Creamy Tortellini

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This One Skillet Creamy Tortellini combines with sautéed aromatics, chicken sausage, loads of veggies, and fresh cheese tortellini in an irresistible cream sauce with — surprise — more cheese! This is delicious, creamy, comfort food at it’s finest!

Overhead image of the creamy tortellini

Creamy Tortellini

This baked Creamy Tortellini is such a fun recipe. It’s completely crave-worthy, restaurant quality, and ridiculously cheesy. While it is creamy and cheesy, it also has a nice freshness and lightness to it thanks to the abundance of veggies. Which, by the way, if you have kiddos resistant to veggies, I swear by making this dish as the way to get them to eat and enjoy them!

And while it may seem like you’ve slaved over this recipe for hours in the kitchen, it’s a relatively easy-to-prepare recipe with plenty of short-cuts employed! We’re using frozen (already chopped) veggies, store-bought tortellini, smoked sausage (so we only have to brown, not cook meat), and more — I don’t want to spoil all the surprises here! 🙂

But before we get too far, did I mention you only need one skillet to make this recipe?! I’m all for less dishes wherever possible! So let’s get back to talking about those recipe short-cuts…

Process shots-- images of the onions being sautéed and the sausage being chopped and added to the onions

Creamy Tortellini Recipe Shortcuts

  • Get pre-sliced produce. Most grocery stores sell diced yellow onions in the produce section of the store. Alternatively, frozen diced onions are often sold by other frozen veggies and can be used in this recipe.
  • Use jarred garlic or a garlic press. Instead of mincing your own garlic, use jarred to save time. Or, a garlic press will get you fresh minced garlic in a fraction of the time that hand mincing takes.
  • Frozen, chopped veggies. The big time saver in this recipe is using already chopped, frozen veggies. With this addition, we’re pretty much eliminating the need for chopping beyond the sausage (and potentially onion/garlic depending on what you purchase). The bag of frozen veggies add so much color, flavor, texture, and nutritional benefits with no extra work on your end — score!
  • Already made, fresh tortellini. Another big short-cut is the tortellini. Grabbing freshly made is a huge time saver — it cooks up in the cream sauce, no need to boil it beforehand!
  • Use pre-shredded cheese. If you do opt for cheese that is already grated, check the labels to ensure they haven’t added cellulose which is an additive to keep cheese from clumping in the bag. This addition makes the cheese come out a bit greasy in the final dish. There are several brands now making their shredded cheese without cellulose which will work well in this creamy tortellini.

Process shots--immages of the frozen veggies bring sautéed and everything being transferred to a new bowl Process shots-- images of the cream base being made

Recipe Tips

  • Prep everything before you start cooking. When preparing Creamy Tortellini, the cooking goes fairly quickly, so you want to make sure to have everything ready to go before starting. I like to grab out all the ingredients, shred the cheese, and measuring out seasonings before starting.
  • Take time sautéing the onion, garlic, and sausage. We’re adding layers of flavor here and if you don’t want crunchy bites of onion, you’ll want to take time getting them tender at the start — they don’t soften much more throughout the cooking process.
  • Seasonings. This dish doesn’t have a lot of salt and pepper because the chicken stock, the Parmesan cheese, and the chicken sausage are all fairly salty on their own. That said, you still might need a pinch extra at the end — don’t be afraid to add more salt and pepper until the flavors sing. On the flip side, if you are sensitive to salt, reduce or omit added salt in this dish.
  • Cook Creamy Tortellini in an oven-safe skillet. This way you can directly transfer from stovetop to oven — no additional dishes needed. If you don’t have an oven safe skillet, I’d recommend a 9×13-inch pan for baking after assembling.

Process shots-- images of the cream sauce being made continued

Creamy Tortellini Ingredient Tips

  • Use high-quality stock or broth. The better the stock, the richer this meal will taste. We love Swanson’s Chicken Stock® best (not sponsored).
  • Choose your favorite smoked sausage. We love Italian-flavored chicken sausage in this recipe. While we haven’t personally tested it, we think smoked turkey sausage or smoked beef sausage would also work nicely. As long as it’s pre-cooked (smoked), it should work.
  • Pick whole milk. While 1% or 2% milk will work, I highly recommend whole milk in this recipe — we don’t find it creamy or flavorful enough with lower fat percentages of milk. I have not personally tried dairy alternatives in this recipe, but again, I doubt it would be creamy enough.
  • Choose your favorite fresh tortellini. We love and recommend Rana’s Cheese Lover’s Tortelloni (not sponsored). It’s so flavorful and bakes up perfectly. By the way, tortelloni is simply a slightly larger sized tortellini — either will work in this recipe.
  • Use a block of Parmesan cheese and grate it on the small holes of the cheese grater. Measure loosely. I don’t recommend jarred or canned Parmesan cheese — the flavor will be overpowering and too salty in Creamy Tortellini.
  • Grab sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese. Both of these cheeses have a much more robust flavor than regular cheddar cheese — they’ve been aged longer.

Process shots-- images of the veggies mixture being added back to the cream base and tortellini being added and everything being baked

Creamy Tortellini Side Dish Suggestions

Another nice thing about this recipe is that it’s really got everything you need in one skillet — veggies, protein, and carbs! It’s a great, well-balanced meal. That said, here are some side-dish serving suggestions:

Overhead image of the one skillet creamy tortellini fresh out of the oven

Storage

Because of the amount of dairy in this dish, it is not a great candidate for freezing and thawing. It will become grainy when thawed.

Overall, Creamy Tortellini is best enjoyed the same day it’s made. Leftovers get a bit mushy — the tortellini continues to absorb the sauce and bloats.

Up close overhead image of the one skillet creamy tortellini with freshly melted cheese on top

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Creamy Tortellini

This One Skillet Creamy Tortellini combines with sautéed aromatics, chicken sausage, loads of veggies, and fresh cheese tortellini in an irresistible cream sauce with -- surprise -- more cheese! This is delicious, creamy, comfort food at it's finest!
Print Recipe

Creamy Tortellini

This One Skillet Creamy Tortellini combines with sautéed aromatics, chicken sausage, loads of veggies, and fresh cheese tortellini in an irresistible cream sauce with -- surprise -- more cheese! This is delicious, creamy, comfort food at it's finest!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Creamy Tortellini
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 -6 servings
Calories 603kcal
Cost $9.96

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon (13g) olive oil
  • 1 cup (130g) diced yellow onion (~1 small onion)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic ~2-3 cloves
  • 1 package (12 oz; 340g) Italian-style chicken sausage, thinly sliced
  • 1 package (32 oz; 907g) frozen mixed veggies (we use a blend with corn, peas, carrots, & green beans)
  • 4 tablespoons (56g) unsalted butter
  • 5 tablespoons (43g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: garlic powder, onion powder, fine sea salt, pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups (515g) whole milk Note 1
  • 1-1/4 cups (321g) Swanson's chicken stock Note 2
  • 1/2 cup (34g) finely grated Parmesan cheese Note 3
  • 1 package (10 oz.; 283g) cheese-filled fresh tortellini Note 4
  • 1-1/2 cups (124g) freshly grated sharp cheddar (we like sharp or extra sharp)
  • Optional: fresh, flat-leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped

Instructions

  • PREP: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (218 degrees C). Prep ingredients before starting -- cooking goes quickly. Dice the onion, mince garlic, cut sausage into thin coins (little under 1/2 inch thick), measure out seasonings, and grate cheeses.
  • ONION, GARLIC, AND SAUSAGE: Place a large and deep, oven-safe skillet (I use a deep 12-inch cast iron skillet) on the stove over medium-high heat. Pour in the olive oil and when hot, add the diced onion. Sauté, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon until the onion is transparent and becoming golden, about 4 minutes. Add the coined chicken sausage to the skillet. Sauté until lightly browned, about 4-6 minutes. Add in the garlic and stir for another 30 seconds.
  • FROZEN VEGGIES: Then add in all the frozen veggies. Sauté until liquid is evaporated from the veggies, about 3 minutes (we don't need to cook them through, just cook off the liquid as much as possible). Transfer (dump) this entire mixture into a bowl or plate and set aside for now.
  • CREAM BASE: Keeping the heat at medium-high, add the butter in the skillet and melt. Once melted, add in the flour and, using a whisk, whisk until smooth. Continue cooking, whisking constantly for about 1-2 minutes. Add in the garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, chicken bouillon, and Italian seasoning. Whisk.
  • CREAM BASE CONT.: Very gradually whisk in the chicken broth and then the milk, while whisking constantly until the mixture is smooth. Continue to whisk until the mixture thickens (about 5-7 minutes). If using a cast iron skillet, the cream base can settle on the bottom and not thicken properly, so be sure to scrape the bottom and whisk near constantly. Add in the parmesan cheese and stir until melted. Turn off the stove-top heat. Return all the set aside veggies and sausage and the entire package of tortellini (pull apart any that are sticking together) to this cream base. Stir to generously coat everything. With the back of a wooden spoon, press the tortellinis under the cream base as much as possible.
  • BAKE: Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and, once again, stir everything together gently. Sprinkle on the cheddar cheese. Return to the oven for 8-10 more minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from the oven gently stir to incorporate the cheddar. Let stand for about 5-10 minutes to slightly cool and thicken.
  • ENJOY: Taste for any additional seasonings. Top with fresh parsley and enjoy hot! If desired, top individual bowls with more cheese - yum!
  • STORAGE: This dish is best the same day it's made. Leftovers are still tasty, but they do get a little mushy (tortellini continues to absorb liquid). This dish does not freeze and thaw well; the tortellinis become bloated and mushy.

Video

Recipe Notes

Cook this dish in an oven-safe skillet. This way you can directly transfer from stovetop to oven -- no additional dishes needed. If you don't have an oven-safe skillet, I'd recommend a 9x13-inch pan for baking after assembling.
Note 1Milk: While 1% or 2% milk will work, I highly recommend whole milk in this recipe — we don’t find it creamy or flavorful enough with lower fat percentages of milk. I have not personally tried dairy alternatives in this recipe, but again, I doubt it would be creamy enough.
Note 2Chicken stock: The better the stock, the richer this meal will taste. We love Swanson’s Chicken Stock® best (not sponsored)
Note 3: Fresh tortellini: I highly recommend Rana's Cheese Lover's Tortelloni (not sponsored). It's so flavorful and bakes up perfectly. By the way, tortelloni is simply a slightly larger sized tortellini -- either will work in this recipe. Be sure to use fresh, not frozen and watch the ounces -- we only need a 10-ounce package in this recipe.
Note 4: Parmesan cheese: Use a block of Parmesan and grate it on the small holes of the cheese grater. Measure loosely. I don't recommend jarred or canned Parmesan cheese -- the flavor will be overpowering and too salty.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 603kcal | Carbohydrates: 47.9g | Protein: 36.2g | Fat: 29.4g | Cholesterol: 124.3mg | Sodium: 680.3mg | Fiber: 6.2g | Sugar: 10.3g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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