This baked feta pasta is based on a viral TikTok recipe, which is famous for very good reason! A block of feta is baked with cherry tomatoes and plenty of olive oil until caramelized and softened, then gently mashed into a creamy, rich, perfectly salty sauce. Add fresh basil and the perfect amount of pasta, and you have a super easy, gourmet dinner on the table.
What Is Baked Feta Pasta?
There are some really… questionable recipe videos making the rounds these days (looking at you, SpaghettiOs pie) so you might be used to just scrolling by (or watching in horror). This recipe has taken over the internet lately, though, and for good reason – IT’S AMAZING!
Baked feta pasta is based on a classic Greek appetizer – baked feta. It’s huge on TikTok, and it’s been showing up on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter lately, too. It’s everywhere, and it’s hard to ignore. Did you know, though, that the “TikTok Pasta” is actually not that new?
Versions of this recipe on the web date back to 2018, when Finnish blogger Tiiu Piret published a post on “proseccospaghetti”. Another Finnish blogger, Liemessa, published a 2019 uunifetapasta recipe that went viral at the time, and then Grilled Cheese Social’s Americanized version blew up early in 2020.
So, here we are. Three years later and everyone is still going wild for baked feta pasta. You know I just had to try my hand at it and see what all the hype’s about!
What Makes This Recipe So Good
- The sauce is perfectly creamy with just the right amount of tomato flavor.
- The natural umami of the baked feta and tomatoes is only enhanced by adding garlic, fresh basil, and a little salt and pepper. The ingredients are simple but the flavors shine!
- It’s so easy to make! Your actual active-making-time for this recipe is super low, and there’s nothing complicated or tricky about it. If you can mash and stir, you can make this incredible pasta dish.
- Baked feta pasta makes a great stand-alone dish, or you can serve it with a protein like our Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Breast and some Air Fryer Garlic Bread, from our sister site, Easy Healthy Recipes.
Feta Cheese – So the key to getting a super creamy, super rich baked feta sauce is using the right feta cheese. A Greek feta is made from sheep’s milk & goat’s milk, and it has a much creamier texture than a feta cheese made from cow’s milk. If you don’t like or can’t find feta (this recipe is causing an abnormally high demand for feta in some places!!) you can try fresh mozzarella, ricotta, goat cheese, or even cream cheese.
Tomatoes – Cherry tomatoes, specifically, give this dish a little boost of sweetness, which is AMAZING with the saltiness of the feta. They’re also small enough to cook perfectly without any extra effort. If you’re using larger tomatoes, quarter them before baking.
Pasta – Short pasta is best for this recipe, in my opinion, but really, any pasta will work. Pick your favorite and get cooking! I love to use visually interesting pastas like cavatappi or rotini, but long pastas like spaghetti and fettuccine are solid options, too. I went with a tried-and-true penne this time around because it’s so convenient.
- Don’t be afraid to make this baked feta pasta your own! I kept the spices very simple here, but you can add crushed red pepper flakes, oregano, rosemary, or even a little Cajun seasoning. For more of a Mediterranean take, add in some kalamata olives. Red peppers would be a great addition, too, or even a substitute for the tomatoes. Mix in a little spinach, toss in some shrimp. The possibilities are endless!
- If your baking dish is too big, the tomatoes might dry out in the oven. Use a dish that’s small enough to keep everything close together and well-oiled.
- Feeling snacky? Skip the pasta and serve your baked feta and tomato mixture as a dip or spread with crostini or breadsticks.
- A little honey takes this baked feta pasta to a whole other level. You can drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of honey on top of the feta before baking (watch for flames while it’s in the oven!) or add it when you mash everything together.
More of Our Favorite Pasta Recipes
- One-Pot Chicken Pesto Pasta
- Vegan Ricotta and Tomato Layered Pasta Bowl
- Fried Zucchini Basil Gluten-Free Pasta with Fresh Mozzarella
- Avocado Alfredo Pasta [Dairy-Free]
- Keto Carbonara
- Mom’s Best Tuna Noodle Casserole
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt plus more to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 1 8-ounce block feta
- 8 ounces short pasta like penne, rigatoni, fusilli, cavatappi
- 2 cloves garlic pressed or minced
- 2-4 tablespoons fresh basil leaves for garnish, chopped or chiffonaded (see Notes), divided
- olive oil extra, for finishing
- Medium bowl
- 2½- to 3-quart baking dish
- Large pot
- Large spoon
- Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
- In a medium bowl, toss whole cherry tomatoes with olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and lots of black pepper until well coated. Pour mixture into baking dish. Place block of feta in center of tomatoes, and season with more black pepper.
- Bake until tomatoes have burst and feta has softened, approximately 30 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 450° Fahrenheit. Continue to cook until tomatoes and feta are golden brown, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, boil a large pot of generously salted water over high heat. Add pasta and cook until al dente, approximately 13 minutes. Set aside ½ cup of cooking water, then drain all remaining water.
- As soon as tomatoes and feta come out of oven, stir in garlic. Use back of spoon to smash tomatoes and feta into a smooth and creamy sauce. If some of the oil doesn't combine completely, that's fine.
- Toss in pasta and half of basil until evenly coated. Mix in pasta water 2 tablespoons at a time, to help the mixture become a true sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.
- Top with remaining basil. Serve with additional top-quality olive oil.
- Make it Low Carb/Keto: Most of the carbs in this recipe come from the pasta. Use palmini pasta, shirataki noodles, or veggie noodles in place of the traditional short pasta. A zero-carb pasta substitute will knock this down to around 10g net carbs per serving.
- Make it Dairy-Free/Vegan: Use a dairy-free feta, ricotta, or mozzarella.
- Make it Gluten-Free: Use a gluten-free pasta.
- To Chiffonade the Basil: Stack fresh basil leaves on top of each other, then roll tightly lengthwise. Use a small, sharp knife to slice the roll into thin ribbons. Slice perpendicular to roll.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.