Baked Feta Pasta

published Jul 20, 2023
Baked Feta Pasta Recipe

This easy recipe, inspired by the TikTok-famous feta pasta, features burst cherry tomatoes, roasted garlic, lemon zest, basil, and a creamy feta sauce.

Serves4

Prep10 minutes

Cook35 minutes to 40 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
baking dish with baked block of feta cheese, tomatoes, and garlic in olive oil
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Nicole Rufus

I am admittedly terrible at keeping up with trends. There is, however, one viral recipe that I fell for when it seemed like just about everyone else did: baked feta pasta. The TikTok recipe by Finnish food blogger Jenni Häyrinen went viral in early 2021 and has since become — at least in my kitchen — a classic. 

The combination of warm, melty feta cheese, juicy tomatoes, and al dente pasta is not only totally comforting, but also ridiculously easy to make, as the sauce comes together in the oven.

While the original recipe is almost perfect, I think the tweaks I’ve made over time result in the best version of baked feta pasta yet.

What Is Baked Feta Pasta?

Baked feta pasta is a recipe that went viral on TikTok in 2021. It involves baking a block of feta cheese with cherry tomatoes and olive oil until the cheese becomes soft and golden-brown and the tomatoes burst. The feta melts into a creamy, tomato-studded sauce when tossed with hot pasta. Garlic and fresh basil round out the pasta before eating.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Nicole Rufus

Ingredients You Need to Make Baked Feta Pasta

My version stays true to the original recipe, but adds a couple of additional ingredients to the mix that gives this baked feta pasta more depth than the original. 

  • Feta cheese: Opt for feta packed in brine, which is softer than blocks that are sold simply wrapped in plastic. I always find it melts into an even creamier sauce for the pasta.
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes: Either works well here.
  • Red pepper flakes: Provide classic Italian heat. 
  • Honey: Helps caramelize the tomatoes while balancing the acidity of both the tomatoes and the feta. 
  • Dried short pasta: To catch the sauce, such as cavatappi or fusilli.
  • Lemon: A finish of grated lemon zest works with the basil to keep the pasta feeling bright while still remaining rich and creamy.

If You’re Making Baked Feta Pasta, a Few Tips

  • Roast the garlic: The original recipe calls for adding raw minced garlic to the pasta at the last moment, but roasting the whole smashed garlic with the feta and tomatoes softens the allium’s flavor.
  • Save some pasta water: Depending on the moisture from your particular feta and tomatoes, you might not need to use it, but it’s worth saving some before you drain the pasta in case you need it to loosen and smooth out the sauce.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Nicole Rufus

Baked Feta Pasta Recipe

This easy recipe, inspired by the TikTok-famous feta pasta, features burst cherry tomatoes, roasted garlic, lemon zest, basil, and a creamy feta sauce.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 35 minutes to 40 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 4 cloves

    garlic

  • 2 pints

    cherry or grape tomatoes (20 ounces, or about 4 cups)

  • 1/3 cups

    plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more for the pasta water

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes, plus more for serving

  • 1

    (8-ounce) block feta cheese

  • 1 teaspoon

    honey

  • 1

    small lemon

  • 1/4 cup

    packed fresh basil leaves

  • 12 ounces

    dried short pasta, such as cavatappi or fusilli

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F.

  2. Smash and peel 4 garlic cloves and place in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Add 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes. Drizzle with 1/3 cup of the olive oil, season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and gently shake the dish to coat the tomatoes in oil.

  3. Place 1 (8-ounce) block feta cheese in the center of the baking dish, pushing the tomatoes aside as needed to make room. Drizzle the feta and tomatoes with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon honey.

  4. Bake until the feta is golden-brown in spots and the tomatoes have burst, 35 to 40 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.

  5. Add 12 ounces dried short pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta.

  6. Finely grate the zest of 1 small lemon until you have 1 teaspoon; reserve the lemon for another use. Tear 1/4 packed cup fresh basil leaves, if large; otherwise leave them whole.

  7. Add the pasta and lemon zest to the tomatoes and feta and toss well to combine, breaking up the feta and smashing the roasted garlic in the process to coat the pasta in a creamy sauce. Add the reserved pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed, to loosen and smooth out the sauce. Sprinkle with the basil and toss gently to combine. Serve garnished with more red pepper flakes if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.