EASY Baked Tortellini (Beefy, Cheesy, AMAZING!)

Baked Tortellini is an easy, comforting recipe loaded with cheese tortellini, ground beef, marinara sauce, and mozzarella cheese for an effortless pasta dinner that the whole family will love!

Beefy and cheesy Baked Tortellini with text overlay.


 

Does anyone else ever get stuck in a dinner rut? Well, this beefy, cheesy Baked Tortellini is here to save you the next time that happens!

As a food blogger, you may think that's a problem I would never encounter. After all, I'm working on recipes every week. I have a whole archive of family favorites. And as part of my job, I spend an inordinate amount of time pinning recipes on Pinterest (incidentally, have I mentioned how much I love my job?). 😉

Nevertheless, despite being immersed in all of this great recipe inspiration, sometimes I flat-out don't know what to make for dinner. And on those occasions, I open the freezer, stare inside, and hope that something speaks to me.

Beef Tortellini being scooped out of baking dish.

This exact scenario played out a few weeks ago and, frantically flagging me down from the freezer shelf -- between a bag of peas and a box of chicken breasts -- was a package of cheese tortellini. And it was squawking, "Turn me into something good!"

Okay, so maybe it didn't exactly happen that way.

Maybe the frozen cheese tortellini was simply sitting there, as cheese tortellini typically does, and I randomly had the bright idea to substitute it for noodles in a spaghetti-esque tortellinii bake.

So that's exactly what I did. Say hello to my delicious version of Baked Tortellini, loaded with just a few simple ingredients for a comforting, hearty dinner!

Aerial view of Baked Tortellini in baking dish and in bowl.

Dinner doesn't get much more effortless than pasta + sauce, y'all.

But actually it does, because for this Baked Tortellini, I didn't even have to dirty another pot by boiling the tortellini separately. I simply ran it under some warm water in a colander before adding it to the meat sauce and then everything cooked up all together in the oven.

If that's not the definition of easy peasy, I'm not sure what is.

And as a bonus, the kids loved this tortellini bake. Pasta and cheese and a beefy tomato sauce (plus optional hidden veggies, to boot)...how can you go wrong?!

Baked Tortellini with ground beef in bowl.

Ingredients

Simple ingredients combine for maximum deliciousness!

  • Ground beef. Feel free to swap in ground turkey or Italian sausage for the ground beef.
  • Garlic. I always add extra. 😉
  • Seasonings. Specifically, garlic powder, dried basil, parsley, oregano, and thyme (or you can substitute Italian seasoning), crushed red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper.
  • Marinara sauce. Use your favorite jarred pasta sauce or even Homemade Marinara if you're lucky enough to have some on hand.
  • Cheese tortellini. I always keep a bag of frozen tortellini in the freezer, but scroll down for instructions on how to incorporate fresh or dried tortellini instead.
  • Grated cheese. Both mozzarella and Parmesan make this Baked Tortellini extra cheesy!
Baked Tortellini being scooped out of dish.

How to Make Baked Tortellini

  1. Preheat the oven and grease a baking dish.
  2. Pour frozen tortellini into a colander and run under warm water for a minute to slightly thaw it, then drain.
Cheese tortellini drained in colander.
  1. In a large pot set over medium heat, cook the ground beef and garlic until nicely browned. Drain any grease.
Cooking ground beef in a pot.
  1. Season the cooked beef with dried herbs and spices, including crushed red pepper flakes, if desired, and salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
Seasoning ground beef in pot with herbs and spices.
  1. Stir marinara into the ground beef and then add the drained cheese tortellini.
Adding marinara sauce and cheese tortellini to pot.
  1. Stir gently to combine.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in half of the grated mozzarella. 
Adding cheese to make tortellini bake.
  1. Transfer the tortellini with meat sauce and cheese into the prepared baking dish.
Transferring mixture to baking dish.
  1. Top with the remaining grated mozzarella and sprinkle with grated Parmesan.
Tortellini Bake ready for the oven.
  1. Cover with foil and pop into the oven for 20 minutes. Then uncover and bake for about 20 minutes more until hot and bubbly!

Ta-daaa! Baked Tortellini fit for a king!

Or a ravenous and/or picky family...whichever fits your scenario. 🙂

Baked Tortellini with melted cheese.

Subbing Different Types of Cheese Tortellini

So you're ready to make Baked Tortellini. But what if the cheese tortellini that you have on hand isn't frozen? What if it's packaged (dry) or refrigerated instead?

  • If your tortellini is in a package from the pasta aisle, boil it per the directions on the bag until al dente, and then proceed with this recipe as directed.
  • If your tortellini is refrigerated, that's basically the same as frozen tortellini that's been thawed under warm running water (which is what this recipe calls for). So you shouldn't have to change anything at all!

Variations

This simple tortellini bake is easy to change up to your liking!

  • Saute half an onion until translucent (before adding and browning the ground beef).
  • To up the vitamin intake of your Baked Tortellini, you can even get sneaky and add some finely grated zucchini (or other veggies) to the meat sauce using my favorite method for hiding veggies in a recipe. But shhhh...just don't tip off my kids (or my hubby) that I do this! 😉
  • Or, if you're feeling less sneaking, stir in some baby spinach (and let it wilt) before transferring the beef/sauce/tortellini mixture to the baking dish.
  • Swap half of the marinara for alfredo for a creamier sauce.
  • Incorporate fresh herbs instead of dried, keeping in mind that dried herbs are about three times more potent than fresh...so you'll need to use three times the amount of fresh herbs as compared to dried.
Baked Tortellini in white bowl.

Just because I try to cook plenty o' things from scratch doesn't mean that I don't keep a few all-natural pantry and freezer staples on hand for quick dinners when I'm otherwise lacking inspiration. And as a result, this Baked Tortellini is one of those perfect meals for when you're short on time and ingredients but you still want to throw together something that everyone will enjoy!

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to hop on Pinterest (or stare into the freezer) and try to figure out what I'm making for dinner tomorrow...and the next day...and the next...

Bowl of Baked Tortellini garnished with parsley.

More Pasta Favorites

Beef Tortellini with ground beef and cheese on serving spoon.

Easy Baked Tortellini (Beefy, Cheesy, AMAZING!)

Baked Tortellini is loaded with cheese tortellini, ground beef, marinara sauce, and mozzarella cheese for an effortless pasta dinner that the whole family will love!
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 578kcal
Print Pin Rate

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (24-ounce) jar marinara/pasta sauce
  • 1 (22-ounce) package frozen cheese tortellini
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 3-quart baking dish and set aside.
  • In a large pot set over medium heat, brown ground beef and garlic until meat is no longer pink, breaking it up and stirring frequently. Drain fat. Season meat with garlic powder, dried basil, dried parsley, dried oregano, dried thyme, crushed red pepper flakes (if desired), and salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
  • Stir pasta sauce into cooked ground beef. Pour frozen tortellini into a colander and run under warm water for a minute to slightly thaw. Drain and stir tortellini into meat sauce.
  • Remove pot from heat and stir in half of the grated mozzarella. Transfer tortellini/meat sauce into the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining grated mozzarella and sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for about 20 minutes more, or until hot and bubbly.

Video

Notes

  • If you have fresh herbs, feel free to substitute them for the dried herbs (and you may use three times the amount of fresh herbs, since fresh herbs aren't as potent as dried).
  • If desired, you can add some grated veggies to the meat sauce using this method.
  • You may substitute refrigerated cheese tortellini for (thawed) frozen tortellini without otherwise changing the recipe.
  • If you wish to use dried tortellini, you will need to boil and drain it (according to package directions) first before adding it to this Baked Tortellini recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 578kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 118mg | Sodium: 1305mg | Potassium: 644mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 765IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 383mg | Iron: 6mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

Post originally published on February 15, 2015, and updated on September 2, 2020, March 6, 2021, and October 16, 2023.

You May Also Like

4.99 from 72 votes (41 ratings without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




61 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this last night for myself and my 3.5 year old. It was amazing! Awesome flavor and super simple and quick to throw together! thank you for making my school/work nights easier with your easy, yummy recipes!

  2. 5 stars
    HI Samantha! I feature a Pinterest recipe every Thursday and wanted to let you know I used this recipe this week. It was definitely a winner and will go into the dinner rotation. Of course I gave you full credit and added a link to your website and the recipe. Thanks for the post!

    1. Hi Stephanie! I think you could assemble this recipe ahead of time. Just keep in mind that the pasta will absorb some of the sauce while it sits in the fridge overnight, so you may want to use a little extra sauce. 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I made this for dinner last night and it was a big hit with my family! I much preferred it over the standard tortellini with spaghetti sauce. I made the recipe exactly as written and would not change a thing! Thank you for such a quick and simple meal. 🙂 Perfect for busy weeknights!

  4. 5 stars
    This was great! And easy! Even my 14 year old son made it. We will definitely be making this again. Thank you!!

  5. Can I use packaged (dry) tortellini in place of frozen? Such as Barilla? If so, do I need to alter the recipe any?

    1. Hi Taryn! I've never made this recipe with dry tortellini, but it should work just fine. I'd boil it as directed until just barely al dente, and then drain it and proceed with the recipe from there. Good luck and enjoy!

  6. If I only have tortellini I just bought today (from refrigerator section ) do I need to cook it ahead of time or how would that work? Thanks !!

    1. Hi Veronica! You should be able to use your refrigerated tortellini in place of the thawed frozen tortellini in the recipe exactly as written...no need to change anything. Enjoy! 🙂

  7. Samantha, that recipe and others on the site look so great that I had to sign up for your emails! I just bought some bogo tortellini and guess what I'm gonna do with it? lol 🙂 The site looks great and I'll be trying more of the recipes for sure... Thank you 🙂

    1. So happy to have you following along, Di! Hope the tortellini is/was a hit and that you also enjoy any other recipes that you decide to try. Have a wonderful week! 🙂

  8. I'm always in a dinner rut! This looks amazing! Thanks for linking up with Best of the Weekend! Pinning this!

  9. 5 stars
    This was the perfect meal for us this week when one of my husband's cousins showed up by surprise one afternoon. The guys especially loved the meat in the sauce. I especially enjoyed making something yummy in a flash. Thanks tons for being the inspiration I needed!

    1. You are too sweet, Carolyn! I'm so glad y'all enjoyed this, and I appreciate you stopping back by to let me know. But the question is...when are we all getting together for HH??? 😉 Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

  10. This is a must try! I feel in a dinner rut lately, but I'm sure my family will enjoy this. Something new yet familiar 🙂

  11. My family will love this. I will remember your tip to not pre-cook frozen tortellini-- great tip! I usually have some cooked ground beef or chicken in the freezer, just for such occasions. Can see a dinner materializing out of "nowhere". I will go jot it down in my menu plan.

    1. You know, Mila, frozen tortellini probably still needs to be pre-cooked for food safety reasons in certain other recipes (I think it's supposed to reach an internal temp of 165°F). But in this recipe, after being pre-thawed under running water and then baked for 40 minutes in the oven, it should be good to go. 🙂 Hope your family enjoys this when you try it! Based on this post, it sounds like I need to follow in your footsteps and create a menu plan of my own -- ha. 😉 Happy Monday!