Cheese Tortellini in Garlic Butter Sauce Recipe

An easy, delicious recipe for Cheese Tortellini in garlic butter sauce. Whether you want a hot appetizer for a party or a tasty, comforting weeknight meal option, double the batch because everyone is going to love it! Use refrigerated or frozen cheese tortellini; either way, it's ready in 15 minutes or less!

An easy, delicious recipe for Cheese Tortellini in garlic butter sauce. Whether you want a hot appetizer for a party or a tasty, comforting weeknight meal option, double the batch because everyone is going to love it! Use refrigerated or frozen cheese tortellini; either way, it's ready in 15 minutes or less!
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How do you cook cheese tortellini?

  1. Bring 4 quarts of water or broth to a boil for each pound of tortellini. Add salt if desired; I like 1 tablespoon salt if I'm using water. I do not add salt if I'm using broth.
  2. Add tortellini and cook until the tortellini floats to the top of the water and the internal temperature of a tortellini is 160 degrees:
    • 2 to 3 minutes for refrigerated tortellini
    • 3 to 5 minutes for frozen tortellini
    • 10 to 11 minutes for dried tortellini
  3. Gently drain and follow remaining recipe instructions (or serve).

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.

An easy, delicious recipe for Cheese Tortellini in garlic butter sauce. Whether you want a hot appetizer for a party or a tasty, comforting weeknight meal option, double the batch because everyone is going to love it! Use refrigerated or frozen cheese tortellini; either way, it's ready in 15 minutes or less!

What is the difference between a tortellini and a tortelloni?

  • Tortellini and tortelloni have the same basic shape. However, tortellini are smaller (generally about 2 grams each by weight) and tortelloni are larger (generally about 5 grams each by weight).
  • Both tortellini and tortelloni are commonly filled with cheese or vegetable fillings. Tortellini could also be filled with a meat mixture, but tortelloni are less likely to have a meat filling.
  • Tortellini, because of their small size, could easily be served in a soup or other broth-based dish. Tortelloni, however, are typically served only in a sauce.

An easy, delicious recipe for Cheese Tortellini in garlic butter sauce. Whether you want a hot appetizer for a party or a tasty, comforting weeknight meal option, double the batch because everyone is going to love it! Use refrigerated or frozen cheese tortellini; either way, it's ready in 15 minutes or less!

Can you cook tortellini from frozen?

  1. Yes, just bring 4 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon salt to boil for each pound of tortellini.
  2. Add the tortellini (unthawed) and cook until they float to the top, usually in about 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. The internal temperature of a tortellini should reach 165 degrees in the coldest spot.

What is the main difference between ravioli and tortellini?

Ravioli can be square or circular, but they are formed by pressing two pieces of dough together around a filling.

Tortellini are more like a dumpling where the dough is formed into a hat-like shape.

How long can you keep cooked cheese tortellini?

Cooked pasta, in general, keeps 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. This recipe should be consumed within that timeframe as well (and the leftovers are excellent!)

Cheese tortellini on a white plate.

Cheese Tortellini in Garlic Butter Sauce Recipe

An easy, delicious recipe for Cheese Tortellini in garlic butter sauce. Whether you want a hot appetizer for a party or a tasty, comforting weeknight meal option, double the batch because everyone is going to love it! Use refrigerated or frozen cheese tortellini; either way, it's ready in 15 minutes or less!
4.92 from 56 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 551kcal
Author: Meggan Hill

Ingredients

  • 32 ounces chicken broth or vegetable broth, divided
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen cheese tortellini (see notes)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese for garnish
  • Fresh basil for garnish, optional

Instructions

  • In a large pot, bring 2 1/2 cups broth to a boil. Add cheese tortellini. Return to a boil and cook until the tortellini float to the top of the water, about 3 minutes. The internal temperature of a tortellini should be 165ºF. Drain completely.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together remaining 1 1/2 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 2 minutes.
  • Add broth-cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil; simmer until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes longer. Add the cooked tortellini to the skillet and toss to coat.
  • Pour into a serving dish and garnish with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil, if desired.

Video

Notes

  1. To make this dish vegetarian, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.
  2. Refrigerated tortellini can be substituted; it will float in 2 to 3 minutes. If you want to use dried tortellini, follow the instructions on the package (should be about 10 to 11 minutes).
  3. Serves 8 as an appetizer or first course (2 ounces per person, 275 calories per serving). Keep warm in a slow cooker if serving a buffet.

Nutrition

Calories: 551kcal
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  1. Kyla

    Hi! This was DELICIOUS but I am new to cooking and have never used cornstarch before (plus had to make my broth with a seasoning cube which I’ve also never done before) so I fumbled that step! Make sure your cornstarch is mixed! It ended up still really good but it wasn’t as thick as it should’ve been and there were little cornstarch blobs which is gross.
    Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  2. Stephanie

    I made this recipe this evening with a mix of cheese and sausage tortilla and I loved it!5 stars

    1. Meggan

      This makes me so happy! Thanks Stephanie! -Meggan

  3. Gabby

    This was SO good! I also added shrimp and red pepper flakes to the butter and sautéed before adding the tortellini. Amazing!5 stars

  4. T

    Made this tonight and it was perfect. Didn’t have basil so used oregano instead and it was still yummy.5 stars

  5. Carly

    What do you do with the brorh that the tortellini was cooked in?4 stars

    1. Araxi B.

      I did that, used the broth the pasta boiled in and it got extremely clumpy when I added in corn starch, not sure…maybe I cooked it too long with butter and garlic? The whole sauce got really thick, and it seems really unappetizing

    2. You can’t use the tortellini-cooking water. It has too much extra starch in it from cooking the tortellini, so it will make your sauce too thick and gross and yes – unappetizing. I’m so sorry. That’s why the recipe is written the way it is. You have to start with fresh chicken broth for the sauce. It’s not because I love food waste. It’s just because otherwise it’s not good. Sorry about that! -Meggan

    3. Hi Carly, you can either drain and discard it or reuse it for making the sauce. The recipe isn’t written that way, but it needs to be. I’m going to fix it. Sorry for the confusion! -Meggan

  6. joanne peters

    This is so simple and so flavorful! We love it!5 stars

  7. Judith Jordan

    Delicious and just as quick as advertised.5 stars

  8. Becky

    I was hungry during lunch hour and noticed my spinach tortellini was about to expire. I looked up a quick sauce recipe and founds this one, and I am soooo thankful!!! It was such a fuss-free and quick recipe and most importantly, DELICIOUS! I will be saving this recipe for future use. My fiancé also loved it.5 stars

  9. Natalie

    This is easy and tastes amazing! My boyfriend says we need meat in every meal but his plate was CLEAN after trying this dish. We both loved it!
    I boiled the tort in water vs the broth
    3 garlic cloves vs 2
    2 tbs of dry basil and finely chopped a handful of fresh basil5 stars

  10. Eva

    I am out of corn starch. Can I substitute something else?

    1. Kara Shuhart

      Yes you can substitute corn starch with all-purpose flour or wheat flour, for each tbsp of cornstarch its 2 tbsp of flour. Hope this helps.

  11. Renee Hansen

    Why can one change the ingredients to metric, but in the rest of the recipe we still need to recalculate everything we need to do…?

    1. meggan

      Hi Renee, I have a plugin that does the metric calculations but it only updates the ingredients. It doesn’t change the instructions. I’m sorry about that! -Meggan

  12. Joanne Saunders

    +Awesome!!
    made this last night with homemade tortellini and it was delicious!!

    Very easy5 stars

  13. Sheri

    How much broth for 1000 g of tortellini

    1. Meggan

      Hi Sheri, for 1000 g of tortellini, I would use the following amounts:
      72 ounces/2041 g of chicken broth
      4.5 tablespoons of cornstarch
      9 tablespoons butter
      4.5 cloves garlic minced
      4.5 teaspoons dried basil
      1/2 cup parmesan cheese

      Fresh basil for garnish (optional)

  14. Judith

    This was good, but I had forgotten that I’m not particularly fond of Basil on its’ own. I halved the basil and it was still a little strong (it would have been fine for someone who liked Basil). Next time I make it I’m going to replace the Basil with Sage.4 stars

  15. Quisha

    Made this tonight for dinner! This recipe was more flavorful than using water alone to boil the pasta… but I definitely Had to add salt and other seasonings, as well as heavy cream to the sauce. Maybe I overcooked my garlic and butter…Either way. Hubby N I love the final product..thanks for this idea.4 stars

  16. Gina

    Teen daughter made this for dinner tonight. I also think it needed salt, but it would depend on what your broth tastes like. I just added it to my own plate. We also added a cup of frozen peas and had to forego the fresh basil (didn’t have any). It was yummy! We 1.5x the recipe as we needed to feed 6 people. Thanks for the recipe. The 11-year old asked us if we could please have this a lot more often. It definitely beats plain tortellini (or tortelloni, as the case may be).

  17. Scott Brower

    Very good recipe. My one recommendation is to add a bit of nutmeg to this recipe. Doesn’t take much and it really adds to the flavor while keeping it light.5 stars

  18. Nicholas Slezak

    So with your instruction I made this sauce. I have never made it before. Your sauce does not look green, but mine turned out green and looks as though my basil burned. Tasted fine. I think maybe in the instructions it should have had me lower the heat or add the basil after the stock/corn starch step. With the butter being as hot as it is when it foams up after adding the garlic I think that caused my garlic to burn? Really a very good recipe and has me tempted to just eat the whole thing really but I’m saving some for lunch tomorrow. I’ll be a good boy…. for now.4 stars

  19. Bobbie

    Can I also stir some Parmesan into the sauce while cooking?5 stars

    1. Meggan

      Hi Bobbie! Yes! Go for it! Sounds great!

  20. Bobbiann

    Delicious and easy. I used 1 kg of fresh tortellini but only increased the sauce by about 50%. It was perfect.5 stars

    1. meggan

      Thank you so much for your comment! I’m really happy you liked this and it worked for you. Thanks again. -Meggan :)

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