This cheesy baked tortellini recipe is simple to prep, uses everyday ingredients, and makes a cozy family meal that even picky eaters will devour!
Why you'll crave it
This baked tortellini casserole is perfect for when you want something hot and comforting but don't want to spend ages in the kitchen. The tortellini cooks right in the oven, so you don't even need to boil it first. Shortcuts that lead to fewer dishes are always a good idea, in my opinion!
Here we've got cheesy pasta, a juicy marinara and meat sauce, and loads of ooey gooey cheese. That's bound to make everyone happy, right? This inexpensive pasta bake feeds a crowd, but it also makes tasty leftovers if you can't gobble it up right away. It's a fantastic option for those busy workdays when you don't want to put a ton of effort into dinner but have hungry mouths to feed.
What you'll need
- Olive oil - for sautéing
- Onion - I like sweet (Vidalia) best, but yellow or white works
- Ground beef - at least 90% lean is my preference here
- Garlic - use even more than suggested if you're a garlic lover. I like to mince it with this garlic press, which doesn't require peeling the cloves.
- Marinara sauce - for convenience, we're using a 24 oz. jar. Choose your favorite brand.
- Tortellini - we're using the refrigerated variety of cheese tortellini in this recipe, which means we can bake the tortellini without boiling it.
- Cheese - I chose both cheddar and mozzarella for all-out cheesy flavor.
Make ahead tips
- Assemble the entire thing by completing the recipe through step 5, and then tightly cover and freeze the whole baking dish or refrigerate overnight.
- When you want to cook it, bake it for a bit longer than suggested. You'll want to check it's fully warmed through before the broiling step.
- If using a ceramic baking dish, let it warm up on the counter for a while first, or let it thaw in the fridge overnight.
How to make baked tortellini
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Start by preheating your oven and sautéing half an onion in a skillet. Add the ground beef and garlic to the skillet and cook until it's browned. Transfer the beef mixture to a 9x13 casserole dish.
Add in the marinara sauce and uncooked tortellini. Toss it together, then spread in an even layer and top with the cheese. Cover in foil and bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove the foil, and broil for a few minutes to brown the cheese.
Substitutions and variations
- You may sub the ground beef with another ground meat such as turkey or Italian sausage.
- Any tomato-based pasta sauce will work, and you can change it up. You don't necessarily have to use marinara! But if you do, try my Homemade Marinara if you want one from scratch instead of from a jar.
- You can definitely use frozen tortellini since they will thaw fast. I'd add on an extra 10 minutes or so onto baking time to ensure they cook through, though.
What to serve with it
- This tortellini bake is great as a meal on its own, but for an all-out comfort food fest try it with a slice of crusty bread, a dinner roll, or this Homemade Garlic Bread.
- I enjoy serving it with a side salad as well for a fresh pairing. A Classic Caesar Salad goes really well, or try my copycat Olive Garden Italian Dressing.
Leftovers and storage
- You can reheat leftovers of this tortellini bake in the oven covered with foil. You could always broil for a bit at the end again to get the cheese nice and melty/browned again!
- Reheating in the microwave in shorter intervals until warmed through or covered in a saucepan on low heat will work too.
- I don't recommend freezing the leftovers of this one. Cooked pasta and cheese don't always come out right when thawed.
Questions about this tortellini bake? Talk to me in the comments below or leave a review! You can always tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram with your creations.
Baked Tortellini (Tomato & Meat Sauce)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion chopped
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced
- 3 cups marinara sauce (one 24 oz. jar)
- 2 (9 ounce) packages uncooked refrigerated cheese tortellini see note
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1 cup shredded cheddar
- Preheat your oven to 375F and move the rack to the top third of the oven.
- Add the oil and onion to a skillet over medium-high heat and sauté for 4-5 minutes.
- Stir in the beef and garlic and continue cooking, breaking the meat up with your spoon as you go along, until the beef has browned (about 8-10 minutes). Spoon out excess fat if there's a lot, and then transfer the cooked beef to a 9x13 casserole dish.
- Add the marinara sauce, cheese tortellini, and some salt & pepper to the casserole dish, then toss it all together and spread it out in an even layer.
- Sprinkle the cheeses over top, then cover the dish tightly with foil.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the tortellini is cooked and the cheese has melted. Optional: take the foil off once it's done, then broil for a few minutes to brown the cheese up a bit.
- Serves 6-8 depending on how much people eat/what else it's served with.
- Since the tortellini isn't boiled, it's important that you use refrigerated tortellini since it cooks fast. If using the dried kind, boil it according to package directions first.
- I used a bagged mozza/cheddar blend (2 cups of it).
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.