Cheesy Baked Tortellini Casserole is an easy weeknight meal with fresh tortellini, ground beef, tomato sauce and cheese. It’s simple enough for a family dinner and can be easily doubled for enough to feed a crowd.
If you’re tired of boring spaghetti, make my tortellini casserole to change up pasta night. Serve it with a Wedge Salad and Garlic Bread for a complete meal.
Easy Cheesy Baked Tortellini
If you’re looking for an easy weeknight dinner recipe that’s super simple to make, look no further than this easy, cheesy Baked Tortellini Casserole! Using fresh, refrigerated tortellini, and a simple homemade meat sauce, this recipe can be whipped up in under 15 minutes and ready to eat in less than an hour.
If you want a meatless meal, you can omit the ground beef and just use jarred tomato sauce. The dried herbs add a lot of flavor to sauce, but if you’re short on time you can skip that step. Or make your own Homemade Marinara Sauce. For the cheese, definitely use a block and shred it yourself, but don’t skip it – trust me!
How to Make Baked Tortellini
I love how simple this recipe is to make for dinner any night. You only need a handful of ingredients, like ground beef, marinara sauce, herbs and spices, cream cheese and mozzarella.
Make the meat sauce. Cook ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat, crumbling as you go. Drain off as much grease as possible. Stir in marinara sauce and add herbs and spices.
Add tortellini and cheese. Stir in the uncooked, fresh pasta, cream cheese and half of the Mozzarella. Once all the cheese is melted, pour the pasta mixture into a casserole dish. *Note – If your skillet is oven safe and large enough, you can bake it in the skillet and only dirty one pan!
Bake and serve. Cover the casserole with the remaining Mozzarella cheese, then with non-stick foil. Bake for about 30 minutes. If you want to brown the top, remove the foil and turn on the broiler for a few minutes.
Make Ahead, Storage and Freezing
Make Ahead: Because the pasta isn’t cooked, this recipe could easily be prepped up to 24 hours ahead of time. Prepare the casserole (don’t bake it) and let it cool for 30 minutes before covering tightly with foil. Keep in the fridge overnight and pull it out when you start to preheat the oven. Bake as directed. It would also be a great meal to take to a friend or neighbor in need.
Storing leftovers: This casserole makes 6-8 servings, so if you happen to have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat individual portions in the microwave or a family portion in the oven.
Freezing: This is an excellent freezer meal! You can prepare the whole casserole ahead of time, let it cool and freeze it, tightly covered with plastic wrap and foil. Or, prep up to the baking step, then cover tightly (let the sauce cool down first) and freeze. It will remain fresh in the freezer for up to 4 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight then bake as directed.
I love adding color to my pasta casseroles with fresh herbs. Fresh minced parsley or basil just looks so pretty on top of this baked tortellini. Serve with a garden salad and some cheesy garlic bread, or get creative and add some fresh spinach or zucchini to the sauce. Just make sure any veggies you add are cooked tender-crisp first.
Recipe Notes and Tips
Why don’t you cook the tortellini first? Cooking the pasta before adding it to the casserole would essentially cook it twice and result in mushy pasta. I love making the baked tortellini this way because it lets me skip the step of boiling the tortellini.
Can you use frozen tortellini? You can, but let it thaw first. You can speed up the process by soaking it for a couple of minutes in cold water, just make sure it’s dry before you add it to your casserole.
Don’t forget the foil. Covering the casserole allows steam to build up so the pasta cooks as the casserole bakes. The pasta comes out nice and tender with a crazy good flavor.
If you don’t have non-stick foil, a trick is to stick a few toothpicks in about halfway down to hold up the foil and keep it from sticking to the cheese.
If you’re short on time, boil the tortellini to cook it, then mix with the other ingredients. Bake uncovered for 8-10 minutes.
For added flavor, use half ground beef and half ground italian sausage.
In a large skillet, cook ground beef over medium heat until browned and no longer pink. Drain off as much grease as possible.
Add marinara sauce, oregano, basil, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Stir and cook for a minute.
Stir in fresh tortellini, cream cheese and 1 cup of mozzarella and stir until cream cheese is completely melted.
Pour into a greased 9x13-inch pan or if your skillet is oven safe you can leave it in that pan.
Sprinkle remaining mozzarella on top and cover with non-stick foil. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes. *Tip - if you don’t have non-stick foil, stick toothpicks gently into the casserole, and gently cover with the foil so the toothpicks don’t poke through.
Remove foil and bake for an additional 5-10 to brown the top. Garnish with fresh mince parsley or basil if desired.
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Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.