I made the viral baked feta pasta for my toddler and this is what happened

TikTok loves it, but what about little kids?

kid holding tomato
Zlata Faerman

In a social landscape that's all about viral content, the only genre I'm interested in is related to food. I can't get enough of food recipe video tutorials, especially if they're easy to create and have several variations to them. One that caught my eye recently was the viral baked feta pasta recipe.

As someone who creates recipes and enjoys cooking, I try to involve my 5-year-old son Shane in my gastronomic adventures as much as I can. While some may say he's not picky, I know that he doesn't love trying new foods and tends to stick with what he knows. However, when he's a part of the cooking process, he's more likely to try whatever it is we're making. (The kid ate kale chips!)

It helps that we play a little game where I film him trying his first bite and ask him to rate it on a scale of 1-10. Shane HATES tomatoes. I mean, loathes them. But, the little man loves him some feta cheese. I wondered if he helped me with this dish, would he be more apt to try it out? So that's just what I did.


The viral Oven-Baked Feta Pasta recipe comes from Finnish blogger Jenni Hayrinen, who made a simplified version of the original dish. MacKenzie Smith (@grilledcheesesocial) then brought it USA-based fame when she posted a video of her version to TikTok. The dish quickly caught popularity, and you couldn't scroll Instagram or TikTok without seeing some version of it. Truth be told, the first time I went to make it, I couldn't find grape tomatoes on my Trader Joe's run!


@grilledcheesesocial Baked feta pasta viral recipe! Inspired by #uunifeta via @liemessa & @tiiupiret #learnontiktok #foodtiktok #foodie
♬ She Share Story (for Vlog) - 山口夕依

So what are those ingredients and how do you make it?

Cherry tomatoes

Feta cheese

Basil + spices (optional)

Olive oil

Pasta of choice

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Put the cherry tomatoes in a deep baking dish, top with olive oil and mix.
  3. Create a little nook in the middle of the tomatoes for the feta cheese. Sprinkle the top with olive oil. Top with basil if desired.
  4. Place into oven for 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package instructions.
  6. After 30 minutes, remove baking dish from the oven and mix all around.
  7. Add cooked pasta to the baking dish and mix yet again, combining all the ingredients.
  8. Serve and devour.

As you can tell from the recipe, it's pretty easy to make, so I had Shane do a lot of the mixing and the feta-nooking, but I obviously handled all of the hot parts. I also substituted for gluten free pasta, since we prefer to keep our gluten intake to a minimum.

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So how does this story end? Shane LOVED this dish—tomatoes and all! We had leftovers for days and he's really excited to try it with goat cheese, which is a variation that's made its way around, too.

Zlata Faerman is a full-time publicist, part-time writer, and round-the-clock ambassador to wit and humor. She writes about food, parenting, health, beauty, relationships, travel and home. When she’s not crafting kitchen concoctions for her food blog @lifeandthymez, Zlata can be found spending time with her family, having @zlatathoughts about everything, and fantasizing about being a Real Housewife of New Jersey.

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