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 and tagliatelle with eggplants and feta cheese recipes which I’m sure you’ll love as well! Vegetarian? My veggie moussaka recipe was made just for you!

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Moussaka recipe (Traditional Greek Moussaka with Eggplants)

Traditional Greek Moussaka recipe (Moussaka with Béchamel)

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  • 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

Description

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



Scale

Ingredients

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


Instructions

  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). Set aside when done.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 puree 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.
  5. 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. Its consistency should resemble a thick cream. 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. Take one spoon full of béchamel and stir it in the meat sauce. Set the béchamel sauce aside.
  6. Now its time to 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 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.
  7. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Preheat you oven at 180-200C and bake your musaka for about 60 minutes or until its crust turns light golden brown. Even though it will be really hard, 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.
  8. Serve the Moussaka with a refreshing Traditional Greek Salad  and enjoy over a glass of wine!


Nutrition

  • 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).

52 Comments

  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 🙂

      Love

      Eli

  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.

    • 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 🙂

  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!!
    Elladara!!!
    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

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