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Tortellini Casserole is a cheesy & beefy pasta casserole that’s so simple to make and kids love it! Ground beef and cheese tortellini are baked in a spaghetti seasoned tomato beef broth base. It’s a family favorite dinner.
Be sure and also try this other family favorite casserole for dinner – Bubble Up Pizza Casserole.
Easy Tortellini Casserole Recipe
Are you looking for an easy, kid-approved, dinner idea? This tortellini casserole is just that! So simple to make with convenient pantry ingredients like dried seasonings, a jar of pasta sauce, and beef broth.
With its mild, cheesy, and beefy flavor it’s sure to please even the pickiest of eaters.
Soft and plump cheese filled tortellini pasta gets mixed with a perfectly seasoned ground beef tomato sauce base, and then it’s layered with freshly shredded mozzarella cheese, and baked to golden brown cheesy and bubbly dinnertime perfection.
Why You’ll Love This Casserole
- This casserole recipe only requires a few easy ingredients – most of which are pantry staples that you probably already have – like jarred spaghetti sauce, beef broth, and dried seasonings.
- Use fresh or frozen tortellini in this casserole. Using frozen tortellini allows you to stock this ingredient inside the freezer. Which means, you can whip up this family friendly casserole in no time by simply buying a pound of ground beef.
- Like most casseroles, this tortellini pasta bake appeals to everyone with its cheesy, beefy, spaghetti-like flavor. It’s a guaranteed hit at the dinner table.
Ingredients Needed (Full Recipe Card Below)
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil : You can also use butter instead if wanted. This is to cook the onions and ground beef in.
- Finely Chopped Onion : A yellow or white onion works well.
- Ground Beef : The extra grease will get drained, so use any ground beef you prefer. I always use 93/7 lean ground beef.
- Pasta Sauce : Use your favorite jar of pasta sauce!
- Beef Broth or Stock : This just helps to thin out the sauce. It’s not totally necessary so if you feel like the sauce is fine, just omit it. You could also use some reserved pasta water from cooking the tortellini instead of the beef broth.
- Italian Seasoning
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Cheese Tortellini : Fresh or frozen works fine. I prefer using fresh tortellini, but frozen tortellini keeps for longer. Cook the tortellini, to al dente, according to the package directions.
- Mozzarella Cheese : For best results, I always recommend using a box cheese grater and shredding cheese from a block. Feel free to use any variety of cheese you want. Or add extra cheese to up the cheesy factor of the casserole.
How To Make Cheesy Tortellini Casserole With Ground Beef
Step 1 : Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 casserole baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside for later.
Step 2 : Cook the tortellini pasta, in a pot of salted water, according to package directions. Remember to salt the pasta water and only cook to al dente. The pasta will cook slightly more in the oven later. When pasta is done, drain it in a colander but do not rinse it. Set it aside for later. To avoid sticking you can drizzle just a touch of olive oil over top the tortellini while it sits.
Step 3 : In a skillet pan, over medium-high heat, cook the finely diced onion for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add the ground beef and continue cooking and crumbling the beef until it’s no longer pink. Drain the excess grease from the pan.
Step 4 : Stir in the pasta sauce, beef broth, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder. Bring to a low boil and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.
Step 5 : Add the cooked tortellini pasta into the ground beef skillet and stir to combine. Pour half of the beef tortellini into the prepared pan, sprinkle half the cheese on top, add the remaining half of the tortellini, and finish off with the rest of the cheese.
Step 6 : Bake for 25-35 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the edges are golden brown. If wanted, cover the dish with tin foil to avoid the crispy bits of tortellini and cheese on top. Uncover the casserole for the last 5-10 of the bake time.
Step 7 : Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
Should I Use Fresh or Frozen Tortellini?
Fresh, refrigerated tortellini or frozen tortellini work just fine in this easy casserole recipe. Frozen tortellini keeps for longer in the freezer, so it’s a great option if you want some standby dinners that you can whip up in a moments notice.
I prefer the taste, texture, and flavor of refrigerated fresh tortellini so that’s what I normally use when I make this recipe for my own family.
Whichever one you use, make sure to cook it according to the directions on the package.
Can I Make This Vegetarian?
Yes. Use a chunky vegetable sauce and instead of using ground beef use your favorite plant-based option instead. You could also just make this all vegetable and sauté an assortment of veggies in olive oil. Things like spinach, chopped bell peppers, zucchini, corn, carrots are all great options.
What Are Some Changes I Can Make In Tortellini Casserole?
- Make It Spicy! : Add some red pepper chili flakes, chipotle powder, or chili powder in with the other dried seasonings. You could also use a hot & spicy pasta sauce. Shredded pepper jack cheese is another great spicier option for this casserole.
- Cheese : Use any variety of cheese you want. Mozzarella, sliced provolone, sliced muenster cheese or havarti cheese, shredded Italian cheese blend, etc.
- Tortellini : Use cheese tortellini, spinach and cheese filled tortellini, or a beef tortellini.
How To Properly Store Casserole Leftovers
- Fridge : Cover the pan with tin foil or a lid and refrigerate the leftover casserole for up to 3-4 days. Reheat inside a skillet pan or the microwave. Add some additional broth or water, as needed, when reheating.
- Freezer : Once baked and cooled to room temperature, cover the dish with plastic wrap and then two layers of tin foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Allow the frozen casserole to thaw in the fridge overnight before serving. Reheat the casserole in the oven until warmed through out.
- Freeze Unbaked : Assemble the casserole and instead of baking, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and then two layers of foil. Freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw the casserole overnight, let it sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes, before baking to recipe instructions. I like to use the tin foil disposable baking pans when freezing casseroles.
- Make It Ahead of Time : If you know the day will be busy, prepare the casserole in the morning and then cover it (unbaked) tightly with tin foil and put it in the fridge all day. You can make this casserole up to 24 hours in advance and leave it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
- Al Dente Tortellini : Normally, I dislike cooking pasta to al dente because it’s too chewy for my family. But with this recipe, the tortellini does need to be cooked to al dente so it doesn’t fall apart and overcook in the oven.
- Salted Pasta Water : Don’t forget to add some salt to the boiling water before adding your tortellini to the pot. I use about 1-2 teaspoons of kosher salt.
- To Cover The Casserole or Not To Cover? : This entirely depends on what you prefer. If you want a softer casserole then cover the pan with tin foil and remove it for the final 10 minutes of baking. If you like those crispy, charred bits of pasta and cheese then bake the casserole uncovered for the entire time.
- 16 ounces refrigerated cheese tortellini
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion finely diced
- 1 pound ground beef
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 jar (24 oz) pasta sauce
- 1/2 cup beef broth
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350℉. Spray a 9×13 casserole baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside for later.
- Cook the tortellini pasta, in a pot of salted water, according to package directions for al dente. When pasta is done, drain it in a colander but do not rinse it. Set it aside for later. * Tip – To avoid sticking you can drizzle just a touch of olive oil over top the tortellini while it sits.16 ounces refrigerated cheese tortellini
- In a large skillet pan, over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and finely diced onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until slightly softened.2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 small onion
- Add the ground beef and kosher salt. Continue cooking and crumbling the beef until it's no longer pink. Drain the excess grease from the pan.1 pound ground beef, ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Stir in the pasta sauce, beef broth, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder. Bring to a low boil and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat if needed to avoid splattering.1 jar (24 oz) pasta sauce, 1/2 cup beef broth, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder
- Add the cooked tortellini pasta into the ground beef skillet and stir to combine.
- Assemble The Casserole – Spread half of the beef tortellini mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan– Sprinkle half of the cheese over top– Spread the remaining tortellini mixture on top of the cheese– The final layer is the remaining shredded cheese2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Bake for 25-35 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the edges are golden brown. * If wanted, cover the dish with tin foil to avoid the crispy bits of tortellini and cheese on top. Uncover the casserole for the last 5-10 of the bake time.
- Remove the pan from the oven and allow it cool for about 5 minutes before serving.