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?

Yes, just bring 4 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon salt to boil for each pound of tortellini. Add the tortellini (unthawed) and cook until they float to the top, usually in about 3 to 5 minutes. 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!)

4.97 from 30 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. Danielle

    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.5 stars

    1. meggan

      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!

  2. Dawn

    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?5 stars

    1. meggan

      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. :)

  3. Beautiful Community5 stars

  4. Deborah

    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!5 stars

    1. meggan

      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. Pat Harper

    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.

    1. Can always add a little water.5 stars

    2. Jerry

      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.5 stars

    3. meggan

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

    4. meggan

      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.

  6. Christin

    This was awesome, thanks!!5 stars

    1. meggan

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

  7. I always have tortellini in the freezer because they make the perfect quick meal on those days when I just can’t go to the store and I need my ’emergency food dinner’. This dish would make a perfect emergency food dinner because you can keep all the ingredients in the  freezer, pantry and fridge at all times. 5 stars

  8. 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! :) 5 stars

  9. JessMJS

    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!
    Thanks!
     ;)5 stars

  10. meggan

    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.

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