An easy, delicious recipe for Cheese Tortellini in a simple garlic butter sauce with basil. Keep it warm in a crockpot for a party appetizer, or serve up in a big bowl for a comforting weeknight meal in 15 minutes or less.

Cheese tortellini on a round plate.

Ingredient notes:

Cheese tortellini: Your favorite brand. It can be handmade, or store-bought. Fresh, frozen, or even dried. Tortellini are small and compact, easy to grab with a fork, and hold up well in the cooking water.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Set aside 1 ½ cups of broth in a small bowl and whisk the cornstarch into it. Heat the remaining broth in a saucepan until boiling.
  2. Add tortellini and cook until the tortellini floats to the top of the water and the internal temperature of a tortellini is 165 degrees. Gently drain and set aside.
  3. In a non-stick skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat until it foams. Add the garlic and dried basil and stir for 2 minutes to sauté the garlic.
  4. Then add the broth and cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer until the mixture thickens, only 1 or 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in the al dente tortellini and toss in the garlic butter mixture to coat every piece. Garnish with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.

Cheese tortellini being poured into a silver pan with sauce in it.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Yield: 16 ounces of pasta should feed 4 people.
  • Make ahead: This recipe is best made when you plan to serve it, even though the leftovers are delicious. But if you want to pre-cook a larger amount of tortellini so you can replenish a buffet, toss the pasta lightly in olive oil after it’s drained, which will keep it from drying out. Then simmer the sauce and combine the two as you need more.
  • Using water: Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil for each pound of tortellini you plan to cook. Add salt if desired; I like 1 tablespoon salt/quart if I’m using water. (I do not add salt if I’m cooking in broth.)
  • Tortelloni vs tortellini: Both types of stuffed pasta have the same basic shape. However, tortellini are smaller (generally about 2 grams each) and tortelloni are larger (generally about 5 grams each).
  • Leftovers: Cooked pasta, in general, keeps 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. This recipe should be consumed within that time frame as well (and the leftovers are excellent.)
  • Low sodium: 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.
  • Tortellini cooking times: 2 to 3 minutes for refrigerated (soft) tortellini, 3 to 5 minutes for frozen tortellini, and 10 to 11 minutes for dried tortellini. Signs of doneness are when the pasta floats to the surface of the water, and has an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
  • Spinach: A handful or two of baby spinach added to the pasta in the pan couldn’t hurt, especially if you want to up your leafy greens.

Cheese tortellini on a white round plate.

More fantastically simple pasta recipes:

Cheese tortellini on a white plate.

Cheese Tortellini in Garlic Butter 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!
4.96 from 349 votes
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Servings 4 servings
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Italian
Calories 508


  • 32 ounces chicken broth or vegetable broth, divided (see note 1)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (see note 2)
  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen cheese tortellini (see note 3)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese for garnish
  • Fresh basil chiffonade, for garnish, optional


  • In a large pot, bring 2 ½ 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 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 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.

Recipe Video


  1. To make this dish vegetarian, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.
  2. All-purpose flour can be substituted for cornstarch. It may increase the sauce's cooking time by an additional 3-4 minutes. 
  3. 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).
  4. 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.


Calories: 508kcalCarbohydrates: 55gProtein: 21gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 1523mgPotassium: 195mgFiber: 4gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 399IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 265mgIron: 4mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!

Culinary School Secrets

Subscribe for emails and receive pro-level tricks to transform your cooking!

Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

You May Also Like

Questions and Comments

Thank you for your comments! Please allow 1-2 business days for a reply. Our business hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am PST to 5:00 pm PST, excluding holidays. Comments are moderated to prevent spam and profanity.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Thank you for this quick and easy yet delicious recipe. It was a big hit with my family and will definitely be in our rotation. Perfect for busy evenings.5 stars

  2. This is the easiest & tastiest recipe. While I make the sauce & cook the noddles, I sauté mushrooms & spinach to add in. It’s so good & seriously so quick & easy!5 stars

  3. Whipped this up in no time as I was in a hurry for a meeting. Make sure to sprinkle w/ Parm. The possibilities for variation are endless. New family fav!!! Thank you.

  4. This is an excellent recipe and turns out exactly as pictured. It is truly delicious and I followed the instructions exactly and we will be having it very often. Love. Love, it!!!5 stars

  5. This was fantastic! I added some panchayat and peas like someone recommended and it was absolutely the best! Will be making this again…and again…and again!5 stars

  6. This was a good recipe and I would eat it again but it did need acid. I added a little bit of lemon juice and it needs more flavor. But overall pretty good dish!

    1. Hey Melissa, additional lemon juice sounds great. Glad you were able to adjust it to your liking. Thanks! – Meggan

View all comments