How Long to Boil Tortellini?

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Not all pastas are to be boiled the same, and tortellini is no exception. Knowing how long to boil tortellini isn’t as easy as it may seem.

If you boil too long, the tortellini becomes a mushy mess and can fall apart while boiling. However if underboiled, it becomes more than al dente due to the folds in the pasta.

In reality, boiling tortellini isn’t as simple as a handful of spaghetti!

What is Tortellini?

Tortellini is a type of stuffed pasta that’s popular in Italy and of course anyone who loves Italian pasta. It’s generally served warm, but it can be used in cold dishes like my Italian tortellini salad recipe. It’s usually made from flour, eggs, butter and cheese. Tortellini is boiled like other pastas and can be stuffed with cheese or filled with meat.

Although similar to ravioli in that it is stuffed, it does not cook the same as ravioli. Knowing how to boil tortellini properly is critical for a good Italian meal. I’ll explain it all to you below.

How to Boil Tortellini

Use a large pot with plenty of room for the tortellini to move around in as the water boils. The more room they have, the faster they’ll cook. I won’t tell you what size pot, because that depends on how much pasta you’ll be using.

There is no wrong or right answer, but I can give you a very good answer – the bigger the pot or saucepan, the better. If you’re using a whole pound of store bought pasta, I’d at least use a 5 or 6 quart sauce pan or pot with 4 quarts of water.

In general the you’ll fill the pot with good safe water, try avoiding tap if you can. Bring the water up to a boil and then add the tortellini gently. Some people swear by adding salt, but this is not required.

TIP: Give it a good stir a few times the first minute as this will prevent any sticking to the bottom of the pan or to each other.

Once the water returns to a boil, you’ll let the tortellini bounce around freely until cooked through.

How Long to Boil Fresh Tortellini

If you’re using fresh tortellini (homemade, not typical store bought brands like Barilla), the exact time will depend on how much you’ve made: 1 pound takes about three minutes; add three minutes as you double the pounds.

If the fresh pasta is frozen, allow for a few extra minutes to allow the water to return to boiling. Make sure to add extra liquid so they have room to move around, thus avoiding them being cramped together where they will stick to each other as they thaw.

Fresh pasta is very different than store bought so take these tips to heart.

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How Long to Boil Dried Tortellini

If using store bought dried tortellini, the time to boil will be much longer than fresh. Most of us use store bought brands and on average they’ll say to boil uncovered for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Tortellini can be boiled in salted water, or with a little oil.

If you’re wanting to boil cheese ravioli, it’s the same as any other tortellini. Just make sure to always follow the instructions on the box.

Here are DaVinci’s instructions for how to cook their tortellini on a box of cheese tortellini I bought at the store.

Just as some people swear by adding a pinch of salt, some swear by a few drops of oil. I personally use neither!

As always, a large pot works best. It’s always better to have extra room than too little!

As stated above, it’s important to use enough water, don’t skimp.

When is Tortellini Done?

how to know when tortellini is cooked
Here is my tortellini after I cooked it and drained it. It’s now ready for use in my recipe.

You’ve probably heard of “al dente”, which means to cook pasta until it’s firm to the bite.

It’s a good idea to avoid cooking tortellini any longer than necessary, because overcooking can cause them to become mushy and lose their shape, even opening up allowing the filling to spill out into the boiling water.

However, if you undercook the pasta it can be unpleasantly firm, especially at the folds.

The shorter you cook the pasta, the more al dente it is. I do not like my tortellini al dente, but this also causes me to frequently over cook it too – so be careful!

To check if your pasta is done to your liking, taste it! Everyone has their own opinion if you should make tortellini al dente or not.

So again, there is no wrong or right, just taste it and if you’re happy drain it and serve with your favorite sauce such as alfredo, marinara sauce, or simply drizzle with olive oil and top with grated romano or parmesan cheese.

How to Reheat Tortellini

You can reheat tortellini in the microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds for a typical serving. The more you want to reheat, I’d recommend heating in a pan on a stove.

To reheat over a stove, add to a pan or sauce pan along with some sauce or some water to prevent sticking, for about 8 to 10 minutes over medium heat until heated through.

how to reheat tortellini
This is my leftover tortellini reheating with some sauce.

Good luck with your tortellini and I hope it tastes great!

How Long is Tortellini Good For

Dried tortellini can be stored in a cool dry area for up to 3 years. Although I’d recommend not going too far beyond the Use By date on the package.

Cooked tortellini is good for up to 5 days in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

You can freeze your cooked tortellini for up to 6 months.

If You Like Tortellini You may Like these Recipes

pasta with eggplant zucchini

This eggplant and zucchini pasta recipe, I select tortellini as the perfect pasta choice.

Learn how to make a delicious homemade spaghetti sauce which can be used with tortellini, not just spaghetti!

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