HomeDinnerBest Creamy Garlic Butter Sauce for Tortellini

Best Creamy Garlic Butter Sauce for Tortellini

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Best Creamy Garlic Butter Sauce for Tortellini


There’s nothing quite like a plate of tortellini smothered in a rich, creamy garlic butter sauce. This sauce is perfect for elevating your favorite tortellini, making it a gourmet dish in the comfort of your own home. With its velvety texture and robust garlic flavor, it’s sure to become a staple in your recipe collection.

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Tips for Best Results

  • Quality Ingredients: Use high-quality butter and Parmesan cheese for a richer flavor.
  • Fresh Herbs: Fresh parsley adds a bright, herbaceous note to the sauce.

Making the Sauce

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Melt Butter: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  2. Add Garlic: Add the minced garlic and sauté for about 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  3. Add Cream: Pour in the heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and let it cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add Cheese and Seasonings: Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the cheese has melted and the sauce has thickened.
  5. Add Parsley: Remove from heat and stir in the chopped fresh parsley.

Cooking the Tortellini

Perfectly Cooking Tortellini

  1. Boil Water: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Cook Tortellini: Add the tortellini and cook according to the package instructions, usually about 2-3 minutes for fresh tortellini.
  3. Drain: Drain the tortellini, reserving a cup of pasta water.

Combining Tortellini with the Sauce

  1. Mix Together: Add the cooked tortellini to the sauce and gently toss to coat. If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of the reserved pasta water to reach your desired consistency.

Serving Suggestions

Ideal Accompaniments

  • Garlic Bread: Perfect for soaking up any extra sauce.
  • Green Salad: A simple green salad with a light vinaigrette balances the richness of the sauce.
  • Steamed Vegetables: Broccoli or green beans make a great side.

Presentation Tips

  • Garnish: Sprinkle extra Parmesan and fresh parsley on top for a beautiful finish.
  • Serve Hot: Serve the tortellini immediately for the best flavor and texture.

Variations and Substitutions

Different Types of Cheese

  • Pecorino Romano: For a sharper flavor, substitute Parmesan with Pecorino Romano.
  • Mozzarella: Add a bit of mozzarella for a gooey texture.

Alternative Herbs and Spices

  • Basil: Fresh basil can be used instead of parsley for a different flavor profile.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: Add a pinch for a bit of heat.

Health Benefits

Nutritional Information

  • Protein: Cheese and cream provide a good amount of protein.
  • Calcium: Parmesan cheese is rich in calcium, essential for bone health.

Benefits of Key Ingredients

  • Garlic: Known for its immune-boosting properties.
  • Parsley: Rich in vitamins A, C, and K.

Tips and Tricks

Cooking Hacks for Beginners

  • Constant Stirring: Keep stirring the sauce to prevent it from sticking and burning.
  • Pasta Water: Use reserved pasta water to adjust the sauce consistency.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Overcooking Garlic: Burnt garlic can make the sauce bitter.
  • Skipping Fresh Ingredients: Fresh herbs and cheese make a big difference in flavor.

Pairing with Drinks

Best Beverages

  • White Wine: A crisp Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay pairs wonderfully with creamy sauces.
  • Sparkling Wine: For a celebratory touch, try a glass of Prosecco.

Non-Alcoholic Options

  • Sparkling Water: Lemon or lime-infused sparkling water is refreshing.
  • Iced Tea: A glass of iced tea with a hint of lemon complements the dish well.

Storing and Reheating

How to Store Leftovers

Store leftover tortellini in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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Best Reheating Methods

Reheat gently in a saucepan over low heat, adding a splash of cream or milk to loosen the sauce if needed.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I use a different type of pasta? Yes, this sauce pairs well with any pasta like fettuccine, penne, or ravioli.
  2. How long does the sauce take to make? The sauce takes about 15-20 minutes from start to finish.
  3. Is this dish suitable for vegetarians? Yes, as long as the Parmesan cheese is vegetarian-friendly.
  4. Can I make the sauce ahead of time? Yes, you can make the sauce up to 2 days in advance. Reheat gently before serving.
  5. How can I make it lighter? Use half-and-half instead of heavy cream and reduce the amount of butter for a lighter version.


This creamy garlic butter sauce for tortellini is a simple yet luxurious dish that’s perfect for any occasion. With its rich flavors and velvety texture, it’s sure to impress your family and friends. Whether you’re looking for a quick weeknight dinner or a special meal, this sauce will elevate your tortellini to the next level. Give it a try and enjoy a delicious homemade Italian meal!

Yield: 6

Best Creamy Garlic Butter Sauce for Tortellini

Best Creamy Garlic Butter Sauce for Tortellini

There's nothing quite like a plate of tortellini smothered in a rich, creamy garlic butter sauce. This sauce is perfect for elevating your favorite tortellini, making it a gourmet dish in the comfort of your own home. With its velvety texture and robust garlic flavor, it's sure to become a staple in your recipe collection.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream ( 35-36% fat)
  • 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¾ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 18 ounces (500 grams) tortellini


  • In a small bowl combine Italian seasoning, onion powder, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Begin boiling salted water for tortellini pasta. Cook your tortellini as per package instructions. Drain once cooked.
  • Crush the garlic  with the flat of your knife and the heel of your hand.  Transfer it to a 10-inch (25 cm) heavy bottomed skillet together with the butter.
  • As the butter melts, swirl it around for even coloring. Once it starts to turn brown, add olive oil to prevent butter from burning. Keep an eye on the butter as it goes from brown to burnt really quickly. 
  • Once it smells nutty, add the heavy cream, seasoning and Parmesan cheese. Cook until the cheese is melted, stirring continuously. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
  • Add the cooked tortellini and toss to coat. 
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!


You don’t have to brown the butter. The difference in flavor is subtle, and unbrowned butter will work just fine. However, as any great cook will tell you, little differences are what separates good dishes from gourmet dishes. Remember that there’s a fine line between browned and burnt butter, which is why we use a splash of olive oil to prevent burning. You can, if you prefer, simply melt butter, allowing it to foam, without browning it. 

If you can, shred the cheese yourself from a block rather than using store-bought pre-shaved cheese. It will taste better, melt easier, and blocks of cheese are typically of a higher quality than the pre-grated bags.

If you don’t have any Parmesan, that’s OK! You can substitute it for pecorino, or romano. Most of the salty, crumbly, hard Italian cheese have similar flavors and textures, but their depth of flavor varies based on region of origin and their aging period. 

You can use a classic four-cheese (look for quattro formaggio on the label) tortellini, to really make this an indulgent, cheesy treat. If you like, however, there are a variety of other tortellini you could try. Some have pumpkin, spinach, or even meat fillings, and they all work very well in this sauce.

You could use half and half rather than heavy cream for this recipe, too. It will make your sauce thinner, however. If that happens, add 1 tablespoon flour ( mixed with water).

Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 536
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