe! I could eat this all day, everyday! Keep in touch!! and thanks for the sweet email! :) 

  2. This was awesome, thanks!!

    • Thank you so much, Christin! I could eat the entire batch of tortellini myself, I swear. I’m obsessed. Have a great weekend!

  3. Great recipe but since I only had a 12 oz pkg of dried tortellini that’s what I used.  However 2-1/2 cups of broth isn’t near enough liquid to cook the pasta.  I had to add another 2 cups.

    • Hi Pat! Sorry about that, I have always used 2 1/2 cups of broth to cook this, but I’ll retest. I know I never used the same ratio as I would for cooking regular pasta because the tortellini only takes a couple of minutes to float. But, I’ll take a look! Sorry again, and thanks.

    • I would recommend using a chicken bouillon cube in enough boiling water. That way you can fill your bot with enough liquid to ensure a good cook. Then you only need a small can of broth or stock to make the sauce with.

    • That’s a great tip, Jerry! Good cost savings. Thanks. If you try the tortellini, I hope you love it!

  4. This was delicious!! To save time during clean-up, I cooked and drained the tortellini, and then used the same pot to make the sauce. It came out great!

    • Hi Deborah, that is a great idea (using just one pot). I will update the recipe to reflect your genius! Thank you so much. :D Most importantly, glad you liked it!

  5. I was wondering about the chicken stock you make the totellini in. Instead of draining the stock couldnt you remove the tortellini out and use the stock for the garlic sauce?

    • Hi Dawn, YES. Yes you could, and you should. I am going to re-write the recipe to do that. The only thing I was going for with using separate broth is a time-savings because you can start the sauce while the tortellini is still cooking. But, I think saving on chicken broth is the better idea. Thank you so much for this suggestion! It’s a brilliant idea and I wonder how I never thought of that. :)

  6. I love this recipe. It is quick, easy, and tasty. I think it comes out perfect each time. I have tried making this recipe with a combination of different filled tortellini. I have used cheese and Italian sausage and I have just made half cheese tortellini and half beef tortellini.

    • Thank you so much Danielle! This is one of my favorites. It always tastes so good, I cannot stop eating. I will definitely have to try meat-filled ravioli sometime, I’ve only ever done the cheese. But sausage in particular sounds awesome. :) Thanks again!

  7. Lovely, but as an appetizer with toothpicks?? Um, no. ?

  8. You display them in a bowl with  toothpicks, I guess the  shovel was out of camera range.  ;-)…as cheese tortellini cool, within a few minutes of sitting out at room temperature they won’t be nearly as “appetizing.” Apps should go the distance, unless of course you warm them on a chafing dish, but why, when you have so many other options that don’t require heat ? Tortellini in a bowl with toothpicks feels like something I’d see at a dude’s house. You tried it, not everything wins…and not all comments on your blog will be positive; people are allowed to disagree with you. Cheers!

    • No it’s totally fine Tara! I didn’t really get what you were saying, I guess. :) The first time I had these that’s how the gal served them, I’ve always had them in a bowl with toothpicks after that. They never last long enough to get cold. Feel free to disagree! I’ll try to “get it” the first time around next time, ha ha.

    • Tara, do you have a food blog? It sounds like you must have a successful blog since you have so much advice and critiques! I would love to see what’s on your blog! You sound so knowledgable!

  9. Hi Meghan! I just tried this recipe and wow! I just wouldn’t have thought to cook the torts in chicken broth! And I do think of things like! I used fresh basil cause that’s what I had then saw the chopped tomato basil olive oil veg from last night so I added them to the garlic butter basil sauce, chopping the tomatoes very small then added the sauce to the torts in broth pan and super wow! You are so right about the flavors! Thank you so much for the recipe!

    • Hi Rosalie! The chopped tomatoes sound AMAZING! I’m so glad you tried the recipe and loved it. :) Makes my heart sing! Take care and thanks so much!

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