What Sauce Goes With Tortellini?

Are you looking to prepare some tortellini for dinner tonight? Wondering what sauce you can pair along with it? What works best, perhaps? Wonder no more! Here are some great sauce options!. 

So what sauces go with tortellini? Any creamy sauce goes well with tortellini! Although, whether you opt for a plain cream sauce or one with a lot of flavor depends on what the tortellini is filled with. If the filling is flavorful, you want to opt for something that doesn’t distract from the flavor too much, like a garlic and basil sauce or a garlic Alfredo sauce. Great pairings for tortellini with plainer fillings include a creamy tomato sauce, a sun-dried tomato pesto cream sauce with spinach, and a creamy garlic and cheese sauce. 

As you can see, cheese and cream form part of most, if not all, sauce recipes for tortellini.

It’s just such a great combination.

But what about no sauce at all?

Can you serve tortellini without sauce? Yes, indeed, you can! 

Drizzle it with some olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground pepper or red pepper flakes. You can opt to garnish it with some fresh herbs, too. 

So don’t panic if you don’t have any of the ingredients below.

Nevertheless, let’s deep dive into these recommended tortellini sauces and how to make them!

Besides, that’s what you came here for, right?

Sauces For Tortellini (Tortellini Sauce Options)

  • Garlic and basil sauce–one of the few sauces not requiring cream or cheese, this simple sauce is a nice pairing for tortellini or any kind 
  • Creamy garlic and cheese sauce–you can’t really go wrong with cheese and garlic, can you? 
  • Sun-dried tomato pesto cream sauce with spinach–the name might be a bit of a mouthful, but the sauce itself is wonderfully flavorful and creamy
  • Garlic “Alfredo” sauce–a bit lighter than the classic Alfredo sauce, this is a great sauce to go with tortellini  
  • Creamy tomato sauce–a classic tomato cream sauce filled with flavor 
  • The no sauce option–a dash of olive oil and seasoning to taste, and you don’t really need a sauce, even if a sauce can add a nice touch!  

Tortellini With Garlic And Basil Sauce

A lot less heavy than some of the other sauces on this list, the garlic and basil sauce works really well with tortellini. 


  • 11/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth, divided 
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch (you can sub with white flour, but if so, you may need to cook the sauce for 3-4 mins longer for desired thickness)
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese for garnish
  • Fresh basil chiffonade (i.e., finely cut) for garnish, optional


Step One: Mince the garlic and grate the cheese. 

Step Two: Whisk together the broth and the corn starch. 

Step Three: Melt the butter in s skillet over medium heat. When foaming, stir in the garlic and basil and cook for 2 minutes (till fragrant).

Step Four: Add the broth and cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer until it thickens. 

Step Five: Add the cooked tortellini and give it a gentle stir. 

Step Six: Plate and garnish with grated parmesan cheese and fresh basil, if desired.    

Tortellini With Creamy Garlic And Cheese Sauce

It’s hard to go wrong when you combine cream, garlic, and cheese. This sauce further contains some delicious herbs and spices. 


  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard powder
  • ¼ teaspoons pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • 4 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 splash of olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, whole
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups half and a half (3/4 cup milk, 3/4 cup cream)
  • ½ cup asiago cheese, finely grated
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley to garnish (optional, can sub for basil, too)


Step One: Combine the dried herbs and spices and set them aside. 

Step Two: Crush the garlic. 

Step Three: Put the garlic and butter in a deep skillet. Heat over medium heat for about 5 minutes—stirring or swirling frequently. When the butter starts to brown, add a splash of olive oil to prevent it from burning. 

Step Four: Add the flour and stir continuously for 1-2 minutes using a silicone or wooden spatula. 

Step Five: Add the chicken broth slowly, bit by bit, stirring continuously. 

Step Six: Add the half and half slowly, stirring continuously. Season with the spices.

Step Seven: Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer for a couple of minutes until it reaches desired thickness. 

Step Eight: Stir in the grated cheese, stirring continuously. 

Step Nine: Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. 

Step Ten: Add the cooked tortellini, and give it a gentle stir. Plate the ravioli. 

Step Eleven: Garnish with parsley or basil, if desired. 

Tortellini With Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Cream Sauce With Spinach 

Sun-dried tomato pesto in its own right is delicious. When softened by cream and spinach, it becomes even more delicious. 


  • 4 tbsp sun-dried tomato pesto
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 4 basil leaves or ½ tsp dried basil
  • 250ml/1 cup double/heavy whipping cream
  • 30g/1 cup fresh spinach 
  • 50g/1/2 cup parmesan cheese or other hard cheese like Asiago or Pecorino
  • salt to taste


Step One: Mince the garlic and, if using anything but baby leaf spinach, chop it. Grate the cheese. Chop the basil leaves. 

Step Two: Use a deep pan to heat the sun-dried tomato pesto and minced garlic over low heat for about 30 seconds. Stir continuously. 

Step Three: Pour in the heavy cream while stirring. Bring to a simmer, then add the spinach and basil. 

Step Four: Once the spinach has wilted, stir in the grated cheese. Season to taste. 

Step Five: Add the cooked tortellini and stir gently to combine. 

Step Six: Plate the tortellini and grate some parmesan cheese on top, and season with freshly ground pepper. Garnish with basil leaves, if desired.  

Tortellini With Garlic “Alfredo” Sauce 

This is a healthier version of Alfredo sauce as it doesn’t call for cream, though healthy in this instance is a debatable term…one thing is for sure—it’s a tasty sauce that pairs beautifully with tortellini. 


  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk, or more, as needed
  • ½ cup half and half*
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, cubed
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves


Step One: Mince the garlic, cube the cream cheese, and grate the parmesan. 

Step Two: In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook till fragrant—about 1 minute. 

Step Three: Mix in the flour, stirring with a wooden spoon while cooking for about a minute or two. 

Step Four: Slowly whisk in the milk and half and a half and cook while whisking continuously until the sauce thickens. About 2-3 minutes. 

Step Five: Stir in the cream cheese and parmesan—keep stirring until fully incorporated. If the sauce gets too thick, add a little bit of milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Step Six: Add the tortellini and gently stir to combine. 

Step Seven: Plate the tortellini and garnish with parsley, if desired. 

Tortellini With Creamy Tomato Sauce

Nothing beats a creamy tomato sauce on a cold day. It’s a great pairing for tortellini and a classic Italian sauce. 


  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 ½ tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Additional grated parmesan cheese, optional


Step One: Use a large skillet to heat the oil over medium heat. 

Step Two: Add the onion and sauté for a few minutes—it should become translucent. 

Step Three: Add the garlic and cook for another minute while stirring. 

Step Four: Add the tomatoes, spinach, and basil. Cook until the liquid is absorbed—about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Step Five: Stir in the cream and the cheese. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Let simmer until thickened—about 8-10 minutes. 

Step Six: Plate the tortellini and spoon over the sauce. Sprinkle with additional cheese, and season with freshly ground pepper if desired. Garnish with basil leaves, if desired.

The No Sauce Option

Tortellini comes with many tasty fillings–there’s, therefore, nothing saying you can’t enjoy it without a sauce!

Simply drizzle the tortellini with some olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Alternatively, use red pepper flakes. 

You can also experiment with different oils–perhaps you wand a chili or garlic infused oil, for example. 

Garnish with fresh herbs, if desired.  

The Side Salad

A baby spinach salad is never wrong as a side salad for tortellini. Make a simple vinaigrette with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. 

Want something a little more bitter? Try arugula or–more bitter yet–endives. Endives pair beautifully with green cheese and walnuts. 


I’m quite envious you have tortellini for dinner, I must admit.

Even more so if you were to pair it with any one of these sauces suggested above.

Trust me, they are all winners.

But what you ultimately decide to go for will depend on your preferences, the type of tortellini you have, and of course, what ingredients you have to hand (or are willing/able to go out and get).

Rest assured, you’ll have a delicious meal regardless of the sauce you opt for. 

How Is Tortellini Traditionally Served?

Tortellini is traditionally served with broth, although it is also commonly enjoyed with sauces such as cheese, cream, or tomato sauce.

Can You Cook Packaged Tortellini In Sauce?

It is possible to cook packaged Tortellini in sauce. In fact, this is a great way to coat the pasta and ensure maximum flavor.