Traditional Greek Moussaka recipe (Moussaka with Béchamel)

Moussaka recipe (Traditional Greek Moussaka with Eggplants)

Greek Moussaka recipe – A delicious taste of Greece

This dish is a legend! Creamy, juicy and absolutely delicious.. Greek moussaka (mousaka) is one of the most popular dishes in Greece, served in almost every tavern and prepared in every household on special occasions and big family meals and for good reason! To prepare a traditional Greek Moussaka recipe, luscious layers of juicy beef mince (or lamb) are cooked in a tomato based sauce, layered with sweet eggplants and creamy béchamel sauce and baked together until golden perfection.. Simply irresistible! With this step-by-step traditional Greek Moussaka recipe you can easily recreate this traditional delight from scratch! So go ahead, indulge yourself to this little sin.. This easy to follow Greek moussaka recipe never fails to impress and is always a crowd pleaser. The essence of this traditional Greek moussaka recipe can be summarised in three key stages: preparing the meat filling, preparing the béchamel sauce and cooking the eggplants. Each stage will require dirtying some pans, but i think you will agree that the end result is well worth it!

Prepare the Greek Moussaka meat sauce

The traditional Greek moussaka recipe calls for either lamb mince or a mix of lamb and beef. But if you can’t handle its strong flavour and prefer a lighter version try substituting with good quality beef or veal mince. To prepare the meat sauce for this moussaka recipe, the ground beef is sautéed in olive oil, flavoured with onions and garlic and then simmered in red wine and tomato sauce. The aromatic herbs and spices used in the traditional moussaka recipe penetrate the meat and give a really characteristic taste and smell which permeates the house, once put in the oven! Let the sauce simmer for a while to allow the flavours to mingle.

Are you a vegetarian? Not to worry, there is always a way to enjoy this delicious dish! Discover my latest delicious Vegetarian Greek Moussaka recipe with a delicious mushroom based sauce replacing the traditional mince.

Greek Moussaka recipe – Prepare the Béchamel sauce

The creamy béchamel sauce is the most essential part for a traditional Greek moussaka recipe and probably the trickiest part too. To achieve the perfect texture for your béchamel sauce, add the milk (preferably lukewarm) a little bit at a time whilst constantly stirring. The perfect béchamel sauce for your moussaka should be smooth and creamy. The key is to whisk the sauce constantly to allow each time the flour to absorb the milk, so that it doesn’t get lumpy. Cook the sauce over medium-low heat in order to prevent it from burning and sticking on the bottom of the pan, but be careful to cook it enough, until you can’t taste the flour and is thick enough.

Greek Moussaka recipe – Prepare the vegetables

The base for a traditional Greek moussaka is most commonly fried eggplants. Some moussaka recipes also use sliced potatoes, so if you like potatoes, try adding a layer of sliced potatoes as the first layer to this amazing dish for some extra comfort during the winter months. The traditional Greek moussaka recipe calls for fried eggplants (and potatoes), but for a lighter alternative, try drizzling the aubergines (and potatoes) with some olive oil and bake them for 20 minutes instead of frying them. Some eggplants may be bitter, so it is very important to remove the bitterness by seasoning with salt and letting them stand for half an hour in a collander.

So go ahead, give this traditional Greek Moussaka recipe a try and amaze your friends and family with this extra tasty hearty dish! Try combining it with some delicious little cheese pies to blow their mind away!

Looking for some more inspiration? Why don’t you also take a look at my favourite pastitsio and stuffed eggplants with mince (papoutsakia) recipes! Love eggplants? Take a look at my favourite eggplant dip and panfried battered eggplants recipes which I’m sure you’ll love as well!

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Moussaka recipe (Traditional Greek Moussaka with Eggplants)

Traditional Greek Moussaka recipe (Moussaka with Béchamel)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (649 votes, average: 4.91 out of 5)
  • Author: Eli K. Giannopoulos
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8 pieces 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Cuisine: Greek


The very best traditional Greek Moussaka recipe. Imagine layers of juicy beef mince, sweet eggplants, and creamy béchamel sauce baked to perfection!



Base ingredients

  • 6 eggplants
  • vegetable oil (for frying the eggplants)

For the meat sauce

  • 750g beef or lamb mince
  • 2 red onions (chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 glass of red wine
  • Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • A pinch of cinnamon or one cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 of a cup olive oil

For the bechamel sauce

  • 900ml milk
  • 120g butter
  • 120g flour
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 100g Parmigiano-Reggiano or Kefalotyri
  • salt to taste


  1. To prepare this Greek moussaka recipe, begin by preparing the eggplants. Remove the stalks from the eggplants and cut them into slices, 1 cm thick. Season with salt and place in a colander for about half an hour.
  2. Rinse the eggplants with plenty of water and squeeze with your hands, to get rid of the excessive water. Pat them dry and fry in plenty of oil, until nicely colored. Place the fried eggplants on some paper, in order to absorb the oil. (For a lighter version of the traditional Greek moussaka try drizzling the aubergines with some olive oil and bake them for 20 minutes instead of frying them).
  3. Prepare the meat sauce for the moussaka. Heat a large pan to medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Stir in the chopped onions and sauté, until softened and slightly colored. Stir in the garlic, tomato puree and the mince breaking it up with a wooden spoon and sauté. Pour in the red wine and wait to evaporate. Add the tinned tomatoes, the sugar, a pinch of cinnamon, 1 bay leaf and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer with the lid on for about 30 minutes, until most of the juices have evaporated.
  4. Prepare the béchamel sauce for the moussaka. Use a large pan to melt some butter over low-medium heat. Add the flour whisking continuously to make a paste. Add warmed milk in a steady stream; keep whisking in order to prevent your sauce from getting lumpy. If the sauce still needs to thicken, boil over low heat while continuing to stir.
  5. Remove the pan from the stove and stir in the egg yolks, salt, pepper, a pinch of nutmeg and the grated cheese. Whisk quickly, in order to prevent the eggs from turning an omelette! Season with salt to taste.
  6. Assemble the moussaka. For this moussaka recipe you will need a large baking dish, approx. 20*30 cm). Butter the bottom and sides of the pan and layer the eggplants. Pour in the meat sauce and even out. Add a second layer of eggplants, top with the béchamel sauce and smooth out with a spatula.
  7. Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake the musaka in preheated oven at 180-200C for about 60 minutes, until crust turns light golden brown. Even though it will be really hard.. you should wait for the moussaka to cool down for a while before cutting into pieces.
  8. Serve the Moussaka with a refreshing Traditional Greek Salad  and enjoy over a glass of wine!


  • Serving Size: 1 Piece
  • Calories: 455kcal
  • Sugar: 11g
  • Sodium: 84.6mg
  • Fat: 19.1g
  • Saturated Fat: 8.2g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 9.7g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 61g
  • Fiber: 5.3g
  • Protein: 14.7g
  • Cholesterol: 72.1mg

Keywords: How to make moussaka, Moussaka with potatoes, Béchamel sauce for Moussaka, Moussaka recipe, Traditional Greek moussaka

Recipe image gallery:

Are you a Greek speaker? You can always read this delicious recipe in Greek here Παραδοσιακός Μουσακάς συνταγή (Μουσακάς με πατάτες και μελιτζάνες).


  1. Had the most heavenly version (lighter than my mother’s or mine) of this in Athens, under the stars with a view of the Acropolis. Love your recipes.

    • Hi Virgina

      ah that sounds magical! Thank you for your kind words and hope you’ll find many recipes that you’ll like!

      PS. To make a light moussaka, you will need to bake the aubergines and potatoes after brushing them with a little bit of oil. That will result in a much lighter version of the typical fried version 🙂



  2. How did you get it to look like the picture above? Mine came out with the eggplants laying on top with the bechamel seeping into all of the moussaka.

    • Well, you simply have to reduce the amount of milk to get your bechamel thicker – 500 ml would do. 900 ml will get you a much thinner sauce.

  3. Chelsea you have to let the dish rest and cool off for a few minutes that’s why.
    Eli this moussaka looks and I’m sure its delish!!!and the recipe is authentic your site about Greek food is one of the best I’ve seen and your pics are making many people drool lol!!
    Hellas ole oleeeee!then stamato name tragoutho pote oooeeeeeeee……

  4. Any suggestions for making this for 30? Two pans or one large??

  5. Mrs Melissa woodall

    I love moussaka ..just with eggplant ..but my kids now adults like it with potatoes too.mixed..still as nice tho… I love Greek food too…Been twice in last 5 yrs hoping to go bk nxt year …x

  6. pete frangos

    It’s funny how you never mentioned when to add the meat to the meat sauce, Luckily I’m Greek & know when to add it, you should edit your recipe for the meat sauce, I’m in the process of making it now, & it sounds like it’s going to be DELICIOUS
    Pete the Greek

  7. I love this recipe, it’s divine, but I’ve had to tweak the bechamel sauce and use a wine stock cube as back slimming, so will let you know how it is! ?

  8. Can you freeze this after assembling, but before baking?

  9. I have just made this and seem to have quite a lot of bechamel sauce left ?

  10. Greek son/grandson

    Its better with beef mince

  11. Swaran K Dahele

    I am going to try this mussaka recipe for the first time. Can someone suggest a substitute for the egg when making the topping (sauce ) I am entertaining some guests who are vegetarians and do not eat eggs. Many thanks

    • Hello Swaran

      You can skip the egg altogether. It just makes the béchamel a bit thicker but you can safely omit it.

    • It’s perhaps a bit late, but, if you are vegetarian, why don’t you try a parmigiana ? It’s no Greek, but very mediterranean,just eggplants, tomatoes, mozzarella and parmigiano… and onions and herbs. Gorgious.

  12. same question as Sooz “Can you freeze this after assembling, but before baking?”

  13. Pat Aretakis

    Hello Eli, can you use half beef and half lamb for this recipe? I find it tastes nicer with lamb but a bit too greasy?


    Sthaw in the oven how, precisely? Bake frozen at what temp ? I’m doing a party but have to prepare everything 2 days prior.
    Thanks! Kat

    • Paula Chow

      Bit late for a reply but may help someone else. 2 days ahead wouldn’t need to be frozen. Refrigerated would be sufficient.

      If it is frozen, you will need to defrost it first. It would take hours if you wanted to finish from frozen,.

  15. Alyson O'Neill

    Hello I love Greek food and have been to Greece many times to and brought all our Children too..mainly off the beaten track .
    I wonder how many people this recipe is for and have made Moussaka before .Many thanks. ALYSON

  16. Betty Haniotakis

    We made this recipe yesterday, and loved the wonderful taste! I have made moussaka many times (but less frequently in recent years), so it was a pleasure to get back to making it at home. The only part I actually measured was the bechamel – for the meat sauce I just used the recipe amounts as an approximation – this worked out well for me. I used my own tomato sauce, made from tomatoes at their peak flavor. I used beef/pork ground meat – 70/30 – prob. would have been better with just ground beef. Next time I will add oregano, as I’m used to this taste in many Greek dishes. Despite the long prep time, this is dish well worth the time. I loved the very specific directions.

  17. Fantastic photos and clear instructions. On our family there is a great debate whether the authentic Moussaka should be lamb or beef and whether it should use Ceylon Cinnamon or Cassia Cinnamon. say it should be lamb and Ceylon Cinnamon. Nevertheless this is fantastic. Definitely a labor of love. Thank you.

  18. I love Greek Moussaka. Thanks for sharing recipe!

  19. Paula Chow

    Thanks for the recipe. A labour of love but definitely worth the effort. A hint for those who find lamb too fatty, make the sauce a day ahead and place into fridge overnight. The flavour develops and you can scrape the layer of oil/fat away.

    I noticed someone asked if you can freeze this recipe. I have done it successfully. I would recommend that it is defrosted before putting into the oven.

  20. Hi,

    I’d like to thank you for this amazing recipe. I made it a couple of times and everyone just loves it! Can I make it ahead of time, keep it in the refrigerator over night, and bake it the next day? Would this alter anything or change the wonderful taste?

  21. Inga Sinkeviciute

    I wonder how much calories has it got per portion?

  22. I love moussaka but never tried a vegan version before, looks delicious! Hanifia

  23. Great recipe! Egg in bechamel was a new one for me, but it tasted really good.
    I combined your way and my old way of making it, in that I did the top and bottom layers with thinly sliced fried potatoes, and two layers in between with eggplant. Makes it bit heartier and stistisl fits well

  24. It looks great… it describes clearly and I decided to prepare it in this weekend… Thanks again,,,

  25. you can’;t even print the recipe, why even have it on the computer when you can’t even print them

    • Betty Haniotakis

      I believe that you will find the “print” icon at the end of the recipe. I printed it a couple of years ago without problem.

  26. Hello, is it possible to make with zucchini instead of eggplant? I love moussaka but can no longer have eggplant or potatoes. If I use just zucchini, how would you prep it before adding it in?

  27. Betty Haniotakis

    You can certainly make zucchini moussaka, but it will definitely be missing something. I would lightly fry the zucchini, probably cut into lengthwise not too thick slices. I really feel for you in your predicate – can’t imagine life without eggplant and potatoes!


    First time I have ever made a moussaka. T is amazing and only 2 of us eating for 8. I will be donating some to my elderly neighbours tomorrow who I am looking after due to corinavirus. Really delicious. Thank you. X

  29. Good for you, Romilly!

  30. Hey, if I want to make this recipe for just 2 people (4 portions), should I change the measurement or just add 500g meat instead and 3 aubergines?

  31. Jim Krasas

    What amount is a tin of chopped tomatoes

  32. I made this last night and it was delicious, like SERIOUSLY good!! My bechamel sauce was maybe a little too runny but it actually firmed up in the oven *phew* and this recipe is one I’m going to continue using and will be sharing!

  33. Yasu Eli,
    Which way do you cut the aubergine?
    Long slices Or short slices??
    I’m making this for my Greek in laws…

  34. Eggplant comes in various sizes. I wish you would have put the total weight required. Thanks.

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