Do they make gluten-free tortellini?

Gluten-free diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, especially for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. For people who follow a gluten-free diet, finding suitable alternatives to foods that commonly contain gluten, like pasta, can be challenging. One such pasta product that often contains gluten is tortellini.

What is Tortellini?

Tortellini is a type of stuffed pasta that originated in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. The name tortellini comes from the Italian word “tortello” meaning “small cake” or “twisted dough.”

Traditional tortellini is made from a dough of flour and eggs that is rolled out very thin and then cut into rounds. A small amount of filling, usually made from meat or cheese, is placed in the middle of each round before the pasta is folded over into a ring shape and the edges pressed together. This creates little packages that look like belly buttons when viewed from the side, hence the name “tortellini” which means “little belly buttons” in Italian.

After forming, the tortellini are either served fresh or dried. Dried tortellini needs to be cooked in boiling water before serving. The classic way to serve tortellini is in broth, but it can also be sauced or used in various pasta salads and casseroles.

Common Fillings and Shapes

There are many traditional fillings used for tortellini, including:

  • Meat – A mix of pork loin, mortadella, parmesan cheese and spices.
  • Cheese – A blend of ricotta and parmesan is classic.
  • Spinach and cheese.
  • Mushroom and cheese.

While the traditional shape is a ring, tortellini can also be found in square or semi-circle shapes. The squares are called tortelli or tortellacci, while the semi-circle ones may be called mezzelune.

Does Traditional Tortellini Contain Gluten?

Yes, traditional tortellini made with wheat flour contains gluten. While it can be made using other flours like rice or tapioca, a standard tortellini dough recipe calls for regular all-purpose wheat flour or “00” flour, both of which contain gluten.

All-purpose flour and 00 flour are made from wheat. Wheat naturally contains gluten, which is a type of protein. When wheat flour is mixed with liquid to form dough, the gluten forms an elastic network that allows the dough to stretch and hold its shape when rolled out and formed into pasta shapes like tortellini.

So generally speaking, any pasta made from regular wheat flour will contain gluten, including typical store-bought or homemade tortellini.


There are some exceptions where tortellini may be gluten-free:

  • If made from a gluten-free flour blend instead of regular wheat flour.
  • If purchased pre-made and the package specifies the product is certified gluten-free.

But in most cases, traditional tortellini made with wheat flour contains gluten.

Gluten-Free Options for Tortellini

For those following a gluten-free diet, there are several options for finding or making tortellini that does not contain gluten:

Purchase Pre-Made Gluten-Free Tortellini

There are a number of brands today that make gluten-free tortellini:

  • DeLallo – Organic Gluten Free Cheese Tortellini
  • Riso Gallo – Gluten Free Cheese Tortellini
  • Bionaturae – Gluten Free Organic Cheese Tortellini
  • RP’s Pasta Company – Gluten-Free Three Cheese Tortellini
  • Heartland Pasta – Gluten-Free Tortellini

When purchasing, just check the label to confirm it is certified gluten-free. These pre-made options allow for a quick and easy gluten-free tortellini meal.

Make Homemade Gluten-Free Tortellini

There are recipes available for making homemade gluten-free tortellini using flour alternatives:

  • Rice Flour: Brown or white rice flours are commonly used as a wheat flour substitute in gluten-free cooking. Rice flour tortellini may have a slightly different texture, but can mimic traditional taste and appearance.
  • Almond Flour: For those on a gluten-free, grain-free diet, almond flour is an option for making tortellini. It results in a rich, nutty flavor.
  • Other nut or seed flours: Nut meals or flours like buckwheat, chickpea, quinoa and amaranth can also be used to make gluten-free pasta dough.

When making your own tortellini, pay close attention to binding and moisture content so the pasta holds its shape. Some binder like xanthan or guar gum may need to be added. Using egg substitute instead of regular eggs can help produce a dough that rolls out more easily.

Tips for Cooking Gluten-Free Tortellini

Gluten-free pastas can sometimes turn mushy or fall apart more easily when cooked. Here are some tips for cooking homemade or store-bought gluten-free tortellini:

  • Cook in plenty of boiling salted water. Use 6 quarts of water per 1 pound of tortellini.
  • Stir gently to prevent sticking. But avoid over-stirring which can damage delicate gluten-free pasta.
  • Check packaging instructions as gluten-free pasta cooking times vary. Generally cook 1-2 minutes less than the time listed for al dente texture.
  • For salads or casseroles, undercook the pasta slightly so it doesn’t get mushy when mixed with other ingredients.
  • Do not rinse after cooking as that can wash away starch that helps hold the pasta together.
  • Be gentle when draining to prevent breakage.

Following these tips will help keep gluten-free tortellini intact and properly cooked.

Filling Ideas for Gluten-Free Tortellini

Gluten-free tortellini can be filled with all the same delicious options as traditional wheat versions. Here are some tasty filling ideas:

Cheese Fillings

  • Ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella
  • Goat cheese, spinach, nutmeg
  • Feta, sundried tomato, basil
  • Mascarpone, pecorino, black pepper

Vegetable and Herb Fillings

  • Roasted butternut squash, sage
  • Caramelized onions, thyme
  • Sautéed mushrooms, rosemary
  • Chopped broccoli, garlic

Meat Fillings

  • Chicken sausage, roasted red peppers
  • Italian pork sausage, dried cranberries
  • Beef, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes
  • Turkey, apricots, parsley

Let your imagination run wild coming up with tasty fillings that suit your preferences and dietary needs!

Gluten-Free Tortellini Recipe Ideas

Once you have your gluten-free tortellini, either pre-made or homemade, here are some recipe ideas for how to serve it:


  • Chicken Tortellini Soup – chicken broth, carrots, celery, spinach, parsley
  • Tortellini Minestrone – vegetable broth, beans, zucchini, tomatoes, kale
  • Cheesy Tortellini Soup – cheese tortellini, milk, broccoli, potato, thyme

Pasta Salads

  • Italian Tortellini Salad – salami, olives, peppers, onion, vinegar
  • Picnic Tortellini Salad – turkey, cucumber, cherry tomato, basil, lemon dressing
  • Southwest Tortellini Salad – black beans, corn, red onion, cilantro, chipotle dressing

Skillet Meals

  • Cheesy Bacon Tortellini – bacon, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, parmesan
  • Chicken Sausage Tortellini – chicken sausage, kale, mushrooms, tomatoes, olive oil
  • Shrimp Scampi Tortellini- shrimp, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, white wine, parsley

You really can’t go wrong with gluten-free tortellini. Feel free to substitute it in any of your favorite traditional tortellini recipes.

Are There Potential Drawbacks to Gluten-Free Tortellini?

While gluten-free tortellini provides a suitable option for those with gluten intolerance, there are a few potential drawbacks:

  • Higher cost – Pre-made gluten-free pasta tends to cost more than traditional wheat versions.
  • Differing textures – The texture may be slightly different than wheat-based tortellini, especially with homemade versions.
  • Limited availability – Not all grocery stores carry gluten-free tortellini so online ordering may be necessary.
  • Learning curve – It may take some trial and error to perfect cooking times and methods.
  • Potential cross-contamination – Check for certified gluten-free to be safe if celiac.

However, the advantages of having a gluten-free tortellini choice typically outweigh these factors for people who need to follow a gluten-free diet.

Nutrition of Gluten-Free Tortellini

Going gluten-free does not necessarily make a food healthier overall. When comparing nutrition facts, gluten-free tortellini has similar calories, carbs, protein, and fat content to traditional wheat versions. However, there are some subtle nutritional differences:


Gluten-free pasta may contain a bit less fiber since wheat bran contains fiber that is removed. But using whole grain gluten-free flours can help boost fiber.

Vitamins and Minerals

Gluten-free pastas made from rice, quinoa or buckwheat flour provide some vitamins and minerals like iron and B vitamins. But they lack the same enrichment of vitamins and minerals that wheat flour has.

Protein Content

The protein in gluten-free pasta typically comes from eggs or legume flours rather than wheat. So it may be slightly lower in protein compared to whole wheat pasta.

Ultimately gluten-free tortellini can be part of healthy eating plan, but should be enjoyed in moderation like traditional wheat pasta.

Nutrition Facts Comparison

Here is a sample nutrition label comparison between 1 serving of traditional and gluten-free cheese tortellini:

Nutrition Facts Traditional (wheat) Gluten-Free
Calories 220 210
Fat 6g 5g
Carbs 35g 33g
Fiber 3g 2g
Protein 8g 7g
Iron 15% DV 10% DV

As you can see, the nutrition profiles are fairly comparable between traditional and gluten-free tortellini.

Cost Comparison of Gluten-Free vs Regular Tortellini

On average, gluten-free tortellini costs about 1.5 to 2 times more than regular wheat-based tortellini. Here is an example price comparison:

Tortellini Price
Regular dried cheese tortellini, 12 oz $2.99
Gluten-free dried cheese tortellini, 12 oz $4.99

Factors contributing to the higher cost include:

  • Use of specialty gluten-free flours which cost more than regular enriched wheat flour.
  • Additional processing needed for purity and separation in gluten-free facilities.
  • Often made in smaller batches than giant mainstream pasta brands.
  • Increased demand for gluten-free products means companies can charge a premium.

For people who must follow a gluten-free diet for medical reasons, the extra cost is a necessary expense. But those without an allergy who choose gluten-free for other reasons may want to weigh the cost difference.

On a positive note, the price gap between regular and gluten-free pasta has shrunk in recent years as demand has increased and more gluten-free options have come to market.


In conclusion, there are several good gluten-free tortellini options for people who need to avoid gluten due to celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Pre-made varieties use gluten-free flours and can be purchased in many large grocery stores and online. Additionally, homemade gluten-free tortellini using alternative flours like rice, quinoa or almond meal can allow you to control ingredients.

Gluten-free tortellini can be used in all the same dishes as wheat-based tortellini, providing flavors and textures that mimic the traditional pasta. There is little nutritional difference between the two, though gluten-free may be lower in certain vitamins enriched in wheat flour. The main drawback is the increased cost, though gluten-free products are becoming more affordable. Overall, gluten-free tortellini provides a tasty way for gluten-free eaters to enjoy this classic stuffed pasta.

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