For quick weeknight meals, refrigerator cheese tortellini is my secret weapon. This tortellini cooks fast and everyone loves it. I literally made this baked tortellini with meat sauce in under fifteen minutes and then put it in the oven to bake in 30 minutes. The kids were so impressed dinner was ready when they walked in from practice.
This pasta casserole is a red meat sauce base with cheese-filled tortellini. When I threw together this baked tortellini recipe after work one night, I was confident my family would love every bite of it since they devour my crock pot sausage tortellini soup. This is really a cross between that soup recipe and my three-cheese baked spaghetti recipe.
Tortellini Bake Ingredients
These ingredients for a simple red sauce and cheese tortellini casserole are pantry and freezer staples. Having these ingredients on hand give you plenty of flexibility and versatility to make lots of different meals, but mainly this baked tortellini red sauce and ground beef.
- Cheese tortellini - Refrigerator cheese tortellini is my pick of type. I use both of the common brands you see at the grocery store - Rana and Buitoni. Frozen tortellini or dried tortellini can also be used. You will just need to cook the casserole longer.
- Spaghetti Sauce - Your favorite jarred spaghetti sauce can work. Homemade sauce is totally fine too. I sometimes use my roasted garlic basil tomato sauce I have in the freezer.
- Ground beef and pork - For a meat sauce, you need to have ground beef. I also sometimes use ground pork. In this recipe, I used both. If you are a ground turkey family, that works too.
- Onions - I add sweet onion to the hamburger when I am browning it. This is optional.
- Garlic - When it comes to garlic, I never think there is enough. I also add minced garlic to the hamburger as I brown it.
- Cream Cheese - I like the sauce to be creamy so I add cream cheese to the spaghetti sauce.
- Zesty Spaghetti Seasoning Packet - For lots of flavors, add an envelope of thick and zesty spaghetti seasoning.
- Cheese - Both shredded mozzarella and grated parmesan are a must for this recipe. You can also use an Italian blend cheese.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Baked Tortellini?
This cheese tortellini bake recipe is so easy to make. Browning the ground beef is the hardest part of the entire process.
Brown the ground beef and pork in a skillet with the diced onions and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
In a large Dutch Oven, pour the spaghetti sauce of the meat. Heat up over low heat, stirring in the zesty seasoning and cream cheese.
When the cream cheese is melted, stir in the uncooked tortellini.
Transfer to a 13x9 pan to bake. Top with shredded cheese. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Uncover for 5 minutes to allow the cheese to brown.
When the baked tortellini comes out of the oven, let m cool for a few minutes. Serve with extra grated parmesan cheese.
Hint: For an extra creamy red sauce, add half a cup of cream to the sauce in addition to the cream cheese.
Substitutions for Traditional Baked Cheese Tortellini.
Adjustments can be made to the recipe to adjust to dietary needs. Here are suggestions to make this tortellini casserole vegetarian, dairy-free, or gluten-free.
- Dairy Free - instead of cheese tortellini, you can use meat tortellini in this recipe too. Omit the cream cheese from the sauce. Either use a dairy free cheese for the top or omit that as well.
- Gluten-Free - use gluten-free tortellini instead of traditional tortellini to make this gluten-free baked tortellini.
- Vegetarian - ground meat can be replaced with a plant-based burger to make this vegetarian. Meat of any kind can be left out making this just a marinara and pasta recipe.
Even if you don't have a diet need, these baked tortellini substitutions could still be delicious options.
Variations to Baked Tortellini with Meat Sauce
Here are different ways to change up a tortellini casserole. You can make it with red or white sauce and even have some ravioli to change it up.
- Spicy Tortellini Casserole - add chili pepper flakes while cooking to imbue heat into the dish, or banana peppers
- Baked Ravioli - instead of tortellini, you can use cheese tortellini in this recipe too. Similar to Ravioli Lasagna.
- Chicken Alfredo Tortellini - Don't love red sauce? Switch the red sauce for this easy homemade alfredo sauce. Then also substitute the ground meat for diced chicken. Toss in some broccoli if you want it to be like our chicken alfredo tortellini with broccoli recipe.
We all have our favorite pan, baking dish, and even burner on the stove. Adulthood is so weird. But seriously, these are my favorite kitchen pieces for making a fast dinner.
Storing Leftover Baked Pasta and Freezer Meal Method
Store the leftover tortellini casserole in the fridge for up to three days. Reheat in the microwave in 30-second increments until heated through.
Make an extra tortellini casserole and freeze it before baking. Then take the casserole out the day before you want to bake it and place it in the fridge. Bake covered 45 minutes.
Yes! The best thing about refrigerator tortellini is just how easy it is to cook. The frozen and dried tortellini can also be baked without boiling but the sauce will need a little more liquid than the refrigerator tortellini.
Yes, baked tortellini is a great freezer meal recipe. Make the baked tortellini casserole and freeze it before baking. Then take the casserole out the day before you want to bake it and place it in the fridge. Bake covered 45 minutes.
The Best Tortellini Recipes
Looking for other baked tortellini recipes like this? Try these:
What to Eat with Tortellini Bake
These are my favorite dishes to serve with pasta recipes.
Cheese Tortellini Bake Recipe
- 20 ounce box of refrigerator cheese tortellini
- 1 pound Ground Pork browned
- 1 pound Ground Beef
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- 1 onion
- 28 ounce Spaghetti Sauce
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 Packet McCormick thick and zesty Spaghetti seasoning
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt and pepper
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
- Brown the ground meat with the onions and garlic. Drain and return to Dutch oven.
- Mix the spaghetti sauce, zesty sauce packet, and cream cheese in with the sauce.
- Stir in the refrigerator cheese tortellini.
- Cover with shredded cheese and parmesan cheese. Bake covered with aluminum foil at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake five more minutes if you want browned cheese.