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This super easy weeknight baked feta pasta is so simple, it’s no wonder it’s gone crazy! Baking a block of feta cheese with tomatoes to make a creamy and salty pasta sauce makes a cheesy, gooey hands-off dinner!
If you love creamy cheese sauces, you have to give this Creamy Lemon Chicken With Pasta a try! Tender garlic herbed chicken, bright lemon and fresh spinach all in a creamy, cheese sauce that only takes 30 minutes to make!
Tik Tok made me do it, seriously some seriously delicious food trends have been coming out of TikTok lately. When tiktok started handing over a super easy way to make pasta that is cheesy and delicious though, I knew I had to give it a try!
In reality, this baked feta dish was originally created by a Finnish blogger Jenni Häyrinenin 2019. The food blogger called the dish Uunifetapasta and it was a smash success. The dish became so popular in 2019, the stores ran out of feta in Finland.
So I guess I should say Jenni made me do it instead of Tik Tok? Either way? Dinner is going to be delicious.
Ingredients For Feta Pasta
Here are the ingredients for this dish that you’ll need. This recipe is incredibly flexible though, so don’t be afraid to try swapping in or out a few things. Use my tips down the page for ideas of easy ingredients to swap.
- Feta cheese– Block feta works best for this recipe. I’ve seen people use crumbles, but I haven’t tried it myself. I would think if you use crumbles you would want to pile them in a pile in the center instead of sprinkling them and mixing them into the pasta before baking, otherwise the crumbles may become too brown before the tomatoes finish roasting. Also drain any liquid brine from the feta.
- Black olives– sliced or whole. Drain any brine away if your olives are sitting in liquid.
- Cherry tomatoes– Be generous with the tomatoes. This recipe is great for wrinkly tomatoes (but not moldy) at the end of their freshness, and you cook them until the tomatoes have burst!
- Garlic– You can add more or less garlic depending on your own tastes.
- Onion– I prefer sweet or white onion, but you can use what you keep on hand.
- Lemon– Sometimes I’ll swap in just lemon juice and it’s still delicious. You could use use a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar here.
- Greek seasoning– This brand had my favorite greek seasoning blend but it was taken off the market, so I’m using what I have left! I’ve tried a few of their other blends though, and they are all delicious. This greek seasoning is pretty delicious, and I also like using the Za’tarr seasoning at Trader Joes.
- Pepper- A little pepper is good. I recommend tasting the finished dish before adding extra salt as the feta cheese is pretty salty on it’s own.
- Olive Oil
- Penne pasta
Steps To Make This Pasta!
- Add The Feta, Tomatoes and Olives to The Pan– Start by adding the biggest items to the pan, the feta, tomatoes and olives.
- Add Herbs And Oil– garlic, onion, all herbs, and lemon then drizzle everything with olive oil.
- Bake– We are essentially roasting this whole pan at 400 degrees until the tomatoes start to blister, and the cheese is warm and gooey.
- Stir In The Pasta– Stir cooked pasta and a little bit of pasta cooking water into the pan until the pasta is covered in a smooth and creamy sauce. Enjoy!
Variations For This Recipe To Try
One of the great things about this super viral baked feta pasta is that it’s really easy to change it a little and dinner is still delicious. It’s doesn’t require tons of prep to make a few adjustments on this recipe.
Change The Seasoning
This dish is incredibly flexible, and so is the seasoning. Here are a few ideas to change up the seasoning in this dish.
- Italian Seasoning– I’ve made my version with greek seasoning, but the original is made with Italian seasoning. You can also try adding your own seasoning. I recommend playing around with a teaspoon of oregano, basil, thyme, and a couple of cloves of garlic.
- Mediterranean Seasoning Most other types of Mediterranean seasoning blends work well too.
- Everything But The Bagel Seasoning– I put this seasoning on everything and it would totally work for this pasta. It’s garlicy and oniony, which pairs well with the other flavors in this dish.
- Fresh Herbs- Fresh basil, oregano, thyme, parsley or even green onions can be sprinkled on top at the end to add delicious flavor.
- Red Pepper Flakes– A sprinkle of red pepper flakes can be added before baking, or you can add them at the table
Adding already cooked chicken, shrimp, bacon or even Italian style sausage is a great way to round out this recipe. Try using the method for chicken breast cooked as cutlets in my chicken bruschetta pasta if you have raw chicken breast to add super flavorful chicken!
Try Different Vegetables
You can totally change up the olives in this recipe a little bit and add other vegetables. I’d leave the tomatoes, without them you will be missing a lot of flavor and the sauce won’t work the same. Think about vegetables that roast well, here are a few ideas that would work well.
- Sliced Mushrooms
- Sliced Bell Peppers
- Purple Onion
- Cannellini Beans (White Kidney Beans) or Dark Kidney Beans
- Fresh Spinach – If using frozen spinach, defrost and drain the water first.
- Zucchini– green zucchini or yellow summer squash both are delicious. Because soft squash like zucchini is a bit more watery, I recommend adding this halfway through the baking time.
Swap The Cheese
Feta cheese has a pretty distinct flavor that’s salty. While some people love feta cheese (me!) others find it strong (also me, years ago.) The roasting the tomatoes tempers the flavor of the feta cheese a lot, and I’ve heard accounts of many people who don’t like feta cheese finding they love this dish so I encourage you to try it with the feta cheese!
If you still want to mix up the cheese or can’t find feta (this recipe caused a shortage in some places, it’s that good!), here are a few ides.
- Cream Cheese– Cream cheese is one of the mildest options
- Boursin Cheese– Boursin cheese is a mix of Gournay cheese and cream cheese, but the flavor and creaminess of this blend make it a great swap!
Change The Pasta Shape
This is one of the easiest swaps in this recipe! Most short and chunky pasta shapes work with this recipe as they hold on to the creamy sauce. Pasta that has ridges will hold the sauce a little better (like rigatoni or bowties). The only pasta that I would suggest avoiding would be delicate pasta (like angel hair) or tiny pasta (like orzo) because they won’t hold up to this thick and cheesy sauce.
Other Recipes You Will Love
Baked Ravioli Casserole– Made in thirty minutes, this cozy dish is the perfect cheesy comfort food.
Bruschetta Chicken Pasta– Garlic herb chicken sits on top of a bed of savory tomatoes for a delicious pasta dish made in under thirty minutes.
Easy Pesto Pasta Salad – Basil pesto brings in tons of flavor in this easy pasta salad.
Slow Cooker Chicken Tortellini Soup – Tender chicken, pillowy tortellini and fork-tender veggies all in a delicious tomato broth ready for you in the slow cooker.
Easy Baked Feta Pasta
- Rectangular casserole dish (9x 13)
- Large pot filled with salted water
- Large spoon with a long handle
- 200 grams Feta cheese
- 1/2 cup Black olives Sliced black olives are fine
- 2 pints Cherry tomatoes 50-60 cherry tomatos
- 2 cloves Garlic minced, I've used up to 4 cloves but 2 is the minimum
- 1 small Onion diced
- 1 Lemon zested and juiced
- 1 tablespoon Greek seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon Pepper
- 1/2 cup Olive Oil
- 2 cups Penne pasta, uncooked About half a pound of dry pasta
- Preheat oven to 400F. Start a large pot of salted water boiling on the stove top to cook the pasta.
- Place the feta cheese in the center of the casserole dish. Scatter the cherry tomatoes, black olives around the feta cheese. Sprinkle the garlic and onion on top.
- In a small bowl mix together the lemon zest, lemon juice, Greek seasoning, pepper and olive oil. Drizzle the whole mixture over the vegetables and feta cheese. Give everything except the feta a stir to coat the vegetables evenly.
- Bake the feta cheese mixture for 45-50 minutes. The cherry tomatoes will blister and the feta cheese will begin to turn a light brown. When the cheese mixture has baked for about 35 minutes, add the pasta to the water and boil according to the package directions.
- Save 1/2 cup of the pasta water from the cooked pasta. Drain but do not rinse the pasta, as the pasta water makes the sauce come together even better.
- Remove the baked pasta and vegetables from the oven and add the cooked and drained pasta to the casserole pan. Stir to coat the pasta in the feta cheese and cooked vegetables. Add a little bit of the pasta water until a smooth sauce comes together. Start adding 1/4 cup of pasta water, but add up to 1/2 cup to make a smooth and creamy sauce. Stir and enjoy!
- This dish can also be made in a large dutch oven, or baking dish that is oven safe.