Cheese Tortellini in Garlic Butter Sauce

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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.

A bowl of cheese tortellini in garlic butter.

This recipe is absolutely delicious but you must season it properly. I love low-sodium chicken broth as much as the next person, but it doesn’t work well here. Use homemade chicken broth if you have it or mix up a batch from the “Better than Bouillon”.

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for cheese tortellini in garlic butter sauce.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Chicken broth: Do not use low-sodium chicken broth or the sauce may be bland. Homemade chicken broth is fine or you could mix up a batch with Better than Bouillon chicken base (Culinary Hill may earn money if you buy through this link). For a vegetarian version, substitute vegetable broth.
  • Cornstarch: All-purpose flour can be substituted for cornstarch. However, you may have to cook the sauce an additional 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Cheese tortellini: The cooking times in this recipe are based on frozen cheese tortellini. To substitute fresh or refrigerated tortellini, cook it for 2 to 3 minutes (it should be floating). To substitute dried tortellini, follow the instructions on the package (should be about 10 to 11 minutes).
  • Butter: Do not substitute unsalted butter or your sauce may be bland.

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. 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.
Cheese tortellini in a saucepan.
  1. 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.
Cooking garlic in melted butter in a pan.
  1. 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.
A garlic butter sauce in a skillet.
  1. 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 cooking in garlic butter sauce.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe will make 4 hearty main course servings. Or, feed 8 as an appetizer or first course. If serving as part of a buffet, keep warm in a slow cooker.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • 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).
  • 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.
A bowl of cheese tortellini in garlic butter.

How to Make Chicken Broth

For the best, most delicious homemade chicken broth, start with a whole raw chicken or chicken pieces and simple vegetables and herbs. At the end of it, you’ll have 4 cups of delicious cooked chicken and…

1 hour 40 minutes
View Recipe

More easy weeknight dinners

A bowl of cheese tortellini in garlic butter.

Cheese Tortellini in Garlic Butter Sauce

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.
Author: Meggan Hill
4.96 from 567 votes
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Servings 4 servings
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Italian
Calories 508

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • 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

Notes

  1. Chicken broth: Do not use low-sodium chicken broth or the sauce may be bland. Homemade chicken broth is fine or you could mix up a batch with Better than Bouillon chicken base (Culinary Hill may earn money if you buy through this link). For a vegetarian version, substitute vegetable broth.
  2. Cornstarch: All-purpose flour can be substituted for cornstarch. However, you may have to cook the sauce an additional 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Cheese tortellini: The cooking times in this recipe are based on frozen cheese tortellini. To substitute fresh or refrigerated tortellini, cook it for 2 to 3 minutes (it should be floating). To substitute dried tortellini, follow the instructions on the package (should be about 10 to 11 minutes).
  4. Butter: Do not substitute unsalted butter or your sauce may be bland.
  5. Yield: This recipe will make 4 hearty main course servings. Or, feed 8 as an appetizer or first course. If serving as part of a buffet, keep warm in a slow cooker.
  6. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 508kcalCarbohydrates: 55gProtein: 21gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 1523mgPotassium: 195mgFiber: 4gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 399IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 265mgIron: 4mg
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Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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Comments

  1. Was looking for a new quick and easy recipe. This was just that and taste delicious. I followed the exact recipe then added some fresh broccoli. The sauce came out very good, just follow recipe instructions and you can’t go wrong. I have already recommended this recipe to friends and family.5 stars

    1. Thank you for taking the time to write, Candace! I’m so happy you loved it! Take care! – Meggan

  2. Delicious, fast, easy, no weird ingredients. I added some frozen spinach & a bit of cream to the sauce. Loved it. Thank you for making my meal making easier.5 stars

  3. Hi
    it came out very good. I did not boil the tortellini with broth but simply water and a bit of salt. Then I only add 1 cup of chicken broth with 1/2 of cold water and mixed it with cornstarch. It was very creamy and delicious taste from garlic. thanks4 stars

  4. Like others, I was not pleased with the texture and the overall vibe of this sauce at first. Seriously reminded me of gravy on thanksgiving. But I saved mine by adding heavy cream and it’s actually really good now. I added the cream and simmered it for extra time to thicken it and it’s a great texture and delicious. Just an idea!3 stars

    1. Hi Leigh, sorry you didn’t care for the sauce. Happy you were able to adjust it to your liking. Thank you for the suggestion! – Meggan

  5. Just perfect! The sauce had so much flavor! I’m reducing dairy in my diet and this was a wonderful sauce for the tortellini. Thank you!5 stars

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