I bought some tortellini with meat at a local mall.

The problem is I didn't buy prepackaged, but just some 200g out of a big bin, at a stand where you just load as much as you need, and get the barcode with the right weight printed - so the simple "follow directions on the package" (as advised by all recipes involving such tortellini when searching for the answer online) doesn't really help.

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How do I prepare such tortellini for eating - boiling time? Drop into hot water or bring to boil with water? Add salt to water or salt later? Anything else to remember?

8 Answers 8


Unfortunately, the above answers would probably be good for fresh tortellini, or frozen or something like that. Following the advice, I had the dried tortellini floating on the surface within a minute or two, puffed a little too. I fished one out, and it was definitely hard. I let them boil for another five minutes and they were barely edible, some even a little crunchy in places.

Last week I managed to hunt down the bulk package at the market (used to fill the bin), and there were directions on it: Boiling time: 15-18 minutes. And yes, since the boiling water cooled down to simmer as I added them. In 15 minutes they were still a little al dente but after another 4 minutes they were entirely soft, and just right.


Dried "tortellini alla carne" (with meat) should be cooked in broth/stock or boiling salted water for 15 - 18 mins. My Sicilian brother in law recommends stock.


With all pastas, you'll want to bring your water to a boil and then back off to a relative simmer before adding your pasta. I generally salt the water for pasta, but this is primarily for seasoning and won't overly affect how it cooks. Tortellini and other stuffed pastas are easy to check for doneness because they'll puff up slightly and float to the top when done. No need to stick to a specific time, just keep am eye on them.

  • I picked them out when they floated to the surface, and they were still crunchy...
    – SF.
    Jun 21, 2014 at 22:34

I'll add a note to logophobe's excellent answer - if you prefer them al dente (as I do), you'll want to keep a close eye on them to watch for the very slight puffiness that is the sign of the beginning of the 'puffing' process that ends with them floating. Generally I stab them with a fork, and if it goes through to the core without undue effort, for me, they are done.

I also cook with a small amount of olive oil in the saucepan as well, to encourage non-sticking and for seasoning.


My practically foolproof way to cook dried cheese tortellini: bring about 2 quarts of olive-oiled, salted, water to a boil. Stir in up to 1 lb of dried tortellini. (For me, 9 dry ounces was about 2 cups.) Put the lid on, and TURN OFF the heat. Set the timer for 20 minutes. The hot water cooks the pasta, rehydrates the cheese, and because it's not bouncing around in bubbling water, the tortellini stays in perfect shape without falling apart! (My 9 ounces rehydrated to 23 ounces. I live at high altitude above 5000 feet, so your results may vary.)


I have been using the dried tortellini for a couple of years. Mainly because of being shelf stable and just because I bought the fresh version didn't mean I was able to use it right away. Living 25 miles from the nearest store that sells fresh makes the dry version a much better choice for me. I discovered much by accident that soaking in the refrigerator in broth to rehydrate works very well and diminishes the taste of "dried" cheese. Also in the past year I have used the pressure cooker to cook them. 15 minutes on high in broth works. But you can still taste the "dried" flavor of the cheese. In a pinch it is handy.


I've found, with dried tortellini or ravioli (the sort dried shelf-stable, not fresh or frozen pastas) that it's best to soak first before cooking, just let it sit in water for maybe for an hour or two (or even overnight, it doesn't hurt the pasta). This would give time for the pasta to rehydrate, and lets it cook quicker, maybe within 8-10 minutes (or just keep an eye on it).

Of course, it is also possible to cook straight from dried, it just takes longer - but I've found the pasta is more likely to crack or open when just cooked longer, because the filling and dough rehydrate at different rates, and because there can be more agitation (from boiling or stirring). The 15-20 minutes that other answers cite seems right for cooking the pasta without soaking first.


We found dried tortellini on sale for .50 a bag.. so of course took them all... however .. even after cooking for 30 min still crunchy inside and had a fishy taste... soooooooo .. I was determined to use these.. I cooked in stock... let cool a bit.. and stuck entire pot in fridge... next day... drained brought fresh pot of water to boil and re-thermalized... ta daaaaaa .. perfect!.. made a lovely antipasto dish... ( not bad for .50 cents a bag lol)

  • Hi Kimmer, thank you for your contribution. I think that it might be received better if you use a less conversational style, yours is currently a bit difficult to read. I declined not-an-answer flags though, because I would say that soaking the cooked tortellinis overnight certainly offers a technique that addresses the question.
    – rumtscho
    Nov 25, 2019 at 13:24

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