Did you think that the TikTok pasta recipe was a passing fad? You thought wrong! Find out how, with just a few ingredients, a baking pan and an oven, you can feed a family or yourself in a pinch.
If you love food and you’re socially media savvy, you’ve surely come across the TikTok pasta recipe. It’s the one where a roasting pan is loaded with a layer of cherry tomatoes before a block of feta is placed in the center.
To make this social media phenomenon, home cooks roast tomatoes and feta in an oven on high heat until the tomatoes are caramelized and the feta is soft. All that’s left to do is mix the baked ingredients and add cooked pasta.
The finished result is a meatless wonder – a combination where the salty, sheepy feta mixes with sweet and slightly acidic tomatoes to create a creamy sauce that blends wonderfully with bite sized pasta.
The recipe is convenient. When me make it, we only dirty up two pots and no knives are necessary. The only prep work involves dumping various ingredients in a pan and dropping pasta in boiling water.
In an era of dump and stir recipes, this recipe takes the concept even further. Once the pan is in the oven, the only active movement involves boiling pasta. And, once the ingredients are cooked, they only need a brief stir.
When you make TikTok Pasta for the first or fortieth time, you’re essentially making ricotta. You’re taking a finished cheese, in this case feta, and ‘recooking’ it. After 35-40 minutes in the oven, the initially crumbly, cold feta brick transforms into a creamy, dreamy product while still retaining its salty, sheepy goodness.
As a bonus, preparing TikTok Pasta requires no special ingredients and easily be done any time of the year. Feta, cherry tomatoes, pasta and olive oil are typically available at markets both big and small regardless of the season.
Our Relationship with TikTok Pasta
Daryl is never a person to follow trends for the sake of being trendy. He rarely watches TikTok and will never cook something purely because it’s fashionable. It’s not that he didn’t want to make this baked feta pasta recipe. He just needed a little prying and convincing from Mindi to become a believer.
Sure enough, after finally giving in and cooking the recipe more than five times, he’s incorporated it into his easy kitchen repertoire. He even sneaks leftovers of it at 3am.
We don’t know the originator of this recipe. We do know that it first hit the cultural zeitgeist in Finland. Since today’s internet is filled with imitators and duplicators, we suspect that the recipe’s originator may never be traced and will anonymously slave away in some kitchen without fame or fortune. To this culinary genius, we say thank you!
TikTok Pasta Essentials
Making TikTok baked feta pasta is ridiculously simple, but using certain items will maximize your feta pasta enjoyment. While a standard metal roasting pan works, a pyrex, earthenware or enameled cast iron pan will hold the heat better when you mix the pasta and the pasta water. We like to use glass a pyrex mixing dish.
Click here to buy a glass pyrex baking dish if you don’t already own one.
While many recipes call for a single block of Feta, we’ve constructed a recipe that easily feeds a family of four to six people. We feel that it’s easier to repurpose ⅔ of a block of Feta in a salad as opposed to ⅓ of a box of pasta. Our recipe calls for a full pound of pasta.
If your oven has a convection setting, we recommend using it in this recipe. The convection setting will provide more even heat, caramelizing both the feta and the tomatoes.
Finally, while some food writers, like the New York Times’ Melissa Clark, offer the option of cooking the pasta with added water in the same roasting pan as the tomato and feta, we believe that cooking the pasta in boiling water on the stove is simpler and better for this dish. The pasta will always be cooked when you add it to the pan. Also, not adding additional water to the pan will allow you to achieve deeper, more caramelized flavors.
TikTok Pasta Ingredients
We use the following ingredients in our TikTok reicpe:
Feel free to replace the oregano and thyme with your favorite herbs. Other herb options include basil, tarragon and parsley.
Our recipe calls for a quart of cherry of grape tomatoes.
Yes. You could buy top notch cherry tomatoes from your local farmers market. We’ve gone down that road. Don’t do it. Organic local tomatoes, like yellow sungold, will create a recipe that’s overly sweet.
Standard grape or cherry tomatoes from your local supermarket will provide a beautiful harmonizing acidity with the cooked feta. It’s the way to go.
We recommend using 10 oz. of Greek sheep’s milk feta. Although we’re able to buy DOP product here in Europe, any good salty Sheep or Sheep/Goat product will work.
Don’t buy crumbled feta. Buy a block of cheese instead.
Any bite sized pasta will work in this recipe. We love using farfalle (bowties) but have found that ziti, orechiette and mini shells work well too.
We typically splurge on high quality pasta made with brass dyes since they generally have a better bite and give off more starch in the pasta water. That being said, simple, grocery store pasta will do the job.
Click here to buy farfalle pasta if you can’t find any in your local market.
We like to use extra virgin olive oil but you can use a supermarket brand. In other words, whatever olive oil you have in your pantry will work just fine.
What herbs you choose to use is entirely up to you.
We like to place a few sprigs of fresh thyme on top of the tomatoes before roasting and mix dried oregano in with the tomatoes. We also take a cue from the Greeks and sprinkle oregano on the feta before baking.
How to Make TikTok Pasta
To begin the recipe, preheat your oven to 400°F/205°C.
Next, dump the tomatoes in a 10×15” roasting pan and season them with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and two thirds of the oregano.
Evenly pour the olive oil over the tomatoes and mix thoroughly in the pan.
You’ll next want to create a well in the center where you’ll place the feta block.
Gently place the feta in the center of the pan.
Evenly sprinkle the rest of the oregano over the feta.
Some TikTok Pasta recipes call for pouring additional olive oil over the feta; however, this extra step isn’t necessary in this recipe.
Once the oven is preheated, place the pan on the center rack.
After placing the tomatoes in the oven, boil a large pot of well salted water on the stove over high heat.
Set your oven timer for 25 minutes.
Your pasta water should be boiling when your timer dings or buzzes. This is time to drop the pasta into the pot and boil according to the box instructions.
Cook the tomato/feta mixture for an additional 10 minutes or until the tomatoes start to brown and the feta is lightly browned on the edges.
Remove the tomato/feta mixture from the oven.
When the pasta is done, drain it in a colander and reserve a cup of pasta water in a measuring cup.
Dump the pasta in the baking pan on top of the cooked tomatoes and feta.
Mix until everything is combined. As you’re mixing, slowly add the reserved pasta water until the feta tomato pasta mixture reaches your desired level of sauciness.
Serve to a group of hungry people. Enjoy!
TikTok Pasta Recipe
- 1 quart of cherry or grape tomatoes
- 10 ounces of feta cheese
- 1 pound of bite sized pasta like farfalle or penne
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 6 sprigs of whole thyme
- 1/8 cup of olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon of red chili flake or to taste
- Salt to taste
- Black Pepper to taste
- Preheat an oven to 400°F/205°C
- Lay out whole cherry tomatoes in a pyrex or earthenware baking pan
- Evenly spread olive oil, salt, pepper, chili flakes and 2/3 of the oregano over the tomatoes.
- Mix the seasonings, olive oil and tomatoes thoroughly and then create a rectangular well in the middle of pan for the feta cheese
- Gently place the feta in the well.
- Sprinkle the remaining oregano on top of the feta and place 3 thyme sprigs on top of the pan
- Place the roasting pan in the middle rack of the oven. Set the oven timer for 25 minutes.
- Bring salted pasta water to a boil on the stove.
- After 25 minutes, drop the pasta into the boiling pasta water. Cook the pasta according to the box instructions.
- Bake the the tomato/feta mixture for an additional 10 minutes until the both the tomatoes and feta are light brown and caramelized (see photo). Once done, remove the mixture from the oven.
- Drain the pasta in a colander, reserving a cup of the pasta water.
- Pour the pasta in the roasting pan and thoroughly mix the pasta with the tomatoes and feta. Gradually pour in the pasta water until the sauce reaches the desired consistency.
- Supermarket cherry tomatoes work best with this recipe. That being said, you can use any cherry or grape tomatoes that you like.
- It's important to use a Greek style block of feta cheese made with goat or sheep's milk.
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About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.