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Best Creamy Garlic Butter Sauce for Tortellini

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5 from 13 reviews

  • Author: chefjar
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


This creamy garlic butter sauce for tortellini is easy, quick and amazingly creamy. Make it with fresh or frozen tortellini for a quick restaurant-style meal.


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream ( 35-36% fat)
  • 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 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).

  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Category: Sauce recipes
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • Calories: 536kcal
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Sodium: 851mg
  • Fat: 37g
  • Saturated Fat: 12g
  • Carbohydrates: 51g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 24g
  • Cholesterol: 73mg