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!)

4.93 from 39 votes

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!
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword italian, pasta, tortellini
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 551kcal
  • 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
  • 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 parsley, if desired.

Recipe 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. 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).

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Bobbie Taylor

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

    1. Meggan

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

  5. 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 :)

  6. Berta M

    They’re no reason to have to separate broths. The starchy broth from boiling the tortellini is liquid gold.4 stars

    1. Suz

      Why do we have to waste 2 1/2 c broth to cook the pasta in and have to throw it away…do you mean to use water and then keep that water?

    2. meggan

      Hi Berta, I agree with you. I have been making this recipe for years and years, since like 2005. It needs to be revamped, and we need to save that broth. You are totally right. I’ll fix it up! I am shooting a new video for it too, so we can get the change reflected there. I appreciate your feedback. -Meggan

  7. Katy

    Delicious!! I made this tonight but only a half batch because I was cooking for just me. It was really good and super fast. I used frozen tortellini and premade garlic butter. It’s definitely on my make again list.5 stars

  8. Kris

    The sauce turned out amazing, according to my husband. I had defrosted some homemade chicken broth and (of course) the first thing melted was fat-so the sauce was fatty to me…but everyone else ate it up! Flavor was great, smelled WONDERFUL cooking. Nice earthy flavor, not overpowered by garlic. Thickened up very well.5 stars

  9. Shelly

    Great recipe! We added a 10 oz bag of spinach…yum! We will definitely make this again!5 stars

  10. Jim Beeler

    Made this tonight. Wonderful!!
    I added sliced mushrooms. Will make again.5 stars

  11. BONNIE BARNES

    Easy light sauce. You are correct salt needed to be added. I used salted water instead of the broth as I didn’t have enough on hand at the time. Also, held back salted water to thin the sauce a little. Very good flavor!

    Bonnie5 stars

  12. Tammy Robertson

    Recipe came out amazing!5 stars

  13. Jade Quick

    Could we use tortelloni in this recipe?

    1. Jamie

      Hey William Collins Currie,
      You sound dumb. Tortellini and tortelloni are two DIFFERENT things. That’s why this person asked The question. The tortelloni noodles are bigger. Dummy

    2. William Collins-Currie

      Your kidding right…the recipe is Cheese TORTELLINI in Garlic Butter Sauce

    3. Meggan

      Hi Jade, I have never tested it with tortelloni, but I don’t see why not! Measurements should all be the same. -Meggan :D

  14. Corina

    Delicious recipe. I used fresh tortellini. Butter, garlic and basil… what a perfect sauce for them. I am a big fan of Italian cuisine but my husband prefers the French. This is the perfect compromise, replacing the olive oil with butter. :) Thank you for the recipe.5 stars

  15. Juli P

    I’ve missed this in the past, but will definitely be making this for my tortellini obsessed kids. I think tortellini was their first word.

  16. Jennifer Li

    I made this tonight and it was a big hit. At step 2 I added 1/2 cup of chopped onion with fresh basil and garlic which I think gave it a lot of flavor. Super easy and would make it again.5 stars

  17. HEATHER

    I was wondering if using flour instead of cornstarch would work? I’m out of cornstarch and debating on going to the store to get some.5 stars

    1. HEATHER

      I wish I could post the photos of how it turned out! It was perfect. Perfect color and consistency. I chose to change up the steps and make the sauce like I would gravy since I was using flour. I’ just added the flour to the simmering butter mix and then whisked thebroth in. I think for those who say the broth isn’t enough to boil the tortellini need to boil it with a lid on so the broth doesn’t evaporate and boil at a lower temp. I used 19 oz instead of 16 oz of tortellini and I added shrimp so I needed to make sure I had a little more sauce. I had more than enough broth left over plus the cup and a half I set aside. I just removed the tortellini and put it in a covered bowl to keep warm. Then I combined the remaining broth with the broth I set aside. Next time I won’t sit any broth aside and just Strain the broth into a bowl after I use it to boil the tortellini. Anyways I added the shrimp and some cherry tomatoes I cut in half a little after I added the broth. I whisked it slightly until it started to lightly simmer. It started to thicken pretty fast. When I thought the sauce was thick enough I added the tortellini to the pot and mixed it up. Then I dumped it all into a bowl to let stand. I used a cast Iron pot. Before I started cooking I unthawed precooked shrimp. I put the shrimp in a bowl and added melted butter, a splash of lemon juice, garlic powder, parsley, pepper and a little salt. I mixed that all up and set it aside to marinate a bit. When I added the shrimp I drained the marinade I made away. I think I marinated the shrimp for about an hour. I was moving pretty slow. Lol I went to the winery yesterday so it took me about an hour total to get everything out and actually start cooking. I made red lobster cheddar bay biscuits from a box kit to go with it. Thanks for this recipe. Everyone loved it! 5 stars

    2. HEATHER

      Thanks for the fast reply! No I don’t get upset lol it happens often. I may also try powdered garlic. 🤞🏻Thanks again!5 stars

    3. meggan

      I can’t think of a reason why flour wouldn’t work. However, if you are the sort of person who gets super upset about recipes gone wrong and/or food waste, please don’t let me accidentally ruin your day!!! LOL! But butter + flour works for sauces everywhere. I will test it at some point so I can definitively answer your question.

  18. udi levy

    Simply awesome!5 stars

  19. Janine

    Quote from the 11 year old: “I must say, whatever this sauce is, it is AMAZZZZZING. It even makes this cheese tortellini taste good.” (He had just informed me while cooking the tortellini that he wasn’t particularly fond of the brand I had chosen). This is a kid who is a pretty adventurous eater but does not like red sauces and is sick of alfredo sauce. So we rarely do pasta. Thanks for the easy, yummy recipe. He even wanted to have the leftovers saved to eat before going to his sport practice. (a rare compliment!) We used veggie broth for ours version.5 stars

  20. anna cole

    hi, i was just wondering if you could use frozen cheese tortellini and if it would effect the cook time or if i should use water or broth.5 stars

    1. meggan

      Hi Anna, I’ve definitely used frozen cheese tortellini for this recipe. You may have to add a couple more minutes to the cook time, but not a lot. Just take a look at the package and see how long they say to cook it for, and that’s probably about the right time. I’m guessing it’s 5 minutes or less. You can use either water or broth, that won’t affect that cooking time. If you need anything else or have other questions, please just let me know! Thanks.

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