Tortellini Alfredo

published Mar 30, 2022
Tortellini Alfredo Recipe

How to make cheesy-filled pasta even cheesier.


Prep5 minutes

Cook12 minutes to 18 minutes

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Tortellini alfredo in a bowl
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Alfredo is where you turn to when you want the simple comfort of a cheesy pasta. Although fettuccine alfredo is the go-to of the genre, swapping in store-bought cheese tortellini for the fettuccine is a fun, easy way to alfredo in a new way. Plus, you’ve just added another kind of cheese into dinner without any extra effort on your part.

What’s the Best Way to Cook Packaged Tortellini?

Cooking pre-made tortellini, whether fresh or frozen, is just the same as cooking pasta. Bring a pot of water to a boil, salt it generously, and dump in the pasta. No need to defrost frozen tortellini; it can go straight in from the freezer into the boiling water. Since this tortellini will finish cooking in the sauce, boil it for two minutes less than package directions to keep it from getting mushy.

Tips for Making Tortellini Alfredo

  • Don’t overcook the sauce. The sauce thickens up quickly, so make sure to take it off the heat once it comes to a simmer if the tortellini isn’t ready yet.
  • Undercook the tortellini. Boil the tortellini for two minutes less than package directions.
  • Use pasta water. Save some of that precious starchy pasta cooking water and use it to loosen up the sauce as you toss it with the tortellini. And don’t dump the water after dinner’s on the table. The sauce thickens as it cools, so the pasta water can come in handy for thinning out the sauce if you’re going back for seconds or have leftovers.

What Should I Serve with Tortellini Alfredo?

Alfredo is quite a rich dish already with all the cheese and creamy sauce, so contrast all that by serving it with a simple side of steamed or air-fried broccoli, sautéed green beans, or a green salad dressed with a tangy vinaigrette.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Tortellini Alfredo Recipe

How to make cheesy-filled pasta even cheesier.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 12 minutes to 18 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 4 ounces

    Parmesan cheese (2 cups loosely packed grated or 1 cup store-bought grated)

  • 3 cloves


  • 4 tablespoons

    (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1 1/2 cups


  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed Freshly ground black pepper

  • 18 to 20 ounces

    fresh or frozen cheese tortellini (do not thaw)

  • Finely chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)


  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, make the sauce.

  2. Finely grate 4 ounces Parmesan cheese on the smallest holes of a box grater if needed (about 2 loosely packed cups), or measure out 1 cup store-bought grated. Finely grate or mince 3 garlic cloves (about 1 tablespoon). Melt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large frying pan or skillet (preferably nonstick) over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant but not browned, about 30 seconds.

  3. Add 1 1/2 cups half-and-half and bring to a simmer. Add the cheese, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Whisk to combine and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat.

  4. Add the tortellini to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes less than package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta.

  5. Add the pasta to the sauce and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until heated through and the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Add some of the pasta water to thin out the sauce if needed. Taste and season with more kosher salt and black pepper as needed. Garnish with finely chopped fresh parsley leaves if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days. When reheating, thin out the sauce with a little milk as needed.