Greek Moussaka recipe – A delicious taste of Greece
Greek Moussaka (mousaka) is without a doubt, Greece’s most popular, traditional dish! You’ll be hard pressed to find a taverna that doesn’t serve it or a household that doesn’t make it on special occasions!
So what is Moussaka? Moussaka is a traditional Greek eggplant casserole made with baked or pan fried eggplants (aubergines) and potatoes, a rich, tomatoey beef or lamb mince sauce and topped off with a deliciously creamy bechamel sauce. In other words, the ultimate comfort food.
This is my very best, traditional Moussaka recipe as passed on to me by my grandmother. To make it easy for you to make the best Moussaka, I’ve put together:
- my step-by-step recipe,
- those secret tips and tricks that make all the difference,
- how to store it if you’re making it in advance, and best of all,
- my hands on recipe video for you to watch!
So go ahead, indulge yourself in this little sin and let’s get started!
Traditional Greek Moussaka Key Preparation Steps
Many people believe that making Moussaka is difficult. However, that could not be further away from the truth! Making your Moussaka comes down to the below four very simple steps:
- preparing the moussaka eggplants (aubergines) and potatoes,
- preparing the lamb or beef tomato sauce,
- preparing the béchamel sauce
- And of course, assembling it and baking it until perfectly golden brown! You’ll need to dirty up some pans, but the end result is well worth it!
Greek Moussaka recipe: Preparing the eggplants and potatoes
The eggplants (aubergines) and potatoes are the foundation of a Greek Moussaka (Muscaca) and they serve two very different purposes. The sliced potatoes are the base for the dish, give it robustness and make it easy to cut and serve. On the other hand, the aubergines act like little sponges. They soak up the delicious tomato sauce and give the dish its incredible juiciness and creaminess. These are my top tips to prepare them to perfection!
Preparing your moussaka potatoes
- Get yourself some starchy potatoes like Russet, Idaho, Yukon gold or Marris Piper.
- Peel and slice them in uniform disks of about the same thickness as your little finger (around 1cm).
- Finally rinse them under some running water to get rid of the excess starch.
Preparing the moussaka eggplants (aubergines)
Firstly, you’ll need to buy yourself some large eggplants – the largest you can find at the supermarket! Slice the eggplants, without peeling them, in uniform disks of about the same thickness as your potatoes. Rinse them thoroughly with water until the water runs clear and season them with a good sprinkle of salt. Finally, let them sit in a colander for half an hour.
Tip: Some eggplants (aubergines) can be bitter so it is important to prepare them correctly. Rinsing them, salting them and letting them rest removes that bitterness and they will taste deliciously sweet, creamy and with no hint of bitterness whatsoever!
Baking or frying the Moussaka eggplants (aubergines) and potatoes?
Traditionally, the Moussaka eggplants and potatoes are shallow fried until golden brown. This is how most tavena’s make their moussaka because shallow frying adds an incredible lusciousness to the dish that is hard to resist. However, I much prefer a lighter moussaka that is not too oily and greasy.
So, I bake my moussaka aubergines and potatoes instead. Your moussaka will turn out to be lighter, with less calories and will taste just as amazing! Now you can enjoy more of your moussaka guilt free! So, drizzle your sliced aubergines and potatoes with some olive oil, season with a good pinch of salt and pepper and bake them in sheet pans for 20 minutes at 180C/350F until they are part way cooked and slightly browned on the outside.
Tip: Don’t forget your eggplants (aubergines) will shrink when baked, so make sure you slice enough to give you around 3 layers of coverage. When baked, they will shrink down to just the right amount for 2 luscious layers!
Tip: When baked, sliced aubergines tend to stick to the sheet pans. To prevent that from happening, bake them in non-stick sheets or overlap the slices a little bit so they are partially lifted from the bottom of your sheet pan. They will then come right off without any of their flesh sticking to the sheets!
Tip: You can bake the potatoes in the same baking tray that you’ll use to bake your Moussaka in. Not only will you slice and layer the exact number of potatoes, but you’ll also end up with less washing up to do!
Adding potatoes to your Moussaka (or not)?
Over the years I’ve witnessed plenty of debate whether Moussaka should be made with just eggplants or also with potatoes. From my experience, I find that adding potatoes as the base layer of my moussaka makes the dish, more complete. The starchiness of the potatoes perfectly complements the tanginess of the sauce, the sweetness of the aubergines and the creaminess of the béchamel cream.
Adding potatoes to the moussaka makes the dish more robust, balanced and flavourful! So, I must admit that I am a fan of making my moussaka with potatoes! If you haven’t tried it, give it a go next time and I’m sure you’ll love them too!
Preparing the Greek Moussaka Meat Sauce
Traditional Greek Moussaka (mousakka) calls for either lamb mince or a mix of lamb and beef. However, if you can’t handle or don’t like the strong flavour of lamb or if you prefer a lighter Moussaka, you can substitute lamb mince with good quality beef or veal mince. Also you can make it fully vegan with my vegan moussaka with lentils recipe as well!
After you’re done preparing your vegetables, it’s time to prepare your Moussaka meat sauce. In essence, a Moussaka meat sauce is very similar to a basic Bolognese sauce. The ground meat is sautéed in olive oil, onions and garlic. It is then deglazed with some red wine and, finally, it is simmered with chopped tomatoes until thickened.
But there are also some key differences. Firstly, the spices used for the Moussaka (musaka) meat sauce infuse the meat and give it a deliciously fresh taste and smell that characterises this traditional Greek dish!
Secondly, the Moussaka meat sauce needs to be very thick,so it doesn’t soak through the vegetables. Once you’ve added the spices let the sauce simmer over low heat until it has reduced and thickened. This will also help the flavours fully develop. Just remember to occasionally stir it so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of your pan.
Finally, your Moussaka meat sauce needs to be well seasoned. Once the Moussaka sauce has thickened season with salt and pepper. Add some, stir, taste and add some more if needed. Seasoning in the end will help you avoid over or under seasoning your sauce!
Greek Moussaka recipe – Prepare the Béchamel sauce
A traditional Greek Moussaka recipe needs a luscious bechamel sauce. However, this is also the trickiest part to get right! So how to make it to perfection? It’s all down to having the right thickness, whisking constantly while it is cooking, enriching it with eggs and cheese, and, adding just the right amount of salt in the end.
Moussaka needs a thick and creamy bechamel. A thin béchamel sauce will soak through the meat sauce and won’t give you that creamy thick layer that sits on top and makes your Moussaka stand out! So, when preparing your bechamel, make sure you cook it long enough, until it resembles a thick custard.
To prepare your Moussaka bechamel sauce start by first melting your butter on high heat. Add all of the flour, whisk it until the butter is fully absorbed into the flour and let it cook for a couple of minutes until it slightly browns. Turn down the heat to medium and add the milk a little bit at a time. Wait for the milk to absorb into the flour, add some more and repeat until you’ve used all the milk in the recipe. Your béchamel sauce is ready when it has thickened and resembles a custard, like the picture below.
Tip: You’ll need to be constantly whisking while you’re adding the milk. Cooking your béchamel sauce while whisking over a low heat will prevent it from burning and sticking to the bottom of your pan. I always use a hand mixer with the whisk attachment to help me with the whisking as I find it quite tiring to do it all by hand!
Now it’s time to season and enrich your béchamel. Remove the pan from the stove and add the cheese, the nutmeg and two teaspoons of salt. Whisk until combined, taste your béchamel and add one more teaspoon of salt if it still tastes bland. I find it amazing how a little bit of salt can really lift the flavour of your béchamel and make the moussaka taste amazing all the way through!
Finally add your egg yolks and quickly whisk so the eggs fully incorporate in the mixture. When your Moussaka is baking, the eggs will thicken your béchamel and give you a more distinct and creamy layer over your aubergines!
Assemble your Traditional Greek Moussaka!
Now that your vegetables, your béchamel and your meat sauce are ready it’s time to assemble your dish! Firstly, pick the deepest baking dish that you have at hand to make sure you can use all your meat sauce and béchamel without fear that it won’t fit and spill over! For my recipe below a 20x30cm/8x12inch and 8cm/3 inch deep baking dish is ideal.
To assemble your Moussaka, start by layering your potatoes at the bottom of your baking dish. Split your aubergines in two lots. You’ll need the first lot to layer over the potatoes and the second lot to cover the meat sauce. Spread the first layer of aubergines over your potatoes. If you have too few aubergines space them out a bit. If you have too many, overlap them a bit so they all fit!
Using a large ladle or spoon, pour your meat sauce over your aubergines and spread it evenly. Spread your second aubergine layer over the meat sauce, spacing them out evenly. Finally using a large ladle add the béchamel and spread it out evenly, making sure your whole moussaka is covered!
Finally sprinkle a bit of grated cheese on top. When your moussaka is baked, the cheese will melt and give it a delicious golden brown color! Your traditional Greek Moussaka is now ready to bake or to store it in the fridge and bake it later!
Preparing your Moussaka in advance
There are three ways to prepare your Moussaka in advance. You can bake it and reheat it, store it in the fridge unbaked and bake it on the day or bake it from frozen.
Bake and reheat: This is the way to go if you are short on time on the day you want to serve your moussaka. Bake it the day before, let it cool down, wrap it in cling film and store in the fridge. When you want to serve it, just pop it in the oven for 30 minutes at 150C / 300F to reheat.
Bake on the day: This is the way to go if you want your moussaka to be piping hot and fresh for your big day! When you have assembled your moussaka, let it cool down, wrap it with cling film and store it in the fridge uncooked. Then go ahead and bake it on the day for about 1 hour at 180C/350F.
Bake from frozen: This is the way to go if you want to bake and serve your moussaka more than a couple of days later. When you have assembled your moussaka and it has fully cooled down, wrap it in cling film and store it in the freezer uncooked. Be careful to store it flat so the bechamel doesn’t pour out! It will keep for up to a month and be just as fresh when baked and served! To serve, heat up your oven to 180C/350F and bake it for about 1 hour 30 minutes, until it’s cooked through.
Moussaka leftovers: If you just have some leftovers that you’d like to keep for more than a couple of days, cut them up in individual portions and store them in airtight containers in the freezer. To serve them, pop them in the oven for about 45 minutes at 150C/300F until they have defrosted and heated up throughout.
Tip: You can use a kitchen knife to check if your Moussaka has defrosted. Poke the center of your piece/tray with your knife, pick out some of the meat sauce and check if it is piping hot.
What goes well with your Moussaka?
The traditional Greek Moussaka is handily a meal on its own! I personally love eating my moussaka with a traditional Greek Salad, a Greek Orzo Salad (Orzo feta salad), some crusty bread to mop up that delicious meat sauce, a delicious tzatziki as a side and, why not, with a juicy saganaki or a Feta Saganaki some dolmades (stuffed vine leaves) and crunchy Greek Meatballs as a starter! And of course some delicious Loukoumades, baklava, or galaktoboureko as a dessert!
Love eggplants? Take a look at my favourite stuffed eggplants with mince (papoutsakia), my delicious eggplant dip, pan-fried battered eggplants and tagliatelle with eggplants and feta cheese recipes which I’m sure you’ll love as well!
Love that creamy béchamel? If you love moussaka, then I am sure you will fall in love with the traditional pastitsio, the Greek version of Lasagne!
Are you a vegetarian or observing lent? Not to worry, there is always a way to enjoy this delicious dish! My delicious Vegan Moussaka with lentils recipe with a lentil-mushroom based sauce is made for you!
So go ahead, give this traditional Greek Moussaka recipe a try and amaze your friends and family with this extra tasty hearty dish! And of course, don’t forget to let me know what you thought of it in the comments below!Print
Traditional Moussaka recipe with eggplants (aubergines) and potatoes
- 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!
- 6 eggplants
- 5 potatoes (optional)
- vegetable oil (for frying the eggplants)
For the meat sauce
- 750g beef or lamb mince (26 oz)
- 2 red onions (chopped)
- 2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes (400g / 14oz)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 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 (31 fl.oz)
- 120g butter (4 oz)
- 120g flour (4 oz)
- a pinch of nutmeg
- 2 egg yolks
- 100g Parmigiano-Reggiano or Kefalotyri or your favourite hard cheese (3.5oz)
- salt to taste
- 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.
- 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). Set aside when done.
- If you are adding potatoes to your moussaka, now its time to slice them into 0.5cm, half a finger width slices. Fry them or bake them in the same way as the eggplants. Season with some salt and set them aside when done.
- 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 mince breaking it up with a wooden spoon and sauté. When it starts to brown, add the the garlic and tomato paste and sauté until the garlic starts to soften. Pour in the red wine to deglaze the meat juices 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 then turn the heat down and simmer with the lid on for about 30 minutes or until most of the juices have evaporated. Set aside when done.
- Prepare the béchamel sauce for the moussaka. Use a large pan to melt the 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. Its consistency should resemble a thick cream.
- Remove the béchamel pan from the stove and stir in the egg yolks, salt, pepper, a pinch of nutmeg and the most of the grated cheese. Reserve some cheese to sprinkle on top! Whisk quickly, in order to prevent the eggs from turning an omelette! Season with salt to taste. Take one spoon full of béchamel and stir it in the meat sauce. Set the béchamel sauce aside.
- Now its time to assemble the moussaka. For this moussaka recipe you will need a large baking dish, approx. 20x30cm / 8x12inch and 8cm/3 inch deep). Butter the bottom and sides of the pan and layer the potatoes first (if you’re using them), then half the eggplants. Pour in all of the meat sauce and spread it out evenly. Add a second layer of eggplants, top with all of the béchamel sauce and smooth out with a spatula.
- Sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese. Preheat you oven at 180C/350F and bake your musaka for about 60 minutes or until its crust turns light golden brown. Even though it will be really hard to do so, you should wait for the moussaka to cool down and be just warm to the touch before cutting into pieces. This will prevent the béchamel sauce from pouring out when you’re cutting your pieces.
- 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
Are you a Greek speaker? You can always read this delicious recipe in Greek here Παραδοσιακός Μουσακάς συνταγή (Μουσακάς με πατάτες και μελιτζάνες).
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.
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 🙂
Hi..I see you say 6 eggplants..how big? Ty
Just normal size, they are around 2 handfuls each
This turned out amazingly!! Thanks for sharing!!
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.
That should have been stated in the recipe. The same thing happened to me. I hope it tastes better than it looks!
You’ll need to cook the béchamel for a bit longer in the stove – it needs to be of a thick cream consistency and not runny at all. Don’t forget to whisk while doing so, as it will stick to the bottom of the pan quite quickly if you don’t 🙂
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……
Any suggestions for making this for 30? Two pans or one large??
This recipe is for 8 pieces, so you would multiply it times 4 to get 32 pieces.
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
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
So … When do you add it? Lol. I’m not Greek I am going to make this tonight it looks sooo yummy and I love Greek food!!
with the garlic and tomato, after the onion 😀
It was mentioned in the recipe…’mince’ is ground beef/lamb aka minced meat
What is really funny is neither dif you Pete. Lol
Can I replace wine with beef broth?
Can’t use any alcohol.
Yes you can. However all the alcohol is evaporated during cooking, so you are not consuming any. The wine just helps flavour the meat only.
The first ingredient for the sauce is beef and/or lamb mince. The directions very clearly say when to add the mince. Funny I’m NOT Greek, but can follow a recipe for Greek food.
Jeeeez, this woz a marathon
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! ?
Can you freeze this after assembling, but before baking?
I have just made this and seem to have quite a lot of bechamel sauce left ?
Then just add more on top? You shouldn’t have any left. Keep pouring
Exactly this 🙂 Pour it all on top! I find the thicker the sauce the more decadent it is 🙂
Its better with beef mince
That’s all I have and wasn’t sure if I should add lamb too, but I’ll just use the beef now. Thanks
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
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.
same question as Sooz “Can you freeze this after assembling, but before baking?”
While you can, its not recommended. The best way to do this would be to bake then freeze. Then thaw in the oven for 45 minutes or so.
Eli, I followed your directions for freezing BEFORE baking two weeks ago. (see your instructions below) I’m planning to bake and serve this Friday for guests, so came to the site to see if I should defrost or bake from frozen. Searching for answers here, I find you saying you recommend baking first! Now what!?! When I going to have a wet mess? And, what is your follow-up advice for following your first recommendation: should I defrost (in frighted?) first or bake from frozen?
You can bake it either before freezing or after freezing, both will work just as well 🙂 If baking after freezing, bake at a lower temperature for longer, until its cooked through. you can test that by poking the moussaka with a knife deep through, to check if its pipping hot.
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?
Wouldn’t be Greek without Greece!
Sthaw in the oven how, precisely? Bake frozen at what temp ? I’m doing a party but have to prepare everything 2 days prior.
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,.
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
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.
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.
I love Greek Moussaka. Thanks for sharing recipe!
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.
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?
I wonder how much calories has it got per portion?
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
It looks great… it describes clearly and I decided to prepare it in this weekend… Thanks again,,,
you can’;t even print the recipe, why even have it on the computer when you can’t even print them
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.
Some people have to complain about everything, get a pen and paper and write it down geez
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?
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
Your welcome Romilly! Im so glad you liked it and hope your neighbours did as well :)!!
Good for you, Romilly!
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?
What amount is a tin of chopped tomatoes
whole tin i think
I suggest it is 14 or 15 oz canned diced tomatoes. Just made it and that seems right.
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!
Which way do you cut the aubergine?
Long slices Or short slices??
I’m making this for my Greek in laws…
Eggplant comes in various sizes. I wish you would have put the total weight required. Thanks.
The best ever!
I increased the herbs by around 50% on the second time and added some oregano. To me that felt more Greek. Preperation took longer than you said, but I did mince my own lamb.
That said a very good recipe and I thank you for it.
I would like to make this for a dinner party.
Do you think I could prepare it one day and bake it the next?
Hi. I googled ‘a tin of tomatoes’ and the consensus seems to be about 14 oz. I’m making this recipe now for Greek friends coming to dinner tomorrow. Glad I started today. While I find it not a real problem and very interesting, I’m wondering why some ingredients are in cups, ml, gms, etc. I had to look up to convert most. What is really fun and interesting to me is that I looked up 1cm for the thickness of the eggplant and lo and behold, it is exactly the same thickness that my mother and grandmother used (Italian, not Greek). I also found out from this recipe is that 1/2 cm is about 1/2 finger width, so 1 cm is a finger width which makes so much sense that my ancestors used this measurement to cook by. Thank you so much for a wonderful recipe and a wonderful time working through it.
He he he….The Serbians also used funny measurements as your Italian family. My mother’s recipes always reference finger widths….. They are quite close together geographically (culinary too, but not much pasta in Serbian cuisine).
Yes, 14oz is the size of tin you’ll need!
Made this lastnight for our family, it was delicious cant wait to try more greek recipes.
So glad you liked it Margaret! :)!!
What kind of cheese do you use as the topping, in step 7? The parmigiana was used to make the bechamel sauce. I want to make this, and want it to be amazing! 🙂
Hi Rita! You could use some extra Parmesan, Kefalotyri or Graviera. Your favourite hard cheese will also work just fine. Hope you enjoy it! 🙂
I made this for Sunday lunch. Just delicious! Thank you!
Amazing Andrea! So glad you loved my Moussaka!!
Eggplants come in so many various types and sizes. How many grams of eggplants am I supposed to use approximately? Thank you
This is an amazing dish! I first had Moussaka at Greek festivals, and now I can make it any time I want. This recipe is easy to follow and creates a delicious meal. Thank you very much!
I made this for our supper this evening…my husband said it is one of the best meals he has had and as he is 57 and eaten out in some good restaurants I am patting myself on the back!
Hi Ruby! I’m so happy to hear that, comments like yours make my day! Congratulations for making it delicious!
Hi.. Loved you recipe and I tried and made this for our dinner tonight.. Smelt and looked delicious although i haven’t quiet finished baking it off on the oven yet. I am sure it will take as good as it looks and my family will hopefully enjoy it. Thank you for a beautiful recipe.
Thank you Shobhai for making my moussaka recipe and for your great feedback 🙂 I’m sure it tasted delicious !!!
Can anyone please advise on the weight of eggplants as I believe 6 eggplants from an American grocery store may be too much. I was thinking maybe 3 would be correct?
The eggplants I’m using are around 7-8 inches long and about a fist thick. They shrink quite a bit when baking and I like 2 layers of them plus having good coverage. If you make them a bit more sparse then you can get away with less 🙂
Anyone recommend how many lbs of eggplants to use please?
Probably 3 lbs
That is about right 🙂
This was very helpful! I ended up over-purchasing eggplant because the ones at the grocery store were quite large (2x the required amount). I recommend updating the recipe with the required weight so it’s more clear.
Do you cook covered or uncovered?
Cook it uncovered Liz 🙂
Thank you ????
I have a question regarding the tomato puree. Does that refer to a tube of tomato paste or a can of tomato puree? Thanks!
Its the tomato paste – I’ve updated the recipe to make it clear 🙂
Delicious! Thanks for the recipe.
Your welcome Nicki! So glad you loved my Moussaka!
This took me 3.5 hours to prepare the first time but it looks great so far. Also might be clearer if you indicated “reserve some cheese for a later step” . . I’m looking forward to tasting this but it’s still in the oven!
Thank you for the feedback! I’ve updated the recipe to make it clearer 🙂
Have used this recipe before and received lots of lovely comments! Is it possible to make this a day in advance what with the bechamel sauce? And if so what would be your reheating suggestion.
Thanks in advance.
Of course you can make and bake it in advance. I actually prefer making my Moussaka the day before as I find it easier to cut and much less messy if its cold. Once you’ve baked it, let it cool down, cover it with some cling film and put in the fridge. Then you can reheat it in the oven at 130C/ 260F for about 45 minutes.
That’s a regular in egyptian households I guess mediterranean countries shares a lot of food heritage, thanks for the recipe it turned out great just like my mom used to make it.
Im so glad you liked it Sara! Indeed there are plenty of commonalities between all Mediterranean cuisines and so happy it brought you back wonderful memories!
Just cooked this for my wife and daughter 1/2 the recipe but it was superb as good as any I have had in Corfu or aegina
Thank you Bob for the great feedback! So glad you liked it!!
Made this recipe tonight and it was so easy! Green Giant now has frozen grilled eggplant available so that saved a lot of prep time. Sauce and bechamel both taste amazing and I can’t wait to try it when it finishes and cools down! Thanks so much!
Thank you Megan for your amazing feedback! Indeed this dish is pure bliss! I’m sure you’ll love it!!! 🙂
So excited to find this recipe! I believe some of the confusion surrounds tomato paste vs tomato puree (Melissa’s comment above). The recipe calls for tomato paste, however in the directions it says puree. I kept trying to understand how to deglaze a pan that had so much liquid (puree). Otherwise can’t wait to make this. Thank you!
Thank you for letting me know – it was a typo as puree in Greece is sometimes referring to the paste 🙂 I know, confusing! I’ve updated the directions as I had missed that one last time! The pan is deglazed with the red wine and yes indeed, puree won’t add as much liquid so you can easily deglaze.
Absolutely delicious! It tastes exactly like being back in Greece and this is by far one of my favorite “comfort food” recipes. It’s even one of the few times I can manage to get my husband to help me cook just because he’s so excited to eat it! Thank you for this recipe, I’m waiting for some to come out of the oven as I write this.
Your welcome Kristy! So glad you like my moussaka! Hope it turned out beautiful for you!
Bonjour, combien de pommes de terre et d’aubergines svp ?
hi Margot, its 6 eggplants, regular sized and about 5-6 potatoes!!
can you be more specific regarding pinch of cinnamon and pinch of nutmeg
I loved this recipe – I bake my eggplant and put a piece of parchment in the pan – no sticking and I use very very little oil!
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You still get the little Menu square covering the top-left corner. Not a big deal, but it does happen.
Perfect, good instructions!
thank you very much Iveta!!
WTH am I missing? All of these ingredients will fit in a 3x8x12 baking dish?
Thats in inches! Yeap you want it nice and thick 🙂
Eggplants come in so many various types and sizes. How many grams of eggplants am I supposed to use approximately? Thank you
Nevermind, I noticed someone already commented above.
Hi from Scotland Eli, thanks very much for sharing the recipe.
Made it last night was fantastic!!
Good bit of prep but the effort is worth it was top drawer 🙂
My partner made a Greek salad with it was a perfect combination.
Ive made this at least 10 times and it’s the best recipe out there for this dish. I generally make 2 one for my son who loves it …..slightly smaller (he gets 4 helpings out of his we get about 6 out of ours) also cos it’s a bit of a faff n time consuming but well worth the effort
Tweek it slight with more nutmeg and cinnamon
This one knocked it out of the park!
It’s the first time I followed a recipe to the letter (except as a rule I simmer meat sauces for minimum 90 minutes). Its like mom used to make – taste, texture, moisture, the whole bit. This one is a keeper. Efharisto!
Got back from a vacation in Greece and had to have some more authentic moussaka. This was delicious!
Made half a batch in an 8×8 baking dish. Used ground chicken instead of beef and used two eggplants instead of three. Turned out great.
One note: this took twice as long to make as the advertised 1hr 45m. Just prepping 2 eggplants took an hour. It was nearly 4 hours from start to finish, but definitely worth it.
Absolutely sensational! After sifting through many recipes I decided to try this one and very happy with the result. The flavours are amazing and it tasted way better than I expected! This will definitely be me a regular. This is very authentic and tastes just how I remember it (but with even more flavour) from Greece. Thank you for this amazing recipe and the clear instructions!
This was delicious, but I must’ve bought the wrong kind of eggplant cause I had a ton left over (bought some glorious globe eggplant) – it would be helpful to list an approximate weight of eggplant needed? I ended up roasting them for longer at higher temp cause they seemed not to be getting smaller. I like my seasonings stronger, so really increased the cinnamon and added herbes de Provence. I’d never heard of rinsing eggplant then salting it and letting it rest, but it worked, no bitter residue!
I tried baking the eggplant to cut down on the oil but even after 40 minutes they weren’t cooked. Next time I will fry them.
How long does it take for the milk reduction to the consistency? Mine never reduced and became a liquid mess on top.
It’s probably the fault of the aubergines. I’ve had this happen to me with other recipes where the aubergines never seem to cook and the skin remains uneatable regardless of baking time.
Hi there. I just made this last night and it was at least 30-40 minutes before the bechamel thickened. But oh man, was it worth the tired arm! So delicious.
Yield: 8 pieces, for how many persons is that for dinner, if I add a salad on the side?
Love this recipe!
Love the way all the little details explained.
Love the flavours!
Thank you very much for sharing it 🥰
I have made this recipe before and cooked from frozen. It was a great success and greatly enjoyed by us all.
I have made a half size moussaka for four people and frozen it. How long should I cook it for from frozen please?
Dumb question, has anyone tried to make a gluten-free bechemel and was it successful?
You can safely use gluten free flour or a flour of your choice with no difference.
6 whole eggplants? Sir, In America our regular sized eggplants are 6″ wide at the minimum, unless they’re asian, then theyre about 2″ wide at most.
Great Recipe, Just finished it. I did have a little trouble with the Bechemel. First time making it I don’t think all that milk is necessary unless its supposed to be cooked down. or just supposed to add a little at a time as stated but then stop when you get a nice thick consistency. I added some binder to thicken it up and worked great. To be perfectly honest, this was so much better than the local Greek Restaurant.
This was phenomenal. Easily my new favourite recipe that I will most likely continue to make for years to come. I haven’t had the fried version but the baked was just amazing. I got a ton of compliments at the dinner table and it was special because I was able to use produce my sister grew. Thank you for an incredible meal!
That is so nice to hear Meaghan! Thank you so much for your feedback and I’m so happy your family loved it!
Be kind to your recipe – it’s not a sin just because it’s nice! 🙂
I made this Moussaka for my daughter & son in law today, my daughter has just given birth to their 3rd child and I’ve been hankering to cook this for them. My son in law is gluten free so I used gf plain flour, lactose free cheese & lactose free milk for the bechemel. It’s was sensational, thick and smooth. The whole dish was absolutely delicious. Ultimate comfort food, my daughter said. Took a few hours to prepare but so worth it and I’m very impressed. Have never cooked it before, I’m not Greek and have only ever eaten it once, in a restaurant. Mine was perfect. Thank you thank you… you’re a star ⭐️ for sharing this amazing recipe.
Sharon & fam.
Since Covid, our 2 local summer Greek festivals haven’t made Mousakka….my favorite. I finally made my own today, using your recipe. My dad was Serbian, and I grew up eating leg of lamb highly seasoned with garlic, so used all ground lamb in my sauce. The only wine I had was a nice Shiraz and the milk was skim. It took me a long time….3 hours to put it all together (LOL) but worth every minute! This recipe is fabulous and I look forward to trying more of your masterpieces. Thank you!!!
Made this at the weekend. Went down a treat!
Now i always was told that you add cold milk to a hot roux or cold /frozen roux to warm milk. Have I been lied to all these years?
I just did it last night it came out just like yours, double the time though. My eggplants were gigantic so I froze almost half of them lol. It’s time consuming but it’s worth it. Great recipe, thanks!
Question can you use jared alfredo sauce thickened w/flour and then add the cheese, nutmeg, salt and lastly the egg yolks?
I made this lovely recipe, although I didn’t have any eggplant 🍆, as I don’t really like it! The topping mixture was very runny so I added a bit more flour. I didn’t know how to put the sauce on top of the mince without it all soaking into the mince? so I put some slices of lasagne sheets there, then put the sauce on top! it made it very nice like a small lasagne. thanks for the recipe, and keep up the good works!
I plan on making and freezing this to bake off later.
Thank you for including freezing instructions!
Do you suggest defrosting this first OR take out of the freezer and put directly in oven? Thank in advance for your help!
Definitely recommend this delicious Moussaka recipe!! So easy to follow and it turned out great.
Have lived in Episkopi Cyprus for many years before moving back to the UK. Lovely recipe. Reminds ,e so many a time sitting in the village taverna eating this and drinking good old Thisbe wine. Thank you so much xx
I made this today and it was super! The best I’ve ever made. My mum is Greek and I love to make traditional meals. Thank you for sharing your recipes.
What temperature and how many minutes to bake after previously baked and frozen? I saw a couple different instructions, like thaw first then bake for 45 minutes? Thaw for how long on counter and what temperature? What not bake from frozen? If yes what temperature and how long.
Yield: 8 pieces, for how many persons is that for dinner, if I add a salad on the side?