Recipe Review

I Tried Air Fried Cheese Tortellini and It’s a Perfect Appetizer for Summer Entertaining

published Jul 13, 2022
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I Tried It Air Fried Cheese Tortellini
Credit: Aly Walansky

It’s said as you get older, you mature in ways unexpected. You may start to really appreciate a trip to the farmers market or an early bird dinner special. But it’s also pretty likely you develop a deep affection for a specific kitchen appliance. And for me, that appliance is the air fryer.

I’ve had an air fryer for several years now, and what started out as a device I might use for wings or potato wedges quickly expanded into something I use for, well, everything. So, when I saw food blogger Alice Choi mention on her Instagram that she makes air fried cheese tortellini, I just couldn’t resist giving it a try.

Alice Choi’s method is as simple as simple gets (that is the draw of the air fryer in general, after all) and just involves any store-bought tortellini, tossing it in the air fryer, and then dipping in your sauce of choice. The result is golden, crunchy, and incredibly simple.

How to Make Air-Fried Cheese Tortellini 

This recipe is so easy, even people who don’t like to cook will be on board. I started by grabbing a package of three-cheese tortellini I picked up at my local Aldi this weekend. As I was just making it for myself, I only used about 1/3 of the package, but the same recipe would work well if feeding a group of friends or the whole family.

I took the tortellini and placed it in my air fryer in a single layer. I didn’t use any oil or cooking spray. It just went in there as-is! Then, I set the air fryer to 375°F for six minutes. Midway through, I opened it up, shook the basket, and then let it finish cooking, so that the tortellini would cook evenly on both sides. As the tortellini finished air frying, I quickly simmered my dipping sauce — which I created out of a small can of tomato sauce with a spoonful of store-bought pesto mixed in, to create a garlicky, savory flavor. 

Credit: Aly Walansky

My Honest Review of Air-Fried Cheese Tortellini 

This couldn’t possibly be easier! It reminded me a bit of the fried ravioli appetizer at my local chain restaurant, but simpler and a lot lighter. The tortellini was golden and crunchy, and with the dipping sauce became the sort of finger food I love to have available for friends and family to nosh on when they come for a visit.

While the tortellini do taste a little bland on their own, they are actually quite tasty when mixed with the dipping sauce (which I find is normally the case with any pasta — no one is usually eating straight up plain spaghetti).

5 Tips for Making Air-Fried Cheese Tortellini 

  1. Choose any variety that works for you. Tortellini comes in tons of flavors and sizes, and all will work in this recipe. So, go for whatever is most going to be enjoyed by the group you are entertaining.
  2. You don’t have to flip the tortellini. While the original recipe called for flipping the tortellini or shaking the basket midway through, I got similar results when I attempted the recipe without doing that. So, if you want to skip that step, it’s going to be OK!
  3. Have fun with the dipping sauces. I enjoyed this with a pesto-marinara, but a spicy marinara or a straight-up pesto would be great here too. Perhaps it’d even be fun when entertaining to offer a variety of dipping sauce options and allow people to choose their own adventure.
  4. Serve it hot. These tasted best straight from the air fryer, when they were fresh and golden and the inside cheese was hot and melty. Keep that in mind if planning them as an appetizer for a party.
  5. Reheating is fine! If you discover that you have leftovers, they can be tossed back in the air fryer (or a frying pan) for a few minutes to heat back up and still be very tasty.