Greek Moussaka

Greek

Greek Moussaka

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Greek Moussaka being taken out of a baking dish

Prep

40 minutes

Cook

1 hour 30 minutes

Yield

8 large pieces

This delicious Greek Moussaka recipe has layers of meat sauce and eggplant, with creamy bechamel. It's a traditional meal that you won't be able to get enough of.

Your Greek mama is here to deliver you another Greek recipe that you are going to love. No, seriously, this Greek Moussaka recipe is so good. Moussaka is a traditional dish from Greece that is usually eggplant and/or potato-based. It makes a delicious main course and is a classic recipe I grew up eating.

❤️ Why You’ll Love Greek Moussaka

  • Traditional: This Moussaka dish is a traditional Greek meal that most Greeks grew up eating. It’s authentic and so good.
  • Versatile: Every Greek family probably has their spin on a Moussaka, and this is mine. You can also totally make vegetarian or vegan versions too. Make it your own.
Greek Moussaka being taken out of a baking dish

🍲 Ingredients

Eggplant – Eggplant is such a versatile vegetable that is so good for you. It is high in antioxidants and can help with a variety of things like fighting off cancer, reducing the risk of heart disease, and so much more. Eat it in salads, roasted as a side dish, as part of a main course, the options are endless

Spices – One of the things that makes Greek Moussaka so good is the meat sauce. What’s special and unique about this meat sauce vs. a traditional Italian one is the combination of spices. You’ll find warming spices like cinnamon, clove, and all-spice in this sauce recipe that brings a delicious flavor to this dish

I’m Your Mommy Now

Your Greek mommy that is. 😍 Step into my kitchen to learn how to make yummy Greek food. 🍽️💃

👩‍🍳 How to Make Greek Moussaka

Prepare the eggplant and potatoes

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Generously grease 2 large nonstick sheet pans with olive oil. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the eggplant: Slice the eggplant into 1/3-inch slices. Put the slices in a large bowl with a big pinch of salt and let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. While the eggplant sits, prepare the potatoes. Peel and then cut the potatoes into 1/4-inch slices. Place the potato slices on one of the prepared sheet pans (or two if needed) and only slightly overlap them. Drizzle generously with olive oil and an even layer of salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 15 minutes.
  4. Once the eggplant slices have sat in the water for 10 minutes, drain and gently pat dry. Add the eggplant slices to the other oiled sheet pan, the slices can just overlap. Drizzle generously with olive oil and an even layer of salt and pepper. Once the potatoes have been in the oven for 15 minutes, add the eggplant to the oven and bake everything for 35-40 more minutes until the eggplant is golden brown.
  5. Remove the potatoes and eggplant from the oven and set aside.

Make the meat sauce

  1. While the potatoes and eggplant are baking, make the meat sauce.
  2. Add the olive oil to a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the diced onions, beef and garlic. Break up the beef with a spoon into small pieces and cook with the lid on, stirring every 3 minutes, until there are no juices left, about 12-15 minutes.
  3. Pour in the red wine to deglaze. Cook for a few minutes with the lid off until most of the wine has evaporated.
  4. Stir in the spices and bay leaves. Stir in the diced or whole tomatoes (if using whole tomatoes crush them up a bit when added to the pot), sugar, tomato paste, and water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Once simmering, turn to medium-low and simmer with the lid on until the sauce has cooked down and most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove the bay leaves and set aside.
Slice of Greek Moussaka

Make the bechamel

  1. Whisk together the 2 eggs in a bowl and set aside.
  2. To a medium-sized pot add 6 cups milk. Turn to medium-high heat to warm. Once the milk is warm, turn to medium heat.
  3. Start by whisking the flour in 3 parts (2 tbsp, 2 tbsp, 3 tbsp), constantly whisking after each addition of flour to fully combine. Once the flour is whisked in, add the butter and continue to whisk until the butter is melted and combined into the bechamel. Add in the salt, pepper and 1/4tsp + 1/8tsp ground nutmeg. Continue to whisk to ensure the sauce doesn’t get lumpy.
  4. Continue to cook the sauce, whisking as you go until it’s smooth and has a similar consistency to a cheese sauce. If needed, whisk in an additional 1 tbsp flour to help create the thicker consistency. Once you reach that cheese sauce consistency, remove the pot from the heat. Whisk in the grated parmesan cheese.
  5. Finally slowly whisk in the whisked eggs, whisking quickly to combine and making sure the sauce doesn’t get lumpy. When ready, set the bechamel aside.

Assemble the moussaka

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease an 9×13 baking dish with olive oil.
  2. Layer all of the cooked potato slices on the bottom of the baking dish, overlapping as you go until you have used all of the potato slices.
  3. Next layer all of the cooked eggplant slices, overlapping as you go until you have used all of the eggplant. Sprinkle 2 tbsp parmesan cheese over the eggplant layer.
  4. Pour in all of the meat sauce and spread evenly.
  5. Pour the bechamel on top of the meat sauce and spread is into an even layer.
  6. Drizzle the top with olive oil and bake in the middle of the oven until the top turns golden brown, about 40-45 minutes. Start checking around the 35-minute mark as all ovens cook differently.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least an hour until it’s just warm, this will allow the bechamel layer to be fully set and stay together when you cut through the moussaka.

🪄 Tips and Tricks

  • Soaking the eggplant in water with salt removes some of the bitterness of the eggplant so don’t skip that step
  • Our meat sauce starts with 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil but in traditional Greek moussaka recipes the meat sauce can start with up to 1/2 cup olive oil so feel free to start the recipe with more olive oil if you prefer
  • For the meat sauce, if you don’t want to use red wine, you can try substituting it with alcohol-free red wine or beef broth
  • If you want a vegan version of Moussaka, check out this recipe

🗒 Variations

There are so many ways you can make this recipe your own. For example, if you want a vegan version of Moussaka, check out this recipe. If you aren’t a fan of beef or red meat, you can swap that ground meat for something like ground chicken or turkey. You can also use ground lamb instead for a nice flavor. Play around with spices, herbs, and veggies. Whatever you want.


🗒 Best served with

👝 How to Store Leftovers

This Greek Moussaka is still so good leftover. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

🤔 Common Questions

What is the difference between Turkish, or Greek Moussaka?

The Turkish version is not layered and baked. It resembles more of a stew with eggplant, tomato, onions, and minced meat that is served with pilaf.

What is the national food of Greece?

Food in Greece is honestly so incredibly, I know I’m bias, but seriously it’s so good. Moussaka is definitely at the top of the list of must-try Greek dishes.

Greek Moussaka

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This delicious Greek Moussaka recipe has layers of meat sauce and eggplant, with creamy bechamel. It's a traditional meal that you won't be able to get enough of.
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Resting time 1 hour
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Greek
Servings 8 large pieces
Calories 464 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the eggplant and potatoes

For the meat sauce

  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 white onions, diced
  • 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 3/4 tsp ground all spice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 3/4 cups diced or whole canned tomatoes
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup water

For the bechamel

Instructions
 

Prepare the eggplant and potatoes

  • Preheat the oven to 375F. Generously grease 2 large non stick sheet pans with olive oil. Set aside.
  • Prepare the eggplant: Slice the eggplant into 1/3 inch slices. Put the slices in a large bowl with a big pinch of salt and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • While the eggplant sits, prepare the potatoes. Peel and then cut the potatoes into 1/4 inch slices. Place the potato slices on one of the prepared sheet pans (or two if needed) and only slightly overlap them. Drizzle generously with olive oil and and an even layer of salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 15 minutes.
  • Once the eggplant slices have sat in the water for 10 minutes, drain and gently pat dry. Add the eggplant slices to the other oiled sheet pan, the slices can just overlap. Drizzle generously with olive oil and and an even layer of salt and pepper. Once the potatoes have been in the oven for 15 minutes, add the eggplant to the oven and bake everything for 35-40 more minutes until the eggplant is golden brown.
  • Remove the potatoes and eggplant from the oven and set aside.

Make the meat sauce

  • While the potatoes and eggplant are baking, make the meat sauce.
  • Add the olive oil to a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the diced onions, beef and garlic. Break up the beef with a spoon into small pieces and cook with the lid on, stirring every 3 minutes, until there are no juices left, about 12-15 minutes.
  • Pour in the red wine to deglaze. Cook for a few minutes with the lid off until most of the wine has evaporated.
  • Stir in the spices and bay leaves. Stir in the diced or whole tomatoes (if using whole tomatoes crush them up a bit when added to the pot), sugar, tomato paste and water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once simmering, turn to medium low and simmer with the lid on until the sauce has cooked down and most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove the bay leaves and set aside.

Make the bechamel

  • Whisk together the 2 eggs in a bowl and set aside.
  • To a medium-sized pot add 6 cups milk. Turn to medium-high heat to warm. Once the milk is warm, turn to medium heat.
  • Start by whisking the flour in 3 parts (2 tbsp, 2 tbsp, 3 tbsp), constantly whisking after each addition of flour to fully combine. Once the flour is whisked in, add the butter and continue to whisk until the butter is melted and combined into the bechamel. Add in the salt, pepper and 1/4tsp + 1/8tsp ground nutmeg. Continue to whisk to ensure the sauce doesn't get lumpy.
  • Continue to cook the sauce, whisking as you go until it's smooth and has a similar consistency to a cheese sauce. If needed, whisk in an additional 1 tbsp flour to help create the thicker consistency. Once you reach that cheese sauce consistency, remove the pot from the heat.
    Whisk in the grated parmesan cheese.
  • Finally slowly whisk in the whisked eggs, whisking quickly to combine and making sure the sauce doesn't get lumpy. When ready, set the bechamel aside.

Assemble the moussaka

  • Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease an 9×13 baking dish with olive oil.
  • Layer all of the cooked potato slices on the bottom of the baking dish, overlapping as you go until you have used all of the potato slices.
  • Next layer all of the cooked eggplant slices, overlapping as you go until you have used all of the eggplant. Sprinkle 2 tbsp parmesan cheese over the eggplant layer.
  • Pour in all of the meat sauce and spread evenly.
  • Pour the bechamel on top of the meat sauce and spread is into an even layer.
  • Drizzle the top with olive oil and bake in the middle of the oven until the top turns golden brown, about 40-45 minutes. Start checking around the 35 minute mark as all ovens cook differently.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool at least an hour until it's just warm, this will allow the bechamel layer to be fully set and stay together when you cut through the moussaka.

Video

Notes

  • Soaking the eggplant in water with salt removes some of the bitterness of the eggplant so don’t skip that step.
  • Our meat sauce starts with 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil but in traditional Greek moussaka recipes the meat sauce can start with up to 1/2 cup olive oil so feel free to start the recipe with more olive oil if you prefer.
  • For the meat sauce, if you don’t want to use red wine, you can try substituting with alcohol-free red wine or beef broth.
  • If you love this recipe you’re sure to enjoy our Traditional Greek Pastitsio Recipe (Greek Lasagna)

Nutrition

Calories: 464kcal | Carbohydrates: 45.3g | Protein: 36.9g | Fat: 15.3g | Saturated Fat: 7.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5.7g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 126.2mg | Sodium: 1555.9mg | Fiber: 6.6g | Sugar: 24.4g
Review This Recipe Let us know how it was!
Michael Franz

Hi, in the future could you just put the traditional way of doing it into the main body of the recipe as well so we can see side by side how its done the traditional way as well? For example, the olive oil amount in the printed recipe doesn’t mention the half cup at all and I think that is a shame because I like to print things out and put it into our collection and I end up losing that valuable info.

Maria Koutsogiannis

Hello Michael,

I don’t think you are looking at the right portion of my post. Please look at the recipe card. Thank you! In the recipe card you will also see a print recipe option.

Barbara Minkus

Is it possible to prepare in advance and freeze?

Maria Koutsogiannis

Yes! Freeze then bake from frozen or thaw then cook. I am not sure how long the baking time will take but you’ll know when it’s hot throughout the top of golden!

Viv Vance

You mention how important it is to soak the eggplant slices in salted water, yet the instructions just say to put them in a bowl with a large pinch of salt. The video doesn’t show that step either. Are we supposed to be adding water to the bowl also? Thank! I can’t wait to try this and I want it to be perfect!

Maria Koutsogiannis

Yes! We only had so much room in the recipe instructions! Just soak them for 15 minutes in water with 1 tsp of salt!

Doug Doty

I love most vegetable but for some reason I just can’t like eggplant. One of my favorite greek dishes though is Pastitsio. I’ll look for your recipe for that.

Maria Koutsogiannis

I have that recipe!!!! Also, just use potatoes and zucchini if you cant do eggplant!

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