If I had to think of the one* recipe that I’ve been making my entire life, it would probably be these parmesan crusted tortellini bites. I’ve been making these since before I knew anything about food, and definitely before I cared even the slightest bit about cooking. So let me share this most delicious of all appetizers.

These cheese tortellini are breaded and fried to crispy, golden perfection. Sprinkle them with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and dip them in warm marinara sauce. I call it an appetizer, but really, I never want to eat anything else when these are around.

You can use a deep fryer, but I just stick with a deep pot. It can be a little tedious moving the little tortellini through all of the steps of breading and frying, but it’s worth it. I typically just settle in for the long haul, pop on some music, and know the most delicious food is just moments away.

(*Honorable mention to plain buttered noodles with salt, so basic, I don’t think that qualifies as a recipe.)

Crispy Cheese Tortellini Appetizer with a kick_2

Crispy Cheese Tortellini with a kick


  • 1 package of cheese tortellini (about 9 ounces)
  • 4-6 cups Canola oil (or other fry oil), depending on the size and depth of your pot
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose white or wheat flour
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • pinch dried parsley
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes (adjust or omit depending on your heat tolerance)
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce


  1. Cook the tortellini about half the time the package instructs. Pasta should be slightly more firm than al-dente. Drain and coat with flour. (I typically gently toss them in a zip top bag with some flour. Keyword: gently!)
  2. Add breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley and red pepper flakes to a small bowl and mix until combined.
  3. In small batches, dip tortellini in the eggs, then toss in the breadcrumb mixture.
  4. Fill frying pot or pan with one or two inches of oil. Heat oil to 375º.  Oil is ready when you can put a tortellini in and it begins to sizzle and cook immediately, but doesn’t burn or brown so quickly that it’s not cooking the whole way through.
  5. Working in small batches, cook each tortellini about 4-5 minutes on each side.
  6. Place fried tortellini on top of a few paper towels to dry and draw out excess oil.
  7. Serve immediately with warm sauce.

Crispy Cheese Tortellini Appetizer with a kick_2

Also see, Festive cranberry, spinach pinwheel appetizer recipe. 

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Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.