Slow Cooker Cheesy Tortellini — Damn Delicious

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Slow Cooker Cheesy Tortellini

There’s nothing better than coming home to the cheesiest tortellini ever, and yes, it’s easily made right in the crockpot!

Remember that pre-emptive holiday health kick I was talking about with those baked green bean fries? Well, today, we are shifting gears to the ultimate comfort food. It’s all about balance, right?

Now the beauty of this recipe is that it comes together so easily right in your slow cooker. All you have to do is crumble up some ground beef and throw everything into the crockpot. Easy enough, right? Then, 15 minutes before serving, you’ll throw in your fresh tortellini and that cheesy goodness. That’s it!

Comfort food has never been so good (or easy!).

Slow Cooker Cheesy Tortellini

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours, 20 minutes

Total Time: 8 hours, 35 minutes

There’s nothing better than coming home to the cheesiest tortellini ever, and yes, it’s easily made right in the crockpot!


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated three cheese tortellini
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves


  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add ground beef, onion and garlic. Cook until beef has browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef as it cooks; drain excess fat.
  2. Place ground beef mixture, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and green chiles, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes into a slow cooker; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir until well combined.
  3. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours.
  4. Uncover and stir in tortellini; top with cheeses. Cover and cook on low heat for an additional 15-30 minutes, or until tender.
  5. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

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Omg. So making this weekend. Yum-o. Thanks and Merry Christmas!

This looks so elegant! Sadly, i don’t have a slow cooker yet :(. You have tempted me so much with this that I may even buy one now! 😀

I am loving all the ooey-gooey-cheesy carby goodness of this tortellini! AND it’s made in the slow cooker?
My taste buds fell off my head. Pinned!

Holy moly this looks good. I wonder if I can convince my family that this needs to be Christmas dinner.

Thank you Chungah for the nice recipe.

I’ll bet this would taste yummy with ground sausage too. 😉

DEFINITELY! Gonna try with sausage.

I. Want. This. Now. Yum 🙂

Holy smoke! This is the kinda balance I like, sounds fantastic ØD x

Balance is definitely the way to go! And slow cooker anything. Mm mm mm! =)

Craving all of the delicious cheese of this tortellini right now, I especially love that this can be made in a slow cooker too. A perfect recipe in my eyes!

Looks delicious. Can this recipe be doubled or tripled for a large crowd. Also, the recipe looks thick in the photo. Can it be thinned with broth or pasta water.

Making this tonight with spicy sausage instead of ground beef, can’t wait to try it!

Love this idea!! Now I seriously need to buy a slow cooker!

I made this for a bring-a-dish party and it was a huge success! I made it up in the morning and threw the last ingredients in at the end of the day and it was no trouble at all. I used half ground beef and half sausage (because I had some I needed to use) and liked that combination, but otherwise it was just as written. I’ve usually put tortellini in a creamy tomato-basil soup or used an Alfredo sauce (I don’t like heavy tomato sauces), and this was a very welcome change. Just had some of the leftover portion for lunch and it might have even been better – great recipe, thanks! I’ll be making this again!

What size of crockpot did you use ? I find the cooking time varies greatly depending on the size . Your photo looks like you used a 4-5 quart. I have a 7.5 quart

I used a 3-qt round slow cooker, but there shouldn’t be a huge discrepancy in cooking time even with a 7.5-qt slow cooker.

Do you think I could use dry tortellini and achieve the same results?

Unfortunately, this recipe is meant for fresh tortellini. With dry tortellini, you may need more liquid and also have to extend cooking time.

What is the difference between dry and fresh? Which brand of tortellini do you use?

Rae, here is great article regarding Dry Pasta vs. Fresh Pasta. And you can use any brand you would like, but I personally prefer to use Buitoni.

I use dry tortellini all the time for this recipe. I prefer Barilla Collezione three cheese tortellini. When I make this up I usually use one pound of ground beef and half a pound to one pound of sausage. (I have, on occasion used ground turkey for one or the other. It just depends on what I have in the freezer). I use 2 – 14 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes and 2 – 14 ounce cans of diced tomatoes with green chiles. This provides adequate liquid at the end for the dry tortellini. I add it during the last 30 minutes in the crock pot. Stir it into the sauce mixture, and then add cheese over the top. If you find leftovers a little drier than you would wish, a bit of marinara sauce or pasta sauce works nicely.

If doubling this recipe would the crockpot cooking time change?

Unfortunately without further recipe testing, I cannot advise on the appropriate cooking time if this recipe is doubled. Please use your best judgment.

What is the serving size?

I would estimate about 2 cups per serving.

2 cups per serving? Ha! Ha! Not in my house!

so excited to try this! For the can of crushed tomatoes is this undrained as well?

Yes! Although there’s really nothing to drain when it comes to crushed tomatoes – the consistency is similar to a chunky marinara.

I’m a newbie cook and am confused by the pasta. I got a bag of frozen tortellini pasta. Should I boil the pasta according to the bag instructions or throw in the defrosted (kept in fridge all day) bag as is? Thanks

I have not tried using frozen tortellini in this recipe (the recipe calls for fresh, refrigerated tortellini) but it may be best to cook it prior to adding to the slow cooker.

I just made this using frozen tortellini, cooked on Low for 30 minutes (as specified in the recipe) and it seems fine. Just in case you were still wondering. 🙂

Trying this now for tomorrow’s dinner with Italian ground turkey! Sounds yummy!

I’m making this for dinner this week! Our family loves pasta, especially my 1 year old. Thanks for the recipe!

Made it twice already and it was a huge success! I’ve made some of your other recipes as well and everything is to die for. Definitely my favorite recipe website!

I made this dish last night and like every other recipee on this site it was delicious. I hope you keep adding new slow cooker recipees to the list of wonderful meals. When does your new cookbook come out? Thanks!

Thank you, Ginny! The cookbook is scheduled to be released Fall 2016.

Thank you so much for the great recipe! I’m going to try it this week! I do have a question though, if the ground beef is already browned before adding it to the crock pot, why do you cook it for so long?

That’s the beauty of using a slow cooker!

I’m making this tonight for dinner and I just realized…the refrigerated buitoni tortellini I bought has cooking instructions…do I cook it prior to adding it to the crockpot or put it in as is?

Nope – there’s no need to! 🙂

Made this tonight for dinner and really enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing such a great recipe – it was perfect for a busy weeknight!

How do I cook leftover cheesy tortellini without using a microwave.

You can use the oven to reheat as needed.

Thank you so so much for putting the nutritional info on your post!! I seriously love that, as I track my calories, protein and carbs. You rock!!

Is this freezer friendly?

Unfortunately, I cannot answer this with certainty as I have never tried freezing this myself – there were no leftovers left to freeze! Please use your best judgment for freezing and reheating.

You may want to edit your ingredient section. I think you meant a 19oz bag of tortellini, instead of 9 😉

Actually, I think I bought the wrong bag because the kind I found was in the freezer section, only in 19oz bags. I guess I could use that too, right?

This is delicious! I made it last night (my second time) and it is a hit. I am having some for lunch today! I find I don’t need any salt as the cheese has plenty for me. Thanks for the great recipes.

Made this tonight, it was awesome. Hubby and I both enjoyed and lunches are packed for tomorrow. Thank you for this recipe!

Might seem silly to ask but what grade cheddar cheese mild, medium or sharp to use?

You can use any – it’s up to you!

Is there a reason the initial mixture has to cook for 7-8 hours on low? Seems like with cooked ground beef and just heating the other things through, that it wouldn’t have to cook so long. Only asking because I work from 7:30-3:30 so before work is too early for the crock pot and after work I don’t often have 4 or 5 hours until dinner time! Thoughts?

Kara, you also have the option to cook on high heat for 3-4 hours.

How big is the serving size

Serving size can range from 1-2 cups.

What about making it vegetarian? If I omit the beef, would I just cook the other ingredients for the 15 minutes? Was thinking about adding some fresh bell peppers, tomatoes and onions to bulk it up!

That sounds like amazing additions!

My husband hates italian, but he LOVES this recipe. It is better than most italian dishes i’ve had out. Love Love Love!! I am planning to try and use the sauce tonight for spaghetti. Have you tried that? I’m assuming it will be great as long as I crumble the beef super small.

Hi I was just wondering wouldn’t cooking this in the crockpot for this long make the ground beef greasy since ground beef makes its own grease from the fat?

Theresa, the ground beef is cooked first on the stovetop and the excess fat should be drained prior to adding to the slow cooker.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add ground beef, onion and garlic. Cook until beef has browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef as it cooks; drain excess fat.

This looks so good! You have listed a 10oz can of diced tomatoes and green chiles. Is that a can of rotel?

I’m planning to make this with the frozen tortellini as mentioned by done others (since my grocery store doesn’t carry the refrigerated). It’s a 19oz bag. Do you recommend using only 1/2 of it…or maybe more tortellini will make it even tastier 🙂

It’s really up to you! 🙂

Came out great! Used half ground beef, half spicy Italian sausage and fire roasted tomatoes. Will definitely make again!

Do you have to boil the fresh tortellini before adding it in the crockpot?

Nope! That’s the beauty of using fresh tortellini. 🙂

Can you make this on the stovetop to save some time?

It’s in my crockpot right now!! Your recipes are always excellent!!

Wow, I made them this week and was totally impressed, better than in restaurants. I’m new at cooking with slow cookers and this is a recipe I’ll definitely keep.

Hey Chungah. Someone may have already asked this but can this recipe be doubled easily and made in a larger crock pot?

We tried it with ground turkey and were unimpressed. Maybe there’s some secret that we didn’t know, but it didn’t turn out much better than marinara sauce with some tortellini thrown in. Flavorless. 🙁

I used ground beef and it is bland.

This was delicious! I wasn’t expecting the can of tomatoes and green chili to make the recipe spicy – guess I should have realized! Once I added the cheese though, it seemed to mellow out a bit. Great variation to a standard bolognese and cooking it in the crockpot allows the flavors to really come together. Just found your website and I couldn’t be happier!

this is my first recipe from your website (will NOT be the last) your recipe says to use kosher salt, can regular salt be used? also whats the difference between them?

Yes, regular salt can be used. But I recommend using kosher salt because it is much easier to pick up the grains between your fingers, thus giving you more control over your seasoning.

Could I replace the tortellini with fusilli? It’s all I have in my cupboards right now!

I made the recipe this weekend and my husband loved it! I love all the slow cooker recipes. I use it all text time. 🙂 I especially love my cheese so anything involving cheese is a plus.

Made this yesterday and was delicious! Had unexpected company and all raved about it! You have consistently great recipes.

If doubling the tortellini, is it necessary to double anything else? Thanks!

Yes, I would double the recipe in its entirety. Hope that helps!

I made this for dinner tonight and it was a hit for the whole family! My super picky 9 year old especially loved it. So glad I added the red pepper flakes even though they were optional. The little bit of heat they added was the perfect addition.

Is the correct pasta bag size 9oz or 19oz?

Hi, I was wondering if you can add the ground beef at the beginning of the recipe. I live in a dorm and they don’t have stove tops in here, so I can’t really brown it.

Yes, absolutely. The consistency will vary, and I personally prefer to ground the beef prior to adding to the slow cooker, but it’ll still work! 🙂

Can I freeze this recipe after cooking?

Unfortunately, I cannot answer this with certainty as I have never tried freezing this myself. Please use your best judgment for freezing and reheating.

Making this tonight. Hello from Houston TX. Looks amazing and I know it will taste amazing. Slow cooker recipes are the best

You can also add Italian style meat balls with some mozerrella cheese and fresh grated Parmesan it’s delicious as well I just use turkey for the ground meat part. And if you have time to make homemade meat balls amazing sometimes I do sometimes I don’t but the frozen Italian ones are great and taste great . For when you want to have and amazing supper for the family loves ♥️! But doesn’t take forever to do. This would be the one! It’s amazing I just tweaked my own recipe with hers and made it simple for my lifestyle that’s all. I love playing in the kitchen anyway you can get fresh tortellini or frozen and boil it for like 30 minutes let it cool fry hamburger or turkey use all of her ingredients or tweak it the way you like it or your family likes it . Get canned chili green chili especially if using turkey tomato I didn’t use that are used spaghetti sauce and tweaked it with my own spices and extra tomato sauce let it get really hot then add the fried meet with spices let it simmer then all you have to do is worry about adding the tortellini and meatballs with mozzarella and Parmesan which will take about 30 minutes so all of it together takes about Two hours max if that. I’ll crockpot except for turkey beef or sausage that you have to fry And I recommend going ahead and cooking up cheese tortellini For at least a minute or two so that way it’s already almost done and less you have that extra 30 minutes or so to wait it takes longer in a crockpot/slow cooker if it’s refrigerated not salon definiteley Cook it if it’s frozen. Thanks for the wonderful recipe

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